Main image of Vanilla Caramel Cake

Vanilla Caramel Cake

1 hr + 15 min


Hooray, it's the 4th birthday of Pick Up Limes! To celebrate, we've made a new incredibly delicious cake recipe - this time a classic vanilla cake, with a caramel twist.

large slices


1 hr + 15 min


30 min


45 min


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Caramel sauce


  • 2 cups (480 mL)
    unsweetened soy milk
  • 1½ Tbsp (22 mL)
  • 3 cups (414 g)
    all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups (336 g)
    granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp (10 g)
    baking powder
  • 1 tsp (5 g)
    baking soda
  • ½ tsp
  • ⅔ cup (145 g)
    refined coconut oil, melted, at room temperature
  • 1½ Tbsp (22 mL)


  • 7.9 oz (224 g)
    unsalted vegan butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (268 g)
    powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp (5 mL)

Optional garnish

  • fresh mixed berries


  1. Start by making the caramel sauce. Add all the ingredients except for the vanilla to a saucepan. Stir continuously while bringing it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cooking uncovered for 8 - 10 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Allow the caramel sauce to sit and cool; it will continue to thicken as it cools, and thickens even more once refrigerated.
  3. Grease two 8-inch (20 cm) round cake pans with oil and line the bottom with a cut-out round piece of parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  4. To a medium bowl, add the milk and vinegar, and give it a mix. It'll start to curdle, creating vegan buttermilk.
  5. Place a sieve over a large bowl, sift all the dry ingredients through it: the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix, and then create a shallow well in the middle.
  6. Returning to the medium bowl, add the melted coconut oil and vanilla extract.
  7. Add the wet ingredients to the large bowl with the dry ingredients, and mix until just combined.
  8. Divide the batter between the two greased baking pans, and give the pans a gentle tap on the counter to release any air bubbles.
  9. Bake the cakes on the middle rack of the preheated oven for 33 - 35 minutes, or until the edges are golden and a thin wooden skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  10. Meanwhile, make the frosting by adding the butter to a large bowl. Use an electric electric hand mixer to mix the butter until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  11. Place a sieve over the bowl, sift in ½ cup of icing sugar at a time, and beat until it's all incorporated.
  12. Add the vanilla extract and ¼ cup of the caramel sauce made in step #1 (reserve the remainder for garnish). Beat until combined.
  13. When the cakes are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool for 10 minutes in the cake pan before transferring to a cooling rack to let them cool off completely.
  14. If you like, you can level your cakes with a serrated knife to create a flat surface for stacking the cakes on top of each other.
  15. Drizzle 2 Tbsp of caramel sauce on one of the cakes, and using a spatula or butter knife, spread out about 1 cup of frosting on it.
  16. Place the second cake on top and drizzle with another 2 Tbsp of caramel sauce and frost with the leftover frosting. Smooth out the frosting on the top and sides of the cakes.
  17. Optionally, spoon the leftover caramel sauce on top of the cake and let it drip down the sides. Top with some berries if desired and enjoy!


  • Coconut cream is the thick part of a can of coconut milk. To more easily obtain the cream, refrigerate the can overnight.
  • We recommend using either soy or pea milk for this recipe, as the high protein content of these milks are what allows the milk to curdle to create vegan buttermilk. We can't guarantee other plant-based milk will be successful.
  • Refined coconut oil is coconut oil that doesn't smell or taste like coconuts. If you prefer a distinct coconut taste, use unrefined coconut oil instead.


  • Best if enjoyed immediately.
  • Store the whole cake in the fridge for up to 1 - 2 days.
  • Store leftovers an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Let us know what you think

Nutrition info

We believe that focusing on numbers can harm our relationship with food. Instead, our philosophy is to Nourish the Cells & the Soul. If you require specific nutrition information due to a medical condition, please consult with a dietitian or physician. The nutritional information provided is composed with the utmost care. However, we cannot guarantee the correctness of the displayed values, see also our disclaimer.

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Discussion & Rating

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Ava - Jan. 18, 2023, 9:52 p.m.

This is a real cake that holds its own instead of some halfhearted vegan substitution. I made it for a large group and heard secondhand that people were RAVING about it behind my back. After being informed it was vegan multiple people come up to me and asked because they didn't believe it. "Don't worry, it's still a sugary dessert. I would never trick you with a health food."

