The ultimate guide and tutorial to how to bake and decorate your own homemade vegan wedding cake! This DIY wedding cake recipe is a step by step tutorial for how to bake, assemble, and decorate up to a four tier cake for any home baker! I’ve even included the exact recipe I used for making a four tiered vegan gluten free wedding cake!

Homemade Vegan Wedding Cake Recipe

The BEST DIY Homemade Wedding Cake (Vegan or not!)

I’m not going to lie, this is my favorite cake recipe. It’s based off of my vegan vanilla cake recipe, and will most definitely be making an appearance at my own wedding (no I’m not engaged, but a girl can dream!).

With super tender and moist vegan vanilla cake layers smeared with a decadent and rich vegan vanilla buttercream frosting and decorated with plant based floral colors and designs, this is the ultimate homemade wedding cake that will wow any crowd.

In fact, I tested this cake on my family, and no one believed me that it was vegan. I’m serious! They thought I had converted over haha!

NOPE! This vegan wedding cake is entirely dairy free, egg free, soy free, and nut free, and makes for the best celebration to any wedding day.

Plus, with this tutorial, you’ll see why making your own wedding cake is even better than buying one!

I actually had the privilege of making my friend’s wedding cake as her wedding gift to her. I’m basing the material below off of the four tiered cake I made her, but the photos are my practice version, which was just a three tiered cake.

vegan wedding cake with four tiers

Why make your own wedding cake

Personally, I’ve been dreaming about making my own wedding cake for years now. I remember the first time I baked my own birthday cake when I was 10, in that moment, I thought “Why would anyone ever buy something when you can make it?!”

It’s sort of the theme for how I live my life I think. I really enjoy the DIY, especially a DIY wedding cake.

There are many reasons though why you should make your own as well! For one, it can be much more cost effective, which we’ll touch on in the next section.

Another, you have way more control over not only the flavors, but the guaranteed result. How many times have you heard of people trying millions of cakes, only to arrive at the wedding day, and think, “why’d I choose that?!”

What’s more, if you’re really into design and creativity, then you have complete control (can you tell I like having control over things haha!) over the design.

blogger with wedding cake

How much does it cost to make your own wedding cake?

According to Thumbtack, the average cost of to hire a baker to make your wedding cake is around $300, with the low end being $125, and the high end being $700. It really depends on the cost per serving, which can be calculated by multiplying the cost per slice by the number of people attending.

The cost per slice of cake depends on the baker and the intricacy of the cake, so it can range anywhere from $2.50 to $8. For our purposes, let’s take the middle: $5.25. Now, say that you’re having 75 people attending the wedding and everyone will have a slice.

75 x $5.25 = $393.75 to hire a baker to make your wedding cake.

Now, let’s go over the math for making your own (this will shock you). So if you’re using this recipe, and you’re still going to need 75 mouths to feed then you’ll need to make this a 3-tier wedding cake rather than a 2-tier one. Not a problem, simply double the bottom tier. So now we’ll just need to see how much it will cost to obtain all of the ingredients:

*keep in mind that these prices are based on the stores I use and my geographical location*

Prices are listed as what you would purchase in store, not by how much is needed for the recipe

  • Flour: 5 lb bag of flour- $2.50
  • Sugar: 4 lb bag of sugar- $1.89
  • Baking powder + soda: $3.00 (combined)
  • Unsweetened applesauce: $5.00 (2 jars x $2.50)
  • Dairy Free Milk: $2.29
  • Coconut oil: $9.32
  • Vegan Butter: $25 (5x ~$5.00)
  • Powdered Sugar: $13.83 (3 bags x $4.61)
  • Vanilla Extract: $13.23

Total cost to make a homemade vegan wedding cake for 75 people: $76.06

So personally, I would save that extra $315 for the honeymoon!

slice of vegan wedding cake

How to make a vegan cake moist

Now, you’re probably wondering how the heck a vegan wedding cake will taste as good as, if not better (because we’re always going the extra mile here) than, a traditional wedding cake.

To make a vegan cake moist, it really comes down to the applesauce, vegan buttermilk, and oil.

I do actually have a vegan chocolate cake that is entirely oil-free and it’s incredibly moist.

But when combining those three ingredients together, you get a cake that will make anyone’s jaw drop.

