Recipe: How to make the Ultimate Vegan Victoria Sponge

Ultimate Vegan Victoria Sponge

Veganuary-heartThis is now the third year that I’ve taken part in Veganuary, and each year I’ve found new and different ways to recreate vegan versions of all the dairy-laden foods I’ve been missing.  Cakes and biscuits are, unfortunately, one of the things I find hardest to give up, and last weekend after a long, chilly and very muddy walk, I needed a cup of tea and a slice of cake.

I searched t’internet for some failsafe vegan cake recipes, but found that a very large proportion of them were both vegan and gluten-free.  I know there’s a lot of people now following a vegan-gluten-free diet, (the Deliciously Ella effect!), but gluten-free baking is a whole different challenge.  For people like me who are vegan but perfectly happy to eat some gluten now and again, here’s a classic British Victoria Sponge recipe that tastes almost identical to any egg- and butter-laden sponge I’ve tried.

The dairy replacements here are simply:

  • Dairy-free margarine in place of butter, (my all-time favourite is Tomor, which tastes just like butter, or else Stork’s block margarine is also vegan), and
  • Soya yoghurt mixed with ground chia seeds in place of the eggs.  (Xantham gum or flaxseeds also work well in place of the chia seeds, but I think chia seeds are easier to find in supermarkets!).

Ultimate Vegan Victoria Sponge

Here are my top tips for making the Ultimate Vegan Victoria Sponge Cake:

  1. Get as much air into the mixture as you can – eggs act as a raising agent as well as their binding properties, so by substituting them with soya yoghurt and chia seeds we just need to work a little harder to get plenty of air into the mixture for a really light sponge.  Do this by beating in a food mixer for much much longer than you think you need to – beating the margarine and sugar for 4 minutes seems like an absolute age, but it will make such a difference to the cake, I promise!
  2. Use good quality dairy-free margarine – if its all you have to hand, this cake will work perfectly well with any old dairy-free spread, but if you can get hold of Tomor or Stork block margarine it will really make a difference to that buttery taste.
  3. Be generous with the fillings – you’ll see from my pictures that I don’t like skimping on the jam and buttercream! This is partly because when you serve someone a ‘vegan cake’ they are fully expecting it to be dry, tasteless and heavy.  So if you serve them a light, moist and airy sponge slathered with lots of creamy buttercream and jam, they really won’t believe it’s vegan!
  4. Get lots of air into the buttercream – similarly to no. 1 above – just beat, beat and beat again. I sometimes use a whisk attachment on my food mixer for this (rather than the beater).  A really light buttercream filling is just so creamy, and adds to the lovely airy texture of the cake.
  5. A controversial one…. don’t call it a Vegan cake!  Just serve it up calling it a Victoria Sponge and I bet no one will guess it is ‘free-from’ anything at all.  Tell them afterwards whilst basking in compliments!
4.3 from 3 reviews
The Ultimate Vegan Victoria Sponge
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Cake
Cuisine: British
Serves: Serves 8
  • 1 tbsp ground/milled chia or flax seeds
  • 200g dairy-free yoghurt (I used Alpro soya yoghurt)
  • 300g dairy-free margarine (Stork block margarine or Tomor are excellent)
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 300g self-raising flour
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • For the buttercream:
  • 150g dairy-free margarine
  • 200g icing sugar
  • zest of half a lemon
  • strawberry or raspberry jam
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / Gas Mark 4. Grease and line two 20cm cake tins.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the chia or flax seeds and yoghurt and set aside for 5 minutes or so until the mixture turns 'gloopy'.
  3. In a food mixer, beat the margarine and sugar together for 3-4 minutes, (yes, really!), until pale and fluffy.
  4. Add the yoghurt & chia/flax seed mixture, and the vanilla extract, then add them to the mixer and beat. (If the mixture looks 'curdled' just add a few tablespoons of the flour to the mix and beat again).
  5. Add the flour, (the remainder if you have added some already), and slowly fold it into the mixture, until fully combined.
  6. Divide the mixture between the two tins, and bake for 15-20 minutes until an inserted skewer or knife comes out clean. Then remove from the oven and turn out onto a cooling rack.
  7. To make the buttercream, just beat the margarine, icing sugar and lemon zest in a food mixer for 3-4 minutes until very light and fluffy.
  8. When the cakes are completely cool, (a few hours at least), smother the top of one with plenty of jam, then smother the buttercream over the bottom of the other cake. Carefully sandwich them together, then sprinkle the top of the cake liberally with icing sugar.

