Vegan / egg and dairy free vanilla sponge cake recipe

I am often asked if I have a recipe for vegan / egg and dairy free sponge cake so here it is.

I am currently writing a guide about making and decorating cakes for people with special diets. This will include recipes for vegan cakes, wheat and gluten free cakes and wheat and gluten free vegan cakes. It will hopefully be available from my website early next year.


6 inch round cake

340g self raising flour
225g caster sugar
pinch salt
1 tsp baking powder

100ml coconut oil, melted
15ml white vinegar
340ml soya milk or 280ml water
few drops of vanilla extract

Line 2 x 6 inch cake tins with baking parchment. Preheat oven to 180°c / gas mark 4.

Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

Measure together the wet ingredients then stir into the dry ingredients. It should be the consistency of a smooth thick batter.

Divide between the cake tins and bake for about 30 minutes until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool for 15 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a plate then onto a cooling wire so it cools the right way up ( The sponge could break in half if you leave it to cool upside down).

Once cool fill with jam and dairy free buttercream. Dust the top with icing sugar.

Using soya milk gives the sponge more flavour but is quite a dense cake. For a lighter sponge use water instead.

Dairy Free Butter cream

125g dairy free margarine ( I prefer Vitalite)
500g icing sugar
few drops vanilla extract

Mix the icing sugar and vanilla into the dairy free margarine. Do not overbeat the mixture as it will split. Stir in a few drops of water until it reaches the required consistency.

You may think this is a lot of icing sugar. If you use double the amount of icing sugar to margarine, the mixture will split. Add a little extra flavouring to this buttercream. (You don’t need as much ‘buttercream’ as usual as it is quite sweet).

Looking for more vegan recipes? Why not try making Vegan chocolates / dairy free Easter eggs

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32 Responses to “Vegan / egg and dairy free vanilla sponge cake recipe”

  1. […] blog homepage > « Vegan / egg and dairy free vanilla sponge cake recipe […]

  2. Sandra says:

    I have been asked to make a birthday cake for a little boy who is allergic to milk, eggs and nuts. Your site has been a great help with the info on sugarpaste and food colourings. I usually use a buttercream crumb coat and was going to try this using a dairy free spread but have noticed that the icing sugar pack says it may contain egg. Since the little boy apparently does’nt like jam i’m wondering if you have any suggestions would i could use instead?

  3. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Sandra,
    I have emailed Silverspoon and Tate & Lyle for clarity on their food labelling. All icing sugar in this country is produced by British sugar so even icing sugar from smaller companies state ‘May contain egg‘. Food companies put this information on their packaging to cover themselves just in case because egg white is used in the same factory.

    The Food Standards Agency are looking into how the ‘May contain’ statement is used in food labelling. Hopefully in the future this will be made clearer.

    I have used both these sugars in my vegan and egg free cakes and they have been fine for my customers with allergies.

    Even organic icing sugar states may contain egg. Also I wouldn’t advise using this in buttercream for inside an iced cake as I find the cornflour in the icing sugar reacts with the sugar paste which causes the sugarpaste to blow.

    Hope this helps. I will add to this comment if the companies get back to me with more information.

    If you are still unhappy to use icing sugar, how about making a dairy free chocolate ganache to fill the cake. Callebaut plain chocolate is dairy free and nut free. Don’t use this to ‘crumb coat’ the cake though as it is too moist and will cause the sugarpaste to go soggy and slide down the cake.

  4. Iced Gem says:

    I received a reply from Silver Spoon today:-

    Thank you for your e-mail and I can advise that we are govenered by EU legislation to declare MIGHT/MAY CONTAIN ?? is packed on the same site as another product which does contain something which might be an allergen.

    In this case it is eggs, as Royal Icing does contain Pasturised Egg Albumen.

    If the product does contain it will be listed in the ingredients.

    The cross contamination risk is minimal but we have to declare it.

    I hope this helps

    Silver Spoon Customer Services

  5. Iced Gem says:

    I just remembered. Here is the reply from Tate & Lyle.