I've never baked anything like this before, and it was a really satisfying chemistry experiment. All of the PUL recipes I've tried are gold (non vegans love them too), so they help bridge the social disconnect I've been struggling with since going plant based. Thank you PUL!!

PUL Team - Jan. 20, 2023, 3:49 a.m.

Hey Ava, we're so thrilled the cake and other PUL recipes are being enjoyed! It means so much. Thank YOU for the kind words and letting PUL be part of your journey with plants 🌱

Super cake - Nov. 2, 2022, 10:28 a.m.

Wow! That’s amazing cake. I love it. So delicious🤤 And it so easy to do, really? In short, I’m in love)

Shara - July 27, 2022, 7:49 p.m.

Hello! I love your recipes sooo much, and I really want to try this one but the caramel sauce never gets the right consistenci for me, is always too thick that i can't use it, i l'm using vegan butter earth balance, do you think that could be the problem?

PUL Team - July 28, 2022, 3:26 p.m.

Hey there, Shara, we suspect the caramel sauce could work with butter although haven't tested it out so are not certain. If you're finding it's consistently too thick that may be the culprit. You can consider stirring in a splash more coconut cream to thin out the sauce if that butter is the most accessible 🙂

Victoria - July 23, 2022, 1:49 a.m.

I made them into cupcakes and added some matcha powder, delicious! I did 1/3d of the recipe (made 5-6 cupcakes) and did 1-1/2 tsp matcha powder. Perfect amount of sweetness. Probably would benefit from buttercream frosting, but we just ate it on its own.

PUL Team - July 23, 2022, 2:03 a.m.

Mmm sounds delicious, Victoria, thank you for sharing your experience with it!

Kristin - June 23, 2022, 2:40 p.m.

Hi guys, I tried making cupcakes with this recipe. Taste is amazing and also super moist but it is super sticky. What can I do that this is not the case. I tried reducing or even putting no coconut-oil but it did not help. Thanks for you help.

PUL Team - June 24, 2022, 4:20 p.m.

Hey there, Kristin, a lovely idea to try cupcakes! We sometimes get sticky baked goods due to a reaction between sugar and water that may be in the air. Did you measure using the gram and mL amounts listed, or using the cup and Tbsp amounts?

In case you use cup measurements, perhaps it might help to ensure that the sugar isn't too packed in the cup, but rather, gently spooned into the measuring cup and levelled. This will ensure that not too much sugar is added if you give the recipe another try. Allowing the cupcakes to cool completely before storing can also help since it reduces the amount of steam or water that may be trapped in the storage container. We hope this helps for now, Kristin, and do let us know if you experiment more with it 🙂

Kristin - June 26, 2022, 8:38 p.m.

Hi it worked perfectly with less sugar and letting it cool completely before taking the cupcakes out of the baking pan. 👍

Sheila - April 3, 2022, 7:59 p.m.

Amazingly delicious 😋

Sherri - March 27, 2022, 6:42 a.m.

Made the Vanilla Caramel Cake today for my mom's 75th birthday. Everyone loved it.

PUL Team - March 27, 2022, 8:47 p.m.

Wow we're so honoured the cake was part of the special day, Sherri! Happiest of birthdays to your mom 💚

Zewa - March 18, 2022, 10:05 p.m.

Hi can you make more helthey dessert recipes?

PUL Team - March 18, 2022, 10:58 p.m.

Thanks for the request, Zewa, we've noted it down! In the meantime, if you're interested and haven't already seen, you can find all of our dessert recipes here:… ☺️

Sofi - March 12, 2022, 1:48 a.m.

Could you substitute the flour with cake flour? I don't have coconut oil on hand right now but would sunflower oil work in its place?

Thank you! 😊

PUL Team - March 12, 2022, 7:18 p.m.

Hey Sofi! We haven't tried either ourselves so we can't say with absolute certainty. Cake flour generally has a lower protein amount than all-purpose with the addition of corn starch. You'll likely need more cake flour, such as approximately 1/3 cup total, and the texture will likely be more fluffy.

Vegetable oil should work, but will likely result in a cake that is a bit more crumbly and less moist, perhaps also giving a nuttier taste if sunflower oil is used. If you do give it a try, let us know how you find it 😊 We also preferred coconut oil because the hardening of coconut oil at room temperature helps maintain the structure of the cake a bit more. We hope this helps for now!

