Simple Vegan Vanilla Bean Cake

Vanilla Cake

When Singing Dog Vanilla contacted me and asked if I would like to try their product, I was like heck yeah!  I use vanilla in almost every dessert I make, and it is one of my favorite flavors.  If I were asked to choose between chocolate and vanilla it would always be vanilla.  So, I was excited about the vanilla.  I have actually tried their extract once before, I had bought it at a local co op, and it was delicious.  But I had not tried their beans or vanilla paste which is what they sent me.  I love that their products are organic, non-GMO, and fair trade.  That was what caught my eye in the first place. Not only that, the products are good quality as well.  I have to say also, offer lots of interesting vanilla products you will not find everywhere else, like vanilla sea salt, coffees, teas, chapstick, and vanilla coconut sugar for sprinkling!

Vanilla Cake 1

The vanilla paste is the consistency of syrup and tastes wonderful in desserts.  The vanilla is super aromatic and fresh and when you open the package, you are instantly filled with joy (or at least I am, I love that scent and it makes me happy).  I decided that I wanted to use them in a dessert that featured vanilla.  And what more of a classic than vanilla cake?!  Sadly I have no baked plain vanilla cake recipe on this website...until this one. Weird I know, since I am Fragrant Vanilla Cake.  So I decided there needed to be one and this was the perfect time to make it.

Vanilla Cake 2

I wanted a single layer cake that was simple enough anyone could make it whether they were a good baker or not.  I love layer cakes, don't get me wrong but I know some of you are intimidated by them and don't care to get all fussy decorating. This is for you.  I made a simple gluten free vanilla cake, using aquafaba in place of the usual eggs (this was an experiment too, since I haven't tried this with cake yet), and a nice dallop of the vanilla paste for excellent vanilla flavor.

Vanilla Cake 3

It smelled amazing while baking. That is one of my favorite smells, vanilla cake baking in the oven.  It reminds me of Birthdays.  Which is why I ended up putting candles on the finished cake.  I had the urge to.  It just seemed right.  For the frosting on the cake I used a coconut milk base that I usually use with the vanilla bean included.  The cake was wonderful, honestly one of the best vanilla cakes I have tasted. Obviously this is good quality vanilla!  If you are interested in trying Singing Dog Vanilla's products, you can find them HERE. But, you can also enter to win them, since they have been kind enough to allow me to give away some vanilla beans, and a container of vanilla paste!  If you would like to win, please scroll to the bottom of the page and enter the giveaway!

  Vanilla Cake 5

Simple Vegan Vanilla Bean Cake

Makes one 8x8 inch square 1 layer cake

Cake ingredients:

1 3/4 cups all purpose gluten free flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup xylitol or coconut sugar*

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup coconut oil, warmed to liquid

1 cup aquafaba at room temperature (the liquid from canned chickpeas)

1 Tbsp Singing Dog Vanilla vanilla paste or vanilla extract


1 can full fat organic coconut milk, chilled for at least 1 day in the refrigerator

1/4 cup maple syrup

pinch sea salt

seeds of one Singing Dog Vanilla vanilla bean

1/3 cup plus 3 Tbsp coconut butter, warmed to liquid

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt until well combined.  Add the coconut oil, aquafaba, and vanilla and whisk until smooth and well combined. Pour the batter into a lined and oiled 8x8 inch square baking pan and place in the oven.  Bake  for 25-30 minutes until just set (you do not want to over bake). Let cool.

Meanwhile, to make the frosting, combine all ingredients but the coconut butter, in a high speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  With the motor running, add the coconut butter and process a minute more (if it starts to get lumpy at all during the process it is just the fat separating because it is 2 different temperatures.  Just continue to blend until it is smooth, and it will get warm so it will just have to chill longer). Pour the frosting into a bowl and let sit in the freezer until the consistency of whipped cream, whisking every 15 minutes (you may not need this step if your frosting is already cold enough, but if it is not, this may take anywhere from 15 minutes to hour to an hour depending on how warm it has gotten and which appliance you used).
When ready to frost, spread frosting over the cake. Cakes is best served at room temperature.
Store any leftover cake in the refrigerator.
*If you use the xylitol do not feed this cake to dogs, it is toxic to them like chocolate is.  Also, the xylitol makes for a white cake, the coconut sugar a brown cake.

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About the Author

I am a vegan girl who loves to make healthier desserts and dishes with lots of veggies. Recipes are meant to be shared, that is why I started blogging!

  1. Shari Z
    August 21, 2015 at 13:34

    I love your recipes! Everything you create is amazing. Thank you for creating this recipe. My niece has developed an allergy to eggs and gluten and this cake will be perfect for her.! I can't wait to share :)

    • August 22, 2015 at 00:48

      Thank you so much :)! Happy I can help you out with a recipe for your niece.

  2. August 21, 2015 at 13:45

    Oh man I put vanilla in everything! It is my favorite! Hard to pick just one but maybe in some nice oatmeal breakfast protein bars. Ive been making those alot lately. So yummy! Your cake looks amazing btw!!!

    • August 22, 2015 at 00:47

      Me too :)! It would be perfect in oatmeal protein bars, make them taste like a cookie! Thank you!

  3. Rosie
    August 21, 2015 at 15:19

    My favourite recipe to use vanilla in is salted caramel ice cream (vegan, of course).

    • August 22, 2015 at 00:46

      Yum!!! Love salted caramel ice cream :)!

      • alli
        July 30, 2016 at 19:22

        hi amy! spome quick questions, I hope you can help?? 1)you say to add walnuts to the batter, but I don't see them in the ingredient list. How much walnuts do we add to the batter before baking? Also, If we have to bake it for someone nut free what can we swap in? 2) do you personaly find the Bob's Red Mill AP GF flour to taste "beany" in vanilla cakes? I found it to be a bit bean flavored the last time I tried ti make a GF vegan cake that was vanilla. I couldn't escape that chickpea-fava bean flavor. Does it taste noticeable in tour cake? 3)Also, do we need xanthan gum at all? thank you!!

