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 (1694 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. Any possible substitutions for the baking powder here? Can’t find any without corn in it in my town and dealing with a corn allergy. Thanks.

    1. You can probably use baking soda instead, but only use 1/2 teaspoon. I haven’t tried this myself, but I hope it will work!

      1. I ended up making a “homemade” baking powder out of soda & cream of tartar 1:2 ratio and it worked out great. Thanks so much for these amazing recipes!!

  2. Hi! Planning to make this this weekend for my daughter’s third birthday. I need it to last at room temp for about 24 hours. If I cover it, do you think it’ll be okay?

    1. Yes, it would be ideal if you have a cake carrier or holder with a lid, so the frosting doesn’t get smudged like it might if you cover it with plastic wrap. But it will be fine if frosted at room temperature for 24 hours. Hope everyone enjoys!

  3. Can I use an 8 inch Square Cake pan to make this recipe? I couldn’t find the round cake pan, only an 8 inch square cake pan. If so, would it be possible to make 2 layers of it along with the buttercream holding it together?

    1. You could make two 8-inch square sized cakes out of the recipe. The layers will be a bit thinner, but it will work.

  4. Yep it’s true this is the best chocolate cake ever. Took it to a party and the whole cake was eaten. Not joking. Nothing left on any of the plates. I was treated like the queen of the party with people thanking me for bringing the cake, literally. Amazing success. I followed the recipe to the letter and it worked out amazingly. Only thing was the topping slumped as the cake was slightly warm so put in fridge and came back to being workable and the cake looked amazing. Thanks for great recipe.

  5. Just made this cake 2 days ago. It tastes better than any chocolate cake I’ve ever had. I couldn’t believe I had made such a delicious dessert and had to share it with my closest friends when we got together for lunch. Everyone loved it! It’s so good to know I have a go-to cake when needed. I’m so encouraged, I’m gonna try making Nora’s lemon cake next. Thank you, Nora, for this amazing recipe!

  6. Storage question— how far in advance can you make this and should it be left at room temperature tightly sealed or put in the fridge, or?

    1. You can make the cake, frosted or unfrosted, a day ahead and keep it in the fridge. Cover the cake with a lid or plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out. This cake also freezes well, frosted or unfrosted. Enjoy!

    1. It’s okay, this happens to me sometimes and the cake still turns out fine so don’t worry about it here.

  7. Hello!
    Could I bake this cake if I only have one 9-inch cake pan? I understand it will take much longer but are there any other cons for baking with one pan besides time?

    Thank you!

    1. I would cut the recipe in half if you want 1 9-inch cake. Or, make one pan at a time (since you only have one pan). That would work as well. I’m afraid if you put all the batter in one pan, it will be too tall and burn on the outside before it bakes inside. But it might work.

    1. Hi Sarah. This recipe yields 16 servings. The information is listed just above the ingredients list. I hope this helps!

  8. Hey Nora
    I am just wondering if you have any advice to make this gluten free. Would I just use the same quantity of gluten free flour? Or do I need to adjust the quantity of the flour/other ingredients/oven temp/cook time to achieve similar result (density, moistness, texture)?

  9. Thank you, Nora. This cake is amazing. I didn’t have applesauce on hand but I had apple pie filling, which I blended up with an immersion blender. The apple pie filling was sweetened so I used 1/4 less sugar. And I didn’t have unsweetened almond milk on hand, just sweetened chocolate almond milk, which I used for both cake and frosting. All turned out great!

    1. Hi Diane. I’m glad the cake turned out great with the substitutions! Thanks for sharing your wonderful review and baking experience!

    1. I’ve never tried this myself, so I’m not totally sure. My guess is you’d want to cut the recipe in half (unless making two loaf cakes). And it will need to bake for maybe around 50-60 minutes I think.

  10. Hi love! Is there anything that replaces the apple sauce? I know banana can do but I don’t want the banana flavor lol

    1. Sure! You can use 2 flax eggs (2 tbs ground flax mixed with 5 tbs water), or vegan yogurt. In a pinch, you could probably just use more oil. Hope that helps!

      1. Hi Nora, how do you use the banana as the apple sauce substitute? And how much? This will be the first cake I’ve ever made and it’s for my 2 year old boys birthday. Thank you

  11. Hello. I’m wondering if you can tell me how I should store this cake? I’m making cupcakes for tomorrow, and I’m hoping I can make these ahead of time. I’m assuming I can keep on the counter till tomorrow when I make the icing?

  12. Hi, I made this as a practice run last week and plan on making it tonight for a 90th birthday party tomorrow. I’m going to double it to make a larger cake. I’m in Ireland and use metric but the conversions are off when I click on them so I’m a bit worried it won’t work out.Would I be better off converting from your cups to metric myself rather than using the tab at the top or am I missing something? Fabulous cake and so easy thanks!(just the conversion problem eg too much sugar on conversion!)Aoife

    1. I wonder if your cups are different sizes than U.S. cups? Because here 1 3/4 cups of granulated sugar does in fact equal 350 grams. I would go by my metric measurements in case your cups are different sizes. Sorry for any confusion, and I hope that helps!

  13. My son and mother both celebrated their 18th birthdays this month (she is obviously a Leap Year baby) and both love dark chocolate. I have honestly never made a vegan GF chocolate dessert that turned out this amazing! Seriously…thanks for a fantastic recipe!

    Slight modifications made: I dont cook/bake with oil so I used homemade aquafaba instead and left out the salt. Also used Namaste gluten free flour and brown rice flour equal mix with 1 tbsp psyllium.

    Absolutely fantastic! Would give more than 5 stars if possible!

      1. I want to make this for my partner’s birthday later this month. We live at high altitude, around 4300 feet, but I don’t see any adjustments. What do you recommend?

  14. I’ve been using this particular Vegan Chocolate Cake recipe for many years. It’s by far the best chocolate cake ever! Family and friends are always surprised when they find out it’s vegan. This cake has a rich chocolate taste and a moist texture. It’s wonderful for making cupcakes.

    1. Hi Harry. Thanks for your wonderful words about the chocolate cake! I’m thrilled you are loving the cake! Wishing you lots of happy baking!

  15. Absolutely wonderful! Looked just like the picture. Tasted fabulous. Cut like a dream. I’ll make again and again! Served with SO Delicious coconut milk “ice cream”. Perfection!

    1. HI Patti! I love your awesome feedback and review! Thank you for taking time to share your wonderful review and feedback!

    1. I would not sub maple syrup as it’s a liquid and would affect the overall structure of the cake. You could try lowering the amount of sugar called for, or you could replace it with coconut sugar in the cake itself. This will affect the flavor, but if you don’t mind that I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. I hope this helps!

  16. Delicious and moist chocolate cake.
    This was my first time making a vegan cake and it was for my son’s 21st birthday so no pressure.
    I hadn’t realised you had a gluten free chocolate cake so just swapped to a gluten free flour. It turned out perfect and far nicer than any shop bought free from cake and no one would have guessed it was vegan. I am looking forward to trying more things from your recipes as my son and I are both dairy and egg free.
    Thank you so much for all the detail and swap options you have in your recipes I just used half the buttercream amount when I saw that the recipe makes a thick frosting and it was the perfect amount for us.

    1. Hi Cheryl. Welcome go my site! What a brave experiment you undertook! I’m glad the cake turned out wonderful for your son’s birthday! Happy birthday to him! I appreciate you taking time to share your encouraging words and wonderful review! Please reach out with any questions you may have as you journey through my recipes! Happy cooking!

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