If you’re making this wedding cake over the span of a few days, you’ll need to freeze the cake layers. I go over how to freeze them down below, but also note that once the cake is frosted, the vegan buttercream will act as an insulator and keep your cake moist. Since going vegan, I’ve actually found that vegan buttercream is much better at keeping cakes moist than even regular buttercream.

Coconut oil, which is typically the base of vegan butters, has less water than butter, which means less evaporation of water from the frosting, which means more moisture in the cake!

unstacked wedding cake

How do you make a homemade wedding cake?

Now for the best part: making your own DIY homemade vegan wedding cake recipe!

This wedding cake is three tiers, and I recommend making the batters separately. It doesn’t matter which batter you choose to prepare first.

I also did each tier to be three layers. Typically, wedding cakes are either two or three layers per tier. You will just need to do less frosting over all if you’re using two-layer cake tiers!

I recently made my friend’s wedding cake, so I want to explain my schedule of making everything. Her wedding was on a Saturday, and I had to travel to Boston for it from Connecticut, so I started my baking process on Monday.

Here’s how I made my friend’s vegan wedding cake:

  1. On Monday, I baked all of the cake layers.

    Prior to Monday, I had already calculated how much batter I would need per tier, which I’ll go over in the next section. Then I went to making her cake! She wanted a four tier cake, vegan and gluten free vanilla. I made a 10″ tier, 8″ tier, 6″ tier, and 4″ tier, each three layers. I felt this gave the cake a nice height, and also allowed for leftovers!

  2. After baking each cake layer, I allowed them to cool for 10 minutes before wrapping them tightly to freeze.

    Yes, I frozen them still warm! This is because I really wanted to lock in as much moisture as I could, and since they were vegan GLUTEN FREE cakes, there was an even greater chance of them drying out. I laid each cake layer on a cake board as well so that it would freeze flat. As much as I don’t like to use plastic wrap, I will say, it does do the best job at making sure the cakes didn’t experience any freezer burn, so be sure to wrap your cakes extremely tightly.

  3. The next day, I made the buttercream.

    She wanted a naked style cake, which does use a lot less frosting than a regular cake (it also lends itself to drying out way more than a regular cake, so bakers beware!), but since I was traveling to Boston with the cakes, I decided to make as much buttercream for a regular cake. This meant six batches of buttercream for my four tiered cake. I ended up only needing 3 batches, but I was happy to have the others, because I would have been way too stressed trying to assemble. And I was able to freeze the others as well so that I could use them for other cakes! Now for freezing buttercream, which is what I needed to do since I made the buttercream on Tuesday, I used large Tupperware containers. Then I had to give the frosting 10 hours to thaw at room temperature when it came to decorating the cake. Frozen buttercream takes a LONG time.

  4. Friday, we drove to Boston with the cakes and supplies.

    The night before, I laid out my turntable, bench scrapers, offset spatulas, piping bags (way easier to apply the frosting!), rubber gloves, cake boards, cake boxes, wooden central dowels, and paper straws (to be used as tier dowels!). Then Friday came, and I use a bunch of suitcases that I laid flat and filled with freezer packs to transport the cakes and buttercream.

  5. Friday night, I assembled each tier:

    The buttercream, as I mentioned above, took a while to thaw. I thought it would be good at 6 hours, but it really needed 10 to be moveable. I also kept the cakes completely frozen when decorating. I know some say to allow the cakes to thaw a bit before assembling, but I’ve done this several times and for me, the cakes always stay super moist and I find the buttercream actually looks a lot better (you can cleaner edges when you go to smooth it). I spent 8 PM-10:45 PM assembling each tier. Then I placed each tier into our fridge to set over night.

  6. The day of the wedding (Saturday), I stacked the tiers:

    I learned a lot from Chelsweet’s wedding cake post, especially assembling most, if not all, of the cake before you leave. I ended up stacking the 8″ and the 6″ on top of the 10″ tier, and carried the 4″ in a box. This allowed me to have the main cake sit on my lap and for me to easily control the cake’s movements with any bump using the central dowel, which was sticking out form the top of the cake. If the 4″ cake was in place, it would have been too hard to control the cake. We drove about 40 minutes to get the venue (it would have been 30, but I had Jared go 20 mph and even 10 mph around ever corner ha!), then I was able to finish assembling in the kitchen. I brought all of my tools, so I just stacked the 4″ on top, and brought the flowers she had picked out to decorate the cake (a note on floral decorations below!). Then the cake sat out at room temperature for about 2 hours before the cake slicing!

how to make a wedding cake
how I made my friend's wedding cake
How I made my friend’s wedding cake

Customizing the flavors:

If you don’t want a vegan vanilla cake recipe as your wedding cake, not a problem! You can mix and match flavors.

