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. One the best cakes I have ever made. Made this a few times, Moist, and delicious. I used Melted Chocolate for the Frosting instead of Cocoa Powder which made it creamier.

    1. I usually store the cake in the refrigerator. It will last for 3-5 days, longer if refrigerated. I hope this helps!

  2. I just made this for my son’s birthday and it was AMAZING. I’m pretty clueless as a baker but the recipe seems foolproof. Thanks so much. Happy dad here. 🙂

    1. I’m so glad the cake was amazing for your son’s birthday! Happy birthday to him! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review and feedback!

  3. Hi Nora! I wanted to know if sugar free alternatives work since some powered and granulated sugared are refined with bone char making it not vegan? Would it be an ok for the cake or do you think it could compromise the interigity of the cake and frosting?

    1. Some sugar brands are vegan-friendly but I haven’t tried this recipe with liquid sweeteners or other alternatives. A granulated alternative like coconut sugar would be your best bet, though it will slightly change the flavor and color.

  4. This recipe is top notch. I’ve made it as cake several times, and just made it as cupcakes for the first time. It’s probably my favorite ever dessert recipe. Thanks Nora! 

  5. I made this for my husband’s birthday and took it to our daughter’s to celebrate. She is vegan so I do try and make vegan dishes so she can enjoy them with us.
    This was so moist and absolutely scrumptious. I put a vegan peanut butter icing on it per hubby’s request. I had no plain applesauce so I used a single serving of cinnamon flavored and then about a half serving size of strawberry as I had these on hand. You couldn’t tell the difference. I’m sure I’ll try the frosting recipe at some point too and have no doubt it will be just as good. Thanks for such a great recipe!!

  6. My now 3 year old veganish daughter demanded a “pink Chocolate cake” for her birthday.

    What the fudge? How do I do that??? And she of course meant bright pink, with purple accents. …As a 3-year-old does.

    I’m now happy to report that this cake also works well with a maraschino cherry icing, boosted with Americolor pink. Sweetness galore!

  7. Love this cake! Have made it many times and it always comes out delicious. I want to make it for my daughter’s birthday, can the cake be made the day before? If so– would I then wait to frost it? What is the best way to do this?

    Thanks so much!

    1. You can make the cake, frosted or unfrosted, a day ahead and keep it in the fridge. If you can, cover the cake with a lid or plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out. So glad you love the cake!

  8. Hi Nora what do you suggest if I’m using a Bundt cake pan is this recipe good for a 12 cup Bundt pan? Also what should I use to prevent sticking and easy removing of the cake from the pan once cooled? Thanks in advanced:)

    1. Yes, a 12 cup bundt cake pan should work for this recipe. Grease all of the crevices thoroughly in your bundt cake pan with vegan butter and/or cooking spray so it doesn’t stick!

  9. Who doesn’t like a lot of frosting? Mercy my! I’m an older male. I used to love to cook and bake, but not so much lately. I also used to be a vegan. I’d love to return to it.

    Where I live in Central California (Modesto), bacon is a vegetable. I lived in Southern California where it was much easier to live the vegan life.

    I may try this though. The pictures make the cake look so decadent and delicious. Thank you dear Nora.

    1. Trust me, you’ll love it. It was so moist it would probably stand alone without frosting. But like you, that’s my favorite part:)

  10. I had been craving a really good, deliciously moist chocolate cake for a few weeks and this recipe is all of that and more. This recipe produced one of my favorite bakes ever and without a doubt THE most delicious chocolate cake I have ever had. Nora does not disappoint!!!

  11. made this cake for my daughter-in-laws birthday!!! was very skeptical about trying it but it was AMAZING!!! highly recommend this recipe

  12. Hi Nora..I made the vegan chocolate cake today and I just have to tell you…it was the best chocolate cake I have ever tasted..I am a baker myself and never had a cake so moist and tastier  than this one..thank you for all your wonderful recipes..I had tried several of your recipes and have loved each and every one of them. You really need to put out a cook book.I’m sure it would be a best seller!! I would be your first buyer

    1. Hi Diana. Thank you for your uplifting and encouraging words! They really mean a lot to me! One of these days I hope to put out a cookbook. Thank you for your encouragement! I’m thrilled you love the cake! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review and feedback! Wishing you lots of happy cooking!

  13. Phenomenal cake….moist and delicious. I am thinking next time of using cake flour and a little more powdered sugar for the icing. I have been heating the cake up for about 15 seconds in the microwave so the frosting melts…so good. I love the vegan lemon cake and this is now a new favorite. I really appreciate your recipes as my son is allergic to egg and dairy.

    1. Hi Miranda. I’m so glad you loved the cake, and that your son is able to enjoy my cake recipes! Just as an FYI – I would not use cake flour here, because it’s too light. Typically I use it in other cake recipes, just not this one. Wishing you lots of happy cooking!

  14. I made this recipe as cupcakes and it worked really well (made 24 cupcakes) Absolutely delicious and i am not even vegan! The sponge is so fluffy. So easy to make. Will definitely make this again. 

    1. I’m so glad you love the cupcakes! Thanks for using my recipe, and for sharing your review and feedback! Happy cooking!

  15. Wow! Been looking for my go-to chocolate cake recipe, this is it!!!!! I only used half of the frosting and it was delicious. I also prefer the cake the next day after it set out on the counter, not sure why, it seemed even more flavorful. 

    1. I’m so glad you loved the cake, and it is your new go-to chocolate cake recipe! I prefer it the next day after it has been in the refrigerator! I agree, so flavorful! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review and feedback!

  16. My guests said this was the best cake they had EVER eaten. If you didn’t know it was vegan, it would be difficult to guess. Super moist and tasty. The perfect cake. I think I will make this from now on, even for non-vegan folks!

    1. I’m so glad the cake was a hit with your guests! Thank you for sharing your review and feedback! I’m thrilled you’ll be using my cake as your go to chocolate cake recipe! Happy cooking!

  17. I have to say, I’m not a chocolate cake fan (I know I know) but I made this for my sisters vegan birthday and I had some and honestly I didn’t stop there! I ended up having 3 slices ?‍♀️ It was sooooo good.   You’re very talented!

    So now I want to make this cake for my little boy but I am wondering if this cake would be okay for carving and covering with fondant? I want to make a car cake for his birthday. 

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the cake! Thank you. I haven’t tried covering it with fondant, but hopefully it will work. I know the cake is quite moist, I’m not sure if that would be a problem or not. Maybe someone has tried it and will comment here!

    2. Second birthday in a row making this for my egg allergic little boy. The whole family loves it, I think it’s the best chocolate cake I’ve ever made. Thanks for providing easy vegan recipes we can all enjoy!

      1. Happy birthday to your son! I am glad you are enjoying the cake and that it’s a hit with your family! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review and feedback!

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