Magali - March 6, 2022, 2:03 a.m.

Delicious! My husband said it tasted like a wedding cake.

PUL Team - March 7, 2022, 5:10 a.m.

So happy to hear, Magali, thank you!

Petranka - Feb. 16, 2022, 4:57 p.m.

Can I use lemon juice instead of vinegar?

Saffron - Feb. 16, 2022, 6:52 p.m.

Yes, you can :)

PUL Team - Feb. 16, 2022, 10:18 p.m.

Hey, Petranka, and thanks for sharing, Saffron! Indeed lemon juice can be used. We hope you enjoy the cake 😊

Heleen - Jan. 22, 2022, 12:16 p.m.

Wow, what a gorgeous and delicious cake this is!! I made this for my birthday and everyone who tried a piece loved it. When I told them it was vegan, they could not believe it at first! Thank you so much for this recipe PUL team. Definitely going to make it again in the future :))

PUL Team - Jan. 23, 2022, 8:04 p.m.

So glad the cake was enjoyed! Wishing you the happiest of birthdays as well, Heleen 🥳❣️

Faye - Dec. 20, 2021, 9:44 p.m.

Hi PUL team and thank you for making my life tastier!!! Your recipes are so easy to cook and so far have not failed me!

Could I use double cream instead of coconut cream for this recipe? Although I like coconut, sometimes I feel the taste of coconut cream can be quite strong for me!

Thank you and happy holidays🎄

PUL Team - Dec. 21, 2021, 5:49 a.m.

Aw we're so honoured to hear, Faye - thank you 😃 Since we only use plant-based products here at PUL we haven't tested it out, but we hope you enjoy the cake if you're able to give it a try. Wishing you a very happy holidays as well 💚

Faye - Dec. 21, 2021, 1:54 p.m.

Thank you for the reply. I meant vegan double cream. I'm based in the UK and we have such a variety of vegan alternatives.

PUL Team - Dec. 21, 2021, 4:52 p.m.

Hey Faye, apologies for the confusion! So lovely to have access to various plant-based options 🙂 We haven't experimented with vegan double cream but believe it would work in the sauce. If you give it try and there's a stronger cream taste to the sauce than desired, adding a tad more syrup or sugar may help. We hope you enjoy the cake if you experiment with it 😃

Mihi - Dec. 11, 2021, 11:36 a.m.

Great recipe 😋

Mihi - Dec. 11, 2021, 11:36 a.m.

Hi guys, thanks for your awesome content I've been with you for 3 years from the beginning of my vegan lifestyle. I wanted to make this cake for my boyfriend's bday, like many others here do :) Can I double up on the ingredients and cut the cakes then in two so that the cake is taller, has 4 layers? I hope that makes sense and that the cake can be baked that thick. I'm a newb when it comes to sweets :)

PUL Team - Dec. 14, 2021, 2:57 a.m.

Hi Mihi! Thanks for sharing the kind words with us, and so nice of you to make a cake for your boyfriend. We're so grateful you've been part of the PUL family for so long too 💚

We haven't doubled this cake recently, although it's possible! If you choose to double the recipe, you could either split the batter between two pans, or use a taller pan depending on the height of yours to begin with. The cake will take a bit longer to bake, so we'd recommend checking in 3-5 minute increments after the initial 35 and removing the cake when the edges are golden and a thin wooden skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean 🙂

Jane - Oct. 22, 2021, 5:49 a.m.

Most delicious cake I’ve ever tasted let alone made myself!

PUL Team - Oct. 22, 2021, 4:30 p.m.

Such a big compliment, Jane! Huge props for making it on your own as well 🤗

Steph - Sept. 16, 2021, 9:57 a.m.

Made this as muffins and they were great!

Caitlen - Sept. 15, 2021, 3:46 p.m.

Hi PUL Team! I'm planning on baking this cake for my boyfriend's birthday - would it be ok to bake the cake (and decorate it) a day in advance? Thanks for all the absolutely delicious recipes!! :)

PUL Team - Sept. 15, 2021, 5:21 p.m.

