This easy vegan red velvet cake is so rich, soft and has the perfect chocolate flavor! Pair with an incredible vegan cream cheese frosting!
Red velvet cake is a holiday classic and a favorite for many people. And this vegan red velvet cake tastes just as good, if not better, than the traditional version with milk and eggs.
There’s no need for that in this recipe though.
We wanted to make the best vegan red velvet cake that you’ve ever had while still being super easy for your to make. And we’ve done it!
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WHAT INGREDIENTS DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THE BEST VEGAN RED VELVET CAKE?
Below are notes about the main ingredients before we get into the full recipe located lower in this post on how to make vegan chocolate cake:
While this dairy free chocolate cake does need what seems to be a lot of ingredients, it’s still an easy chocolate cake recipe. In order to make this cake without eggs and without dairy, you need a bit of creativity and chemistry. The end result is so perfect. For this cake you’ll need:
- Dairy Free Milk – Using milk instead of water adds more flavor into the recipe. We have tried this with both oat and almond and there’s not much of a difference honestly. Use either unsweetened plain or unsweetened vanilla flavored milk, but you don’t want any sweetened milk in this already sweet recipe.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – Since there are no vegan buttermilks on the market, we use acid to mix with the dairy free milk to make a vegan buttermilk. Acid helps tenderize gluten and therefore making a softer cake.
- Cake Flour – The star of the show, we only used cake flour here because we wanted this recipe to be the best you’ve had and you get that from cake flour
- Vegan Cane Sugar – Cane sugar is what we are using. If you want to learn more about why your sugar may not be vegan, you can learn more by clicking on the link.
- Cocoa Powder – Obviously needed to make a delicious chocolate cake. You want to use an unsweetened cocoa powder here.
- Applesauce– This replaces the traditional eggs added but also helps the moisture in your cake but also helps by slowing down the formation of gluten that yields a very tender and fluffy cake – isn’t that what we all want!
- Red Food Coloring or Beet Powder – either of these can be used interchangeably. This gives the traditional red color associated with
SUBSTITUTIONS AND VARIATIONS:
- Dairy Free Milk – Any dairy free milk that you like can be used in this. The important thing is just not using a sweetened milk in this already sweet recipe.
- Acid – You can use white vinegar or lemon juice if that’s all you have
- Flour – All-purpose flour could be swapped for all or half of the all-purpose flour. Also an all-purpose or 1:1 gluten free flour could be used.
- Vegan Cane Sugar – While we haven’t tried, you could replace this with a coconut sugar or date sugar
- Optional: we covered in dried raspberries for a look but also because it goes so well with the cake
Tips for how to make the best vegan red velvet cake:
See below tips and tricks for making this vegan red velvet cake perfect!
- Follow the instructions pretty please. Cake baking is a science, especially when making a dairy free/vegan cake. Every step has a purpose to ensure the perfect vegan chocolate cake.
- While we don’t do it in the video or the recipe, if you are not comfortable baking, we highly recommend sifting the ingredients into the bowl. This loosens the ingredients and make sure there are no clumps leading to a more airy cake.
- Make sure to line with parchment paper and grease your pans. No one likes a cake that can’t come out of the pan. It’s one of the most frustrating things and doing these two things will helps.
- Make sure that you evenly distribute the cake batter into the cake pans. You can use a scale to make sure that they are all within a small range of each other.
- When the cakes are cooked, remove from oven and place on a cooling rack to allow the cakes to cool evenly.
- Let the cakes cool to touch. DO NOT RUSH. Let it cool completely.
- When ready to make the cake – use a cake leveling tool to make sure there’s no uneven tops.
- Place a small amount of frosting down first on a rotating cake stand, then your first layer. The frosting acts as a glue so the cake won’t slip.
- Use a piping bag and a large round tip and pipe frosting in a circular motion from the outer edge completely in to the middle.
- Use a cake spreader to gently even out layer of frosting. Place next layer and repeat. Step back and see if there is any gaps in between the layers. If there are, place enough frosting in those areas to get frosting to the edge.
- Use a cake scraper to go around the cake and ensure evenness around the entire cake. This step is really important. Place frosting on the top of the cake and more on sides if needed and frost evenly. Using a spreader on the top and the scraper to even evenness.
- Get creative. If you can’t get as smooth as you want or even as you want – you can also add toppings like dried fruit, crushed nuts or chocolate shavings, or drizzle chocolate syrup along the edge so people focus on that. Plus it looks better either way.
- *Bonus Tip: If you want to frosting the cake but keep a clean cake stand, cut four 7″ pieces of wax paper and overlap them before placing the first layer on the cake stand. When you are completely done frosting the cake, carefully remove the four pieces of wax paper.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Absolutely! Did I just make your day? You can swap out the vegan all-purpose flour for Gluten Free Cup for Cup flour. You can also swap out the cake flour with a gluten free version.
