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 (1559 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. I’ve made this cake lots and it has been amazing every time! I have someone requesting a chocolate cake with rum in it for their birthday- do you have any suggestions as to how to add rum to this recipe? I was thinking to take out 1/4 of the milk and replace that with rum.

  2. Hi Nora. I have made this fabulous cake many times but for the first time I am making it a day in advance and fridging it overnight. Could you please advise on how far in advance should I take it out the fridge tomorrow to bring to room temperature. Thank you. 

  3. My Son and I cannot have Dairy or eggs, so I am looking forward to trying this. Can it be made with Gluten Free Flour?

  4. hi, well i made this cake for the first time, just wondering how long it lasts for. its wed night and the birthday is Sunday. Will it last or shall i have to make it saturday just wondering thanks

  5. Love this cake, made it several times! Wondering whether it would work in 7inch pans and if I would need to adjust anything?

    1. Hi Frankie. I’m glad you are loving the cake! I think it will be okay in 7 inch pans, your cakes will just be a bit taller and need to bake a little longer. You might need to add 10 minutes to the overall cooking time. Happy cooking!

  6. Finally a moist vegan chocolate cake! I’d started to despair of producing anything that wasn’t dry as a bone until I discovered your recipe. Thanks so much for my new go-to chocolate cake recipe.

  7. My son has been vegan for 4 years and I made this cake for his best friend’s birthday. Not only did it get raving reviews, I got a shout out on their podcast! Seriously the best chocolate cake and you don’t have to be vegan to love it!! ❤ Thank you Nora!

    1. Hi Gretchen! Wow, that’s fantastic! I’m thrilled the cake was a hit! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review and comments!

    1. Yes, you can make it in a 9 x 13 dish or pan. I would bake it at the same temp for 35-45 minutes. It may take a little longer to bake, especially in a glass dish, so just watch it closely after 35 minutes. It’s done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean in the middle of the cake.

  8. What are the measurements to make a single layer 9″? Also does the 8″ be more dense vs the 9″ as 9″ is more surface area?


    1. You can just cut the ingredients in half to make a single layer 8 or 9 inch cake. The 8-inch is just a bit taller, that’s all.

    1. Thank you for your kind words! I am glad you are enjoying my recipes! Thank you for taking time to share your great review and comments!

    1. The counter is fine, unless it is really warm in your house. I love how it tastes cold from the fridge so I usually do that. ?

  9. Hello! 
    Is it ok to make the cake, cool, refrigerate and frost 2 days later? Also would I bring the cake to room temp before frosting? 

    Love your recipes!! They are the best! 

    1. Yes, it can be made a few days ahead, or the day before. I would store the cooked and cooled cakes in the refrigerator, wrapped up, then make the frosting the day of (or even the day before). Ensure the frosting and cake are room temperature before frosting.

      1. Hello! 

        The cake was a huge hit!! Super moist and delish! I have a few slices left over and I hate wasting food. Could I freeze it? 
        Thank you! ❤️❤️❤️

        1. I am so glad the cake was a hit! Yes, it freezes well! You can freeze individually wrapped slices. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Hands down the best chocolate cake I’ve ever made! The frosting is just right. The cake is perfectly moist. It also is a pretty quick recipe

  11. I made this cake for my husband’s birthday. I did make it gluten free by swapping out the flour with a gluten free all purpose flour with xanthum gum already added and coconut milk instead of almond milk due to food allergies. It was the best chocolate cake recipe I ever made. The frosting was a bit too sweet for my taste, but my husband said that it was very decadent and loved it. Thank you for sharing. I am definitely keeping this recipe.

    1. Happy birthday to your husband! I’m so glad you guys loved the cake! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review and comments!

    1. Yes, the entire cake freezes well, or you can freeze the cake layers ahead of time, then make the frosting another day. Both work well.

  12. Cake layers were way thinner than expected. I’m in a high elevation state (Colorado), I should have doubled the recipe to make a 2 layer cake. 

  13. Hands down the best chocolate cake and frosting.
    I made this cake for Thanksgiving and everyone asked me for the recipe. It was a huge hit with the adults and children.

    1. Hi Virginia. I’m not sure as I’m not familiar with high altitude baking. Maybe general instructions for cooking at high altitude could be helpful. I haven’t tested it though! Sorry.

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