If you wanted to do one tier as chocolate and the other as vanilla, you can swap in one tier using my vegan chocolate cake recipe.

Another option would be a classic vegan red velvet cake (which many Banana readers have said works great for a wedding cake!) or this zebra cake (like a marble cake!).

You can also add in flavor enhancers, such as rose, lavender, or even a squeeze of lemon for a fresher flavor.

How to assemble & decorate a wedding cake:

Don’t let the two tiers intimidate you. In fact, making a tiered cake is so much fun!

Assembly

When you’re ready to assemble your vegan wedding cake, start by icing both layers. Once both layers are iced, I place the top tier in the fridge to chill, while I prepare the dowels and DIY cake board.

For the dowels, I personally like using paper straws that I have on hand. Some people have written online that they’re worried the paper straws won’t hold, but I’ve honestly found them much sturdier than plastic. They’re much easier to cut, and you can save them for multiple cakes.

I also always use a central dowel in the cake. This is a main dowel that runs up and down the cake. Super important for making sure all of the tiers stay in place!

To properly cut the dowels: Measure the dowel against the bottom tier and mark slightly above where the top of the cake meets the dowel. Cut where the mark is and repeat for the remaining dowels.

Place the four dowels near the middle of the cake to create a square. You can use more, but definitely use at least 4. Then your central dowel will run through the top.

For the central dowel: You’ll need to poke a hole in the cake board prior to assembling your cake tiers. The dowel will need to go through all of the cake tiers except the bottom board. That will be the base.

When your cake tiers are set and chilled, you can carefully place the cake dowel into the bottom tier, and slide the other tiers down the middle. VERY important that your holes in the cake board are centered, as this will affect the appearance and centeredness of your cake.

Then use any remaining frosting to pipe the edges of the cake tiers to seal up where the cake boards are.

gathering the tiers
stacking the wedding cake

Decoration:

This is my favorite part because there are absolutely no rules to this! You can pipe flowers and patterns onto the vegan vanilla naked cake, or you can even paint onto the cake. For that, I recommend checking out John Kanell’s painted cake tutorial.

For piping tips, I recommend using the Wilton #70, Wilton #129, or the Wilton Open Star #2110 1M.

You can also use real flowers, as I did!

My best tip for decorating your own wedding cake is to find some inspiration on Pinterest. There are so many wonderful ideas on there!

For floral decorations on cakes:

Please note that not all flowers are edible nor safe to put onto a cake. In fact, some flowers can be toxic! For instance, Calla Lily, which was one of my friend’s flowers in the wedding, is not safe to put on a cake. However, Marigold is, so that’s the flower I went with.

Here’s a great resource for checking out which flowers are safe and which are not safe to put onto a cake.

(This section contains some affiliate links. This means that any purchase you make, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you! Thank you so much for supporting The Banana Diaries!).

As a final note, let’s round up some of my recommended equipment pieces for making your very own DIY homemade wedding cake:

slice of vegan wedding cake

How to calculate how much batter you’ll need per tier:

For this vegan wedding cake, I used my classic vegan vanilla cake. You can use any cake that you’d like for this calculation, but let’s walk through what I did so that you can get a better perspective.

Chelsey from Chelsweets has a wonderful equation that she uses to calculate how much cake batter per tier and pan you’ll need, so I used that. She calls it the cake batter calculator, and it is ACCURATE. Really works, and I can’t recommend this enough.

What you’ll need to know for the equation:

  • How many layers your control cake makes (the cake recipe you’re using for the wedding cake)
  • The height that each layer bakes to in your control version
  • How many layers of cake you need
  • The height you’d like each cake layer to be

Next you’ll perform the equation for just your control cake. So I used my vegan vanilla cake, and I knew that using this recipe for a 6″ cake with three tiers, the tiers all measured about 1.5″ tall. I plugged those into the equation and yielded a base cake volume of 127.2 cubic inches of cake batter.

