red velvet cake

I like to make red velvet cake for every occasion under the sun. I think you should start making it, too. What do you say? This recipe makes a double layer cake for you to share with your closest friends. Or you can do what I did and eat half of it with your fingers while watching a full season of House. To each his own…

Vegan Red Velvet Cake

recipe adapted from Bakerella

Cake ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups vegan refined sugar*
  • 1 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2/3 cups oil
  • 2 cups nondairy milk
  • 1 tbsp distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • red food coloring (see directions)

Frosting ingredients:

  • 8 oz. vegan cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup earth balance at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 cups vegan confectioners’ sugar*

*Click here to see my post about vegan sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil and flour two 9 x 9 baking pans.

For the cake:

Combine the flour, refined sugar, cocoa, salt and baking soda into a bowl and whisk together.

Next, whisk together the oil, milk, white vinegar and vanilla. You can use any dairy-free milk that you like.

This time, I used vanilla soy milk.

Now it’s time to add the red food coloring. There are recipes out there that use beets to naturally color the cake, but I used Ateco Super Red gel.

This is a highly concentrated gel and you’ll only need a couple of drops if you’re using it. If you’re using a liquid, you’ll need to use more. Just make sure that the kind you buy doesn’t include cochineal/carmine, which is a red dye taken from beetles. You’ll want your wet ingredients to be a bright red color at this point.

When your cake is baked, the color will be a much deeper, darker red. Trust me on this one.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients into one bowl and mix on a low-medium setting for two minutes. Pour the batter evenly into the two pans and then drop/bang the pans on a counter or table a couple of times to burst any air bubbles that you see. Don’t go nuts here, a few air bubbles are okay.

Bake the cake for 30-40 minutes. Ovens vary so once you hit that 30 minute mark, check the cake every couple of minutes by inserting and removing a toothpick until it comes out dry. (I’ve been known to stab my cakes with forks, knives or whatever else I have lying around if I know I’m going to cover the holes with frosting later on).

Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool on a wire rack.

While they’re cooling, let’s make some frosting!

Do you have Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese in your life?

Oh man, this stuff is gooooood.

This frosting is super easy. Combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix on low-medium for 1 minute.

Go ahead, eat a couple of spoonfuls.

Once your cakes cool, remove them from their pans and frost away!


Did you know that red velvet cake has zero calories in it? It’s true. Don’t question me. Just go with it.

32 thoughts on “red velvet cake

  1. Wow! This cake looks so light and fluffy! I didn’t know you could do that without eggs. I’m so making this today for my friend who can’t eat dairy :-) Love your blog, by the way!

  2. I made this last night for my Valentine… he loved it! Super easy and delicious, many thanks for sharing your recipe. I can tell I’ll be using this frosting on many things other than just this cake :)

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  5. I have tried this recipe twice now and it comes out flat and ‘greasy’…not light and ‘fluffy’! I am wondering… is there REALLY 1 1/2 cups of OIL in this??? That seems like an awful lot.
    Am going to try another recipe with less oil.

    • Hey Robin! I think maybe the problem is that it shouldn’t be a light and fluffy cake. The non-vegan version would have oil and buttermilk, making it a heavy cake. For a lighter cake you can totally reduce the oil. Try 2/3 cup instead. In essence it’s just a chocolate cake dyed red, so you can follow any chocolate cake recipe you like :)

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  7. One word: AMAZING.
    I made this once at a family function last month, and this Thanksgiving my family was BEGGING me to make it again. It went faster than the pumpkin pie! This is the first vegan red velvet cake that has come out correctly for me. One thing I’d like to add. I use 2/3 cup of oil and the cake is perfectly moist and airy. Also, the frosting recipe seems like quite a bit. I cut it in half and it covered the two layers perfectly :)

    • I’ve been thinking about reducing the oil for a while, thanks for letting me know it worked with less. I think I kept the oil measurement from the original recipe I adapted this from, but it doesn’t really need all of it. I changed it to 2/3 cup. Thank you so much! I’m so glad you like it :)

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  9. I just made this recipe and my cake was brown. Not even the slightest hint of red. I used an entire bottle of vegan red food dye (couldn’t find the one you used) and it looks NOTHING like red velvet cake. =\

    • Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear that. Without seeing it, it sounds like the problem is that too much food coloring was used. The batter should be a bright/light red as it will turn darker when baking. So the more food coloring that’s used, the darker it will be when it comes out of the oven.

  10. Just stumbled onto your blog and subscribed – we’re vegetarians but I am now taking us to the next step of veganism. This recipe looks amazing!

    I have one question – is there a non-sugar substitute – agave nectar? – I could use? Thank you!

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  12. Hi Nikki,
    I just found this recipe as I was searching for something to make for my sister-in-law’s birthday on Sunday. We recently moved, and I don’t have any round cake pans yet. Could I use a bundt pan or another alternative? Thanks!

  13. I just made this cake and I’m absolutely positive I followed the recipe to a T, but upon tasting the baked cake it was horrible, like a weird mixture of flour, oil, & sugar. it had absolutely no chocolate flavor to it at all. are you certain you’re only supposed to add 1 tbsp of cocoa powder? I’m currently off to the store to buy a boxed vegan chocolate cake since I have 90 minutes to have a cake ready…

    • Hi Sydney – I’m so sorry to hear this. I’m not sure what could have gone wrong. I did a quick search of vegan and non-vegan red velvet recipes, and it seems that everyone’s amount of cocoa differs from as low as 1 teaspoon up to 1/4 cup. I think it must be a matter of personal preference. Bakerella’s version was my favorite before I went vegan and is the recipe that this one is based off of. I’m sorry that it didn’t work out for you.

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