    Dear Mrs Mcfarlane

    Thank you for your e-mail enquiring if there is risk of dried egg white being present in our standard Tate & Lyle Icing sugar

    You do not mention the size of the standard Icing sugar you are enquiring about if it is 25kg bags than these are packed on theire own dedicated circuit that hasno contact at all with royal icing plant

    Up to April of this year the anti-caking agent was E554 ( sodium silico aluminate) ; this was changed to E341( Tri-calcium phospate) However there will still be many packets contining E554 in the distribution chain and these will take some time to clear.

    Our 500g retail packets of standard icing sugar ( pink and white coloured packets) which is simply granulated sugar milled to size and then blended with an anticaking agent does share the same routes and packing machine as our Royal Icing and while we cannot state categorically that no traces of the pasteurised egg white will be present in our standard Icing sugar, may we assure you that we undertake all practical precautions possible to remove it when the icing products are changed.

    Very thorough cleaning of all the routes ,hopper and packing machine are undertaken to prevent any carry over.Other measures are sugar flushing with standard icing first and then discarding and prior to commencement of packing, samples are taken to our laboratory for checking to ensure that no Royal Icing additves are present. It is only when the standard icing is confirned to be clear that packing for the market place starts.

    Once again thank you for your enquiry and I hope this provides a satisfactory answer

    Yours sincerely

    Philip Jaggard
    T&L SUGARS Ltd

  6. Louise Martin says:

    Will this work when scaled up to 8inch or 10inch cake? Can you advise how to scale up? Trying to make a birthday cake for my daughters party, she is allergic to milk and egg. My first attempt at a sponge today was a disaster and not sure if it was recipe or quantity! Would like to try this one… can you recommend how to best ice it so I can add a cake topper already purchased.

  7. Iced Gem says:

    Yes it will scale up. For an 8 inch cake I use:
    510g SR Flour
    335g Caster sugar
    large pinch salt
    1 and half teaspoons baking powder
    150ml Sunflower oil
    23ml White vinegar
    420ml cold water

    Make as recipe.
    Pour into two 8 inch cake tins and bake for about 30 mins until a knife inserted comes out clean.

    You could either ice it with dairy free ‘buttercream’ or ready to roll icing available in supermarkets.

    Good luck.

  8. Sarah says:

    I wasn’t sure whether to go for the extra flavour from using soya milk or the lighter texture from water – is there a middle ground (eg half water, half soya milk) that would work, or would that be a disaster?

    Sarah x

  9. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Sorry for the late reply. I have been away from the internet for a while. I haven’t tried that but I’m sure it will work.
    Please let me know if you try it.


  10. Nadya says:

    Great website, thanks for this recipe, I make egg free muffins and cup cakes but could never get the mix right for larger cakes. So excited to try this out…. oh the possiblities.

  11. Iced Gem says:

    Thanks, let me know what you think.

  12. […] This one is egg free as well but good: Vegan / egg and dairy free vanilla sponge cake recipe Mum to 2 beautiful girls, age 3 and 5. Reply With Quote « […]

  13. Jane says:

    I have a birthday cake to make for 25 people and I want to make a butter cream for the inside but I understand that icing sugar contains egg content.As this needs to be a vegan cake do you have any suggestions? Many thanks.Jane

  14. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Jane,

    If you read through the comments to this post you will find emails from Silverspoon and Tate and Lyle about the risk of traces of egg in their icing sugar.

    You could ask your customer if they are happy for you to use this?

    I haven’t found a brand of icing sugar without this statement.


  15. catriona says:

    Hi, I just wanted to say that I have used this recipe to make a birthday cake and numerous batches of cupcakes for my egg/dairy allergic daughter. They have always turned out really well. this is definately the best recipe I have found so far. I’m just about to make a batch of cupcakes for her toddler group christmas party tomorrow, Thank you!

  16. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Catriona,

    thank you, that’s great to hear.

    Merry Christmas

  17. Asma says:

    Hi Gemma,

    I’m just about to order your book! Congratulations, its amazing the amount of work you must have put into this as a project.

    I wanted to try this as an egg free recipe, milk is okay so do you think subsituting the water/soya milk for whole milk will still yield a good result?

