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 (softened)
  • 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




208 comments

  1. Nicole says:

    Hi, I’m new to vegan cakes and would love to try this one. Would it be okay to use coconut oil instead of vegan butter? If not, what else can I use instead? Thanks!

  2. Xtina says:

    5 stars
    I made this for my toddler’s bday and let me tell you this is the most moist and delicious vegan cake I’ve tried! People keep telling me there’s no way you can have good cake without eggs and milk but they’re wrong! Trust me. Try this recipe out and you’ll see. I didn’t use the frosting, though, so cannot comment on that.

  3. Taylor says:

    5 stars
    So delicious! I make a cake every year for my birthday and this year I was on the search for the perfect vegan chocolate cake. I’d been eying this one for months and it didn’t disappoint. Such a hit for vegans and non vegans!! Thanks so much!

  4. Leah says:

    Hi! This looks amazing. I saw the note about making sure we include the coffee water – I cannot tolerate coffee. Any good substitute on that? Thanks in advance!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi Leah thanks so much for reading. You can just use regular warm water here as a replacement. I hope this helps!

  5. Priyanka says:

    5 stars
    Hi all,

    So I had been searching the internet for an apt vegan Chocolate cake for my flatmate’s birthday. I went through quite a few recipes and wasn’t convinced – until I arrived at this one. My concern was that I couldn’t add coffee to the recipe for health reasons of one of my guests (I ended up just using one cup boiling water without the coffee), and I was also concerned with the sheer amount of baking powder and baking soda the recipe called for (which is probably because it’s vegan and requires that amount of rising agent). I was also surprised to see that it asked for 400gms of sugar(!!) aside from the recipe, but I realize now that it helps to mask the taste of all the rising agent. Even so, I reduced the amount and only used between 325 – 350 gms of sugar.

    Verdict:
    I cannot tell you all just *how much* of a resounding SUCCESS this cake was! Some of the comments I had were – “All this while you’ve been talking to me, I haven’t stopped thinking about your cake”, “That cake made my day!”, “Why didn’t I take some of that cake home! I’m a hard man to please when it comes to cake, but that was an amazing job.”

    Believe me when I say that I spent ages scrolling through the comments before deciding to go ahead and bake this cake. And I’m so glad that I did. Thanks, Jessica. 🙂

    • Oh wow Priyanka thank you for such a wonderful comment! It warms to my heart to know that your guests also enjoyed it so much too!! You’re so incredibly welcome!!

  6. mahea says:

    5 stars
    i love this recipe, i have used it so many times and not told anyone it was vegan, and it is a smash hit! it is so delicious and easy to make

  7. Carol says:

    5 stars
    What a wonderful recipe – so easy and the result is fantastic! I used two 8 inch cake tins and cooked them for about the same time. My family raved about it so will be making this again.

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