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Dairy Free Vanilla Cake

Vanilla Cake. The ultimate in classic cake flavours. And dare I say, one of the trickiest cake flavours to nail down too. This vanilla cake is light, fluffy, has a beautiful soft crumb, and is completely 100% dairy-free. And guess what, I bet you wouldn’t even be able to tell it was dairy-free because it’s out-of-this-world delicious.

Note: This post contains affiliate links to which I earn a small commission, but don’t worry there’s no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting CAKED by Katie.

A slice of vanilla cake with a fork full of cake on the plate

What Dairy-Free Vanilla Cake Means To Me

A pale yellow crumb, warm notes of sweet vanilla, and soft cloud-like texture, this vanilla cake will rival any box mix. Yes, it’s a few more steps, but sometimes a cake made from scratch is worth that extra effort. So let’s start creaming this classic dairy-free vanilla cake up.

First up, to create a soft and tender crumb that vanilla cakes are known for, we are going to reverse cream the butter and dry ingredients. I used this technique in my Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake and fell in hard love. It’s fluffy, full of flavour, and has a melt-in-your-mouth crumb.

A view of the top of a vanilla cake with golden oreos and buttercream swirls

Reverse Creaming A Cake

Traditionally, most vanilla cake recipes start by creaming the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. In reverse creaming, the dry ingredients with the sugar are whisked together to create air and break down any of the larger sugar crystals. The next step to reverse creaming is adding the butter bit by bit which coats the flour and helps inhibit gluten formation. Less gluten means a softer spring-like crumb.

After the butter and dry ingredients have been creamed together and have formed a sand-like texture, the wet ingredients get added in two separate stages. First, goes in the milk and oil. Next, the milk, eggs, and of course, the vanilla. This is a vanilla cake after all!

A cake slice standing on a white plate with a buttercream swirl on the top and a golden oreo

Real Vanilla Extract

A quick note about vanilla extract. There are a lot of vanilla extracts and emulsions. I will forever until the day I die, strongly urge you to go the extra mile, spend the extra dollar, and get the real pure vanilla extract. Yes, it’s a bit pricier than artificial extract. But I pinky promise it’s worth it!

But back to the cake, your vanilla cake batter should now be thicky, creamy, glossy, and so totally delicious. I personally find that the reverse creaming method creates gorgeous volume within the batter itself. Divide the batter into the cake pans, make sure you generously spray and parchment line them for no-fuss removal, and bake them for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Vanilla cake layers that are fluffy perfection!

A white vanilla cake with white frosting and a slice cut out of it.

Whipped Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

I’m not going to lie, everything within my bold flavour loving heart told me to pair these delectable vanilla cake layers with a fun and funky buttercream. It took some serious restraint on my part to whip up a delicious dairy-free vanilla buttercream and then just leave it. But you know what, dang, it was so darn good!

A cake top with white vanilla buttercream swirls and a golden oreo between each swirl

Buttercream Success Secret

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the key to smooth and dreamy whipped buttercream frosting is the very first step: creaming the dairy-free butter. Don’t skip this. Don’t skimp on it either. With the flat beater (paddle) attachment, crank that stand mixer up to high and let it beat for at least 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl every so often to make sure all the little butter bits are getting mixed but let that baby go.

In the winter, being way up in Northern Canada, I let mine beat for 10 minutes. In the summer, I can sometimes get away with only 5 minutes. The key to knowing when the butter is ready is when the color has lightened to a very pale yellow, almost white, and the volume has doubled. This mixture, at first glance, should look like it’s already buttercream frosting. Once that stage has been achieved you can add in the remaining ingredients. And again, let that baby beat!

A white vanilla cake with a slice cut out and the cake slice on a white plate sitting beside it

Final Cake Design

My cake style is fairly simple with a rustic aesthetic. My first and most important part about a cake is that it tastes superb. The second important part is that it looks nice. They do say we eat first with our eyes. Now I would never sacrifice flavor for a pretty cake but there’s no harm in gussying up a vanilla cake. To add a bit of extra detail and interest, I used my offset spatula to create horizontal lines around the cake and then three diagonal lines across the font. Super easy. Super effective. And gives that little bit of polished appeal to this banging vanilla cake.

And there you have it. Soft, fluffy, and totally dairy-free vanilla cake layers with a whipped dairy-free vanilla buttercream frosting that tastes like classic cake heaven. Make sure you snap a picture and send it to me on Instagram. I’m @cakedbykatie or leave a review here on this recipe and tell me your vanilla cake success story! I can’t wait to hear it!

You can check out my other vanilla cake recipe here with my Strawberry Vanilla cake recipe. It uses the traditional creaming method.

A slice of white vanilla cake standing up on a white plate

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A white vanilla cake with diagonal stripes in the frosting.

