Oil-free Chocolate Cake with Cashew Vanilla Frosting. No applesauce here; the moisture in this cake comes from cooked sweet potato and non-dairy yogurt. You can’t taste the sweet potato at all, it just tastes like a rich chocolate cake! 

Piece of Oil-free Chocolate Cake with Cashew Frosting

Looking for a more traditional, rich chocolate cake? Make sure to check out this recipe for The Best Vegan Chocolate Cake!

Piece of Oil-free Chocolate Cake with Cashew Frosting
4.88 stars (8 ratings)

Oil-free Chocolate Cake

This cake is made with cooked sweet potato, non-dairy yogurt and whole wheat flour. The perfect cake if you are looking for a lighter option.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 10 servings


Dry ingredients:

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar, or regular sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup non-dairy chocolate chips, optional

Wet ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup cooked and peeled sweet potato, see notes
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy yogurt, plain or vanilla


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9 inch cake pan with oil, using as little as possible. You can also cut a circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan. This will make it easier to pop the cake out when it's done.
  • Add all dry ingredients, including chocolate chips, in a large bowl and stir to combine.
  • In a blender, add the cooked and cooled sweet potato, almond milk, apple cider vinegar and pure vanilla extract. Blend until very smooth.
  • Add the blended mixture to the dry ingredients, and also dump in the non-dairy yogurt. Stir with a wooden spoon until just combined, being careful not to over mix.
  • Add the cake batter to the pan, spreading it evenly with a spatula.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Let cool completely before frosting (recipe below.)


  1. I simply microwaved a sweet potato for about 5 minutes, until it was cooked through. You can also bake a sweet potato whole, and then measure out 3/4 cup. I don't recommend boiling sweet potato chunks, as that may make the cake too watery and it won't turn out right.
  2. I used a cashew based plain yogurt, but any non-dairy yogurt will work such as soy, almond, coconut or cashew. If you are avoiding extra sugar, try to find an unsweetened variety. 
  3. The chocolate chips are optional, but they add a lot to the cake! Calorie calculation includes chocolate chips.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 122kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 183mg | Potassium: 120mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1415IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!
Oil-free Chocolate Cake with Cashew Frosting
4.88 stars (8 ratings)

Cashew Vanilla Frosting

The key to this easy frosting is to soak your cashews in very hot water for an hour if possible. This will become your go-to healthy frosting. It's super low in sugar compared to most frostings, and it is completely oil free!
Prep: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 10 people



  • Boil a few cups of water. I do this by heating water in a tea kettle. Once it's boiling, pour it over the cup of cashews in a small bowl or measuring cup. Just cover the cashews. Set aside to soak for an hour.
  • Drain and rinse the soaked cashews.
  • In a blender, add the cashews, lemon juice, almond milk, maple syrup and vanilla. Blend for a few minutes until very smooth. You may need to scrape the sides a few times. 
  • Place the frosting in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before spreading onto the cooled cake. It can be used right away, but it will thicken up the longer it cools, which will make it easier to spread.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 90kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 10mg | Potassium: 99mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!



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  1. Hi, this seems like a wonderful cake. Can I omit the salt and use dates to sweeten instead of sugar? Os the salt really necessário? Thanks!

    1. The salt helps all of the other flavors stand out but you can skip it if you want. Substituting dates for the granulated sugar is difficult here, and I haven’t tried it so I’m not sure it will work. I would recommend using a granulated sweetener if possible.

  2. We always LOVE your recipes! Note to others – this frosting will not blend in a high-speed blender for a single batch. There’s just not enough to cover the blades.

  3. Disappointingly flat! No rise in it at all. I was super excited to make this cake for my husband’s birthday too.spent a lot of money on ingredients hoping that it would be good enough to make again but don’t know if I will now. What on earth went wrong?

    1. Hi Karen! Quite honestly, this cake is not light and fluffy like my Best Vegan Chocolate Cake. It’s a healthy alternative, and it’s most definitely more dense than a typical cake. If you enjoy healthy tasting cakes or need an oil free option, I think it’s really delicious. But it’s not normal cake. That said, mine rises a bit and it’s not dense like a brownie or anything. Make sure you are using baking powder and baking soda that is active and working, and don’t over mix or over bake the cake. All of those things can lead to a dense cake that doesn’t rise well.

