This vegan rainbow cake recipe is one to bookmark for your next big event. With delicious vanilla cake and vegan buttercream, you're going to love how simple this cake is (and how impressive it can be). Post updated on May 11, 2021, to reflect new pan sizes and photo changes.
My daughter's 7th birthday was the inspiration behind this delicious vegan vanilla cake. With wanting to make her an impressive cake and not wanting to use up a dozen or so eggs to do it I decided a vegan cake was the best option.
So I took my favorite no eggs and no dairy cake recipe and decided to go one further and make the entire cake from top to bottom completely vegan. And I gotta say, it's fabulous, moist, soft, sweet, and everyone enjoyed it! this eggless rainbow cake is always a hit.
For the cake you will need:
- Baking Soda
- White Vinegar
- Vegetable Oil
- Vanilla Extract
For the frosting you will need:
- Vegetable Shortening
- Vanilla Extract
- Powdered Sugar
- Non-Dairy Milk
- Sprinkles *Optional
For the chocolate dripping you will need:
- Non-Dairy Chocolate Chips
- Coconut Oil
🍽 Equipment Needed
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- Ziploc Bags or Frosting Piping Bags
- Star Frosting Tip *Optional
- Rainbow Gel Food Coloring
- Mixing Bowls
- 6in Round Cake Pans
- Parchment Paper
- Baking Sheets
🍴 Recipe Tips
Making this vegan rainbow layer cake recipe is actually a lot easier than it may look. Down below I've included my recipes. You really don't need too much to make this cake either it's super simple and basic.
The recipe card below and the step by step tutorial should give you plenty of tips for making this rainbow cake. There's actually a lot of tips and information to give you, and they'll be included as we come across them.
Check out how to make vegan rainbow cake with these simple step-by-step instructions:
- Prepare your cake pans by spraying them with nonstick cooking spray and then lining them with a parchment paper circle that you cut out to prevent sticking. While this cake is super moist and unlikely to stick, it's always beneficial.
- Spraying the pans with nonstick spray before adding the parchment paper keeps it stuck to the bottom of the pan without rolling up. #Tip
- Preheat your oven to 325F degrees.
- Place all of the dry ingredients into the large mixing bowl and then whisk themaround to combine.
- Make 3 holes in the flour. One larger than the other two.
- In one pour your vanilla extract and pour the vinegar in the other small one. In the largest one pour the vegetable oil.
- Pour the water over the top so that everything is covered.
- Mix until the batter is smooth.
- Divide the batter into two bowls (2 cups of batter per bowl is perfect). Add in some gel food coloring. Stir until the color is blended.
- Use as much or as little coloring as you want to achieve the color desired, but you really don't need much. I found that dipping the end of a spoon and grabbing just a small (like ⅛tsp) sized scoop or smaller was more than enough to get the desired colors I wanted.
- Pour the batter into your prepared cake pans and then bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick can come out clean.
Assembling the cake
Using a large bread knife, unflavored dental floss or even strong embroidery thread you can cut off the top of a cake.
Discard the top dome parts, eat them because they're delicious, or use them to make vegan rainbow cake pops (I did). I ended up with enough to make close to 30 standard cake pop balls.
Freezer the layers on a flat baking sheet for a minimum of 4 hours, preferably overnight. You can remove the parchment paper now or later.
Remove the layers from the freezer, taking off parchment paper now if you didn't already.
Stack them on a plate with frosting layered in between.
They'll be cold so not as many crumbs should lift off. Unfortunately, that makes getting the cake perfectly straight a bit of a challenge so eyeball it while you're adding each layer.
Once layered, squeeze in some more frosting where the cake meets to make the filling and cake flushed.
Add frosting to the sides of the cake, but use a scraper or the flat side of a butter knife to wipe it around and off as you go over the cake.
You want to fill in those cake air holes, but you don't want to cover the cake like a traditional cake, this one is referred to as "naked." Although, it's a lot more like a German schmear in my opinion. Naked means nothing at all and this is giving up a peep show.
If anything, you want the top layer or two to be your main focus as you need to make them less absorbent for the chocolate drips.
In a small bowl add your chocolate chips and coconut oil. Melt them in the microwave in 30 second bursts stirring well between each until smooth.
Pour the melted mix into a Ziploc bag and snip the end. Note: you won't have much control over this chocolate wanting to pour out of the bag so keep it angled up every time you aren't using it.
