We set out on a mission to make the most delicious vegan birthday cake…and finally, here it is! We’re so happy to bring you this scrumptious, crowd-pleasing, foolproof, easy vegan cake recipe for a celebratory dessert made without a drop of cow’s milk, chicken eggs, or bug secretions.
This cake is 3 layers of moist vanilla cake with the most irresistible vanilla frosting layered in between. Perfection. It’s light and fluffy, and the frosting is rich and decadent. And friends, don’t worry. You don’t have to be a pastry chef or a crafting queen to bring this beautiful cake to life. This recipe makes it easy-as-pie!
Whether you want to make a special cake for someone you love, for a kiddo’s birthday party, or just for the heck-of-it, we’ve got your back with this tried-and-true recipe. It’s been tested and enjoyed by many—vegans and omnivores alike. Truthfully, you’d never know it’s vegan!
This 8-inch cake is perfect for a gathering and will serve at least 12 people, if not more because it’s rich. It doesn’t have to be just for birthdays, as it could really be served for any occasion. Heck, you don’t even need a special occasion, just make it for you and your family or friends if you feel like it!
For this recipe, all you need to do is prepare the batter and bake the cake layers.
Just keep in mind the size of the cake pans you use does matter, as it will impact how thick each layer will be. 8-inch pans like these are ideal! If you only have one cake pan, you can bake the three layers one at a time, just know that it will take significantly longer that way (instead of just 30 minutes, you’ll need to allow 90 minutes for baking). But hey—it also gives them time to cool!
While the cake layers are baking you can prepare the icing. Once the cakes are removed from the oven and completely cooled, you can frost, layer, and decorate them. Before you know it, your homemade vegan birthday cake will be ready to enjoy!
Birthday cakes are supposed to be fun, right? And I think we’d all agree that more color = more fun. So I invite you to do what I did. To turn your cake into a vegan confetti cake!
You can easily turn your traditional cake into a color-speckled confetti cake by mixing 1/4 cup of confetti sprinkles (like these vegan confetti sprinkles from Fancy Sprinkles) into your batter before pouring it into the cake pans to bake.
If you’re baking for a little one who loves unicorns, you could call this a “unicorn cake” and decorate it accordingly! Or… celebrating Pride? Call it a rainbow cake!
The more vegan sprinkles, the more fun and festive, in my opinion! But be forewarned, many sprinkles out there today are not vegan. Sprinkles are commonly colored with food dyes that are animal-derived. Plus, sprinkles are often coated with confectioner’s glaze derived from shellac.
According to our good friend Wikipedia, shellac is a resin secreted by the female lac bug. It’s commonly used as a glaze or varnish for food products (like baking sprinkles) and…wood? Yup. Wood varnish. Shellac gives that high-gloss to most sprinkles you see in the store.
And if that doesn’t weird you out, consider this.
It can take between 50 thousand and 300 thousand lac bugs to produce just 1 kilogram of resin, and when the resin is collected from the trees, squashed up lac bugs are too. The bugs are theoretically removed before the resin is sold for use in food products, but still. Yuck.
Here at World of Vegan we’re not into eating bug secretions that have been melted off of dead bugs (seriously—who comes up with these things?!). And that’s exactly why we were so thrilled to discover Fancy Sprinkles.
Fancy Sprinkles offers a huge array of 100% vegan sprinkles that are shellac-free. Not only that, but they are stunning! Vibrant colors, fun shapes, glossy finishes, creatively themed sprinkle mixes…you’d never know they’re vegan. Plus, they taste delicious!
Seriously, when I served up this cake to a group of friends, more than one commented about how good the sprinkles are. They have a delicate sweet vanilla flavor and don’t leave that nasty waxy residue on the roof of your mouth.
You can also check out our Guide to the Best Vegan Sprinkles for even more option!
This is our favorite vegan frosting recipe because it stays perfect at almost any temperature. Assuming you don’t live in a crazy-hot climate, you should be able to leave the cake out all day if you feel like it! Some vegan frosting recipes don’t sit well at room temperature, but this one is perfectly stable.
But if you are battling particularly hot temperatures, just pop the cake in the fridge and it will firm up. This frosting is made with vegan butter which, like any butter, is very firm when cold and can get soft and even melty in the heat. The same applies to this frosting!
And don’t worry, you can store this cake in the fridge for days and it won’t get too firm. In fact, it tastes absolutely delicious straight from the fridge!
Aside from the fact that this vegan frosting is super stable and won’t melt at your dinner party, it’s also likely to be the most delicious and authentic vegan frosting you’ll ever have! It really does taste just like conventional frosting. It’s sweet, buttery, creamy, and soooo tasty.
You can leave the frosting white as it is, or you can have a little bit of fun with it and use all-natural vegan food coloring. Many conventional food dyes aren’t vegan, and they’re usually filled with chemical ingredients.
There’s no need for that.
You can use all natural food coloring and natural food dyes to achieve beautiful colors in cooking and baking, without artificial ingredients.
Some basic ingredients that you can use for vegan food coloring to achieve your desired look are:
Yellow / Orange
Also, note that there are many vegan-friendly food dyes on the market as well! You’ll most likely find these in a large health food store or even online.
When adding food dyes to this icing recipe, I suggest whipping up the icing first. Then turn on the stand mixer on medium speed (or your handheld mixer) and add very small amounts of food coloring just a little bit at a time until you achieve the desired hue that you’re going for.
If adding food coloring elements makes your frosting too soft and liquidy, you can always add in more powdered sugar to firm it up!
This vegan birthday cake is the perfect base recipe for many cake variations. Feel free to play around with the recipe and customize it as you wish!
You can add some cocoa powder to the batter and/or the frosting for a decadent chocolate cake.
Switch out the icing for coconut whipped cream instead and add slices of strawberries in between the layers!
Add fresh blueberries into the cake batter or even the icing.
There are so many possibilities with a recipe like this that truly acts as a blank canvas.
Check out the most insanely delicious dairy-free ice cream cake that can be made in a short amount of time with your favorite flavors of store-bought vegan ice cream and a package of Oreos. We guarantee it’ll be a hit!
Alright, comrades. With that, you’re ready to tie up that apron and get to baking. Enjoy! This vegan birthday cake has such a nostalgic taste to it, and something about it is even reminiscent of the childhood classic Dunkaroos. Yep, it’s that good. (P.S. If you’re looking for another staple cake recipe for your kitchen, this basic vanilla sponge cake recipe is incredibly delicious!)
This vegan birthday cake recipe was developed by Kathy Chrzaszcz for WorldofVegan.com. Vegan cake photos by Michelle Cehn. Recipe and photographs copyright of World of Vegan™, all rights reserved. Please note that this article contains affiliate links which means shopping through them helps lights on at World of Vegan. Many thanks to Fancy Sprinkles for making delicious vegan sprinkles, sponsoring this recipe, and supporting our work at World of Vegan!