Vegan Chocolate Cake Recipe

By Jessica Hylton - - Updated

This Vegan Chocolate Cake Recipe has been my favourite for over 10 years! It’s moist, decadent, fluffy and made with easy pantry ingredients so anyone can make this! I’ve made it literally hundreds of time for hundreds of people and it has rave reviews all around!

Slice of a vegan chocolate cake on a white plate.

I’ve baked more chocolate cakes than I can count. I’m talking, hundreds. That’s what happens when you have a baking company and everyone wants the chocolate cake. Needless to say, I learned how to make it flawlessly AND I love chocolate cake! Now that I’ve been baking for over 10 years and now that I’m vegan, I knew I would need a vegan version of this. It’s shocking to me that I haven’t share one before, but here we are today.

A bowl of vegan chocolate frosting with a spatula in it.

Super Simple Ingredients

I had one clause: this vegan chocolate cake HAD to be simple. No special ingredients like flax or chia seeds, no complicated steps. I want everyone to be able to make this from pantry ingredients. After a few tries modifying my original recipe, I created the best vegan chocolate cake!

The frosting is also super simple, too. If you don’t usually any powdered sugar in your pantry, you can just make some at home. I know, SIMPLE right?!

A photo of vegan chocolate cake with a top side angle.

It’s moist, decadent, fluffy and so chocolate-y. It’s the kind of vegan cake that you would never know is vegan, and that’s the point! 

Uses for this vegan chocolate cake

Apart from the fact that it’s a delicious cake to whip up for the weekend, this cake is so good that you can use for any of your special occasions. It’s the perfect vegan birthday cake and for:

  • baby showers
  • holidays
  • dinner parties
  • graduations
  • more birthdays
  • bbqs
  • family reunions and the list goes on!

Photo of a chocolate cake with a slice being cut out of it.

It’s been way too long since I’ve baked a cake, making this cake has really inspired me to create more vegan cake recipes. I’m definitely making a vanilla version, red velvet and so many more. Let the baking continue!

P.S. if you want a smaller quicker single-serving version, be sure to check out my vegan mug brownie or check out my vegan brownies! If you’re looking for some other vegan chocolate recipes, check out of favourite too!

Enjoy friends! If you make this Vegan Chocolate Cake Recipe, please snap a photo and tag #jessicainthekitchen on Instagram! We’d also love it if you would leave a comment below, and give the recipe a rating! Thanks so much!

A slice of a vegan chocolate cake on a white plate.

Vegan Chocolate Cake Recipe

This Vegan Chocolate Cake Recipe is the BEST and has been my favourite for over 10 years! It's moist, decadent, fluffy and made with easy pantry ingredients so anyone can make this! I've made it hundreds of time for hundreds of people and it has rave reviews all around!
by: Jessica in the Kitchen
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 16 slices
Course Dessert, Desserts
Cuisine American, Universal
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 cup soy milk or other vegan milk
  • 2 cups sugar (400g)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (240g)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (60g)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup + 2 teaspoons oil (100g + 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water + 1 tbsp instant coffee mixed in until dissolved  stir these together right before you need it so it's still hot

Vegan chocolate frosting

  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted vegan butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch sea salt
  • 2 1/2 cups to 3 cups powdered sugar 
  • 1/3 cup vegan milk + 1 tablespoon extra if needed 
Instructions

Instructions

Vegan Chocolate Cake

  • Grease and flour two 9” cake pans and line with parchment paper. It’s essential so that the cake doesn’t stick. If making an 8" cake, check the notes.
  • Heat oven to 350°F/180°C. 
  • In a small bowl, add the apple cider vinegar and the soy milk together and stir to combine. It will curdle. Set aside. 
  • Whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Add milk mixture, oil and vanilla and the coffee water. Beat with an electric whisk on medium speed for about 2 minutes until everything is just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir one more time to ensure everything is incorporated. 
  • Pour the batter equally into the cake pans and bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour in the pan on a wire rack before removing from the pan and to the wire rack to cool completely.  

Vegan Chocolate Frosting

  • Add the cocoa powder, vegan butter, 2 1/2 cups of the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, sea salt and half the vegan milk to the bowl of an electric stand mixer or a hand mixer. Start mixing it together at slow speed, gradually increasing speed until it’s very thick and smooth. Add the 1/2 cup of the extra powdered sugar at a time until it reaches your desired thickness and consistency. If needed, add in the other half of the milk about 1 tablespoon at a time.

