Recipes: cakes | Viva! - The Vegan Charity

Recipes: cakes


These recipes have been scoffed and loved by countless non-vegans and vegans alike, at large events and at home.

For more delicious cakes - all vegan, dairy and egg-free (and many gluten-free) - click here


Eggs work as both a binder and also as a raising agent. Vegans use other things to do these jobs, depending on the type of baked goods. Click here for our amazing Egg Replacer Chart

Binders - vegan cakes use a variety of things including aquafaba (tinned chickpea water - amazing stuff!); flaxmeal (ground up flaxseeds/linseeds mixed with water); apple sauce; mashed banana; cooked pureed squash or sweet potato...

Raising agents: bicarbonate of soda + cider vinegar and/or baking powder can be used


30 Minute Lemon Cake
Serves 6-8 | 30 minutes including baking time and making the icing

The recipe makes a lovely light cake - and uses measuring cups not scales for speed and ease. They are cheap at any large supermarket or cook shop - and as a lot of US and Canadian recipes use them, it's worth getting a set.

Double cake? Just double the ingredients and use two tins!

Replace flour and baking powder with g-f or w-f equivalents, eg Dove's Farm brand

Use a soya free margarine eg Pure Sunflower; Biona or other vegan types that don't contain it and use another type of plant milk, eg almond, coconut, hemp or rice


Picture of double lemon cake courtesy of with thanks




  • Cake tin liner (OR oil and baking parchment + scissors and pencil/pen)

  • 1 cake tin: a 20-21cm/8 inch square tin OR a round loose-bottomed tin of the same size (20-21cm)

  • Sieve

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • 1 large jug for wet ingredients

  • 1 medium bowl for icing

  • 1 medium-large mixing bowl for cake

  • Mixing spoon (don't use electric mixer)

  • Spatula

  • Grater

  • Fork

  • Cooling rack

  • Cake tin for storage + clingfilm or tinfoil to keep cake moist inside tin

Cake – dry ingredients

  • 1½ cups plain white flour

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • ¾ cup caster sugar

Cake – wet ingredients

  • 1 tbsp flaxmeal + 3 tbsp warm water

  • ¾ cup plant milk, eg soya, almond, rice, oat

  • 1½ tsp cider or white wine vinegar

  • ¼ cup plain vegetable oil (rapeseed or sunflower) – not a cold-pressed type as flavour too strong

  • 1½ tsp lemon essence

  • Optional: 1 lemon, zested/grated + 2 tbsp juice


  • 1⅓ cups icing sugar, sieved

  • ⅓ cup of mixed vegan margarine and grated block coconut (roughly half of each)

  • 1-1½ tsp lemon essence

  • soya or other plant milk, a drizzle (reduce if using extra lemon juice)

  • Optional: 1 lemon, zested and/or 1 tbsp or so lemon juice

1.Get out everything you need: equipment and ingredients.  Preheat the oven to 180°/Gas Mark 4. Mix the flaxmeal and water together and set aside.

2. Use a cake tin liner. Alternatively, grease the cake tin and base line with baking paper/parchment.

3.In the medium bowl, sieve the icing sugar. Set aside.

4. In the large bowl, sieve the flour, baking powder, bicarb, salt and sugar. Set aside.

5. In the jug, measure out the plant milk and vinegar. Stir, then add the oil, lemon essence (and options if using) plus flaxmeal mixture to the soya milk/vinegar mixture.

6. Make a hole in the flour mixture and pour the wet ingredients gradually into the centre. Mix quickly and thoroughly with the wooden spoon – don’t use an electric mixer for vegan cakes; it makes them too tough.

7. Once it’s all mixed and smooth, tap the bowl hard on the work surface. Pour the batter quickly into the cake tin, using the spatula to get all of it out of the bowl. Tap the cake tin – the tapping gets rid of air bubbles and makes for a lighter cake.

8. Place the cake in the pre-heated oven immediately so the raising agents get to do their work properly. Set a timer for 20 minutes.

9. While the cake is baking, make the icing. Soften the creamed coconut for a few seconds in the microwave. If you don’t have one, warm the bowl over some hot water. Add the coconut and margarine to the sieved icing sugar. Cream with a fork until lump-free, adding the lemon essence and plant milk and mixing everything thoroughly. Place the icing mixture in the fridge or freezer to chill.

