5 vegan cake recipes with the wow factor

It’s National Cake Day and boy do we have some scrumptious vegan cake recipes for you. Here are five vegan cake recipes that your friends won’t even realise are totally dairy, milk and egg free

We’ve all been there: scrolling through Instagram, when suddenly you come across a beautiful chocolate cake. The icing looks smooth and velvety, the sponge both soft and moist, and it’s topped off with fresh summer fruits. You’re practically drooling over your screen.

But hold on, it’s vegan? How did this food blogger avoid making a stodgy cake, without the use of eggs and butter? It’s just what you’ll get in the ‘desserts’ section of Heather Whinney’s new Virtually Vegan recipe book.

Whinney’s cake recipes are all plant-based and built to be easy to follow. ‘As a vegan, searching for expensive or difficult to find ingredients can be really off-putting and take the joy out of cooking,’ says Whinney. ‘Vegan-specific products like cheese substitutes are wonderful, but if a recipe relies on them, it can make it hard to get started.’

‘I’ve focused on familiar ingredients at your local shop or supermarket’

‘Throughout this book, I have focused on familiar ingredients that can be found at your local shop or supermarket,’ Heather adds.

Whether you want to impress your family at the next barbecue this summer or simply wish to do a bit of baking this weekend, here are six of Heather’s delicious and cruelty-free cake recipes.

Decadent chocolate & raspberry cake

choc cake 5 vegan cake recipes with the wow factor virtually vegan heather whinney by healthista

The best bit about this cake is that you can lick the spoon knowing there is no raw egg involved. Don’t expect the same rise you would get for a cake with eggs – but it will still look the part once sandwiched together and piled with chocolate frosting.

Serves 8
 Prep: 15 mins Cook: 30 mins


  • 85g (3oz/1⁄3 cup) dairy-free spread
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 300g (10 1⁄2oz/2 1⁄2 cups) self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp dairy-free cocoa/unsweetened chocolate powder, at least 70% cocoa, plus extra for dusting
  • 100g (3 1⁄2 oz/1⁄2 cup) golden caster or superfine sugar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
  • 1⁄2 vanilla pod, seeds only
  • 300g (10 1⁄2oz) fresh raspberries,  roughly chopped, leave some whole for topping

For the Chocolate Frosting

  • 200g (7oz) dairy-free dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa
  • 80g (3oz) dairy-free spread
2 tbsp almond milk or dairy-free milk of your choice
6–8 tbsp icing/confectioners’ sugar, sifted plus a dusting for decoration if you wish

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 and base-line two 20cm/8in cake pans with parchment paper.

Put the dairy-free spread in the bowl of a food mixer, add the maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and 300ml/101⁄2fl oz/ 11⁄4 cups of boiling water. Mix slowly until the spread has melted and everything is combined.

In another bowl, put the flour, cocoa, sugar, bicarbonate of soda/baking soda and the vanilla seeds and stir. Add this to the wet mixture and beat on slow until you have a smooth batter.

Divide the mixture between the pans, smooth the top and bake for about 20–30 minutes (check after 20 minutes), or until a skewer poked into the middle comes out clean.

Leave the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, put the chocolate and dairy-
free spread in a heatproof bowl. Sit it over a pan of just simmering water and stir occasionally until melted. Remove from the heat and leave to cool a little, then stir in the milk and slowly add the icing/confectioners’ sugar, beating as you go, until it begins to thicken and become glossy. Put in the refrigerator to set.

To assemble the cake, remove the frosting from the refrigerator and beat until glossy. Spread generously over one of the sponges, top with most of the raspberries then top with the other sponge and cover with the remaining frosting, and use a knife to neaten. Top with the remaining raspberries and a dusting of icing/confectioners’ sugar or cocoa, if using.

Pear & raspberry tart with pistachio frangipane

pear tart 5 vegan cake recipes with the wow factor virtually vegan heather whinney by healthista (1)

This is a great dinner-party showpiece as it both tastes and looks gorgeous. Pear and raspberry work so well together, the raspberries adding the necessary tartness to offset the sweetness of the pear. This is excellent unadorned but a trickle of dairy-free cream would be a nice addition. Use a light hand with the pastry for a deliciously crisp and flaky result.