Putting it All Together

  • Frost cakes and decorate. The frosting will set at room temperature. Enjoy!
  • Place 1 of the fully cooled cakes on a platter (or any plate wide enough) and dollop half of the frosting on top. Cover the top and the sides, distributing it equally. P
  • Place the remaining cake upside down on top of the frosted cake and spread the remaining frosting on the top and sides, blending the upper and lower portions of the sides as you go.
  • If you're using 3 layers, do the same, but split into thirds instead.
  • Decorate with some shaved chocolate or extra cocoa powder! The frosting sets at room temperature perfectly. Slice and enjoy!
NOTES
You can also make this cake with three 8" cake pans. Bake it for about 30 to 35 minutes!
Coffee Water
If you want that deep rich chocolate flavour, please don't skip this! The cake doesn't taste at all like coffee, and instead the coffee enhances the chocolate flavor like crazy. You can use decaf coffee, or just use a cup of boiling hot coffee instead of the instant coffee.
To Freeze This Cake
Slice the cake into even slices and freeze each slice, flat, in foil. You can store it further in a freezer safe zipped bag if storing for more than a month, but if under a month you don't have to. To thaw, let the cake thaw at room temperature or in the fridge.

Nutrition

Calories: 348kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 442mg | Potassium: 189mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 44g | Vitamin A: 328IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 2mg
by Jessica

Recipe by: Jessica Hylton – Jessica in the Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats

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Recipe Rating




180 comments

  1. Sophia Karabatsos says:

    Hi! I was wondering what type of cocoa powder works best…natural unsweetened or dutched cocoa? I know it matters for some recipes…

  2. Dana says:

    5 stars
    Amazing

  3. Kira says:

    Has anyone tried substituting the flour by almond flour or other gluten free flour in this recipe? Do you think it is possible? Thank you.

  4. Nour says:

    Hi Jessica,

    Is there any alternative for vegan butter? This cake looks delicious and I would love to make it, but unfortunately I can’t find vegan butter where I live.

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi Nour thanks so much for reading. Margarine can be used. I hope this helps!

  5. Alba Marín says:

    5 stars
    I have enjoyed this recipe so much! I have made it in cake version and also in cupcakes, using half of the ingredients. Even my family (non vegan) adores its flavor! 💓 they have asked me to do it for the next birthday party in the family 😁

  6. Molly says:

    hi jessica.. i’m going to make this cake for my son’s birthday, his 18th, they are not vegan but they’re gonna love it, my kids do care about nutrition, so in time, and they’re open and respect my work ❤️.. my question is can I use a coconut sugar or a different sugar instead of the white organic sugar?…. Let me know what you think, I don’t want to compromise the way the cake comes out because everybody raves but I would love to use a different sugar instead of the white

    • Hey Molly,

      Yes you can! It may come out a little different with the coconut sugar fair warning (and coconut sugar does have a strong flavour), but will still taste delicious! I hope that helps and enjoy!

      • Molly says:

        Thank you! I’m going to use a combo of both..for me coc sugar is fine..but yes my daughter can always taste coc sugar, so i’ll use just a small portion of coconut sugar with my other sugar. Thank you 😊

      • Molly says:

        5 stars
        Came out Grrreatt!!! Compliments all around (from non-vegans !!) Loved!!

  7. Amy says:

    Would we need to grease and flour along with parchment paper? Or could we just use parchment paper?

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      We would definitely recommend you greasing and flouring as well. I hope this helps!

  8. Veronica Silva says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is amazing. I’m not the best baker myself but this recipe is fool-proof & sooo delicious. I make it for every occasion and everyone loves it! Seriously, my friends request it every time.

    I’m wondering if anyone has suggestions for altering this into a red velvet mix? Asking for valentine’s day! Thanks <3

  9. Steph says:

    5 stars
    Great recipe! This is my go to chocolate cake recipe, regardless of whether the recipient is vegan or not as it always turns out great, with lovely flavour. The fudge frosting is also the best I’ve tasted, and is a good texture for covering and piping. Thanks Jessica!

  10. Brittany says:

    5 stars
    I halved the recipe and made it in a mini bundt pan and it still came out great!

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