The Best Vegan Chocolate Cake- A quick and easy recipe, made in 1 bowl! This really is the best chocolate cake ever, vegan or otherwise. It’s super moist, rich and full of chocolate. 

slice of vegan chocolate cake on a plate

My birthday was a few weeks ago, so what did I do? I asked my mom to watch all 3 kids for a few hours so I could create and photograph the BEST EVER Vegan Chocolate Cake. Pretty great birthday if you ask me! 😉

For some reason, every time I get a vegan piece of cake out (such as at Whole Foods or elsewhere), I am disappointed. The frosting is usually yummy, but the cake part is either 1. strange tasting OR 2. super dry, not moist at all. Seriously disappointing.

I’ve also made a few of the vegan chocolate cake recipes out there, but even those weren’t quite moist enough or perfect enough for my taste. So I did a little thinking and experimenting and I finally came up with the best, most perfectly moist and delicious vegan chocolate cake recipe!

vegan chocolate cake with a slice taken out of it

The frosting is a mouthwatering, ultra rich chocolate buttercream. I recommend using earth balance vegan buttery sticks, I haven’t found another brand that tastes quite as good.

If you are looking for a lighter alternative, check out this Chocolate Cake with Cashew Vanilla Frosting. There is nothing “light” about this Chocolate Cake! It is a full on indulgent recipe. And I’m okay with that.

 

 

vegan chocolate frosting in a bowl with a whisk

What is the secret to a super moist vegan chocolate cake?

A couple of things make this cake super moist. The applesauce helps (don’t worry, you can’t taste it). But the BIG secret is to add a cup of boiling hot water to the cake batter right before baking. It makes such a difference!

The batter will appear runny when you add it, but don’t worry, that is completely correct and exactly what it should be like. It results in the most moist, delicious chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted!

vegan chocolate cake frosted close up

If you are craving a chocolate fix about now, or are new to being vegan and miss good tasting cake, give this recipe a try! It’s easy to make and hard to mess it up.

OR if you are wanting to try something other than chocolate, give this Vegan Lemon Cake a go! It’s one of my most popular dessert recipes, and impresses people every time I make it.

slice of vegan chocolate cake with a fork taking a bite.

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Recipe inspired by Add A Pinch.

slice of vegan chocolate cake with a fork taking a bite.
4.96 stars (1394 ratings)

The Best Vegan Chocolate Cake

The Best Vegan Chocolate Cake- A quick and easy recipe, made in 1 bowl! This really is the best chocolate cake ever, vegan or otherwise. It's super moist, rich and full of chocolate. 
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 55 mins
Servings: 16 servings

Ingredients 
 

Chocolate Cake

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil OR melted coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups earth balance vegan butter, softened baking sticks preferred
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4-1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

Instructions 

For the Chocolate Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease two 9-inch cake pans. I also line them with parchment rounds and lightly flour for easy removal of the cakes later.
  • Measure 1 cup unsweetened almond milk and add the tablespoon of vinegar to it. Stir slightly and set aside to curdle.
  • In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk well to combine.
  • Now add the oil, applesauce, vanilla and almond milk/vinegar mixture. Mix on medium speed with a hand mixer (or stand mixer with the paddle attachment) until well combined. 
  • Lower the speed and carefully pour in the boiling water, continuing to mix into the cake batter until combined. The batter will seem very runny at this point; that is how it should be, trust me!
  • Divide the batter evenly between your cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. After 10 minutes of cooling in the pan, carefully remove the cakes from the pans and let cool completely before frosting.

For the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • Add the cocoa powder to a large bowl (I just wipe out the cake bowl and use it for the frosting). Whisk well to remove any clumps.
  • Add the softened vegan butter and mix with a hand mixer until creamed and well combined.
  • Add half of the powdered sugar and half of the almond milk, and mix until combined. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Mix starting on low, and turn to high. Mix until fluffy and combined.
  • If the frosting seems too dry, add more milk, a tablespoon or two at a time. If the frosting seems too wet and doesn't hold it's shape, add more powdered sugar until it thickens up. 
  • Frost the cake using an icing spatula or just a butter knife.

