The fluffiest vegan red velvet cake with the most delicious vegan cream cheese frosting! This is a real show-stopper of a cake that has that classic deep burgundy color and unique red velvet taste with a hint of cocoa. Plus, the cream cheese frosting just adds that extra element of deliciousness. The cakes have a baking time of just 25 minutes.
Make it as a birthday cake, occasion cake, or just to enjoy with a cup of tea any afternoon of the week!
I do share savory recipes most often on this blog, but some cakes are worth the effort! This vegan red velvet cake is a beautiful occasion cake idea. Others that you might also like are this gorgeous vegan biscoff cake, this courgette and lime cake, or this summery vegan strawberry cake!
Ingredients & Notes
- Plain Flour: Any brand of plain all-purpose flour will work for this recipe. I wouldn’t recommend substituting it or the baking powder/soda for self-raising flour as this will likely adjust how the cake turns out.
- Baking Powder & Baking Soda (also known as bicarbonate of soda).
- Cocoa Powder: You just need a small amount of cocoa powder, which is what gives the red velvet cake that unique color and flavor.
- Caster Sugar: This recipe uses white caster sugar. You could use golden caster sugar instead if you need to.
- Red Food Coloring: Again, this helps to give your vegan red velvet cake its unique color. Any red food gel or coloring will work.
- Oil: Use any neutral oil for this recipe. Olive oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil are all good options.
- Milk: This recipe is vegan, so I use plant-based milk such as oat milk or almond milk. Soy milk would also work.
- White Vinegar: Red velvet cake has a small amount of vinegar which reacts with the baking soda to give the red velvet cake a beautifully soft and fluffy texture. The same amount of lemon juice will also work in this recipe.
- Vanilla Extract: You’ll just need a dash of vanilla extract to give your vegan red velvet cake a lovely flavor.
- Vegan Cream Cheese: For the vegan cream cheese frosting (which pairs so perfectly with red velvet cake, by the way!), we, of course, need vegan cream cheese! My favorite brand is the Philadelphia vegan cream cheese made from oats and almonds. Violife also does a good cream cheese alternative that I’ve used in several of my vegan cake recipes (like this courgette & lime cake!).
- Vegan Butter: Ideally, use a block of vegan butter rather than one that comes in a tub as the blocks have a lower water content.
- Icing Sugar: Icing sugar, or powdered sugar as it’s also known, is added to the cream cheese and butter to create a sweet, creamy frosting for the cake.
How To Make This Vegan Red Velvet Cake
Before making the cake, you’ll need to preheat your oven and line your cake tins with baking paper, as well as grease the sides with vegan butter.
The exact instructions, along with the ingredients and quantities, are in the recipe card below. Here, I’ve broken down some steps with added information.
Step 1) Make the Vegan “Buttermilk”
In a jug or small bowl, add the plant-based milk and 1 tbsp of white vinegar to create a vegan buttermilk. Set that to one side for the moment.
Step 2) Combine The Dry Ingredients
Next, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. I would recommend sifting your flour and cocoa powder to avoid any lumps.
Step 3) Add the Wet Ingredients To The Dry Ingredients
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the oil, vanilla extract, and red food coloring.
Slowly start to combine the ingredients, and then pour in the vegan buttermilk bit by bit, folding everything all together. The batter should be thick, glossy, and a deep red/burgundy color.
Step 4) Pour Into Pans and Bake
Divide the batter equally across your three pans, and then bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted.
Leave your cakes to fully and completely cool before icing. You could also place the cakes in the refrigerator once cooled for 30 minutes – 1 hour before frosting to help the frosting stick!
How To Make The Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting For Your Vegan Red Velvet Cake
This vegan cream cheese frosting recipe uses just four simple ingredients: vegan cream cheese, vegan butter, icing sugar, and vanilla extract.
Step 1) Beat the Vegan Butter, Cream Cheese, and Vanilla Extract Together
You’ll start off by beating the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract together until it’s smooth. I typically use my stand mixer for this, but you could also use a handheld electric mixer.
Step 2) Incorporate the Powdered Sugar
Next, add sifted icing sugar a couple of spoonfuls at a time until fully incorporated. The frosting should be thick, creamy, and smooth.
Take care not to overmix it, or the cream cheese will split! (This may have happened to me many times..!)
I would strongly recommend sifting the icing sugar before you add it to the cream cheese/butter mix to avoid lumps! If the frosting gets a little too runny while mixing, you might want to pop it in the fridge before icing your cake.
Assembling & Frosting Your Vegan Red Velvet Cake: Expert Tips
If you need to, level off your cakes so they’ll stack evenly. This is optional, but you can reserve the crumbs from leveling the cakes to decorate the frosting later on.
Place the bottom one on a cake stand or plate, and stack the cakes, spreading a thick layer of frosting between each one. Next, apply a crumb coat all over the sides and top of the cake, filling in any gaps between the cakes with more frosting (using a piping bag is great for this!).