10. After the 20 minutes, test the cake with a toothpick or thin sharp knife. It should come out clean. If not, return to the oven for another 5 minutes or so.

11. Let the cake cool in the tin for about 20 minutes or so. Carefully hold the rack tight against the tin, turn carefully upside down then remove the paper. Reverse this move so the cake is topside up. Let it cool completely before icing.

12. Ice the cake by dipping a rubber or silicone spatula in hot water then spreading the icing over the top. Make it smooth or create peaks with a fork.

13. Line your storage tin lid with cling film or foil before adding the cake. Seal the cake without smudging the icing then add the big bit of the cake tin and seal carefully. (Vegan cakes dry out more quickly so extra airtightness is good to keep them as moist as possible.)

Coffee & Walnut Cake with Mocha Icing
Serves 6-10 |Time: 1 hour including baking time

A big favourite. Easy and cheap too...



  • 1 tbsp flax meal (ground linseed) mixed with 3 tbsp hot water and set aside

  • 300g/11oz self-raising flour

  • 200g/7oz brown sugar

  • 60g/2oz walnuts, plus more for decoration

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 4 tsp instant coffee dissolved in a little boiling water

  • in a jug. Top up with soya or other plant milk  to make a total of 300ml/11fl oz

  • 170ml/6fl oz oil (use a mild plain oil)


  • 2½ cups/300g icing sugar, sieved

  • ½ cup/50g cocoa powder, sieved (not hot chocolate)

  • ¼ cup/60g vegan margarine, eg Pure, Vitalite, Suma

  • ¼ cup/60g Trex or refined coconut oil 

  • 3 tsp instant coffee (regular or decaf), dissolved in 2 tbsp hot water

  • ½ tsp vanilla essence

  • 2-3 tbsp soya, rice or other plant milk

NB All Tate & Lyle sugar is vegan except for Royal Icing.

1. Preheat oven to 180º/350º/Gas Mark 4.

2. Use a cake liner or oil a 21cm/8 inch non-stick cake tin (round or square) and line the base with greaseproof paper.

3. Sift the dry ingredients and mix in well, then add nuts and stir well.

4. Pour in wet ingredients and mix well. If the mixture seems very stiff, add 1 tbsp water and mix again.

5. Pour batter into tin and bake for 25-35 minutes. If using a fan-assisted oven, check cake after 25 minutes. Either way, test centre of cake with a cocktail stick or sharp knife – if it comes out clean, the cake is cooked.

6. Allow to cool then carefully remove cake from the tin. Place base side upwards on a wire rack to finish cooling process. Finally, peel off the paper. Turn cake over on to a large plate or the lid of a cake tin before icing it.

7. While the cake is baking, make the icing. Place everything in the bowl and whip on high for several minutes until the lumps go and everything is creamy. Chill until needed. If the icing is too stiff, add a little cold water. If too thin, add more icing sugar.

8. Use a table or palette knife to put a thin layer of icing on the cake – don’t worry if you get a few crumbs in with the icing, just don't mash up the top.

9. Refrigerate for a while then use rest of icing to cover cake. Use a fork or piping bag to make swirls if desired. Decorate with walnut halves and serve. Lovely on its own, or with dairy-free cream or ice-cream.

Magic Muffins
Makes 10-12 | 30 minutes

Magic? Because they are quick, cheap, easy and taste great. They are also very adaptable re flavourings and can be made gluten-free. Check out the picture for some inspiration... use the 30 Minute Lemon Cake icing recipe, tweak the flavours and colours and go for it!


Picture courtesy of the legendary Ms Cupcake, with thanks 


  • 1 tbsp flaxmeal (ground linseed/flax seeds), mixed with 3 tbsp warm water and set aside

  • 330 plain white flour OR 115g/6oz fine plain wholemeal flour + 115g/6oz plain white flour OR 330g plain gluten-free flour*

  • 225g/8oz caster sugar

  • 1½ tsp baking powder

  • 290ml/10½ fl oz soya or other plant milk

  • 110ml/4fl oz mild tasting vegetable oil, eg rapeseed or sunflower

  • ½-1 tsp vanilla essence or other type, depending on additions

  • *Gluten-free option: use 4 tbsp apple sauce or 1 large mashed banana as well as the g-f flour

Options: a handful or two of whatever flavourings you like. Good additions might include

  • blueberries

  • raspberries

  • vegan chocolate chips

  • lemon zest and poppyseeds

  • raisins

  • banana & crystallised ginger pieces, fairly small (mash one large banana and add to the batter. Add a little more liquid plus the ginger pieces)

1. Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. NB, reduce heat a little if using a fan-assisted oven.