Dairy Free Vanilla Cake

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.9 from 42 reviews

  • Author: Katie Stymiest
  • Total Time: 2 hrs 3 Min
  • Yield: 10 Slices 1x


The fluffiest and most delicious dairy-free vanilla cake recipe. Four soft vanilla cake layers covered in a whipped vanilla buttercream frosting. This classic vanilla cake recipe is a must-bake.



Dairy-Free Vanilla Cake

  • ¾ cup (177ml) dairy-free milk, divided & room temperature
  • ¼ cup (59ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cups (206g) cake flour, sifted
  • 1 ½ (300g) cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
  • ⅔ cup (151g) dairy-free salted butter, room temperature

Dairy-Free Vanilla Buttercream

  • 2 cups (454g) dairy-free salted butter, room temperature
  • 6 cups (720g) icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Cake Decor

  • Golden Oreos


Dairy-Free Vanilla Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray and parchment line four 6-inch round cake pans.
  2. In a small mixing bowl combine ¼ cup of milk and the vegetable oil. Set aside.
  3. In the other small mixing bowl gently whisk together the remaining milk (½ cup), eggs, and vanilla extract. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer and with the flat beater attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and give it a quick mix together for approximately 1 minute.
  5. Add in the butter, in small pieces, to the dry ingredients and mix on low until it looks like coarse sand.
  6. Slowly pour in the milk and oil mixture and mix on medium for 2 minutes.
  7. Slowly pour the milk, egg, and extract mixture in and mix on medium for another 2 minutes. Scrap the sides of the bowl when necessary.
  8. Divide the cake batter into the four prepared cake pans and bake for approximately 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  9. Allow the cake layers to cool for 10 minutes and then invert them on a cooling rack to fully cool.

Dairy-Free Vanilla Buttercream

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment cream the butter on high speed until light and fluffy. Approximately 10 minutes.

  2. Add the icing sugar, vanilla extract, and salt and mix on low until combined.

  3. Turn the mixer up to high and let mix for 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl when necessary.

Cake Assembly

  1. Level each fully cooled vanilla cake layer with a cake leveler or knife.

  2. Place one leveled layer of vanilla cake on a cake board, plate, and/or cake turntable and top with approximately 1 ½ cups of dairy-free vanilla buttercream.

  3. Repeat with the remaining layers and apply a thin coat of buttercream all over the cake. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

  4. Cover the cake with another layer of buttercream and smooth the sides with a cake smoother.

  5. Decorate the cake as you please. I used the tip of my offset spatula to create horizontal lines around the cake and three diagonal lines on the front. With a Wilton 1m piping tip, I piped swirls around the top border and placed a Golden Oreo between each swirl. Enjoy!

  • Prep Time: 1 Hr 45 Min
  • Cook Time: 18 Min
  • Category: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

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  1. Is there a specific brand of dairy free butter you use? I’m so excited to try this recipe because I think you’re right that vanilla cake is one of the hardest to make for some reason. I have a recipe I love, but it’s not dairy-free and as I’m lactose intolerant, I’m eager to try yours.

    1. I love using Becel salted plant-based brick. I think it has the most “butter” taste and texture. I hope you love the cake as much as we did!

        1. Hi Kip, I definitely recommend popping it in the fridge until you’re ready to enjoy it! Thanks for baking it up!

          1. I refrigerated it over night and it was hard as a rock when we tried to eat it. Delicious, but unbelievably hard. I think because I used coconut oil, which does harden when it’s cold.

          2. Yes, coconut oil would absolutely do that to any baked good when refrigerated. I definitely wouldn’t recommend subbing it for any of my recipes, to be honest, especially for a light fluffy cake.

        2. Can this recipe work in a 9×13 pyrex pan or do I need smaller or larger pans? I’m baking with my young children and 3 layers is too trickey I think for kids.

        3. I chose this cake as my first ever tiered cake because of the simplicity of it and I loved it! So delicious! It made me excited to try more flavors!

          1. I’m going to try this for a birthday party. How long would the bake time be for 3 9-inch pans?

          2. Time would slightly increase. Check for golden edges that pull away from the pans, the center should bring back to a gentle pat, and a toothpick should come out clean.

          1. I used this recipe just yesterday to make cupcakes. They were absolutely fantastic – so soft, fluffy and not dry at all. The reverse creaming concept was new to me, but I’m an absolute convert now for dairy free recipes. Thank you for sharing this recipe!!

        1. Hi!
          What dairy free milk to you recommend? I’m going to make cupcakes for my daughter’s birthday party this weekend and she cannot have dairy. Thanks in advance!

          1. It will work with any type of dairy-free milk you have. I personally use almond milk as that’s what’s in my fridge. Happy early birthday to your daughter!

      1. Is it possible to substitute plant based butter for Becel vegan margarine? Do you think it would ruin the recipe?

        1. Hi Sydney, it will depend on the form. Is it the brick-style vegan margarine? If so, yes. If it’s the tub version that soft/spreadable then no.

    2. Hello
      I have made this recipe twice and love it ! The one The exact same and another with dairy products and both turned out amazing! The icing is nice and works so well!