        • July 30, 2016 at 22:38

          The walnuts were actually a typo, this recipe was based on another one of my recipes and I forgot to take them out of the directions. Sorry about that. I fixed it. I use Bob's Red Mill for ALL of my gluten free recipes, I find that it tastes the best and has the best texture of all the GF flours and I like that it has beans instead of bleached flours. I don't find that it has a taste at all once baked. And no you do not need gum.

  4. August 21, 2015 at 16:15

    Sounds Delish and being a recent gluten free vegan I am thrilled that this meets all that criteria. Can't wait to try it! Thanks!

    • August 22, 2015 at 00:46

      Awesome :)! Happy to hear it meets your needs!

  5. Sarah V
    August 21, 2015 at 16:24

    I could just sniff vanilla and never even use it but when I do I like to use it in a mochi cake. Glad I stumbled across your blog, I'm going to spend the day happily drooling.

    • August 22, 2015 at 00:46

      I have never heard of mocha cake, I will have to check it out :)!

  6. Jennifer
    August 21, 2015 at 16:49

    I love a boost of vanilla flavor i smoorhies!

  7. Terri Cole
    August 21, 2015 at 17:20

    I put vanilla in pretty much everything. I love it in green smoothies!

  8. jana
    August 21, 2015 at 19:22

    This looks great! Was there xantham or guar gum in the flour you used?

    • August 21, 2015 at 21:41

      I didn't. You may use some if you like, I would say about 1/2 tsp.

  9. Eva
    August 21, 2015 at 19:36

    Hello, Amy!I love your recipes, you have so many great, inspiring and delectable ideas! I have a question about your vanilla frosting though. It's a recipe that is quite frequent on your blog. But I can't seem to get it right. You say to use chilled can(s) of coconut milk. But - do you use just the fat solid part or the whole content of a can of coconut milk? Usually I use just the fat part to make coconut cream, but I wasn't sure since your recipe doesn't specify it. I tried once to make it (using just the fat part of the coconut milk), but it just clumped up and separated. Then I blended it and it was creamy again but when I put it on the cake it just separated again and it wasn't pretty (though delicious). Did I understand the directions or should I have used the whole can of milk? Although I don't think it would make a difference, since that would just add up to the liquid in the frosting... Thanks for the answer!

    • August 21, 2015 at 21:44

      You are supposed to use the whole can. It needs that extra moisture. The frosting works best if you chill the coconut milk very well, then blend all other ingredients before adding the butter. Pour the butter in slowly until it thickens the mixture. I actually find the food processor works best, I have to chill it every time I use the high speed blender. If it was clumping up at all after being warmed up, it meant that it was not blended long enough (in its liquid state). It is always the whole can unless I specify to remove the watery part in a recipe.

      • Eva
        August 22, 2015 at 13:03

        Thanks a lot for the explanation. Will try it again soon.

  10. Rosie
    August 21, 2015 at 20:54

    I love using high quality vanilla in homemade pudding. Sometimes I add additional flavors, but the vanilla must be really good. I like to make it sometimes with eggs and sometimes without.

    • August 22, 2015 at 00:44

      OOooh vanilla pudding sounds really good, I haven't made that in ages!

  11. lacrisia
    August 22, 2015 at 00:33

    Birthday cake for sure! This is perfect timing, I was looking for a great cake recipe for my son's birthday next week! Thanks!

    • August 22, 2015 at 00:44

      You are so welcome :)! Happy Birthday to your son!

  12. Isa
    August 22, 2015 at 01:49

    Beside cakes, I put vanilla in my Chia pudding and in my ice cream.

  13. Jasmine
    August 22, 2015 at 03:27

    I add vanilla extract and powder to everything! I especially love vanilla extract in buckwheat or oat pancakes and I tend to add the powder to overnight oats and raw buckwheat granola! Vanilla over chocolate any day :-)

  14. joanna
    August 22, 2015 at 23:22

    i'm a true vanilla girl so it goes in all my baked goods and smoothies!! my favorite is pure vanilla frosting!!!

    • August 23, 2015 at 20:47

      Vanilla frosting is my favorite part of the cake :)!

  15. Diane
    August 23, 2015 at 01:49

    this cake sounds great. I use vanilla in almost everything especially my daily green smoothies!

    • August 23, 2015 at 20:47

      Thank you :)! I love it in green smoothies as well!

  16. August 23, 2015 at 20:37

    When done right, in drinks. Smoothies, lattes, chai tea, whatever.

    • August 23, 2015 at 20:49

      Now I am thirsty for chai tea :)!

  17. B
    August 24, 2015 at 14:33

    Hello! What kind of "all purpose" GF flour have you used? Thank you x

    • August 24, 2015 at 14:53

      Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose.

  18. August 26, 2015 at 12:44

    I like a little bit of vanilla in chocolate chip cookies.

  19. Beth E.
    August 26, 2015 at 12:54

    I love vanilla in anything, really, but I think I like it best in my homemade cashew-almond vanilla nut butter!

  20. Mariah
    August 26, 2015 at 23:08

    I can't wait to try it!!!!! Thanks :D

  21. GG
    October 6, 2016 at 17:03

    Hi can I sub earth balance for the oil and all purpose flour or cake flour. If so, how much. I want to make this but just need it to be vegan and not gluten free. Thanks

    • October 7, 2016 at 00:47

      I have not used earth balance so I am not sure if it would work or not. As far as the flour goes though, you can sub regular all purpose flour.

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