2. Sift together flour, sugar and baking powder. Mix well.

3. Add flavourings of choice, plus the plant milk and oil.

4. Mix together until just mixed (try not to over-mix the batter).

5. Bake in large paper cases/muffin cases inside muffin tins for about 17-20 minutes or until a cocktail stick comes out clean from the cakes.


Victoria Sponge
Makes 1 large cake, 8-10 portions | 45 minutes

Light and delicious. 




Dry ingredients

  • 400g/3 cups + 2 tbsp SR flour

  • 240g/generous 1 cup caster sugar

  • 2 tsp baking powder


Wet ingredients

  • 310ml/1¼ + 2 tsp cup plant milk, eg soya or almond

  • 160ml/½ cup+ 2 tbsp plain vegetable oil (refined rapeseed, ie not cold-pressed)

  • 2 tbsp vanilla essence (yes, tablespoons, not teaspoons)



  • 90ml/6tbsp aquafaba (tinned chickpea water)



  • Jam for inside the cake – eg strawberry or raspberry

  • Fresh strawberries or raspberries


Buttercream icing

  • 170g/1⅓ cups icing sugar, sieved

  • 70g/⅓ cup of mixed vegan margarine and Biona Coconut Cuisine or similar mild coconut oil (roughly half each of margarine and coconut)

  • 1½ tsp vanilla or lemon essence

  • Soya or other plant milk, a drizzle (reduce if using extra lemon juice)

  • Optional: 1 lemon, zested and/or 1 tbsp or so lemon juice



  1. Preheat the oven to 180°/350°/Gas Mark 4.

  2. Line the cake tins. If you are only base-lining them, make sure you grease the sides of the tins. If using cake liners there is no need to do this.

  3. Measure and sieve the dry ingredients into the large bowl.

  4. Measure the wet ingredients into a jug or another smaller bowl and set aside

  5. Beat the aquafaba in its bowl until white and frothy. (Unlike when making meringues, the aquafaba doesn't need to be beaten to a 'fluff', only whipped up a little.)

  6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat well to incorporate everything.

  7. Add the frothy aquafaba to the cake mixture with a metal spoon and mix in gently but well.

  8. Pour out the batter equally into the two lined cake tins.

  9. Place in the oven immediately and bake for 20 minutes. Test the centre of each cake with a toothpick or cake tester. If it comes out clean, it’s done. Otherwise return to the oven for another 5 minutes or so.

  10. You can make the buttercream icing during this time and then chill in the fridge.

  11. Place the cakes in their tins on a cooling rack. Don’t remove until completely cooled.

  12. Decorate as you wish and serve.





Banana Loaf
Serves 6-8 | 70 minutes: 10 minutes preparation, 50-60 minutes baking time

This is lovely served with fruit coulis and/or dairy-free ice cream or dairy-free cream, as in our picture




  • 3 large, very ripe bananas

  • 60g/2oz vegan margarine such as Pure or Vitalite OR 60ml/4tbsp bland vegetable oil

  • 100g/generous 3oz soft brown sugar

  • 250g/9oz self-raising flour (We like half each of fine wholemeal and white, but all-white works too)

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

  • 5 tbsp soya milk or other non-dairy milk

  • 2-3 tbsp chopped dates ◗ Handful of walnut or pecan pieces

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4 – a little lower if using a fan-assisted oven. Use a loaf tin cake liner OR grease a large non-stick loaf tin.

2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas in a bowl with a fork or potato masher. If using margarine, add now and cream together well.

3. Add the sugar and mix in well.

4. Sieve the flour and baking powder then add the banana mixture and stir well.

5. To this, add the soya milk and vanilla essence a little at a time - plus the oil if using -  mixing in well.

6. If using dates and nuts add now.

7. Spoon batter into the loaf tin and cook for 50-60 minutes until cooked through and golden brown on the top. Test after 45 minutes, using a toothpick/sharp knife in the centre. It should come out clean if it’s ready – otherwise, put the cake back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes.

8. Leave to cool then turn out onto a wire rack and let it cool completely.