      I was wondering if you ever tried it with cocao to make a chocolate butter cream and if so how much?


      1. I’m so happy to hear you’ve enjoyed this recipe Kim. I have a chocolate buttercream recipe here using cocoa powder.

    3. I made this recipe but with an egg substitute. It was just crumbles. The centers collapsed. They smelled good but what did I do wrong?

      1. It’s not created to be made with an egg substitute. I’m sorry! If you need an egg-free recipe I suggest trying my chocolate cake or my strawberry oreo cake. Both of those are egg free.

    4. The cake came out SO delicious, I only wish there was more left, since it was such a hit! I look forward to trying more of your recipes! Thank you, Katie

          1. Yes, you can. Note that all-purpose flour will create a denser crumb than regular cake flour.

  2. I made this cake today with the buttercream and it was amazing! It was fluffy and had the perfect vanilla flavour. The layers baked nice and flat which is an added bonus! I would recommend this recipe to anyone looking for a fantastic from scratch vanilla cake recipe. I will be using this recipe from now on!

    1. I have been working on this vanilla recipe for a while and I can’t tell you how excited I am that you not only made it but loved it. Thank you so much for sharing!

    2. I made this cake for my friends sons first birthday. They wanted a fruity twist to it so I added a little bit of blueberry jam in between the layers of cake and it was delicious!

    3. This is easily the tastiest dairy-free vanilla cake recipe I’ve ever made. The instructions are clear and easy to follow, and the result is a fluffy, rich, delicious cake. I’m so pleased with the result, and can’t wait to make it over and over again!

    4. I made this today and jeez is it yummy!
      But when I turned my cake out it fell apart.
      It was still super moist inside so it was not over cooked. Is it possible I didn’t cook it long enough or that it was too warm when I turned it out?

      1. They were probably a bit too warm when you inverted them. Make sure the pans are generously sprayed with non-stick spray and prepared with a piece of parchment paper. Before flipping the cakes, run a butter knife around the edges to release any baked-on caramelized spots.

  3. This cake is SO delicious! Definitely the best vanilla cake I’ve ever made! The buttercream was so light and fluffy. I made 2 changes to the recipe, mine wasn’t dairy free and I used 3 6″ pans instead of 4. Other than that everything was exactly as written. Thank you for a wonderful recipe!

    1. I love hearing that Tracy! Thank you so very much for taking the time to bake this cake and sharing it.

    2. Hi! Do you have a suggestion on how to make this recipe without the eggs to make it vegan? Thanks so much!

  4. Hi there!! Love your recipes! Any suggestions on making this a vegan recipe? Any good substitutes for eggs?

    1. Hi Michelle, I haven’t tested this recipe without eggs so I cannot guarantee the results but I would start with subbing in aquafaba in place of the eggs. If you try it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

      1. Just a question about the cake flour. Had anyone tried the ap flour-cornstarch method? I don’t have any cake flour. Sometimes I can find it, but sometimes I can’t. Thanks in advance!

        1. Hi Danielle, I’ve tried it and it will totally work in a pinch. That said, I personally find that it makes a slightly denser cake texture than cake flour.

    2. Any suggestions for turning this into a 3-layer 9 inch cake? Should I double the recipe?
      Thank you!

      1. Good question Natalie. Yes, I think I would double it. The bake time will increase for a 9 inch round.

    3. Do you use self-raising cake and pastry flour? If so, do you still add the baking powder and salt as per the recipe?

      1. Hi Sarah! No, I do not use self-raising flour. I haven’t tested it with self-raising cake flour either so I, unfortunately, don’t have an answer for you. I’m sorry!

      1. Okay, so I donot have a stand mixer. Can i use a hand mixer and if so, how?
        Also, what kind of plant milk should i use? I cannot use soy or coconut. Will almond milk, rice milk or cashew milk work?
        Lastly, can i use canola oil instead of vegetable oil?

        1. Yes to that all! Hand-mixer will work but make sure it’s on high and go for an extra minute with each liquid addition. Use any kind of milk you want and canola is great!

    1. I’ve finally found a vanilla cake recipe I love! So light, fluffy and the edges almost tasted carmelized. It was absolutely delicious. I baked this in a 9×13 pan for a quick birthday cake. I used soy milk and presidents choice non dairy butter. So so good, I can’t stop going back for more! Thanks for this amazing recipe!

      1. I am so excited to hear this Rachelle. Those carmelized edges are my favorite part! So yummy. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Hi!
    Is there any chance for a substitute for the vegan butter? Like coconut oil? I can’t get good vegan butter where I am but really want to make your cake for my boyfriend’s birthday!

        1. Hi Adele, you could totally use sunflower oil in place of vegetable oil. The coconut oil would have to be fractionated so that it stays in liquid form.