Hey there, Caitlen, so honoured a PUL recipe is being considered for the special occasion! How nice of you to make a cake too 😃 You can definitely make the cake in advance, and adding the icing ahead of time is no problem as well 😊 I'd personally recommend adding the caramel and/or fruit just before serving though so that it looks the nicest. Our chocolate cake tends to stay fresh for longer so that may be another option if you're interested:…. Happiest of birthdays to your boyfriend 🥳

Michelle - July 28, 2021, 11:10 p.m.

Hello! I really want to make this cake for my mum’s birthday but I have a couple questions before I do 😊 First, can I swap the margarine in the caramel sauce for vegan butter? Also could I swap the coconut oil for vegan butter as well? And finally, I think I’ve seen cans of just coconut cream, would I be able to use that instead of taking it from canned coconut milk? Ah so sorry for so many questions!!

Ps I absolutely love your recipes and the new website looks amazing!!

PUL Team - July 29, 2021, 7:11 p.m.

Hi Michelle, so kind of you to make a cake for your mum's birthday! We appreciate your kind words so much as well 😃

We believe butter would work in place of margarine in the caramel sauce for certain. As for the butter in the cake itself, I'm not 100% sure, but my intuition tells me that should work as well. It will likely, though, impart a bit of a buttery taste to the cake, compared to refined coconut oil which is more neutral in flavour. But if you like the taste of vegan butter, that should be fine. Do let us know if you give the cake a try 🤗 And happy bday to your mum 🥳

Kayla - July 27, 2021, 6:53 a.m.

My family isn't usually into white/vanilla type cakes, (we always go for chocolate), but this cake is one big exception. Super moist, very rich caramel flavor.....ridiculously DELICIOUS! Thank you!!!

PUL Team - July 28, 2021, 7:50 p.m.

So glad the cake was enjoyed, Kayla! Thank you for taking the time to share :D

Ray - July 26, 2021, 1:48 p.m.

Can I use vegeable oi instead of coconut oil?

Ray - July 27, 2021, 3:21 p.m.

Hello, is anyone up for a little advise, I just want to know if I can use vegetable oil in place coconut oil???

PUL Team - July 28, 2021, 3:40 a.m.

Hey Ray, apologies that we couldn't answer your question right away. We haven't tried it ourselves so we can't say with 100% certainty, but we just chatted about it amongst the team and with our understanding of baking, we think vegetable oil should work, but will likely result in a cake that is a bit more crumbly and a bit less moist. If you do give it a try, let us know how you find it 😊 We also preferred coconut oil because the hardening of coconut oil at room temperature also helps maintain the structure of the cake a bit more. I hope this helps for now! 🍰

Ray - July 28, 2021, 2:27 p.m.

Really disappointed😔

Ariene - June 16, 2021, 6:32 p.m.

I recently made the chocolate cake, which is divine!! I used oat milk instead of soy milk for that recipe and it worked perfectly. Would that be possible for this recipe as well? Thank you for the wonderful recipes you share!

PUL Team - June 18, 2021, 1:55 a.m.

Hello, Ariene, thank you for the question! Oat milk will work in place of the soy milk. Happy baking 🎂

Emily - June 7, 2021, 12:59 a.m.

Hi! I just made this cake today and it was so delicious! The cake was moist and the frosting was amazing. Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe!

PUL Team - June 7, 2021, 3:26 p.m.

Thank you for taking the time to share the review, Emily, and so happy the cake was enjoyed 🤗

Kim - April 9, 2021, 7:01 a.m.

I made this cake for a Passover/Easter celebration and EVERYONE loved it!!

PUL Team - April 9, 2021, 11:15 p.m.

We're so glad everyone enjoyed it, Kim!

Silvia Pusceddu - March 27, 2021, 4:14 p.m.

Hello! I made this wonderful cake already twice! it is easy even if it takes a bit of time for the cooling and so on, which is normal. However, the cake taste is just amazing and it comes exactly as explained! My guests loved it a lot and it was great to prepare a vegan cake for non-vegans! they were so surprised! The sugars can be a little too much, but since it is an indulgence for every once in a while I can say this cake is just amazing, and 5 starts! Thank you so so much! I am now trying the chocolate on from you !!! Much Love xxx SIlvia

PUL Team - April 2, 2021, 7:26 p.m.

This is so lovely to hear, Silvia! Thanks for sharing your review with us 🥰