Video

Notes

  1. For cupcakes, fill liners half full and bake for 20-25 minutes. The whole recipe will yield approximately 24 cupcakes.
  2. Double the recipe to make a 4 layer cake, or cut in half to make a 1 layer round cake. You can also make a bundt cake, simply bake for 45 minutes. Or a 9 x 13 inch cake, baking for about 35-40 minutes.
  3. Don't like a lot of frosting? Cut the frosting ingredients in half. The recipe as written makes enough for thick layers of frosting.
  4. Nut allergy? You may substitute soy milk or another milk for the almond milk, any non-dairy milk will work here.
  5. No applesauce? Substitute 2 flax eggs (2 tbs ground flax + 5 tbs water), whipped aquafaba or another egg replacer such as Bob's Red Mill (2 eggs worth). 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 496kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 408mg | Potassium: 222mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 53g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!
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Comments

  1. I bake a lot and am vegan so always trying to find nice vegan dessert recipes and this is by far the BEST most moist, lightweight, fluffy vegan cake I have ever made. Thank you so much for this recipe

    1. This is the best chocolate cake ever! I have not attempted the chocolate frosting as I use a healthier frosting with not so much sugar. I’m curious though about trying the frosting out tomorrow. Is there another alternative to using the butter? Have you had any success making your own powdered sugar out of coconut sugar or cane sugar?

  2. Best chocolate cake and chocolate butter cream frosting I’ve ever made and eaten. Husband, children and grandchildren loved it too. Follow the recipes exactly. Happy eating.

  3. Hi Nora
    This is one of my favorite cakes to make for my boys but I have had an issue with the icing where the. Milk begins to separate from the icing and it becomes watery. Not sure what could be causing this. Yet other times it comes out perfect. Any ideas as to why this happens?
    Thx

    1. Hi there! It might have something to do with how soft your butter is when you begin. If it’s really soft, like almost melting soft, the milk may try to separate. The other thing to try is just adding less milk, a little at a time, until it’s just right. You don’t have to add it all at once. Hope that helps!

  4. Never used cake flour before, but recently got some for free. Was wondering if I could use that and still have it be just as yummy?

    1. I haven’t tried it, but I have a feeling cake flour might be too light for this cake. It might work okay, but I can’t say for sure since I haven’t tested it. I do love using cake flour in almost all of my other cake recipes though.

  5. Absolutely delicious! I pulled the cakes out too soon the first time, but now I keep it in closer to 35 min and it comes out great every time! So moist! So chocolatey! I recently made the chocolate cake and layered it with your custard recipe instead of frosting—it was uniquely decadent! Next, I’m trying it with an Oreo frosting. Thanks for all of your great recipes!

    1. Thank you for your wonderful feedback! I’m so glad you are loving the cake! I like the idea of trying the different frostings! Happy baking!

  6. I am not a baker or a Vegan and I loved this recipe! Sooooo yummy! However, I made it into cupcakes and the cake stuck to the inside of the cupcake liners. Any advice on how to get them not to stick? (Again, I am not a baker so this might be a very simple fix that I just don’t know about!) Thanks!!

    1. Hi there! So glad you love this recipe. A simple fix is to spray the liners with oil before you fill them with batter. Then they won’t stick! Hope that helps.

  7. I made this cake and it came out great! I’m wondering if I can use this recipe for a tiered cake or do you think it would be too soft to stack?

  8. So I’m out of powdered sugar and will need to get tomorrow and frost.
    Wondering how I should store the cake rounds overnight?

  9. Hello Nora! I am a huge fan of your taste buds and skill. I absolutely love all of the things I try from you. I do need some help with this recipe specifically though. I have made it numerous times because it is the best taste and texture cake ever but ever time I make it wether cake or cupcake it rises on the edges but not the center. The texture is the same throughout. It doesn’t not rise and fall, it just rises weird. I have tried cooking longer and checking ingredient freshness, I even tried modifying amount slightly for elevation. All were still delicious but behaved the same. Thanks for any help you may have to offer.

    1. Hi Michelle, thank you for your lovely words! If the cake isn’t rising properly, it’s possible that the batter was overmixed, the cake was underbaked, or the oven temperature is off (all ovens vary in temp). One of the most important things is not to overmix the batter because if the air is knocked out, then the cakes will fall instead of rise. I hope this helps for next time!

  10. I love this cake! Simply AMAZING!!! Is it ok to use cake flour instead of all purpose and if so, same amounts? Thank you!

    1. I’m afraid cake flour will make it too wet, it’s already so moist and light as it is. So glad you love the cake, thanks!