  6. Loved how easy this recipe was to follow!
    The cake layers turned out heavenly! It‘ll be my new go-to recipe for delicously moist and fluffly vanilla cake ❤️

    1. Katie…… this recipe is absolutely amazing. I’m always skeptical of dairy free options but this is so so delicious. Light, fluffy… I used coconut milk and bakers margarine in the cake. I made a x2 batch off the bat and put it in a 9×13 pan. Fit perfectly. Baked at 335 but don’t ask me for how long as I never check. Keep doing what you do, Katie. This is perfection!!

      1. Well my word Sarah that is the kindest thing anyone has said to me in a while. Thank you so much for baking this recipe and sharing it with me. Truly ❤️

    1. Hi Kari, I haven’t tried it myself but I do know someone who did successfully. She added an extra egg yolk. If you try, I’d love to hear how it goes.

  7. We are a dairy free family and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate this recipe. I make this into cupcakes and freeze them for when my kids go to parties. That way they never feel left out. Thank you so much for sharing!

        1. This recipe is delicious. A friend of mine made it and I can’t wait to try. We have a nut allergy in our house so can you suggest a dairy free milk without nuts?

          1. Any dairy-free nut-free milk would work. I’d personally go with either oat or soy.

    1. No, I do not recommend doing that. It will throw off the wet/dry ingredient proportions. You can use chocolate milk like I did in this Mini Egg Cake recipe for a light milk chocolate cake or you can try my Chocolate Berry Cake recipe for a rich moist chocolate cake.

    1. Yes, you totally can. Add them in (frozen or fresh) once you’ve fully prepared the batter. Gently stir them in with a spatula.

        1. Yes, they absolutely can. Give them a good wrap with plastic wrap and thaw slowly when you’re ready to use.

  8. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this cake recipe! My son was recently diagnosed with a dairy allergy and this is the first cake I’ve attempted. No one would even guess it is dairy-free.

    1. That literally makes my heart burst. I wish you well on this dairy-free journey and that your son adjusts quickly.

  9. This is now known as the “birthday party” cake in my house. I’ve made it for every single family birthday this past year.

  10. I cannot wait to try this recipe. I need to make it as a rectangle slab cake for someone though. Would you suggest I triple the recipe for it to work in a 9x13inch tin (to feed about 30 adults and 20 children)?

      1. Hi Katie,
        Thank you for responding. I was thinking just one layer to be iced and decorated but I guess it depends on how tall the cake is when baked as to whether I slice it in half and ice between layers. So, two layers at most if it’s thick. ?

  11. Will definitely try this vanilla cake of yours…. Love each and every recipe of yours… A request…Can u plz provide the measurements in grams instead of cup measurement….

  12. My sister in law is dairy and soy free. This recipe was absolutely amazing. Thank you so much for sharing. The cake turned out perfect, it’s so light and moist.

    1. I personally use unsweetened almond milk as that’s what I always have in the fridge. But any dairy-free milk will work.

    1. Yes, you absolutely can. Make sure it’s not too hot though. Or you could use olive oil, refined coconut oil, grapeseed oil, etc.

      1. Hi, does this cake freeze and defrost well? If so, do you have any tips? I want to make it ahead of time for my baby’s first birthday ?

        1. It sure does Katelyn! You can freeze the layers and thaw the day of or you can make the entire cake and freeze it. I recommend thawing slowly overnight in the fridge.

          1. Thankyou! Made the cake today and tasted an offcut and it is absolutely delicious! The batter was so nice and glossy too

          2. Absolutely delicious recipe! Froze the cake in layers and defrosted a couple of days before my sons birthday and it turned out great! Wouldn’t even know it was frozen. Everyone commented on how nice it was.

    1. That’s so frustrating, isn’t it?! Let’s troubleshoot. Sinking is most often caused by underbaking. Ovens can vary greatly in temperature so look for other signs of doneness besides just the time. Edges should be golden brown and pulled away from the pan. Another culprit can be old baking powder or incorrectly measured ingredients. Another tip would be to make sure you keep the oven door closed for the duration of the bake. Any opening or closing of the door changes the temperature and can cause the batter to deflate. I hope this helps!

  13. What a great recipe! My 6″ cakes sunk a little in the middle. Any suggestions? Perhaps all my ingredients were not at room temp enough?

    1. Hi Jenny! Sunken cakes are generally first and foremost caused by under-baking. Check for signs of doneness like golden brown edges that pull away from the cake pan. Make sure your baking powder is fresh and that the flour is measured correctly. I hope that helps!

    2. I haven’t made this yet but plan to this week. I only have 1 six inch cake round can i use one 9 and one 6?

      1. Yes, you can do that. The nine-inch pan will require a much longer bake time. You could use 2 nine inch pans instead as well.

          1. It will take longer to bake as there will be more batter in each pan. You’re looking for golden edges that pull away from the pan and a toothpick inserted in the middle will come out clean.

  14. Sooooo good! This cake was the star of the show at my daughters first birthday. Great recipe and the icing is to die for!