Then I used the equation to calculate each tier, this time only calculating what I wanted each cake tier to be. I needed each cake tier to be three layers and for each layer to measure 1″ high. This would ensure the cake wasn’t too heavy nor too tall. I calculated all of the volumes of cake batter I needed. I then divided each tier’s volume by the base cake batter volume to yield how much of the base cake batter would it take to make each tier (i.e. the 4″ cake tier was 1/3 of the batter of the base cake recipe, so I only needed 1/3 of the cake recipe to make the 4″ tier).

recipe calculations for cake batter
How I calculated the cake batter needed

Next, I used the recipe converter calculator to calculate the specific amounts of ingredients I needed for each tier. This was way easier and basically presented me with a classic recipe to follow each time I made a tier, which streamlined the whole process. I didn’t have to calculate as I was baking the cake, and I also knew well in advance how much ingredients total to buy so I wasn’t short on anything.

This calculator is super simple to use and free. Basically, you plug in the main cake recipe, then divide or multiply it by the multiple you need. For instance, I divided the entire cake recipe by .33 to yield the exact measurements I needed for the 4″ cake.

In the recipe card, I’ve provided the exact measurements I used for each cake tier, yielding a 4 tiered cake. So you can easily use that recipe!

wedding cake with three tiers

How much vegan buttercream do I need?

Another great question! This will really depend on the style of cake you’re doing. For instance, a naked cake will need only about 3 batches of vegan buttercream for a 4 tiered cake, but a traditionally frosted wedding cake will need about 6 batches (make 7 just to be safe). And a heavily decorated in icing wedding cake will need even more.

Chelsweets, once again, has an amazing resource that I highly recommend checking out!! Chelsey is really the queen of wedding cakes at home (but we do need more vegan wedding cakes, so that’s why I made mine 😉 ).

girl with wedding cake

You’re just going to love this homemade vegan wedding cake recipe as much as I do! If you make it, of course I would love love love to read about it in the comments, but also send me a picture of the cake please!!!

You can do so by tagging me on Instagram or Pinterest, or sending me a DM or email 🙂

Nothing would make me happier than seeing you enjoy the cake!

Happy wedding cake baking, and congrats if you’re getting married!!!

More vegan cake recipes you’ll love

The Best Vegan Vanilla Cake Recipe

Super Moist Vegan Chocolate Cake

Vegan Red Velvet Cake

BEST Vegan Coconut Cake

Vegan Lemon Blueberry Cake

The Best Vegan Harry Potter Cake

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Vegan Black Forest Cake

Flourless Vegan Chocolate Cake

Gluten Free Vegan Carrot Cake

Want to save this recipe for later? Add it to your favorite recipe board on Pinterest!

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and a rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. This helps others to find the recipes! As always, I absolutely love to see your beautiful creations on Instagram and Pinterest, so be sure to tag me there as well!

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Homemade Vegan Wedding Cake Recipe

Homemade Vegan Wedding Cake Recipe

  • Author: thebananadiaries
  • Prep Time: 180 (including making, cooling, and decorating)
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 48 minute
  • Yield: 110 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

The ultimate guide and tutorial to how to bake and decorate your own homemade vegan wedding cake! This DIY wedding cake recipe is a step by step tutorial for how to bake, assemble, and decorate up to a four tier cake for any home baker! I’ve even included the exact recipe I used for making a four tiered vegan gluten free wedding cake!


Ingredients

Scale

4” Cake:

  • 136 1/2 mL unsweetened dairy free milk, room temperature
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar (to be mixed with dairy free milk milk)
  • 209 1/3 grams all-purpose flour or gluten free 1:1 baking flour + 1 tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 104 2/3 grams granulated sugar
  • 77 1/3 grams salted vegan butter, room temperature
  • 86 1/2 grams unsweetened applesauce, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • Optional (but recommended): 1/4 tsp vanilla powder

6” Cake:

  • 300 mL unsweetened dairy free milk, room temperature
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar (to be mixed with dairy free milk milk)
  • 460 grams all-purpose flour or gluten free 1:1 baking flour + 1 tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 230 grams granulated sugar
  • 170 grams salted vegan butter, room temperature
  • 190 grams unsweetened applesauce, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract (yes, 2 tablespoons!!)
  • Optional (but recommended): 1/4 tsp vanilla powder

8” Cake:

  • 390 mL unsweetened dairy free milk, room temperature
  • 2 2/3 tsp apple cider vinegar (to be mixed with dairy free milk milk)
  • 598 grams all-purpose flour or gluten free 1:1 baking flour + 1 tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch
  • 2 2/3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/3 tsp baking soda
  • 299 grams granulated sugar
  • 221 grams salted vegan butter, room temperature
  • 247 grams unsweetened applesauce, room temperature
  • 2 2/3 tbsp vanilla extract