  4. Hi Nora! I was planning to make your coconut cake with the cashew frosting on top ,and was wondeirng if the cashew frosting provides a good consistency for piping or not?

    1. Unfortunately the cashew frosting is not very pipe-able, so it’s best for single layer cakes. It’s much more runny than traditional frostings. If you chill it for some time, it will thicken up somewhat, but I still don’t think it would pipe very well. I’m sure it will taste great, though!

  5. Hi Nora. How do you make your frosting looking white? Mine looked beige- with both the maple syrup and vanilla extra being dark in color.. The taste is very on point tho, as expected! Thanks!

    1. I’m not sure, it might just be the lighting? It’s a little beige but pretty white I’d say when I make it. Though I sometimes use clear vanilla extract so that might have something to do with it. Glad you enjoyed it!

  6. Hi! Thank you for this recipe! How would you adjust the cake recipe if you didn’t include yogurt? Could I increase the almond milk by a 1/4 c or do you think it would be too runny? Any other suggestions? Maybe vegan butter? 

  7. Dear Nora,

    Do you always prefer using Hershey’s Special Dark dutched cocoa over the regular kind?

    So many of your recipes have become favorites in our household – we look forward to continuing to make our way through all of them! Thank you so much. You are truly appreciated. ❤️

    1. Thank you so much, that means so much to me! ❤️ I use both dutched cocoa powder and natural, just depending on the recipe and what I feel like. I find that usually they are pretty interchangeable in my recipes.

  8. I am used to taking recipes that have oil and using half oil/half applesauce. I don’t notice an applesauce flavor and don’t really need it to be oil free. Can you think of any measurements for a slightly less low fat version?

    1. I don’t actually use applesauce here, the moisture comes from cooked sweet potato and non-dairy yogurt. I haven’t tried it any other way, so I’m not sure what would work. I guess you could replace the yogurt with oil, or use half oil half applesauce instead of yogurt if you prefer. You could also just make my Best Vegan Chocolate Cake instead. Thanks!

  9. Made this to go with the oil free chocolate cake. It was delicious! Definitely needs a lot of blending for the cashews but the taste was perfect. Sweet enough but not sickening sweet.

    Thank you !!

  10. I was sooo skeptical but I have faith in Nora and her recipes. Needed a oil free recipe for husbands birthday. This was delicious!!! We all took small pieces bc we were doubtful, but then when we back for more and more.
    Thank you so much for such a yummy recipe for those who need to limit fat intake ( pancrease issues)

  11. Thank you for all the amazing recipes! I can’t wait to make this one for my birthday cake. Can I sub oat flour for the whole wheat flour ? 

  12. I made this yesterday! Everybody loved it sooo much. I didnt have the yoghurt though, and i used aqua faba instead, ( from beans)! So i took a little chance there but it turned out amazing. Thank you for this wonderful recipe. The frosting came out great too!! The cake vanished in one sitting!!

    1. I would probably double it for a 9 by 13 inch cake. The amount might be enough, but the layer will be very thin. Thanks!

  13. Hello. I just made this cake and it’s delicious! I have a big sweet tooth so I added more sugar than the recipe called for and also threw in extra chocolate chips. I also mixed melted chocolate chips into the cashew vanilla frosting to create a chocolate frosting which came out very well.
    Thanks for the recipe! I will be bringing it to an upcoming vegan pot-luck dinner (I’ll double it). I wanted to try it out first.

  14. Hi Nora, I made this and took it to the gym for my friends birthday. It was so good and most people came back for second serves. Thank you

  15. Hi! What did you sprinkle on top in the picture? Also I made the cake the night before, should I put it in the fridge?

    1. Yes, it could be doubled, you will need to increase the baking time though, probably to 40-45 minutes. Thank you, hope you enjoy it!

  16. I made this for my wife’s birthday and she loved it. Btw. We’re not so much into sugar and I cut all the sheets in 1/2 and the cake was still good

    1. I haven’t tried it with only almond flour, but I think it might work. The cake may be more dense and not need as much liquid though, so I’m really not sure. It would work better with a combination of almond flour and oat flour, or gluten free flour. Thanks!

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