    1. It brings me so much joy that you made this cake for such a special occasion. Happy birthday to your little girl.

  15. Hi! I tried this recipe and it tasted amazing, in the pic your layers look really tall, but my cakes came out really short and flat like i didn’t have enough batter or something. I was wondering on what scale did you make the batter? 1x,2x, or 3x?? I only did 1x on the batter recipe and made it in three 6in. springform pans. Will more batter in the pans make them taller?

    1. Hi Joy. Two thoughts popped into my head. First, because the cake is shown as four layers, it simply just appears taller. The layers in real life are approximately 1 inch high. The second thought is that your leveling agents were a tad bit stale and therefore the cake layers did not properly rise. I will always bake and show the cake as 1x the recipe. I hope this helps you troubleshoot a bit.

  16. I am giving it 5 Stars because the texture and flavor is amazing. Like some others; mine sunk in the middle and did not rise very much. I need to get this right for a customer who cannot buy a Birthday Cake locally. I am going to try it again, and again, using the tips you provide here.

    You say to not open the door until the cake is completely done. My oven has hot spots and I need to move the pans around to prevent overcooking. I do this often without a problem. Would it work to just bake two layers at a time? Would I need to give the batter a light remix before baking the second two layers? I have never attempted this before.

    Thanks for a great recipe and great advice.

    1. Hi Nancy, how fresh are your baking powder and baking soda? That’s something I always double-check when troubleshooting. These layers won’t rise a lot, they bake up nice and flat. I’m always hesitant to move/shuffle pans in the oven so baking two at a time might help. I also suggest trying out my go-to gluten-free vanilla cake recipe, it’s a teeny tiny bit different, but when used with regular cake flour and no xanthan gum, should produce a similar if not identical dairy-free vanilla cake.

      1. Thank you for responding. I just finished baking it with the same result. The first thing I checked was the Baking powder and Soda. I bought new! I am not a novice baker. I used Almond Milk. I measured this time rather than using a scale. I did use Country Crock Vegan Butter. I know I baked it long enough. I actually watched it rise beautifully and as it got closer to being done, it fell. I definitely did the room temp thing. The only thing I am questioning is the mixing. I do gradually add the butter and blend. I also gradually add the milk and oils, then the milk, eggs combination. After each I beat 2 minutes in low. I just cannot figure out why a few of us have the problem. The top of the cake has an almost cookie like crust. I am ad baffled as you are. You give us a perfect recipe and we manage to mess it up. LOL.

        1. I’m so frustrated for you! It’s such a defeating feeling. If you want to try it again, I highly suggest going with the gluten-free vanilla cake recipe that I linked above and using regular cake flour.

          1. Thank you Katie, I did try the other recipe and while it came out beautifully; it just is not the same. So I did some research and am going to try it one more time. I am going to tweak the Baking Soda and use 1/4 t instead of 1/8 t. That and the Vanilla is the major difference in the two recipes.

            I want to be sure I am understanding. Once the liquid has been fully added I start the 2 minute time. Is that correct?

            I thank you for being so patient with me. I am not new to baking and am usually successful. I keep thinking there has to be something quirky that I am missing. the two cake recipes are so very similar and yet one comes out perfectly and the other falls. If nothing else I am determined to master this. Thanks again.


          2. I admire your determination. Milk and oil mixture gets added in first and mixed on low for 2 minutes. Then the milk, egg, and vanilla mixture is added in and mixed for another 2 minutes.

    2. Hi! Could please ask if you have this recipe with metric measurements? I much prefer using a scale rather than volume. Thank you!

  17. This was very good but I made the huge mistake of making it and then refrigerating it overnight. It was hard as a rock. Tasty, but hard as a rock. Note to self- don’t ever do that again…….

    1. Oh I’m sorry to hear that. I always allow cakes to come back to room temperature before slicing and enjoying. That should work for you no problem next time Joni.

  18. Hi Katie,

    Just read through all the fantastic feedback and comments on here. Am looking to make this cake for my friends diary free child for his birthday party. Would like to make this as two layers in rectangle tins of around 35cm x 24cm (which I think equates to around a 12″ or 13″ round tin).

    What quantities would I need to make this cake in? Any help is greatly appreciated!

    1. Hi Katy, I have not attempted this recipe in such a large volume but if I were to try I’d double it. Note that bake time will certainly increase.

  19. One of the most delicious vanilla cake recipes I have tried – with or without dairy!!! The first time I made it, I didn’t mix the ingredients in the order Katie recommended, (because I was used to always creaming butter/sugar like in most cake recipes) but it still turned out yummy. However, when I made it exactly according to the recipe, the texture was even better. This is my go-to vanilla cake recipe now, for cupcakes and layer cakes. Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Oh gosh Robyn, that literally makes my entire heart smile. I am thrilled to hear it’s your go-to now!

  20. This is totally my go-to cake now!! I can’t have dairy and a lot of dairy free cakes are very dense – my family didn’t even know it was dairy free! It was so light and fluffy and tasted better than ANY cake I have made. I used coconut oil instead of the shortening as that is all I had on hand and SOOOO GOOD!!!! Thank you for posting this and can’t wait to make more of your recipes!