Baking time: 33 minutes

10” Cake:

  • 569 1/3 mL unsweetened dairy free milk, room temperature
  • 4 tsp apple cider vinegar (to be mixed with dairy free milk milk)
  • 873 1/8 grams all-purpose flour or gluten free 1:1 baking flour + 1 tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 436 1/2 grams granulated sugar
  • 322 2/3 grams salted vegan butter, room temperature
  • 360 2/3 grams unsweetened applesauce, room temperature
  • 4 tbsp vanilla extract
  • Optional (but recommended): 1/4 tsp vanilla powder

Vegan buttercream recipe


Instructions

  1. Before beginning, please read through all instructions below, as well as the post above. The post above contains vital information for baking your wedding cake that cannot fit into the recipe card.
  2. Prep: Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare your cake pans by placing a rounded parchment paper sheet and place onto the bottom of each pan and greasing them generously. Bake each tier one at a time (so only focus on baking the 10″, then the 8″, etc.). The same directions apply for each of the tiers. 
  3. Make the vegan buttermilk: prepare each vegan buttermilk in a separate bowl. Combine the dairy free milk and the vinegar and let sit for 5-7 minutes to curdle before using. 
  4. Whisk the dry ingredients together: It does not matter which tier you make first, just make sure that they are each separate. Start by whisking together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda, then set aside.
  5. Make the batter: To a stand mixer with paddle attachment, add in the vegan butter and sugar. Cream together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Then add in the vanilla extract and applesauce, and mix again until just combined. Add in the flour mixture and vegan buttermilk in two intervals, mixing on low speed in between. Mix the batter on medium speed just until the dry is incorporated into the wet. 
  6. Bake the cakes: Divide the cake batter evenly into each pan, and bake. For the 4″ cakes: bake the cakes for 26-27 minutes; For the 6″ cake: bake the cakes for 27-30 minutes; For the 8″ cake: bake the cakes for 30-35 minutes; For the 10″ cakes: bake the cakes for 35-38 minutes. Or until a toothpick comes out clean on the layers. The top of the cakes will be lightly golden and bounce back to the touch.
  7. Cool the cakes slightly: Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Then carefully transfer them out of the pans and onto several cooling racks to cool entirely before frosting. The cakes should be cold to the touch, or else the frosting will slip and slide off. If you’re freezing the cake layers, wrap them only after they’ve cooled for 10 minutes. Then freeze until you need to assemble. 
  8. When ready to frost and assemble, prepare the buttercream: beat the vegan butter until creamy. Sift in the powdered sugar and continue beating until the powdered sugar is mostly combine. Add in the dairy free milk and vanilla, and continue beating until the frosting becomes fluffy. 
  9. To assemble: Start by placing the bottom most tier on the cake plate. You’ll need at least 4 dowels per tier, and one central dowel. Measure the dowel against the bottom tier and mark slightly above where the top of the cake meets the dowel. Cut where the mark is and repeat for the remaining dowels. Place the dowels in a square formation (see post) in the middle of the cake. Then place the central dowel through the cake. Dowel the remaining tiers, making sure you’ve also cut a hole in the bottom of each cake board for the central dowel to go through. When stacking the cakes, place the 8″ cake tier and carefully slide it down the central dowel. Repeat for the remaining cake tiers. Use a few tablespoons of the leftover buttercream to cover any gaps between each of the two tiers.
  10. To decorate: mix colors into the buttercream frosting and pipe! I recommend watching some tutorials on YouTube, specifically referencing Cake It! or The Preppy Kitchen! You can also use real flowers (see post for non-toxic recommendations) or even paint onto the cake!
  11. Store the cake in a cool place before serving! Slice and enjoy! You can store any remaining cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days!

Notes

Make sure that you add in a tsp of arrowroot powder or cornstarch if using gluten free 1-to-1 baking flour. This will give the flour more like a cake flour texture when baked- very tender and moist!

If you use coconut sugar, your cake will be slightly tanner in color- but still delicious!!

Please read the post for full instructions on how to make the vegan wedding cake over several days, and how to assemble with photo references. 

Keywords: homemade wedding cake, vegan wedding cake, vegan wedding cake recipe, how to make a wedding cake, DIY wedding cake, vegan vanilla cake recipe