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 (1596 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 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings: 16 servings


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


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.



  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). 


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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  1. Loved this recipe! Thank you so much Nora! We used homemade non-vegan frosting, and it turned out great. Moist and delicious, does not taste like a compromise at all!

  2. Nora — amazing as always! Perfect for my girlfriends birthday. Only thing I added was roughly 2 tablespoons of instant coffee to enhance the cocoa flavor.

    PS – when are you making a cookbook? I’m obsessed!

    1. Well, hello Nora! I’m thrilled you are loving the cake! Thank you for your wonderful support – a cookbook is a goal! I appreciate your wonderful feedback! Thank you!

  3. Absolutely the best chocolate vegan cake. My kids would eat the entire cake in one sitting if I let them! Your carrot cake is also awesome! Thank you.

  4. Soooooooo good! I’ve made this recipe several times and every single time, friends are either shocked that it’s dairy free or shocked that it’s a cake they like. Huge hit and I’m so happy to have found it!

    I do have a couple friends who are also GF. Any chance you are familiar with swapping the flour with almond flour? I’ve heard it doesn’t bind as well so I wasn’t sure if that would make this recipe tricky since it already doesn’t have eggs to bind.

  5. Hi Nora! I’d like to use self-rising flour in this recipe. I read that it could be substituted for AP flour, but with the addition of baking soda (if called for in the recipe). Do you think it would work here? Thanks!

    1. Hi there! Self rising flour just won’t work very well in this recipe! I do not recommend using it! Hope this helps!

      1. Thanks, Nora! I ended up making this with the AP for a birthday party and it was a hit!! This was the first party in a while where the kids requested a SECOND cupcake. It’s is a fantastic recipe (and so chocolaty) – thank you so much for sharing 🙂

  6. I hope you’re watching the new series’ Recipes for love and Murder’. They sure seem to be using this recipe including your remarks on the second episode. Wonderful.

  7. hi nora,

    i have a question – i am not vegan but looking for dairy free – can i sub the applesauce with 2 regular eggs? also, do you think i could bake this in 6″ tins? 2 or 3 tins and how long if u have a rough idea..

    thank you!

    1. Hi Sam. I haven’t made it with regular eggs, however, I think it would work with 2 eggs. The cake can be baked in three 6″ pans, for about 20 minutes. Watch them closely. I hope this helps!

  8. I used this recipe for my son’s birthday. I doubled the recipe to make a layer cake and cupcakes.
    I substituted the almond milk with coconut due to an allergy, but the results were so astonishing, I sent the recipe to three other people! My MIL and my best friend are both the type to not have cake on birthdays, but they both tried it and even asked for more to take home with them! Being newly allergic to the top 8 allergens, I struggle to find recipes that accomodate me and my son (most tree nuts, other than coconut) and spend a lot of time researching how to alter each recipe for our safety.
    I will never use another recipe for chocolate cake ever again. In fact, I am making my own birthday cake this year with this recipe and I know that everyone will be expecting to have a slice for now and later. Thank you so much for sharing this gem with the world!

  9. OMG is all I can say. I have made this recipe several times but I add coffee to the boiling water. People that aren’t vegan be begging me for more. I never have leftovers.

  10. My friend made this for my birthday tonight & everyone loved it! Honestly, this was my dream birthday cake. Chocolatey decadence. We served it with vegan vanilla ice cream & it was a match made in heaven. I’m so glad she found your recipe & totally nailed it!!

  11. If I want to use Aquafaba as the vegan egg, how much should I use? Is the measurement based on after it has been whipped or before?
    In some whipping recipes I have seen people add a little cream of tartar to stabilize. Is that something I can add?

    1. Hi there, I’m not sure how aquafaba would work here, as I haven’t tested it. My guess would be no more than 1/2 cup, after whipping. Sometimes I add cream of tartar to help it whip, but not always and I’m not sure how it will affect the overall texture/taste of this particular recipe.

  12. Made the chocolate cake for my husband’s birthday and it was a big hit. This is the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had. Your recipes are always amazing!!

    1. How awesome the cake was a hit! Thank you, Dana, for sharing your terrific feedback! Happy birthday to your husband!

    2. I have made this chocolate cake many times, it’s always the most popular dessert on the table! It’s so rich and moist. They can’t believe it’s vegan, that makes it even better! 😁

  13. Looks great! Making this for our daughters 13th birthday. Question about the frosting… salted, or unsalted? Thanks.

  14. Hi! I absolutely LOVE this cake! It is so delicious and moist!! I have made it over and over again for friends and family! I love how you use the boiling water! It changes the texture! How do you make this exact but Vanilla? Im thinking that just omitting the cocoa powder is not the only way. Thanks Nora!!

    1. I’m so happy you love this cake, Ana! The recipe actually doesn’t work with the chocolate removed (I’ve tested it) but you might like my vanilla cake recipe instead. It’s light, fluffy, and moist!

  15. I make one cake a year for my fiance’s birthday and after this recipe was such a hit last year(or the year before…), this recipe is it. Here’s to another year of chocolate cake!

  16. Can’t wait to use these for my son’s 6th birthday. Could you share storage tips? How long do they last and best way to keep them fresh? Thanks!

    1. Hi Angela. The cake can be covered and stored on the counter or in the refrigerator. It will be good for about 2 days on the counter, longer in the refrigerator. The cake also freezes really well. I love it after it has been refrigerated – that’s my favorite way to store it! Enjoy, and happy birthday to your son!

  17. I’ve made this twice now. This is the best chocolate cake I’ve made, and it just so happens to be vegan. Even my family that is scared of vegan food admits that it’s great! This is my go to cake recipe now. Thank you!!

  18. After 35 minutes, mine is never cooked through 🥺 i need to let it go for about an hour and then it sinks a bit. Why is that?

  19. Absolutely incredible! My 2 year Old son is allergic to dairy and eggs among other things so I’ve always struggled to find a good cake recipe for him. This one is absolutely perfect and better than any non-vegan cake I’ve had for sure!

    We use unsweetened soy milk instead of almond milk because he’s allergic to nuts and it turns out great. We also use Country Crock plant butter sticks for the frosting and they work great.

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