Serves 8 
Prep: 20 mins, plus chilling Cook: 1 hour

  • 225g (8oz/heaped 13⁄4 cups) plain or all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • a pinch of salt
  • 125g (4oz/1⁄2 cup) dairy-free spread, plus extra for greasing
  • 2 dessert pears, peeled, cored and quartered lengthways
  • 150g (5oz/1 cup) fresh raspberries, any large ones halved
  • small handful of pistachio nuts, chopped
  • icing/confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

For the Frangipane

  • 200ml (7fl oz/1 cup) aquafaba (juice from canned chickpeas/ garbanzos)
  • 150g (5oz/2⁄3 cup) dairy-free spread
  • 150g (5oz/1 cup) golden caster/ superfine sugar
  • 100g (3 1⁄2oz/2⁄3 cup) pistachio nuts, finely ground
150g (5oz/11⁄2 cups) ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp plain/all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6 and grease a rectangular, loose-bottomed tart pan about 13 x 36cm/
5 x 14in or a 23cm/9in round pan with dairy-free spread.

To make the pastry, put the flour, salt and dairy-free
spread in a large bowl and rub together until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add 2 teaspoons of cold water and work to a dough. Form into a ball and flatten, wrap in cling film/plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator to rest for 20 minutes.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured board so it is slightly larger than the tart pan, then transfer it to the pan, pressing it into the base and letting it overlap the sides.
Fill with parchment paper and baking beans. Bake for
15 minutes, then remove the beans and paper and return to the oven for 3 minutes to crisp up. trim the edges to neaten and set aside. turn the oven down to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.

For the frangipane, put the aquafaba in a small saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for about 5 minutes until slightly reduced. set aside to cool. Add the dairy-free spread and sugar to the bowl of a food mixer and beat for 5 minutes until creamy. Add the pistachios and almonds, the cooled aquafaba and flour and mix until combined.

Add half the raspberries to the frangipane and stir them in gently, then spoon into the pastry base being careful not to over-fill. Press in the pears, then scatter in the remaining raspberries, pushing them into the frangipane. Bake for 40 minutes, until golden. The top will still be wobbly, but will set as it cools. Leave to cool in the pan before releasing. Transfer to a serving plate or board, scatter over the remaining pistachio nuts and dust with icing/confectioners’ sugar.

Banana & walnut loaf cake

banana cake 5 vegan cake recipes with the wow factor virtually vegan heather whinney by healthista

The chocolate in this was a last-minute decision, not essential but quite delicious. Leave
it out if you prefer. You should get just enough juice from one can of chickpeas/garbanzos for this, but don’t worry if it is a little under. The bananas keep this cake moist and sweet but it would be extra delicious drizzled with melted dark chocolate.

Serves 10–12 
Prep: 20 mins Cook: 11⁄4 hours

  • 125g (4oz/1⁄2 cup) sunflower spread
  • 100ml (3 1⁄2fl oz/1⁄2 cup) maple syrup
  • 3 bananas, mashed, plus 1 sliced lengthways
6 tbsp aquafaba (juice from canned chickpeas/garbanzos)
  • 125g (4oz/1 cup) wholemeal spelt flour, sifted
  • 125g (4oz/1 cup) plain/all-purpose flour, sifted
2 tsp baking powder, sifted
a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 100g (3 1⁄2oz/1⁄2 cup) golden caster/ superfine sugar
100g (3 1⁄2oz/1 cup) walnuts, chopped
  • 50g (2oz) dairy-free dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa, broken into chunks
  • 100% cocoa/unsweetened chocolate powder, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas 3 and grease and line a 26 x 7cm (10 1⁄2 x 2 3⁄4inch) loaf pan with parchment paper.

Put the sunflower spread in a pan and heat gently until melted, then stir in the maple syrup and mashed banana and the aquafaba. Heat it all gently and mix together until combined. Leave to one side.

Put the flours, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and sugar in
a bowl and mix together, then pour in the wet mixture and beat together using a wooden spoon until smooth. stir in the walnuts and chocolate pieces. spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and level the top, then top with the sliced banana, pushing it slightly into the mixture. Bake for 1–11⁄4 hours, or until a skewer comes out clean when poked in the middle.

Put it on a wire rack and leave to cool for about 15 minutes in the pan, then turn it out onto the wire rack and let it cool completely before dusting with a little cocoa/unsweetened chocolate powder. slice and serve!

Carrot cake with maple syrup frosting

banana cake 5 vegan cake recipes with the wow factor virtually vegan heather whinney by healthista

This cake can be as humble or extravagant as you want – leave it naked and enjoy a slice with an afternoon cup of tea or slather it with fondant and it’s fit for a celebration. The chia seeds aren’t just for crunch, they act as a binding agent in place of eggs. Carrots make this cake lovely and moist and the mix of spices brings a fragrant warmth.

