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 (1703 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

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 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 made this cake for Christmas. WOW, the best chocolate cake I’ve ever made. I felt like a rock star.
    I’m not vegan but I have a vegan family member. Your site is a god-send. Thank you!

    1. Hi Melissa. Thanks for your fun and wonderful feedback and review! I’m so glad the cake was just what you needed! I appreciate you using my recipes! Happy cooking!

      1. I just made this (in cupcake form) and it turned out perfectly! Can the cupcakes be stored at room temperature or should they be refrigerated?

        1. Hi Amy. How wonderful they turned out perfect for you! These can be stored either way. They last a bit longer if stored in the refrigerator. I love to store mine in the fridge, as I love this cake cold!

    1. Hi Stephanie. I have not added chocolate chips, however, other bakers have indicated that they have and it turned out great! Happy cooking!

  2. I made the cake layers from this cake, plus a recipe for frosting that didn’t call for powder sugar for my son’s birthday and he and his wife said it was the best cake they had ever eaten. It was sooo moist, and the frosting was good as well

    1. Hello! I’m glad the cake was a hit! Happy birthday to your son! Thanks for sharing your terrific feedback and review!

  3. I am no baker but this cake came out great!! Thank you.
    I made it for my daughters 17th birthday.
    I used a plant based cream for the centre with fresh strawberries and the chocolate icing on top. Delicious.

    1. Hi Sandy! Happy birthday to your daughter! Your cake sounds amazing! Thanks for your fabulous feedback, ideas, and review!

  4. Hi, my cake turned out gooey, I cooked it twice as long but still gooey, like a fudge brownie. I measured everything exactly.
    Do you know what this could’ve been from?

  5. Simply amazing… I made this cake for my 29th birthday last week and it was a huge hit. Even my father, who doesn’t care much for cake, came back for second and third helpings. Nora, thank you for discovering such a delicious and approachable recipe! I’m looking for an excuse to bake this once more… Easter cake?

    1. Hello, and happy birthday! I’m thrilled you love the cake, and that it was a hit! Thanks for your fabulous feedback and review! I say bake a cake whenever you want to!

  6. I made your recipe in cupcake form for my daughter’s 15th birthday because half of her friends are vegan. They turned out amazing and everyone wanted one! Thanks!!

    1. You are welcome! Happy birthday to your daughter! I’m glad the cupcakes were a hit! Thanks for sharing your fabulous feedback!

    1. Hi Maryann. I think a hand mixer or standing mixer is necessary to get a light texture on the cake. Others have mixed it by hand, and commented that the cake itself turned out ok. The icing mixed by hand was lumpy. I hope this helps!

  7. Hi , this is the most amazing cake i have ever tried, been requested to make a Coffee and Walnut , what would you put instead of cocoa powder , more flour or something else?

  8. What are your thoughts on using Dutch processed cocoa instead of natural cocoa in this recipe? I am out and trying to save a trip to the market. My grandpa requested a chocolate cake for his 89th birthday.
    Thanks!

    1. I don’t recommend it. Dutch process cocoa powder isn’t acidic, unlike natural cocoa powder. This means that it will not react (create gas bubbles) when mixed with the baking powder/soda and your cake may not rise very much. Natural cocoa powder will always give you the best results here!

  9. Hi! Thanks for the amazing recipe. Im wondering if this batter could be made ahead of time and refrigerated to be baked another day? If so how should I do this? Should i wait before adding boiling water? Thank you.

    1. Hi Ellis. I’m glad you are enjoying the cake! I don’t know think making the batter ahead of time and refrigerating would work well, sorry to say! I feel like the cakes might come out dense letting the batter sit that long. I could be wrong. If you try it, let me know.

  10. Hi, I like know if I want to have a vanilla frosting instead of chocolate, can I replace the amount of cocoa with powered sugar I stead? Coz I want to make a mix with bleu and white color.

    Thank you

      1. Hi Nora,
        Thank you for your reply.
        I like also if I can put a whole butter into on 9 inches cake pan instead of two because I don’t have 2 of them. Then after when it gets cold, I can cut it into two pieces. If yes, what is the cook time around? Thank you.

  11. My sister just made this cake for my birthday and it was AMAZING!!! Best chocolate cake I’ve ever had. I’m going to make them as cupcakes this weekend for a dinner party.

    1. Happy birthday, Suzan! I’m thrilled that you loved the cake! Thank you for sharing your fantastic feedback and review!

  12. HEllooo making this amazing pice or art for the third time! HOW long do you think it can last in the fridge? With a lid on.

    THANK YOU! 🙂

    1. Hi Anna. I’m glad you are enjoying the cake! It will last about 4-6 days when stored in the refrigerator.

  13. Super super sweet. Though do agree it was very moist. But lacked structure as a result. Would not make again.

    1. Think of it like vegan buttermilk. It creates gas bubbles in the batter when combined with the leavening agents, leaving you with a fluffier and more tender cake!

  14. I love this recipe…! It is absolutely a delicious and indulgent vegan treat.!
    My only question is how do you store it…. In the fridge or is it fine on a cake stand with its glass lid.?

    1. You can store it either on the counter or in the fridge if you want. I usually just store it on the counter. A cake stand with a lid is perfect. Thanks!

    1. Hi Anne. Yes, that’s fine. It will add a bit of sweetness, so decrease the sugar a bit if you like, but I have used sweetened milk before with the listed amount of sugar and didn’t think it was too sweet. Enjoy!

  15. As a nursing mama who went dairy-free for baby 14 months ago, THANK YOU!!!!! This recipe is so decadent and delicious! This is my go to recipe now and family and friends who do not have dietary restrictions request this recipe. I found your recipe in April of 2022 and am so glad I did. Thank you again!!

  16. Made it yesterday. Turned out amazing. Followed the recipe to the tee except used brown sugar instead of regular granulated sugar.
    This is definitely my go-to chocolate cake recipe now 🙂

  17. This truly is THE BEST VEGAN CHOCOLATE CAKE! Actually … THE BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE EVER vegan or NOT!
    Amazing!

  18. Decidedly simply superb! THE most delicious chocolate cake ever, enjoyed by everyone and I now need to replace my signature non-vegan chocolate cake with yours by popular demand. Thank you very much for your wonderful recipe.

  19. Thank you for this delicious recipe. I made it for my husband’s birthday and it was a hit! The fact that is vegan and tastes so good is amazing! I will make sure to share the recipe.

  20. This is soooo delicious. Every time I make it I get compliments. I got a recent compliment from someone who has eaten chocolate cake from all over and he said this one was hands down the best. That is especially gratifying to hear because I made it gluten free AND vegan. Making it again this weekend for more company.

      1. Everyobe loved the delicious cake! Thank you for the recipe! Do you also have a vegan vanilla cake recipe? Would love to try it for my little one who prefers vanilla cake over chocolate. 🙂

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