  21. I made this cake about a month ago to test out for sons first birthday in June. It was SO GOOD!!!!!! I used almond extract in the cake, instead Of vanilla, and half almond half vanilla in the frosting. And that frosting??? So light and fluffy!!! I’m making again this weekend for Easter. Can I make the cake tomorrow, refrigerate it, and frost it on Sunday?

    1. I am so thrilled to hear that Erin. And yes, you totally can. Wrap the cake layers in plastic wrap and put them in the fridge until you’re ready to use them.

  22. I’m trialing some dairy free recipes for my sister’s wedding this fall. I had trouble with it sinking but I did use the pan insulating rings to help with doming, not knowing these layers bake flat lol This cake is delicious and soft but I’m worried it’ll collapse if I try to tier it. Would standard creaming provide a more firm/stable texture?

    1. Hi Ariana, sinking is generally caused by not creaming the batter long enough or well enough. Are you using a stand mixer or a handheld? Make sure the speed is at medium to medium-high and let each liquid addition cream for at least two minutes.

      1. I was using a kitchenaid stand mixer on speed 6 for creaming, I set a timer for each stage. I’ll try again without the pan wraps.

  23. Hey! I made this cake and it turned out really good! I switched some things up though. I used bobs red mill gluten-free all purpose flour. I also ran out of granulated sugar so 1/4 cup was granulated coconut brown sugar. I also cooked it in a 9 by 11 pan as I don’t own cake Pans. So a little different but amazing product we are dairy free not necessarily GF but it’s what I had. Timewise In oven…have no idea. Checked every so often after the initial 20 min. Great product! Will use again

  24. I am going to make this cake today but using 2 9inch tins, would you keep the recipe the same? Our little girl was two yesterday and will be first attempt at a dairy free cake for her party tomorrow 😀 x

  25. Hi Katie,
    So happy I can upon your recipes! Wondering if I need to double or triple the recipe if using three 9 inch cake pans?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Rachel, it depends on how high you want the cake layers to be. I personally would 1.5x the recipe, max 2x it.

  26. Hi Katie! I’d like to make this cake for a friend’s wedding, but she wants a light lemon flavor. What would you suggest? I was thinking adding some lemon extract and lemon peel?

    1. Hi Kate, I do have a lemon cake recipe here if you are interested. But yes, you could also use lemon extract and some zest (cream it with the butter) for this recipe.

  27. Hiya 🙂 This recipe looks great, best I’ve find by far! Do you think it is achievable with a hand held whisker? I also only have four 8inch tins, how much do you think I should increase the baking time by? Thanks in advance

        1. Yes, it will work. I would mix it on high for a minute longer than what the recipe calls for.

  28. I was looking for a dairy free buttercream frosting recipe and came upon this one. I liked the 1-1 dairy free butter to shortening ratio because I needed a recipe that would stand up to warm weather and decorative piping. Since my butter contained salt already, I didn’t add more. That was the only modification. At first I was worried that the amount of sugar in this recipe wouldn’t make it sweet enough, but it was perfect! I paired this with Katie’s chocolate cake recipe and it was superb!! I’ll be trying this vanilla cake recipe the next time I need to have a dairy free option. Katie knows her ingredients and it’s clear she’s put a lot of thought into her recipes. LOVE IT!

    1. Aw Amy, that is so very kind of you to say. That’s precisely why I use shortening in some of my frosting recipes. It holds up so much better in warm weather.

  29. Love the outcome of the cake! It’s so moist and flavourful! Brought this to the office and everyone love it! This is definitely going to be my dairy free cake to make if I ever want to make one! Thank you for making this recipe so easy! Can’t wait to be making more!

        1. Sinking layers are generally caused first and foremost by under beating. Make sure you are creaming the cake batter for 2 minutes each time at medium speed (higher if need be.) The second reason is under-baking.

  30. Can I use regular flour? I need it bake in 2 8inch round pans. Recommendations? Also I need to mske a half sheet cake. How many times should I make this recipe to fit? Bake time?

    1. Yes, you can use regular flour but note that the layers won’t be as fluffy. Yes, you can bake it in 2 8-inch round cake pans and the baking time will increase a bit. I would do 1.5x the recipe for a half-sheet cake.

  31. I used this for a wedding cake and it was perfect! I added fresh blueberries baked in and it was so delicious! During the bride and groom’s cake cutting they both went back in for a second bite! And one of the brothers made a toast to how good the cake was, not the couple, just the cake! Haha

  32. Wish I could give more than 5 stars ? ????????????. This is the most amazing dairy free cake EVER!!! Soo light and fluffy and the taste was ? ?????. Everyone had seconds and it was finished within minutes of cutting it up. Only downside ? is I never got a second slice. Thanks so soo much for this recipe Katie, I will definitely be making it again and again and again ???