Serves 10–12
 Prep: 30 mins Cook: 35 mins

  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 125g (4oz/1 cup) wholemeal spelt flour, sifted
  • 125g (4oz/1 cup) plain/all-purpose flour, sifted
2 tsp baking powder, sifted
  • 1⁄2 tsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda, sifted
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • a generous pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 200g (7oz/11⁄4 cups) light brown soft sugar
  • 300ml (10 1⁄2fl oz/11⁄4 cups) sunflower oil
300g (10 1⁄2oz/21⁄2 cups) grated carrots (about 5–6 carrots)
  • 100g (3 1⁄2oz/1 cup) pecan nuts, chopped
100g (3 1⁄2oz/3⁄4 cup) sultanas/golden raisins

For the Frosting

  • 125g (4oz/1⁄2 cup) sunflower spread
  • 500g (1Ib 2oz/3 1⁄2 cups) icing/ confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 and line
 two 20cm (8inch) loose-bottomed springform cake pans with parchment paper.

Mix the chia seeds with 9 tablespoons of cold water and leave to one side for about 10 minutes so they soak up the water, then mix.

Put the flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda/baking soda, spices, orange zest and sugar in a large bowl and mix to combine. In another bowl, put the orange juice, oil and chia seed mixture and stir to combine. add this to the flour mixture and stir well, then add the carrots, three-quarters of the nuts and the sultanas/golden raisins and stir again.

Divide the mixture equally between the pans, level the tops and bake for 30–35 minutes until risen and golden and a skewer comes out clean from the middle. If it has wet mixture on it, leave it for another 5 minutes, then test again. when ready, remove the pans from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then loosen the edges, turn the cakes out onto the wire rack and leave to cool completely.

To make the frosting, put the sunflower spread in the bowl of a food mixer and beat until creamy, then slowly add half the icing/confectioners’ sugar, then the maple syrup, then keep adding the icing/confectioners’ sugar until it is the right consistency – not too stiff but not at all runny.

Spread half the frosting over one of the cakes then sandwich them together. top the cake with remaining frosting, then scatter with the remaining nuts. Leave until the topping has set, then slice to serve.

Raw brownies with chocolate yogurt topping

brownie 5 vegan cake recipes with the wow factor virtually vegan heather whinney by healthista

These are altogether different from the baked brownies that you may be used to, but despite being ‘raw’ these retain the unctuous chocolate squidge of a traditional brownie and will sit happily in your fridge ready to sate any chocolate cravings.

Makes 12 large squares Prep 20 mins, plus setting Cook: 5 mins

  • 125g (4oz/3⁄4 cup) dried figs or 75g (3oz/1⁄2 cup) ready-to-eat dates, pitted
75g (3oz/1⁄2 cup) ready-to-eat prunes, pitted
  • 75g (3oz/1⁄2 cup) cashew nuts
  • 75g (3oz/1⁄2 cup) flaked/slivered almonds
  • 75g (3oz/1⁄2 cup) hazelnuts
  • 75g (3oz/1⁄2 cup) pecan nuts
  • 5 tbsp cocoa/unsweetened chocolate powder, at least 70% cocoa
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

For the Frosting

  • 200g (7oz) dairy-free dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa, broken into small even pieces
  • 1⁄2 avocado, pitted and mashed
  • 4–5 tbsp soy yogurt
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

Line a 21 x 30cm (81⁄2 x 12inch) shallow pan with overhanging parchment paper. Put the dried fruit in a bowl and pour in enough boiling water so it just covers. Leave the fruit to soak and plump up a little.

Put the nuts in the bowl of a food processor and whiz until roughly chopped.Then tip in the fruit and the soaking water and whiz until blended but still with some texture – it is best to use the pulse button. add the cocoa/unsweetened chocolate powder and maple syrup and pulse to combine. scrape the mixture out into the prepared pan, spread it out and smooth the top. Put in the refrigerator to chill and set for a few hours.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and sit it over a pan of simmering water. stir until melted, remove from the heat and let it cool slightly.

Put the avocado, most of the yogurt, the maple syrup and cooled chocolate in the bowl of a food mixer and beat until smooth, adding more yogurt if needed.

Spread the mixture over the fruit and nut base, mark out squares and put it in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight to chill and set. slice to serve. This will happily keep in the refrigerator for a week.

virtually vegan 5 vegan cake recipes with the wow factor by healthista heather whinneyHeather Whinney is a food stylist and the author of new book Virtually Vegan, published by Nourish Books, priced £7








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