Place the cake in the fridge for a couple of hours along with the remaining frosting. Then, you can get the cake back out of the fridge and apply a final layer of frosting, smoothing it down with a palette knife so none of the cake is showing through.
Sprinkle the cake crumbs over the top of the cake and around the bottom to add a nice decorative touch!
(Top tip: if you have any leftover batter, pour it into some cupcake liners and make vegan red velvet cupcakes at the same time!).
Storing Your Red Velvet Cake
Due to the cream cheese in the frosting, you’ll need to refrigerate this vegan red velvet cake. For this reason (to keep your fridge from being completely cluttered up!), I’d recommend decorating this cake on the day you need it.
However, you could also cut it up and wrap it in foil, storing it for 3 – 5 days in the fridge. You could also freeze the cake for up to 2 months, defrosting fully to room temperature before eating. Just be aware that the texture of the cream cheese frosting might change slightly.
How is this vegan red velvet cake recipe different from a classic red velvet cake?
A classic red velvet cake will have eggs and butter, which means it’s not vegan. Instead, this recipe uses oil and plant-based milk (oat milk, soy milk, or almond milk will work fine) to make it vegan-friendly – but it still tastes just as good.
Red velvet cake is most similar to a chocolate cake, but with a slightly less ‘chocolatey’ taste – it has just a hint of chocolate and a beautiful deep red color that pairs perfectly with the fresh, white cream cheese frosting.
Why do we add white vinegar to red velvet cake?
Vinegar is an essential component of any vegan red velvet cake to create the chemical reactions in the batter that give the sponge it’s unique fluffy texture. However, you could use apple cider vinegar or lemon juice instead of white vinegar.
Why do we add cocoa powder to vegan red velvet cake?
Cocoa powder is added to any classic red velvet cake recipe, vegan or not. The cocoa powder gives the cake a velvety texture and feel.
Which oil is best to use in this vegan cake recipe?
I’ve used both olive oil and vegetable oil for this recipe, and either one works great! You could also consider using coconut oil or canola oil.
Can I use beet juice instead of red food coloring?
You could swap out the red food dye for beet juice instead, but when I’ve tested this I haven’t been able to achieve that same beautiful red color that the dye gives this cake.
Can I make this recipe gluten-free?
You could substitute the plain flour for gluten-free flour to make this recipe gluten-free. However, this isn’t something that I’ve tested myself.
More vegan cake recipes to make:
- Vegan red velvet cupcakes
- Vegan Biscoff Cake
- Vegan strawberry cake
- Vegan strawberry cupcakes
- Vegan ginger cake
- 400g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tbsp (30g) cocoa powder
- Pinch of salt
- 200g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp red food coloring
- 180ml neutral oil (olive or vegetable oil)
- 500ml plant-based milk
- 2 tbsp spoon white vinegar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
- 200g vegan cream cheese
- 100g vegan butter
- 400g - 500g icing sugar, sifted
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 180° C | 350° F and line your 3 6-inch cake tins with baking paper. Grease the sides with vegan butter.
- Add the plant-based milk and 1 tbsp of white vinegar to create a vegan buttermilk in a jug or small bowl. Set to one side for the moment.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. I would recommend sifting the flour and cocoa powder to avoid lumps.
- Then, make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the oil, vanilla extract, and red food coloring.
- Slowly combine, and then slowly pour in the vegan buttermilk bit by bit, folding everything all together. The batter should be thick, glossy, and deep red/burgundy.
- Divide the batter equally across your three pans, then bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted.
- Leave the cakes to cool completely before frosting. To help the frosting stick best to the cakes, you could also place them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
To Make The Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
- Beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract until it's smooth and creamy.
- Slowly add in your sifted icing sugar a few spoonfuls at a time continuing to beat on a low speed until the icing sugar is fully incorporated and the frosting is thick, smooth, and creamy. This should take around 3 - 5 minutes in total.
- If your frosting has been out at room temperature for a while, you may want to refrigerate it for an hour or two before frosting.
To Assemble & Frost The Cake
1. Use a sharp knife to carefully level the cakes if needed. Reserve the crumbs to decorate the cake later.
2. Place your bottom cake on a plate or cake stand, and then spread a layer of the cream cheese frosting over the top of the cake. Place your second cake on top, and spread another layer of frosting over it, then top with the third and final cake.
3. Spread a crumb coat of frosting over the top and sides of the cake, filling in any gaps between the cake.
4. Refrigerate the cake and remaining frosting for a couple of hours before applying a final layer of the vegan cream cheese frosting all over the cake for a smooth finish.
5. Sprinkle the remaining crumbs over the top of the cake and along the bottom, if you choose to.
This cake will need to be refrigerated due to the vegan cream cheese. Store it in an airtight container or freeze it wrapped in clingfilm and foil. If you freeze the cake, note that the texture of the icing might change slightly.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 606Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 233mgCarbohydrates: 86gFiber: 1gSugar: 60gProtein: 6g