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 (1557 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 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


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. Made this for my daughters birthday party and it went over amazing! I was afraid there wouldn’t be enough for me!! 

  2. Hi, I made the cake today, as a trial for my friend’s wedding. It tasted amazing but it fell apart. Please help. I don’t want to mess it up on the day. Could it be that I took it out of the pan too soon? I don’t think I waited the full ten minutes. 

    1. A few tips: make sure you have greased the pan very well AND always line the pans with a round of parchment paper. After at least 10 minutes of cooling, run a knife around the edges, then quickly but carefully flip the pan upside down on a cooling rack or more parchment paper on the counter. It should pop right out without breaking. If you have old pans that are super sticky, get new ones. You always have to handle cakes carefully so they do not break, and following these general tips should solve the problem. Hope that helps!

  3. This is my absolute favorite vegan chocolate cake recipe. The hot water really does make them come out super moist and delicious! Who doesn’t love chocolate cake with chocolate frosting?!

  4. This is truly the best chocolate I’ve ever made, vegan or not. The sponge cake is PERFECT. The frosting was too sweet for me (I used 4 cups of sugar), but that’s of course a matter of taste. I modified it by adding more cocoa and a pinch of pink salt, and it turned out great. All my guests (a party of 8) were raving about this cake.

  5. This is the best chocolate cake ever! Moist, not too sweet. Perfect for celebrations. Everyone suprised it is vegan! Thanks Nora for this creation.

  6. Although we are not 100% vegan this is my absolute favorite chocolate cake for any celebration! It’s so delicious and light AND easy to make. Has anyone tried to make this gluten free – if so how? Thanks!

  7. I wonder if you could help I have made this a few times, I always have to cook it for longer than stated, which is fine.  But the last one I made, the texture of the cake was very, very wet even though I cooked it for longer than stated, has anyone got any suggestions of what I could do? Could it be that my oven wasn’t hot enough and I needed to have it at a higher temperature? 

    Thanks very much ?

    1. It’s hard to say since you have made it before with success. Did you measure anything incorrectly this last time? Use a different sized pan?

  8. Made this last year for my vegan friend …I am not vegan. It is the moistest cake I have ever had and the frosting is fantastic.

  9. I love this recipe!!! Nobody in my family is vegan besides me and I told them I could make a vegan cake better then a regular one and I absolutely did!!! Using this recipe for a graduation party Saturday! 

  10. Hello, I was planning on making this in two 6×4 inch pans. What baking time and temp would you suggest? I was thinking 160c for 45 minutes?

    1. I’m not really sure, I’ve never tried it. You will just have to check with a toothpick and watch it closely.

  11. Nora, I love your cake!!! Oh my goodness, it’s nothing but mouthful after delicious mouthful of the most temptingly chocolatey rich and indulgent yumminess!!

    I am making the move from Veggie to Vegan and it’s recipes like this that really stand up and are a winner among all cakes, for all people, regardless of food preferences, not just the vegan offering!
    Thankyou for sharing your creativity and inspiration 🙂

    1. Hi Helen. Thank you for taking your time to share your wonderful comments! I am thrilled you love the cake! I love creating easy and delicious recipes, and your words mean a lot to me! I hope you enjoy your journey through my recipes! Happy cooking!

    2. Hi Nora! I am planning to make an ice cream layer in between two of these cakes, and wondering if this will freeze well, or be too hard? Thoughts? 

  12. I just love this recipe. However I made a huge mistake today – I forgot the applesauce and I subbed with flaxseed eggs. It was still yummilicious! This is my go to recipe for absolute indulgence!

    1. LOL! Glad your cake turned out yummy and that you love it! Thanks for sharing your wonderful review!

  13. This is the best vegan cupcake recipe I’ve found.  Absolutely delicious and prefer these to my usual non-vegan recipe!!!  Never going back now!!!

    Try these you won’t regret it!!!

    Amazing!!!! ?⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    1. Hi Louise. I’m glad you love my chocolate cake recipe, and am thrilled it is your go cake recipe! Thanks for sharing your fun and great review and comments!

  14. I am not vegan but trying to amp up my veg meals. I made this cake and it is a true beauty. So chocolatey and moist. My husband loved it. None left to freeze. A deep, dark chocolate masterpiece. Thank you Nora.

  15. Would I be able to make this as a single layer cake in a spring form pan?? Should I just bake for 45 minutes like with the Bundt cake?

    1. I’ve never tried it, but it might work. It may need even longer than that to bake, but I’m not sure.

  16. This cake was A-MAZING! I would have never been able to tell that it was vegan. Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes!!

    1. You are welcome! I’m glad you are loving my recipes! Thanks for taking time to share your great review!

  17. MY FAMILY IS OBSESSED WITH THIS CAKE (and I’m the only vegan) So delicious. Please please try it!

  18. This is the absolute best chocolate cake I’ve ever made or eaten. I made a two layer cake with the frosting exactly as shown. I do a lot of baking and have made lots of desserts but this is my favorite. I did refrigerate it after dinner the first night (and after sending home half with my guests). I put it in in the fridge and just before going to bed, wrapped it up. By then the frosting was firm and not mussed by wrapping. We ate the rest over the next three evenings and it continued to be excellent. Sadly, it was then all gone and I’ll never know how many days it might possibly last. LOL

  19. This was delicious! My family vegan and non vegan loved it. I would like to take it to a family gathering but my frosting seems to get very soft if left out of the fridge. Any suggestions or maybe an alternate frosting for an outside event.  Thank you!! I love your recipes. 

    1. Hi Tami! What sort of vegan butter are you using to make the frosting? I recommend using something that is not coconut oil based (so not Miyokos brand) so it doesn’t melt easily. I have good luck with earth balance, country crock and even melt brands. Also, don’t start with the butter TOO soft. It should be just barely softened, and perhaps even add less milk, only as much as needed to get it spreadable. This will help it be sturdy and hold up even outside the refrigerator, even outside on a warm day. Hope that helps!

      1. I came here to ask this. I’m taking a big chance and making it to transport in a cooler to a camping birthday party (!!) It will be in the cooler for roughly 36 hours. Do you think I’m making a huge mistake?

        1. No I think it will be totally fine! I’ve taken the cake on trips before, without a cooler. 🙂 Just make sure you don’t start with your vegan butter too melty for the frosting. Make it nice and thick!

      2. Going to make this cake this week and wondered if I could use soya milk instead of almond milk as I already have some in the fridge?

        Also, will it freeze well in individual sponges please?

  20. It looks greart! I’m graduating soon and hope o cook these for my picnic. Althought, I know not all my friends like chocolate so can I somehow turn this into vanilla?

  21. Amazing cake! The recipe, also makes AMAZING cupcakes! I used all all purpose gf flour and it was so moist and delicious!

    Do you think this cake can be refrigerated?

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