  18. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Asma,

    Thank you, I hope you like it. I’ve spent years trying recipes and products to make special diet cakes taste and look as good as any other. I’m pleased to be able to share my experience with others.

    Yes milk will work fine in this recipe and add flavour.

    Thanks, Gemma

  19. Gilly blundell says:

    Really pleased with the way my cakes have turned out, thank you for a great recipe! Unfortunately due to snow the birthday supper has been postponed:(( I have crumb coated the cake, can I freeze it? I have frozen normal sponges with success.

  20. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Gilly,
    I find the sponge freezes fine. I would make sure it is well wrapped to prevent that freezer taste.



  21. Andrew Norton says:

    Hi, I really love how informative you are on this blog giving so much information which must take you lots of time in research. Thank you for the info on icing sugar. Although I knew this as had phoned them myself, it is great to have in writing so I can copy and paste to a swansea vegan facebook page for all to read.

    I just wanted to check that the above recipe is a nice light sponge as I have tried recipes in the past posted only to find out that they are not very good. For example stating a cooking time of 30 min but in reality more like an hour stuff like that. Have you cooked this recipe a few times ? I have a perfect chocolate cake recipe but not sure if I can just replace the cocao with flour to keep it a vanilla sponge. Anyways, thanks again. Hope to hear from you soon.


  22. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Thank you. I’m pleased you find it useful.

    I would say it is a nice light sponge. It is very adaptable. For the quantity given in my oven it takes exactly 30 mins to cook at 180oc / gas mark 4


  23. somi says:

    can we use whipping cream as the icing for this cake?

  24. Iced Gem says:

    Hi, yes sure.

  25. Emma S says:


    Amazing website! Quick question, will it be ok to use wheat free Self Raising flour with this recipe? I need to make a birthday cake which is free for wheat/gluten, dairy, eggs …

  26. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Emma,

    yes you can. You will still need to add the extra baking powder (gluten free).

  27. Zoe says:

    Hi I am making a fairy castle cake for a little girl with allergys to milk, dairy and eggs. I have read previous posts and I’m a bit confussed about covering the cake. I normally crumb coat with buttercream but are u suggesting this will not work well with the dairy free buttercream if I’m then covering with sugar paste? Excellent page with really usefull information :) x

  28. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Zoe,
    yes you can cover the cake with a dairy free buttercream. Use 4times icing sugar to dairy free margarine as any less the buttercream separates. Thanks

  29. Natalie says:


    This is great! My son is dairy and egg allergic and it will be his forst birthday next month. I have been fretting over how to make his birthday cake – so I am excited to try your recipe! I just wanted to know if I could switch the sunflower oil for rapeseed oil or would the viscocity of the rapeseed oil be different and effect the over all cake? Also, I really wanted to make a rainbow sponge layered cake – do you have any knowledge about dairy/egg free food colourings?

    I think your site is brilliant and I suspect I shall be here a lot!

    Thank You :)

  30. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Natalie,
    Yes you can use rapeseed oil or melted dairy free margarine will give more flavour. I will be adding more recipes soon.

    Here is a link to a list of sugarcraft products and their allergens.

  31. Tricia says:

    I made a batch of cup cakes 2 days ago as a test run. I’d committed myself to make cakes, and a birthday cake for my grandson who has been diagnosed as dairy allergic since a baby (he turns 5 next week). Only to be told that he’s been found to be allergic to eggs too. So, I Googled and found this.

    It was so easy, in fact easier than a regular Victoria sandwich recipe.

    I’m going to experiment further using rice milk and golden caster sugar. Fingers crossed, as it’s his birthday next week. My only issue is that they taste slightly of the soda, which I know can’t be helped, as I see that the rising of the cakes is a chemical reaction of the vinegar and the baking soda. And I can’t imagine children will mind too much, after all, some sherbet is based on bicarbonate of soda. But, I’m hoping the different flavours might help distract from it.

    I can confirm, to anyone wondering, there’s no flavour of the vinegar whatsoever. :-)

  32. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Tricia,
    I’m pleased you like it. I have been using coconut oil in place of sunflower oil which makes the cake lighter and a nicer flavour. I will post some more recipes on my website soon.


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