This Vegan Red Velvet Cake is a delicious, moist, three-layer vanilla cake with a light, mild cocoa tart flavor and vibrant red color layered with dairy-free cream cheese frosting.
I love baking vegan cakes for birthdays and especially more for the holiday season. For this occasion, I created this vibrant red velvet cake filled with dairy-free cream cheese frosting that brings out some amazing Christmas vibes.
How To Make Vegan Red Velvet Cake
A red velvet cake is usually made with eggs, butter, and cream cheese. To make it vegan, you need to twist the original red velvet cake recipe a little, and here’s what you need.
You need some simple ingredients, no egg replacer, only wholesome ingredients:
- All-Purpose Flour – or white spelt flour. The recipe won’t work with almond flour.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- White Sugar
- Baking Soda
- Baking Powder
- Almond Milk
- Canola Oil – You can alternatively use melted coconut oil or light olive oil.
- Vanilla Extract
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Red Food Coloring – Not all red food dyes are cruelty-free. Some are made from animal sources like cochineal. Always pick a red food coloring tagged as plant-based or vegan. Another option is to use beet powder. It has a vibrant pink-red color that goes very well in red velvet cake.
For the cream cheese frosting, you will need:
- Icing Sugar
- Vegan Cream Cheese
- Vegan Butter
- Vanilla Extract
- Almond Milk
First, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line the bottom of three 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper and spray the pans with cooking spray. Set them aside.
In a large size bowl, prepare the vegan buttermilk. To do so, combine all the two liquid ingredients together: apple cider vinegar and almond milk. Stir and set aside for 10 minutes until the acidity of the vinegar curdle the almond milk.
Combine Wet Ingredients
Then, stir in the remaining liquid ingredients: oil of choice and vanilla extract.
Add the food coloring of your choice to give the liquid batter a bright red color.
Mixing Dry Ingredients
Meanwhile, bring another large bowl and sift in flour, and cocoa powder. Then, whisk in sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Pour the wet ingredients onto the dry ingredients and use a whisk to stir and combine until it forms a nice ribbon and a smooth cake batter forms.
Don’t over-mix the cake batter to keep the cake crumb nice and fluffy after baking.
Transfer To Pans
Divide the batter evenly into the three cake pans.
Bake The Cake
Bake the cake layers for 20 minutes at 350°F (180°C) or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake layer comes out clean.
If you can’t fit the three cake pans on the same oven level, place two cake pans on the center rack and one cake pan just under it. Switch the pans halfway through baking if the lower one bakes slower.
You can also keep that layer on its pans outside of the oven for 20 minutes and bake it later after the first two are baked.
Cool completely the cake layers on a cooling rack at room temperature before frosting.
When the layers are cold, use a long bread knife to level all cake layers – remove the bumpy part on top of each layer to create three flat cake layers.
Keep the parts you cut out, as you will use the crumbs to decorate the red velvet cake later.
Frosting The Cake
You can make a vegan cream cheese frosting or simply a vegan buttercream frosting if vegan cream cheese is not available in your store. You can also top the cake with vegan whipped cream!
In a large mixing bowl, add the softened vegan butter and softened vegan cream cheese and beat until creamy and fluffy using the stand mixer’s paddle attachment. Or, you can use a hand mixer with a beater attachment.
Then, add powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat on medium-high speed until incorporated. In the end, add a splash of almond milk to thin out the frosting and stop until the cream cheese frosting is light and creamy.
Place the first cake layer on a cake stand and add a third of the frosting in the center. Use a long, flat tool or spatula to spread the frosting all over the surface of the first cake layer. Then, add the second cake layer, repeat, and finally, repeat with the last cake layer.
As you spread the frosting, it falls on the sides of the cake layers. Use the spatula to spread the frosting all around the cake layers, turning the cake stand simultaneously to help spread the frosting evenly.
Decorate the top of the cake with the leftover cake crumb you cut out before.
Store the cake in an airtight cake box in the fridge for up to 4 days. Cutting the cake just before serving is preferable to keep it moist and fresh.
You can also freeze leftover red velvet cake slices in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Thaw it in the fridge the day before.
- Gluten-Free – I haven’t tried to make a vegan, gluten-free red velvet cake yet, but some all-purpose gluten-free flour can be used as a 1:1 swap to all-purpose flour with excellent results. To my knowledge, the cake crumb is always coming out a bit more gummy or dense with this option.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – You can swap vinegar for lemon juice or white vinegar.
- Nut-Free – Use soy milk or oat milk instead of almond milk.
More Vegan Cake Recipes
Below are some more plant-based cake recipes for you to try next time.
Did You Like This Recipe?
Vegan Red Velvet Cake
- 2 ¼ cups All-Purpose Flour - sifted
- 1 tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 1 ⅓ cup Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- ½ teaspoon Baking Powder
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 ½ cup Almond Milk - or any plant-based milk
- ½ cup Canola Oil - or any light flavor vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar - or lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Red Food Coloring
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line three 6-inch round pans with parchment paper. Grease the pans with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine apple cider vinegar and almond milk. Set it aside for 10 minutes to curdle.
- Whisk in the remaining wet ingredients: canola oil, red food coloring, and vanilla extract.
- In another large mixing bowl, sift flour and cocoa powder. Then, whisk in caster sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and whisk to incorporate until the ingredients are combined nicely. Don't over-whisk, or the cake will be dense.
- Divide the batter evenly into the three round pans.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool down on a rack completely before frosting.
- In a large bowl, or stand mixer bowl, add the softened vegan butter and softened vegan cream cheese and beat until creamy and fluffy.
- Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat on medium-high speed, adding a few tablespoons of almond milk if the frosting is too dry or thick, beating until the frosting is light and fluffy. Don't overbeat or frosting split.
Assembling Red Velvet Cake
- Use a long sharp knife to level up each cake layer. Keep the top of the cake layers to crumble into pieces and use as a decoration on top of the frosted cake.
- Place one layer of cake on a large serving plate, add a third of the batch of frosting in the center of the cake and use a spatula to spread the frosting all around the cake. It's ok if it drips on the sides.
- Top up with the second red velvet cake layer, add another batch of vegan frosting, and repeat the same action, with the last layer of cake, using the remaining frosting to spread all around the cake.
- Decorate with leftover cake crumb that you set aside after levelling up the cake layers.
- Store the cake in an airtight cake box in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze and thaw the day before serving.