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 (1344 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 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 55 mins
Servings: 16 servings

Ingredients 
 

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

Instructions 

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.

Video

Notes

  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). 

Nutrition

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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Comments

  1. Thank you for this recipe! I made it for 
    my family and friends who are not vegan. One of them said it tastes better than non-vegan cake! It was super moist. The frosting was absolutely delicious and there was plenty left over. Thank you!

  2. Thank you. This is the best chocolate cake recipe EVER..
    vegan or otherwise! I used a cup of hot coffee instead of the water. Delicious!
    Please don’t hesitate trying it. You won’t be disappointed.

    1. Hi Donna. You are welcome! I’m so glad you loved the cake! Hot coffee is wonderful in this cake! Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback and review!

  3. This was 2nd attempt at something vegan and it was incredible! My partner is usually quite fussy and he told me to save the recipe, everyone said it tasted better than any non vegan chocolate cake they’ve ever eaten. On top of that it was super easy and used all ingredients I already had in my house! 

    1. How awesome! I’m thrilled you loved the cake and it turned out delicious for you! Thank you for taking time to share your great feedback and review!

  4. Every time I make this cake, cracks appear when I turn them out of the tins. I have tried cooking in a cooler oven and using less raising agents. It doesn’t make any difference! Cake tastes beautiful but it too soft to work with! 

  5. Made this a few times and it is simply amazing. Added 1/4 cup coffee extract to substitute some of the boiling water. Have also added chunks of chocolate and it is simply a glorious cake.

  6. Made this for my sons bday (egg allergy). Wow just wow. So moist and delicious. It was such a hit, thank you! I used unsweetened pea milk and used a donut/bunt pan and cooked it way longer. Turned out absolutely perfect!

    1. Hi Jonni. I’m so happy the cake was a hit for your son’t birthday! Happy birthday to him! Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback and review!

  7. Awesome cake and even more amazing frosting. You would never know it was vegan. Definitely going to recommend and save this one to make again.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful feedback and review! I appreciate you using my recipe and telling others about it! Happy baking!

  8. Hey Nora. 
    I love this cake recipe. I wanted to try making this cake using 2 6” inch cake pans. How long do I need to bake for and do I need to alter the recipe?

    1. Hi Jass. This recipe will work for three 6 inch pans. They will probably only need about 20 minutes in the oven, so watch them closely. I hope this helps, and happy cooking!

  9. I made this recently for my birthday as I have dairy and egg allergies, and it was a hit! Everyone was astonished by how moist and fluffy it was being a vegan cake, they even compared it to the non vegan Whole Foods chocolate cake and said they taste the same. I was scared this cake was going to be too wet because of the pictures shown from this recipe but it wasn’t. I made this in an 8-inch cake pan and baked it for 40 minutes. If you’re looking for a simple, delicious chocolate cake definitely try this one out!!

    1. Hi Chloe. Happy belated birthday! Thank you for taking time to share your feedback and review! I’m thrilled the cake was a hit!

  10. This looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it for my son’s birthday. Just wondering if anyone has tried subbing the sugar for date paste, do you think this would work?! Thanks!

    1. Hi Natalie. I have had one comment from a person indicating that date paste worked. I have never tried this, and am not sure the cake would turn out the same. If you try it, let me know how it goes!

  11. Perfect cake, can’t even tell it’s vegan!  Made 1.5 the amount so I could do an extra tall 3 layer cake and the proportions were so easy to scale up. Made a few substitutions based on past cakes and chocolate desserts I’ve made which I highly recommend trying out:
    • unsweetened applesauce WITH cinnamon – I find that cinnamon with chocolate gives it just a little bit of dimension and intrigue 
    • steaming hot coffee in lieu of the boiling water – again, elevates the chocolate 
    •added 1/4 cup of vegan chocolate chips, melted, and somewhat cooled to the frosting – extra chocolatey!
     
    Some of my friends said this was the best chocolate cake they’ve had in a long time. I have already passed on the recipe to 8 people! I will definitely be making it again. 

    1. Hi Kate. I’m so glad that the chocolate cake was a hit! I love your ideas! Thanks for sharing them, as well as your feedback and review! Happy baking!

    1. I haven’t tried it so it’s hard for me to say. There probably is too much batter for a 10 inch cake pan and I would probably cut the recipe in half.

  12. I’ve tried several vegan chocolate cake recipes and this one is by far my family’s favorite! Rich, moist, and flavorful! I even like it without the frosting. Thank you for creating and sharing!

  13. My daughter is vegan so we made the cupcakes for her.  What a delicious recipe!  I did not read we could cut the icing recipe by half so now have an enormous quantity of icing left over.  Can I freeze it?
    Thank you!
    Cecilia

  14. This really is the best ever. I made this for my daughter’s birthday and everyone LOVED it – so delicious. 

    1. Thanks for sharing your great feedback! I’m so happy the cake was a hit! Happy birthday to your daughter!

  15. Hiya!

    Have you ever baked then frozen the cake for a few days? I want to bake it today and frost it/serve it on thursday. Do you know if that would be ok? Thanks so much for the recipie!!

    1. Hi Juliana. This cake freezes really well. Wrap and freeze each cake, then bring to room temperature before frosting. Enjoy!

  16. Delicious, moist and a desert star! It was easy to follow directions and the ingredients are lined up with the order you will need them. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    1. Hi Veronica. I really appreciate your specific feedback about the directions! It great to know it is easy to follow! Thanks for your fabulous feedback! I’m glad you loved the cake!

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