Bee’s easy peasy one-bowl vegan vanilla sponge cake

This pesky vegan vanilla sponge cake recipe has taken me seven(!) attempts to perfect – I have been searching for the holy grail of ‘free-from’ baking for such a long time! The Victorian sponge cake recipes I’d settled for in the meantime, were temperamental, unreliable and ultimately, stress-inducing, and that’s not good enough.

vegan vanilla sponge cake

This vegan vanilla sponge cake recipe is truly a reliable, tried-and-tested, easy-peasy and delicious vanilla sponge cake, that happens to be dairy free, vegan, and easy to make gluten free too. It’s also a one-bowl-wonder, and what could be better than that?

Bee’s easy peasy one-bowl vegan vanilla sponge cake

Makes two layers of 8 inch sponge approx. 1 inch thick.



  • 390 g white, self raising flour (gluten free works too, try a blend of flours)
  • 340 g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • 2 tsp Xanthan gum (optional, will be crumblier without)
  • large pinch of salt


  • 460 ml Good Hemp plant milk (or another of your choice, the paler in colour the better)
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • 120 ml groundnut oil (or another oil of your choice)
  • 3 tsp Neilsen Massey vanilla bean extract (the thick stuff with speckles in it)


Preheat your oven to 175 degrees C.

Pour all your dry ingredients into one large bowl. Add in the wet ingredients as they’re ready, then mix everything together thoroughly, using a whisk if you need to break up any lumps. Leave to thicken for a few minutes while you line two round 8 inch baking tins with baking paper.

Pour equal amounts of batter into each tin, bake for around 30 –35 mins, until the tip of a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Allow to cool before filling with a great DF (dairy free)  buttercream (recipe below!), and some roughly chopped fresh berries.

vegan vanilla sponge cake
vegan vanilla sponge cake
vegan vanilla sponge cake
vegan vanilla sponge cake

Vegan buttercream recipe

Makes enough to fill the above cake, with a thin layer for the top.


  • 125 g white solid vegetable baking fat e.g. Crisco or Trex, at room temp
  • 125 g solid dairy free baking block e.g., Naturli or Stork, at room temp
  • 325 g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean extract


Using a food mixer or lots of bicep power, mix the two fats together until you have a smooth paste with no lumps. Add in the vanilla, then icing sugar in two goes, beating until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add in a tbsp. at a time of plant milk e.g. Good Hemp.

vegan vanilla sponge cake

vegan vanilla sponge cake


– Bee


Comments (2)

July 4, 2019

Thank you for posting this! With two egg and dairy allergic kids I can’t wait to try this … have found the perfect chocolate cake (google Jamie Olivers’ Epic Vegan Chocolate cake if interested, it’s incredible) but vanilla sponge has been a challenge so far. Mainly tasted of rapeseed oil 🙁

I was wondering though, do you happen to know exactly what groundnut oil is? My boys are allergic too tree nuts as well (not almonds and peanuts though) and I have always wondered what groundnut oil actually is.

I was also wondering why you chose Hemp oil over say oat or soy … does it work better in baking or is just a preference in taste/colour? Again, not something we have tried before but keen to expand our alternative milk selection if hemp comes recommended.

Thanks so much!

July 5, 2019

Hi Fee,

Its Bee the baker here, I’m so pleased you’re excited about the recipe and I’d love to know how you get on with it.

So, to answer your questions:
I imagine that any oil can be used in this recipe – I have tested it with vegetable oil, olive oil (very yellow) and groundnut oil – the particular brand of this i used contains peanuts. I believe that groundnut is simply another word for peanut oil – i had no idea of this until i had to ask google a few months back! Some brands of ground nut oil might contain other types of oil, so please check in case i am not absolutely 100% correct here.

Hemp milk – I chose this purely because it is the whitest of plant milk that I have found, and I was looking to replicate that pale colour of sponge you get in a traditional Victoria sponge cake. I’ve tested the recipe with oat and soya milk, both of which work just fine.

I hope that helps! Let me know how you get on.

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