The coconut oil and the cold cake will combine to make the drips stop fairly quickly so add more strategically as you go around the rim of the cake. If it looks messy, that's okay. Spreading chocolate over the top of the cake to fill it in hides all of that!
If you have a star tip and want to add little frosting adornments around the top, do it now. The chocolate will be wet, but the frosting will stay put pretty well unless you yank up the tip too hard.
Add sprinkles as desired. Tip: If you want the sprinkles to stick to the chocolate drips on the side get a small handful of sprinkles and toss them at the cake. It's messy, fun, and you can clear them off the plate when you're done (if you want to).
Let the chocolate cool and then serve your cake. You can keep it in the fridge until it's ready to eat, but the chocolate will harden or crack when cut into. Let it sit at room temp for about 30 minutes to come to temp (more or less depending on how the weather is, please use good judgment).
Tip: Warming the knife before cutting and wiping between each cut gives you cleaner lines.
Other delicious vegan recipes to check out
- Rich and Chocolatey Vegan Mug Brownie
- Easy One Bowl Vegan Banana Bread with Applesauce
- Simple Dairy Free White Bread
6 Layer Vegan Rainbow Cake
- Ziploc bags or Frosting Piping Bags
- Star Frosting Tip *Optional
- Rainbow Gel Food Coloring
- 6-in Round Cake Pans
- Baking Sheets
3 6 inch Layers of Cake
- 3 cups All purpose flour ($0.24)
- 2 cups Sugar ($0.44)
- 2 teaspoon Baking Soda ($0.01)
- 1 teaspoon Salt ($0.01)
- 2 teaspoon White vinegar ($0.02)
- ½ cup +2tbsp Vegetable Oil ($0.30)
- 2 cups Water ($0.00)
- 3 teaspoon Vanilla Extract ($0.06)
- 2 cups Vegetable Shortening ($1.50)
- 2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract ($0.04)
- 8 cups Powdered Sugar (a 2lb bag) ($1.84)
- 4 tablespoon Non-Dairy Milk ($0.02)
- 1 ½ cup Non-Dairy Chocolate Chips ($1.98)
- 1 teaspoon Coconut Oil ($0.01)
Making the cake
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare 3 6in cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
- Make 3 "holes" in the dry ingredients, one larger than the other 2. In one, pour your vanilla extract. In another pour the vinegar and in the largest hole pour the vegetable oil.
- Add your water to the bowl, covering everything and then mix the batter until smooth.
- Divide into three bowls (2 cups of batter in each) and add food coloring. Stir until incorporated.
- Pour batter into prepared cake pans and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cake cool. Repeat steps as needed until all layers have been baked.
- Using a large bread knife (or unflavored dental floss) slice the top domes off of the cake so that it is somewhat flat, it's okay if it's not 100% level, but try to be close.
- Place all of the layers on plates or baking sheets and then stick them in the freezer for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
How to Assemble The Cake
- Prepare the frosting by placing the shortening and vanilla extract in a stand mixer and slowly adding in 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time, continuing until well incorporated and smooth. Add in the milk and blend some more. It will be a thick and pipeable consistency.
- Remove cake from the freezer. If you haven't already, remove the parchment paper stuck to the bottom of the cake.
- Place a good amount of frosting into a Ziploc bag or frosting bag and swirl it around and spread it out on the cut part of the cakes to create the filling.
- Stack the next layer on and repeat.
- Once layered, pipe a little frosting on the outside of the cake right where the filling is, making it extend outwards.
- Frost the top of the cake like normal, making sure to lift up at an angle to prevent crumbs. If the cake is still decently frozen, then this shouldn't be a big issue.
- Rub the frosting on the outside of the cake around so that it's just barely there, but still filling in the absorbant cake holes.
How to Decorate The Cake
- In a small bowl melt your vegan chocolate in the microwave in 30 seconds bursts and stir between each until smooth.
- Give it a minute to cool and then pour it into a piping bag or Ziploc bag and snip the corner.
- Along the top outer edge, slowly pipe the chocolate around to create a ring. Add a little extra here and there so that the chocolate drips down the side.
- Then pour the remaining chocolate inside the circle you created to cover the top of the cake, spread it smooth.
- Pipe frosting peaks around the cake top in a circular pattern. This is actually really easy using a star frosting tip just squeeze the bag straight up and down and slowly lift off when the peak reached the height you wanted.
- Add sprinkles or candies as desired.
- To serve the cake properly, slice the top 3 layers into wedges and serve. Then slice the bottom three layers into wedges and serve. Each cake should produce about 8 wedges of 3 layer cake.