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How to bake a vegan birthday cake

Updated on October 6, 2013

Vegan Baking: Tips for Cooking Without Eggs

Having a strict vegan in the family who has a birthday or celebration coming up that traditionally calls for cake? Well, if you’re not familiar with vegan dietary practices, you might not know what vegans do not eat. Even worse, perhaps you have no idea how to replace what they do not eat.

First of all... let’s start with what strict vegans do not eat. They do not eat eggs. They do not drink milk. They don’t eat certain types of sugar. They don’t eat butter. And they don’t eat frosting.

Eggs can be replaced by “EnerG Egg Replacer,” which you can purchase at many grocery stores. The box will explain how much replacer to use per egg.

Cow’s milk can be replaced by organic rice milk, which doesn’t contain any animal byproducts. Rice milk can be bought at your local grocery store, too. If your recipe calls for buttermilk, just put one tablespoon of vinegar in your measuring cup and add soy milk as required.

Many vegans do not consume sugar, either, because it is often whitened by animal bone char. You can avoid sugar that is whitened by bone char by purchasing “unbleached” sugar, sugar in the raw, or beet sugar. There are some cane sugars, too, which were not whitened using bone char, but they hard to distinguish from others, unless you know the exact name brand.

Because strict vegans will not eat food made with butter but your cake recipe calls for butter, you can simply replace it with soy margarine or vegetable shortening. Make sure there is no whey or other dairy product in the soy margarine.

In addition to butter, sugar, milk, and eggs, strict vegans also will not eat dairy frosting. If your recipe calls for frosting, you can look for a similar flavor of “non-dairy” frosting or you can make your own, replacing butter with margarine.

And there you have it: an ingredient replacement key for your vegan cake. Simply follow the key, replace vegan-unfriendly items on your recipe, and your cake will be perfectly fit for even the strictest vegetarian !

Vegan Pirate Ship

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (corn oil works well)
  • 1 cup cold water or chilled brewed coffee
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • Chocolate raspberry glaze (recipe follows)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously oil an 8-inch square and dust with a little sifted cocoa, or line the bottom with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and sugar. In another bowl, combine the oil, water or coffee, and vanilla. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until well- blended and smooth. Add the vinegar and stir briefly. The baking soda will begin to react with the vinegar right away, leaving pale swirls in the batter. Quickly pour the batter into the baking pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry. Transfer to a plate when cool and glaze.

Vanilla Cake


  • 1/2 cup soft soy margarine
  • 2-3/4 cups all-purpose white flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Spray two round 8" x 1-2/3" pans with Pam, or lightly oil and flour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. Mix Egg Replacer and 1/4 cup water and set aside. Mix soy milk and 1/2 cup water, and set aside.

In large bowl of electric mixer, beat soy margarine until it is creamy, about a minute. Gradually add sugar until well creamed. Beat in vanilla. Add mixed dry ingredients and mixed soy milk/water alternately to creamed margarine, sugar, and vanilla, beating after each addition. Begin and end with flour mixture. (Add flour in 4 steps, liquids in three.) Add mixed Ener-G along with the third addition of liquid. Turn evenly into pans.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, or until done (wooden pick inserted into cake comes out clean). Remove from oven and let cool on cake rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and let cool on rack until cold. Frost as desired.

Chocolate Cake


  • 250g/8oz plain flour
  • 50g/2oz cocoa
  • 250g/8oz caster sugar
  • 125g/4oz vegan margarine
  • 300ml/½ pint soya milk
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Preheat the oven to 170°C (340F). Line the baking tin with greaseproof paper. Sieve the flour and cocoa into a mixing bowl, add the sugar and mix together. In a saucepan, melt the margarine and golden syrup and add most of the milk, keeping back about 4 tablespoons' worth. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix the bicarbonate of soda with the remaining milk and stir into the mixture. Place in the oven and bake for 35 minutes.Topping suggestion: chocolate icing (mix icing sugar, cocoa and a small amount of water) and vegan chocolate sprinkles.

Banana Cake


  • 200 g / 7 oz self raising flour
  • 1 heaped tsp baking powder
  • 75 g / 3 oz unrefined organic brown sugar
  • 2 mashed bananas
  • 225 ml / 8fl oz water
  • 85 ml / 3 fl oz sunflower oil


Preheat the oven at gas 4/175°C/350°F and grease a loaf tin. Sieve all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir. Add the mashed banana and stir in. Measure the water into a measuring jug, add the oil and stir. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients a bit at a time and stir thoroughly, making sure the liquid is fully mixed in before adding more. Beat until smooth. Pour mixture into the loaf tin and place in the preheated oven for 1 hour until firm but springy to the touch. Remove from the cake tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Ginger Cake


  • 4½ oz sunflower oil
  • 4½ oz dark muscavado sugar
  • 7 oz golden syrup
  • 8 oz plain flour
  • 4 tsp ginger
  • 1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ pint soya milk
  • 1 tbs vinegar


Preheat the oven to 180 C, 350 F, gas mark 4. Blend together the oil, sugar, and syrup (quite tricky!). Add the rest of the ingredients, then mix thoroughly. Bake for 1 to 1½ hours at the above temperature. Check after the first hour, and if not yet ready cover with foil to prevent burning. Cool on a wire rack.

All text copyright Arietha Bergsen


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      MaryRenee 7 years ago

      Arietha: This hub is excellent, and so helpful! I may have to try all of them! Thanks so much for sharing! :)