Absolutely! Did I just make your day? You can swap out the vegan all-purpose flour for Gluten Free Cup for Cup flour. You can also swap out the cake flour with a gluten free version. For butter, you want to use a soy free version like Flora or Earth Balance soy free. Lastly, check out our vegan cream cheese review to find one that is safe for you.
This vegan red velvet cake is rich in chocolate while still remaining moist. The right amount of fat (oil) combined with dairy free milk and adding in leavening agents (baking soda and baking powder) all act together to insure this will not be a dry vegan red velvet cake.
Also, the importance of minimally processing the ingredients together. We only mix until combined. We do this because the longer you mix flour, the more gluten forms making for a not so great cake.
You can absolutely make this into dairy free red velvet cupcakes. Simply make the recipe as normal and then instead of greasing cake pans, spray a cupcake pan or liners. Fill each one up 3/4 of the way. You’ll want to reduce the cooking time to 15-20 minutes.
A vegan red velvet cake is better for animals and the environment; however, we still use flour, sugar, and oil in this recipe. We are not claiming that this is a healthier alternative to a cake that contains dairy based milk and traditional eggs.
We’ll let you in on a little secret. You can’t even tell the difference. In fact, we’ve served vegan cake to many non-vegans and they had no idea!
By adding some acid to your batter, you are creating a vegan cake that is moist and delicious. It helps to break down the tough gluten strands, yielding in the most delicious vegan red velvet cake recipe. Don’t skip this step!
What if I only want a 1 layer vegan red velvet cake?
We know that not everyone has the desire to make a layered cake. Fortunately, we have great news! You don’t have too and we have two options for you!
First – you can make the recipe as directed and then freeze one layer so you have a cake already ready the next time you want cake. We’d recommend eating within 3 months of freezing. To do this, when the cakes are cooled to touch but still slightly warm, remove from the pans and wrap them with plastic wrap. Wrapping them while warm allows the moisture to continue to stay inside the cake and not be dry. Place in a freezer safe container or bag after wrapping in foil.
Alternatively, you could just reduce all the ingredients in half to only make one layer.
Can I make this a sheet pan cake instead?
Yes! You can use a 9×13 cake pan in order to make this cake. The batter should work well to fill the cake pan but keep in mind that you should not fill the cake more than 3/4 way full. If you have too much you can use for mini cupcakes!
What other frosting ideas could I use on this vegan red velvet cake?
We highly recommend use our vegan cream cheese frosting recipe below; however, we know that some people want other options. Other ideas for how to frosting a dairy free red velvet cake are:
- Vegan Chocolate Frosting
- Using Dairy Free Whipped Topping (Homemade “Cool Whip”)
- Vegan Vanilla Frosting
- Vegan Strawberry Frosting
- Vegan Buttercream Frosting
What are other dairy free chocolate desserts I can make?
Whether you are having a chocolate bar of delicious at your next get together, or you just want to have even more amazing chocolate dairy free desserts, we recommend you trying out some of these delicious non-dairy desserts:
- Vegan Brownies
- No Bake Vegan Chocolate Fudge
- Vegan Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Vegan Chocolate Mug Cake
- No Bake Vegan Smores Bars with Dark Chocolate Mousse
- Vegan Chocolate Cookies and Cream Milkshake
- Easy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
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The Best Vegan Red Velvet Cake
For the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350F and prep two 9″ cake pans with nonstick spray or vegan butter and parchment paper.
- Combine dairy free milk, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract to make vegan buttermilk. Set aside.
- Use a medium bowl and hand whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together dairy free butter and vegan sugar with a mixer until smooth (about 2-3 minutes). Add applesauce and food coloring (or beet powder) then beat again to combine.
- Then add vegan buttermilk (vinegar, vanilla and dairy free milk mixture). Mix with a spatula until just combined.
- Add your flour mixture into the wet mixture and whisk JUST until combined.
- Evenly split up the cake batter into the prepared pans and bake them together for about 30-35 minutes (start checking at 30 minutes) or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes in the pans, then remove and let cool to room temp before frosting.
For the Frosting
- In a large bowl cream together vegan cream cheese and vegan butter.
- Add salt and vanilla and beat again until combined. Then, add powdered sugar gradually until completely combined.
- Now check the consistency of the frosting. If it’s too dry, add a tablespoon at a time more dairy free milk until it reaches your desired consistency. If it’s too wet and does not a shape, add a tablespoon more powered sugar at a time until it reaches the right consistency to hold its shape.
- Frosting cake once cooled.
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