  33. Dear Katie,

    I would like to make this cake for my son’s birthday. Is it sturdy enough to withstand a ganache filling (and coating) and fondant icing decoration?

    1. I haven’t tried it with a ganache filling and coating but in theory, the ganache should set and hold the weight of fondant so yes. I’d love to hear back if you give it a go.

  34. I made this cake in 2 9″ pans…it did not rise at all….looked like 2 giant pancakes.
    I checked my baking powder and soda so that was not the problem. Any ideas why this happened?

    1. There are a few different culprits that could be responsible for this. Oven temperature. Too hot or too cold will cause layers to not rise. Undercreaming the batter during the two liquid additions will also cause layers to not rise. That said, these cake layers will not rise like say a cake mix will.

  35. Hi! I am looking to make this using two 8″ or 9″ rounds for my daughter’s birthday. Could you recommend a bake time for these sizes instead of the 6″? Thank you!!

    1. I would check the layers around the 20-minute mark. Once the edges are pulling away from the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, you’ll know they are baked.

  36. Hi Katie!
    I was just wondering if I half this recipe will it still work?

    Is it possible to use a manual whisk or electric hand mixer instead?

    I cannot wait to try this recipe as my daughter and I both seem to not do well with dairy.

    1. Yes, this will still work if you half it. An electric mixer will work but will require a little bit longer of mixing time.

    1. Yes, it will work in either two 8-inch or 9-inch cake pans. Baking time will increase. Look for when the edges start to pull away from the cake pans, the top bounces back, and a toothpick comes out clean.

  37. Hi Katie, this recipe looks great! I want to bake it for my daughter’s baby shower but I need to do it at least 3 days ahead- will it freeze we’ll and if so at what point should I freeze it? Thanks ?

    1. Yes, you can absolutely freeze these cake layers. Once they are fully cooled, wrap them in plastic wrap and pop them in the freezer.

  38. Amazing recipe! I needed a soy free, dairy free recipe that all of my family would eat and this delivered! I followed the recipe exactly using soy free earth balance brand butter and it turned out perfectly. Thank you ?

  39. The cake is absolutely delicious and so is the buttercream. I do have a question though. I also made some cupcakes and a lot of them had big holes in them. What did I do wrong?

    1. There are a few culprits for that. First is overmixing the batter and incorporating too much air and the next could be an improper measurement of the leavening agent.

  40. I needed to make a cake dairy-free for my brother in law’s girlfriend who has allergies. Thank you for the recipe. It’s the best cake I have EVER made. I used Swan’s Down cake flour, Silk vanilla almond milk (unsweet), and Miyoko’s vegan cultured butter. The technique must be everything, because I’m not new to baking cakes at home from scratch, and I’ve never had as much success as I had with this. I did not make the buttercream from the recipe, though. I made ermine frosting instead. 9 inch cake pans baked for 22 minutes. Absolutely perfect.

  41. I made this cake for my sister who doesn’t eat dairy and it was so soft and light and airy! I’m planning on making it again but this time with dairy. Do you think the same recipe and quantities would work with dairy products?

    Thanks for this recipe! YUM YUM

  42. Followed this recipe to a T. It was an absolute fail. My cakes are complely sunken in, they weren’t anywhere near done at the times this recipe called for and I do have a very good oven with accurate temperatures. I bake 2-3 cakes a week as I am preparing to open a bakery… however I needed to follow a recipe for a dairy free cake as this is not my area I’m comfortable with. I’m very discouraged and sad by my results. If anyone knows what may have happened, please let me know! I used proper ingredients, accurate ingredient temperatures, etc.

    1. I am sorry to hear about your difficulty. Sunken cakes are generally caused due to two possible reasons. First, undertaking. Second, under-creaming. Turn your mixer up to high and allow to cream after both liquid additions for the full 2 minutes each time.

  43. I’m making a wedding cake for two colleagues who are getting married next week so I made 4 different dairy-free vanilla cakes over Easter and enlisted friends and family as taste-testers. This recipe won hands down! Now my challenge is making it into 10” round layers that won’t sink in the middle. I’ve just baked one with a heat core in the middle to help cook evenly, and all was looking good until I opened the oven door to see if it was done and it fell. I think the layer is still tall enough that I can trim if needed, but I was so bummed to see it sink. Maybe I’ll just add a layer of fruit purée/filling in the well and make it look intentional ?

    1. If you are doubling the recipe or more, crank up your mixer to high while creaming together the two liquid additions. I’m so happy to hear it won the taste test!

  44. I plan on trying the cake recipe this weekend, however I need dairy free chocolate buttercream icing. Do you happen to have a recipe?

  45. i bake from scratch whenever possible, and this definitely did not disappoint!!! the steps are very doable and i understood how to bake this unlike a lot of other recipes! i enjoyed making this, and my mother loved the cake i made for her! thank you for uploading this, my mother had a very good birthday cake because of you!

