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. This was incredible, everyone absolutely loved it!

    Now I have to make it again for another friend who is gf. Can I replace the flour with gluten-free? Or buckwheat? Do I need to modify anything else in the recipe to keep it moist?

    1. I’ve never made this cake with aquafaba, so I’m not sure and I don’t know how it will work. Probably will be okay, and I would use the same amount.

  2. Ok, I’m looking around for vegan cakes for me and my daughters birthday which is July 9, yes I gave birth on my birthday. And  this is the first cake I’m looking at and I see you said your birthday is in July? Care to tell me which day.??
    So this is definitely meant to be. Will be making your glorious cake for us.

    1. That’s so funny Gail, what are the odds that you and your daughter share a birthday? How fun. My birthday is July 10th! I hope you both have a wonderful birthday and enjoy this cake!

  3. This was one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve tasted, non vegan included. I added a little espresso powder to the batter and frosting to bring out chocolate flavor. 

  4. Great cake, just a bit too much butter cream for our taste. Will make less of that next time. Non-vegans were blown away though!

  5. Best cake recipe ever! Made it this past weekend for my daughter and everyone loved it! Had an issue with the icing being kind of hard. Think I didn’t measure wrll but one of the best vegan desserts I’ve ever made. This is definitely going in the recipe book.

  6. Hi there! I made this for my husband for Father’s Day and it was DELICIOUS—but actually a little too moist. One layer completely fell apart on me! I’m wondering what I did wrong or if you have any advice for next time (because it was so good that there will definitely be a next time!)

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the cake! I’m not sure why it fell apart, though you definitely have to handle this cake very gently as this one is quite moist, tender and light. I’ve made it countless times, and it has never broken on me, other than maybe a few cracks when I wasn’t very careful. My best suggestion would be to handle it very gently and slowly. Don’t lift it from the sides only, but get a good hold of the bottom as well. I hope this helps!

  7. I fixed this for my book club, and it was a huge hit. I heard that at least one person had a hard time believing it was vegan. Delicious recipe!

  8. Thank you for this cake recipe! Just made this yesterday for my son’s birthday and it was even better than I had hoped. It was rich, delicious and full on chocolate overload.

  9. This is truly the best vegan chocolate cake.  I am always getting requests to make it. 
    Question, could I substitute brewed coffee for the water?

    1. Hi Judy. I would not use cake flour here, because it’s too light. Typically I use it in other cake recipes, just not this one. Hope that helps!

  10. made this for the first time for a school  end of year teachers dinner. it had to be frozen for two weeks. they Loved it!!!

  11. Oh my gosh! Best chocolate cake EVER! Made it for my vegan child for her birthday 3 years ago…and every year since! Even my meat eater friends and family wanted the recipe! My daughters 17th birthday is tomorrow and I’m making again right now. Thank you, thank you, thank you Nora!

  12. Best tasting chocolate eggless vegan cake I ever made. I halfed the recipe, and still it came out perfect. It was super easy to make and deliciously satisfying.

  13. I’m making this cake tomorrow for a group of people trying to avoid white processed sugar. I plan to use coconut palm sugar. Any suggestions? Will it work in the icing? I’m not too concerned about texture but I would like to avoid powdered sugar. Help!

    1. I think coconut sugar will be fine in the cake itself. For the frosting, I would make powdered sugar out of the coconut sugar (just blend it until powdered), which will help the frosting be smooth and not grainy.

  14. This was the best cake I have ever tasted in my life, I have a severe egg and milk allergy so finding a cake that tasted good and had no dairy was hard, but this recipe was perfect in every way and made me like cake for the first time

  15. Incredible chocolate cake…easy instructions with normal pantry items. The cake was so moist and the frosting was indulgent and delicious. I am not a baker and the finished cake made me look like a baking rockstar! Definitely will be a staple go to cake!!!

  16. Honestly, don’t waste your time looking anywhere else for a delicious vegan chocolate cake recipe! This is it! As a matter of fact it, I bet it beats any non-vegan chocolate cake recipe!

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