  11. Nora, you are my go-to for any recipe but this is the first time I felt it necessary to comment on one. I made this for a bake sale at school based on the comments. I made the cake exactly as it stated but it was a bit crumbly (used canola oil) and almost didn’t serve it because of that. BUT I did and…people were crazy about this cake! Everyone who ate it was not vegan. “OMG….this cake is Amazing! I don’t even like chocolate cake but I would order this on a menu”, “This is the BEST chocolate cake I’ve ever had. I’d never know it was vegan. It’s the best chocolate cake ever.” Said innocently by one of my 8th grade girls, “I know you’re vegan but this is the best cake! Are there vegetables in it?!” (LOL), “I need to buy another piece”, “Can I have the recipe?” and…”Can you make this for my birthday?” So, it was a hit!
    What I’d do differently? Cut the frosting in half. It was A LOT. I’m going to cut the recipe in half and bake it in an 8×8 pan to use the rest of the frosting. I hope it works!

    1. Hi Jill. I’m thrilled the cake was a hit at the bake sale! This is a really moist cake, so not sure why turned out crumbly. Thank you for sharing all the fun comments from those who tasted the cake! Happy baking!

  12. This is not only the best vegan chocolate cake recipe – it is simply the best chocolate cake and frosting recipe! It is moist, flavorful and rich. I have made it several times and it is consistently excellent.

  13. This really is the best chocolate cake of all time. Rated so by vegans and non-vegans alike. I make it every year for my son’s birthday. Thank you!

  14. Hi! This recipe looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it. One question (and sorry if you already answered this in one of the comments): have you tried this with other plant-based milks and does it make a difference? I’m making it for a party where there will be a boy who is allergic to eggs and tree nuts so am planning to use oatmilk instead of almondmilk.

  15. This cake tasted wonderful, but both of the cakes ended up being very crumbly and hard to work with. As soon as I set them out to cool, they both started to crack. I’d love to make this recipe again, but wondering where I might have gone wrong. Thanks!

  16. My favourite cake! I make this all time and it is a huge hit. I am wondering how to adapt it to a white cake as my friend is getting married and loves the chocolate version but would like white cupcakes for her wedding. I could easily just omit the cocoa but that’s 3/4 cup of volume so wondering what to replace it with? Suggestions? Thanks!

  17. Hi, I’m thinking about giving this a try but I was shocked at seeing the amount of sugar. Where I’m from the buttercream is not at all common and although I bake regularly I’ve never came across a recipe using more than two cup of sugar for the whole cake. So this is quite shocking. Is there a way to not make it so sweet?

    1. Hi Diana. Using less sugar could cause the cake to be too moist, so do not omit too much. Coconut sugar is my substitute of choice, however, it can change the overall flavor and color. For the frosting, you could use less of it (just a thin layer all over the cake). If you want to use less sugar in the frosting, it may work to add less milk and powdered sugar, to taste. Or find another healthier frosting recipe you prefer, and use it instead. I hope this helps.

        1. Using less sugar could cause the cake to be too moist, so do not omit too much. Coconut sugar is my substitute of choice, however, it can change the overall flavor and color. I hope this helps.

  18. Many many years ago my husband and I stayed in San Antonio on the river walk. One of the restaurants had a chocolate seduction cake that was absolutely to die for. I think about that cake quite often and haven’t found anything close to how heavenly it was until we tried this recipe! This is the best chocolate cake recipe out there between vegan and regular and every time we make it no one can believe it’s vegan! My daughter loves this cake so much that she is making it for her own birthday tomorrow! Thank you Nora for an amazing cake that’s rich and chocolatey and makes me feel like I’m back in San Antonio!

    1. Yes, it should be fine! Just cover and wrap the frosted (or unfrosted) cake and store it in the refrigerator. It can also be frozen for 3 months.

    1. Yes, a 12 cup bundt cake pan should work for this recipe. Grease all of the crevices thoroughly in your bundt cake pan with vegan butter and/or cooking spray so it doesn’t stick! Bake for about 45 minutes. Enjoy!

    2. Hi Nora,

      I’m not a Vegan but I must say that this was really an amazing experience to bake it for my colleague who is a vegan and she loved it 😃
      I did however use cake flour and it came out perfect 👍🏽 really moist! I also just used butter(vegan), vanilla extract and powder sugar, I didn’t add any milk(oat milk) and it was 110% 😂😂

  19. The cake itself is an amazing vegan recipe. Every person who tried it absolutely loved it. It was rich and chocolatey and super moist. I’m so happy I found this recipe for all my vegan friends who are chocolate cake lovers!

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