  46. This is more of a question than comment. I am a die hard Cake Bible (Rose Levy Berenbaum) enthusiast and I’m familiar with the method of preparation. I’m using this recipe as a wedding cake recipe and I doubled it and I tried to do in in two pans. One pan is 3 inches deep and the other in 1 1/2 inches. They both took longer to bake which I only expected of the deeper pan. I have an electric oven. The cake in the deeper pan dipped in the middle and the crumb was not soft and the cake was dense. I used a coconut/almond “milk” and canola oil. Does non dairy tend to be heavier? Any advice would be so appreciated! Thank you

    1. Hi Teri. My guess would be there was simply too much batter in the pans. I would use the recipe as is for two 9-inch round cake pans. Make sure you turn your mixer up to high after each of the two liquid additions which will help with the sinking and create a more even fat distribution.

  47. What did I do wrong here? I split between three 4” pans and the rest in a 9×13. It didn’t even bake. It just boiled. Help!

    1. Hi Ashley, without seeing the end result my guess would be there wasn’t enough batter in the cake pans. How deep are the 4-inch pans you are using?

  48. Wow wow wow!!!!
    This cake was AMAZING!!! My first dairy free cake and I was nervous but it turned out perfect!!!! Thank you Katie for these beautiful recipes!!!

  49. Hi! I want to use this recipe but then dye the layers for a rainbow cake. Do you think it will hold? Maybe using AP flour the make the crumb denser with the dye. Also, what non dairy milk to you recommend? And, are earth baking sticks much worse than bencel brick? Thanks!

    1. I haven’t personally dyed this cake recipe before so I’m not sure about the results. I think as long as you use a gel food color thats highly saturated so you don’t need to use a lot it will be just fine. Earth balance sticks will work as well.

  50. This cake and the frosting are incredible. So moist and delicious. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which to me is the mark of a great cake. Thank you!

    I used all-purpose flour and refrigerated the batter for 4-5 days, then baked it in a 10″ cake pan. It came out fairly dense, moist and as mentioned above, delicious.

    1. Cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? You are my cake soulmate! 😉 I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed this one Dan.

  51. I’m confused…how is this dairy free when it calls for butter and milk??
    Need a dairy free cake for a friend with milk allergy…

    1. Hi Anne, if you scroll to the recipe card you’ll see that it uses both dairy-free milk and butter. I would appreciate it if you removed the two star rating. Thank you.

  52. Hi;
    I have a couple of questions. First, can I use all purpose flour. Second, I only have 3 – 6 inch pans. If using only three do you know how much batter I would put in each one and how long I would need to bake it.

    1. Yes, you definitely can. The texture will be slightly more dense. Use the regular recipe and divide it equally in the three pans. Note that the baking time will slightly increase.

  53. Hello! I am excited to make this for a baby shower. What dairy free milk do you recommend? There are so many options out there! Thank you!

    1. I personally use unsweetened almond milk as that’s what is always in my fridge. That said, any type of milk will work.

  54. How can I make this soy free? Which oil would you suggest? I’ve read through comments and people are saying it’s soy free but vegetable oil isn’t soy free? Help!

  55. This recipe is PHENOMENAL! I used miyokos plant-based box butter and followed the recipe exactly as written (except I did add jam between the layers with the buttercream!). I made it for myself for Mother’s Day. 🙂

    One notes for others: the bake time was maybe 10 minutes longer than stated for me and my oven runs hot, so I was surprised by that. I got worried because the center was raw at the stated time, but left them in and they pulled away from the edges and finished baking just right. So light and fluffy! AMAZING.

  56. Hi, I am struggling to find lactose free butter that’s not spread in Australian but if I do can I make a half batch as a trial? Thanks

    1. That might work for the cake itself but probably not for the frosting. You could use shortening.

  57. Just made this for a kids birthday cake, made 1.2 x the recipe for 12 cupcakes and thought maybe 2 layer 8in, though ended up with 1 8in, so not as high, all good.
    My question, the batter turned out great, great fluff while baking, took out of the oven and it all sinks… Any recommendations? It tastes amazing but not light and fluffy. I’m in Scotland so some ingredients will differ. But not sure what I’ve done for them to dense?

    1. Hi Joy, when you took it out of the oven was it baked all the way through? Sinking is generally caused by underbaking or undercreaming.

      1. Hi Katie
        It was cooked through as I sliced it to give it a layered feel.
        I’m thinking I’m under creaming… I’m going to set a timer next time.
        Thank you Joy

  58. Hi Katie. I am going to try this recipe as my friend is allergic to dairy fat. I’m planning to make a 9×13 single layer cake (for a Canada Day party) and was wondering if I could cut the frosting amount in half since I don’t have multiple layers. Do you think that would be enough? Thanks! Cathy

    1. Hi Cathy, yes I would definitely cut the frosting by half unless you plan on doing a lot of piped decorations on it.

      1. Piped decorations?? Me??? 😄
        Also wondering how many cupcakes this recipe would make. If I decide to take that route I will need about 2 dozen. Thanks again!

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