Vegan Red Velvet Layer Cake With Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
This easy vegan red velvet cake has a tender, moist crumb, a rich flavor, and beautiful vibrant red color. It’s topped with a sweet yet tangy whipped vegan vanilla bean cream cheese frosting. The cake can be made in one bowl!
For the full recipe, step by step photos, and a video tutorial, visit:
Why You’ll Love This Vegan Red Velvet Cake
- Tender, Moist & Velvety Texture: dairy free yogurt replaces the eggs in this recipe, giving the cake a super moist texture that slices and holds together beautifully
- Rich Flavor and Intense Color: a mild cocoa flavor runs through this cake and it has a rich crimson color
- One Bowl: fewer dishes are always better- no need to use separate bowls for the wet and dry ingredients
- Easy to Follow Recipe: follow along with the step-by-step photos and video tutorial
This vegan red velvet cake uses a handful of ingredients, most of which are pantry staples that can be found at your local grocery store. You may need to order red food coloring online if you’re not able to find it in stores.
- Vegetable Oil: to keep the cake extra moist
- Granulated Cane Sugar: for sweetness
- Unsweetened Dairy Free Yogurt: to help hold together the cake & replace the eggs in traditional cake recipes
- Dairy Free Milk: like almond milk, oat milk, or coconut milk
- Pure Vanilla Extract: vanilla essence gives the cake an aromatic flavor
- Vinegar: to help give the cake its characteristic tangy flavor, and to help the cake rise in the oven
- All Purpose Flour: or you can use cake flour
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: to give the cake its characteristic subtle cocoa flavor
- Baking Powder & Baking Soda: to help leaven the cake
- Cream of Tartar: this is optional, but it helps give the cake a subtle tang and helps the red color stay vibrant even after baking
- Red Food Coloring: if making this cake completely vegan, be sure to order a vegan-friendly red food coloring
- Sea Salt: to help balance the sweetness
For the vanilla bean cream cheese frosting:
- Softened Salted Vegan Butter
- Softened Vegan Cream Cheese: I like to use Follow Your Heart or Trader Joe’s dairy-free cream cheese. They’re not too tangy and have a good texture.
- Vanilla Bean Paste: or you can sub vanilla extract
- Powdered Sugar or Icing Sugar
- Oil: the vegetable oil can be substituted for melted dairy-free butter or for another oil, like coconut oil.
- Dairy Free Yogurt & Milk: the dairy-free yogurt and milk can be subbed 1 for 1 with dairy based products.
- Sugar: while I haven’t tried this substitution, you could try substituting the cane sugar for a sugar free alternative like Swerve Granulated Substitute. If substituting the sugar, make sure to use a granulated replacement- not a liquid sweetener.
- Food Coloring: you can opt for natural food coloring like beet powder instead of gel food color. Note: the color won’t be as intense as in the photos.
- 3 6” Round Cake Pans or 2 8-9” Round Cake Pans
- Parchment Paper
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Electric Hand Mixer or Stand Mixer: to make the frosting
Step by Step Instructions
🎥 *Video Tutorial is at the link listed above!*
Fridge: The cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped loosely in plastic wrap or in an airtight container for 1-2 days.
Freezer: After 1-2 days, I recommend freezing slices of the cake to help it retain its moisture. Wrap the cake with plastic wrap and place the slices in a freezer-proof baggie. Store in the freezer for 2-3 months.
Vegan Red Velvet Layer Cake With Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
- ½ cup (110g) vegetable oil or melted vegan butter
- 1 ½ cups (290g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (230g) plain non-dairy yogurt, unsweetened plain or vanilla-flavored, room temperature
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup dairy free milk, like almond milk
- 1 ½ tbsp apple cider vinegar, or white vinegar
- 2 ½ cups (320g) all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp (16g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp (8g) baking powder
- ½ tsp (3g)baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp cream of tartar, optional (see notes)
- 2-4 tsp red food coloring, adjust to preference (or use beetroot powder)
Vegan Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Buttercream
- 3 tbsp (43g) softened salted vegan butter, like Country Crock Plant Butter or Earth Balance
- ½ cup + 1 tbsp (135g) softened vegan cream cheese, I like Follow Your Heart or Trader Joes
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste, or sub vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ - 2 cups (195-260g) powdered sugar, adjust to taste
- ¼ tsp salt
- Optional: 1 tsp lemon juice
To Make the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F or 175 degrees C.
- Grease 3 6” (15.24 cm) round cake pans or 2 8-9” (23cm) round cake pans. Cut out circles of parchment paper and lay them in the bottom of the pans.
- Cream the oil and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the room temperature dairy free yogurt, vanilla, vinegar and dairy free milk. Whisk to combine.
- Sift the all purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, & cream of tartar (if using) on top.
- Mix the wet and dry ingredients together until lump free and just combined. Add the food coloring and mix until incorporated and the batter reaches your desired color.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans. Smooth out the tops.
- Bake for 23-26 minutes (6” pans) or 26-32 minutes (9” pans). A toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should remove cleanly when done. The cakes should have smooth, slightly domed tops when done baking.
- Remove the cakes and let them cool for 5-10 minutes in the pans. Then, remove the cakes from the pans and place them on a wire rack to finish cooling.
To Make the Frosting
- NOTE: this frosting recipe makes enough to lightly cover a 3 tiered 6” cake or a 2 tiered 9” cake (like the photos). If you want a thicker layer of frosting, I recommend you 1.5x or 2x the frosting ingredients.
- Cream the vegan butter and vegan cream cheese with a hand mixer or stand mixer for 2-3 minutes until fluffy. Add the vanilla bean paste and salt. Mix to incorporate.
- Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. Mix on medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy and all of the sugar has been added, about 5 minutes. If the frosting appears too stiff, add in the 1-2 tablespoons of dairy free milk. The frosting should be stiff enough to hold its shape, but still fluffy and creamy. Add the lemon juice, if using, and mix to incorporate.
To Assemble the Cake
- Flip the first layer upside down (so the flat side is facing up). Spread an even layer of frosting on top of the cake.
- Stack the next layer of cake on the cream cheese frosting with the flat side facing up. Spread more frosting on top. Top it off with the 3rd cake layer.
- Apply a crumb coat of frosting to the cake layers. I chose to leave the cake partially naked so the red color of the cake peeks through, but if you'd like to add more frosting feel free to apply more after the crumb coat. Once frosted, sprinkle the top with chopped vegan white chocolate.
- The dairy-free yogurt and milk can be subbed 1 for 1 with dairy based products.
- This recipe calls for cream of tartar because it helps the food coloring I used stay vibrant even after baking. Check the instructions on your food coloring.
- Tap the pans before baking to remove air bubbles from the batter: this will help create a close crumb without holes.
- Bake the cake soon after mixing the batter together: because this batter has vinegar in it, the chemical reaction that helps it rise begins as soon as you mix the wet and dry ingredients together. The cake needs to be baked promptly after mixing the batter together for the best results.
- Let the cake cool completely before frosting: to prevent the icing from melting and losing its shape