This classic vegan victoria sponge cake is so simple to make, just one bowl and step-by-step photos. Deliciously light and moist with no weird ingredients!
What could be more quintessentially British than a slice of Victoria Sponge cake and a nice cup of tea? How very Downton. Well here's a deliciously light and moist vegan victoria sponge deep-filled with jam and buttercream that you will bake again and again once you've tried it, I promise!
Some years ago when I started vegan-ising cake recipes I got a bit fed up of all the cake recipes using vinegar to turn plant milk into a vegan 'buttermilk' as an egg replacer. One day a thought struck me as I was eating vegan yoghurt and granola for breakfast.... surely vegan yoghurt is basically the same as buttermilk, why not give it a go in a cake recipe?
So I did and this Vegan Victoria Sponge was born. It works so well - the yoghurt keeps the sponge incredibly moist, (especially if you can keep it in an airtight tin overnight - see my 'top tips' below. And there's no weird vinegar, flax or chia seeds or funny ingredients - I'm pretty sure you'll find all these ingredients in your nearest supermarket.
📝 What you need
Dairy-free butter Do try to use a block 'butter' rather than spread out of a tub - you will get much better results. I used the new Flora Plant Butter block which is excellent, or Naturli block is also great if you can find it. It tends to be in the same aisle as the dairy butter at supermarkets.
Dairy-free yoghurt I tend to choose soya yoghurt (unsweetened) which gives the best results as it has the highest protein content of the various yoghurts available, and also no powerful flavours. But if you can't use soya any other yoghurt will work fine - I like the new oatly oat yoghurts.
Dairy-free milk As above, I usually use soya milk for baking due to its protein content. Unsweetened is best.
👩🏽🍳 Expert Tips
Here are my top tips for making a perfect vegan Victoria Sponge Cake:
1. 'Rest' your sponge cake overnight in an airtight tin or tupperware. I know it sounds strange but this is the single most important thing you can do to improve the texture of your sponge. There's something about the chemistry of vegan cakes that gives them a bit of a crispy outside layer when the first come out of the oven. I don't know how it works but resting the cooled cakes overnight in a sealed tin or tub somehow draws the moisture right through the cake, so the sponge becomes extremely soft and moist, with no crispy coating. It is actually magic.
Don't skip this step, even if it means staying up late the night before to make the cakes before adding the jam and buttercream the following day - this is the difference between an OK cake and a showstopper.
2. Get as much air into the margarine and sugar mixture as you can - eggs act as a raising agent as well as their binding properties, so by substituting them with soya yoghurt 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 the margarine and sugar in a food mixer for much much longer than you think you need to - 4 minutes seems like an absolute age, but it will make such a difference to the cake, I promise!
2. Get the cakes into the oven as quickly as you can once you've added the flour and baking powder Raising agents start to work as soon as they come into contact with liquid. so have your tins prepared in advance, oven at the right temperature, and work quickly to get the cakes baking as soon as you can.
3. Use good quality dairy-free block 'butter - a good quality block margarine makes all the difference, both to the sponge and the buttercream. Tub margarines have much too much water in them for baking.
4. 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!
6. Get lots of air into the buttercream - I often 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.
I've deliberately made the buttercream fairly firm - if it were for, say, a cupcake topping I would add some plant milk or cream to loosen it up, but to make the cake easier to slice and eat you want a substantial buttercream here that won't slip and slide around!
7. 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!
⭐️ Reader Testimonials
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ "Absolutely the BEST textured cake I have ever eaten – plant based or otherwise. It never lasts long in our house!" Jenny
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ "I have just made this as a two tier wedding cake and it was absolutely excellent! Totally recommend! Xx" Diane
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ "This is such a wonderful recipe!!! I have struggled finding a vegan recipe that taste as good as its non-vegan counterparts and many other recipes come out really dense or reaking of vinegar. But this one baked great! Thank you very much for sharing such a brilliant recipe." Krystle
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ "The BEST Victoria sponge I have ever made, vegan or not! What an amazing recipe." Kathryn
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tagging me @thevegspace or using the hashtag #thevegspace to show me how you got on!
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❄️ Freezing your sponge cake
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The sponges freeze beautifully, but not the buttercream - so if you need to make these ahead just wait for them to cool completely, then put a piece of greaseproof paper between the two sponges, wrap them in foil and freeze until needed. Then just defrost, and sandwich together with the jam and buttercream when you need them.
You can also make some beautiful mini vegan victoria sponges - perfect for an afternoon tea. I use this brilliant mini loose-base sandwich tin* from Lakeland but if you don't have one you could just bake a couple of big square cakes then use a round pastry cutter to cut out small-ish circles and sandwich them together with the jam and buttercream.
For more quick and easy vegan recipes take a look at my latest book Vegan in 15.
"Brilliant! Chock full of easy recipes and great tips and advice" Hello! Magazine
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Vegan Victoria Sponge
For the sponge:
- 200 g dairy-free block margarine
- 300 g caster sugar
- 200 g dairy-free yoghurt Soya yoghurt (unsweetened) works best
- 200 ml dairy-free milk
- 3 tsp vanilla extract
- 400 g self-raising flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
For the buttercream:
- 150 g dairy-free block margarine
- 200 g icing sugar
- strawberry or raspberry jam
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / Gas Mark 4. Grease and line two 22cm cake tins.
- In a food mixer, beat the margarine and sugar together for 2-3 minutes, (yes, really!), until pale and fluffy.
- Add the yoghurt, soya milk, and the vanilla extract, then the flour and baking powder and mix until fully combined. (Don't beat it, just a slow mix).
- Divide the mixture between the two tins, and bake for 20-22 minutes until an inserted skewer or knife comes out clean. Then remove from the oven and turn out onto a cooling rack.
- To make the buttercream, just beat the margarine and icing sugar in a food mixer for 3-4 minutes until very light and fluffy.
- When the cakes are completely cool, (a few hours at least), smother the top of one with plenty of jam.
- Pipe or spread the buttercream over the jam, then carefully sandwich the cakes together. Sprinkle the top of the cake liberally with caster sugar.
For more vegan baking inspiration check out these recipes from blogger friends:
- Jac's Triple Chocolate Donuts with Sprinkles from Tinned Tomatoes
- Helen's Easy Ginger Cake from Fuss Free Flavours
- Sus' Sugar Free Blood Orange Cake from Rough Measures
- Elizabeth's Chocolate Cupcakes with Avocado Frosting from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary
- Nadia's Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Mug Cake from Nadia's Healthy Kitchen
- Rebecca's Peanut Butter & Banana Bread from Munchies & Munchkins