Ultimate Vegan Victoria SpongeFor more vegan baking inspiration check out these recipes from blogger friends:


Don’t forget to follow my progress through Veganuary via my Instagram 2016-01-08 18.16.17feed 

I’m linking this post with two blogging challenges:


  1. Amaazing! Saving this for my vegan friend’s birthday cake xx

  2. What a fabulous looking Victoria Sponge and such clever substitutions:-) Thanks for featuring my Banana Cake:-)
    Camilla @FabFood4All recently posted…Comment on Win the Joseph Joseph Nest 100 Compact Food Preparation Set rrp £100 by George WilliamsonMy Profile

  3. this looks great – I’ve got friend who’s just gone vegan who’s big on cakes – will try this on her!
    Roz recently posted…Scallop & Chorizo PaellaMy Profile

  4. This looks great! Just as good as any other victoria sponge I’ve seen! My daughter can’t have dairy but also can’t have gluten or soya which is a real nightmare as gluten free being is HARD. We are using the new Flora dairy free spread here too which is quite good. I never knew stork was vegan. Thanks for adding my PB cake XX

    1. I meant baking above not being!
      Munchies and Munchkins recently posted…Healthy Sweet Potato PancakesMy Profile

  5. This looks fab Kate, and great tip on the Tomor which I’ve never heard of. I’ll need to try it.
    Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours recently posted…Comment on The story behind Prosciutto di San Daniele DOP by HelenMy Profile

  6. I would absolutely love to conduct a taste test with this to see if people can tell? I didn’t realise that Stork was vegan (I should have been able to work it out though but never thought) – I find Stork ok for simple sponges but anything heavier it seems to struggle with. Well done on another month of veganism. Thanks loads for joining in with #Bakeoftheweek
    Helen at Casa Costello recently posted…January Reads 2016My Profile

  7. Great cake! You’d never guess it is vegan…pinning! Eb x
    Eb Gargano recently posted…Tomato and Red Lentil Soup (Vegan)My Profile

    1. Thanks Eb! I know – I totally fooled my father in law…. haha!

  8. Excellent job! Turns out really similar to a victoria sponge cake my mom made. Can see it on my site ^^

  9. Great recipe! I’m just wondering if I am able to substitute the butter for oil?

    1. Hi Hannah, to be honest I’ve never tried it with oil so couldn’t tell you how it would turn out – sorry! Definitely worth a try though and let me know how it goes. Kate

  10. Hiya – I tried your recipe and whilst it tastes absolutely great, the texture is a little bit stodgy and it really didn’t rise much. I forgot to ‘fold’ the flour in slowly and just added it into the food processor and whizzed it up. Could this have been the problem?

    Any advice you can offer would be great. I am trying to find the ultimate recipe so that I can make an eggless, dairy free wedding cake!! : )

    Many thanks , Steph

    1. Hi Stephanie, yes its really important to be super-careful folding in the flour, or else all the hard work you did beating the marg & sugar for AGES to get lots of air in is completely wasted, as the air will be knocked straight out by whisking in the flour. I often don’t even use a mixer for the flour, just do it by hand with a spatula really slowly, and stop stirring the minute it is all combined. If it isn’t rising much there’s a chance your raising agent isn’t working properly – self-raising flour has a surprisingly short shelf-life as the baking powder in it loses its active power quite quickly, so if it has been lurking in the cupboard for a while try a brand new bag, or add an extra half teaaspoon of baking powder in there too. Hope that helps and good luck with the cake! Kate

      1. Thank you very much! I will give it another go. Steph

  11. Just wondering how much xantham gum would be substituted for as there’s no amount specified for that. I’m not a big fan of chia seed grit and i’d liek to try a seed free cake. Thanks.x

    1. Hi Rachel, sorry about that – the xantham gum replacement PER EGG is a quarter of a teaspoon xantham mixed into 60ml water. I haven’t tried it in this recipe as I use flax or chia so sorry I can’t comment from first hand experience, but do let me know how you get on! Kate

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