How to make a delicious and easy vegan chocolate cake recipe, with just a few basic ingredients. It’s perfect for any occasion!
The Best Vegan Chocolate Cake
This simple vegan cake is a great recipe to keep on hand for any time an occasion calls for you to make a chocolate cake.
With no crazy ingredients or flax eggs required, the recipe will never let you down. It can easily be customized to create many different flavors, and non-vegans love it too – so you know it must be good!
Also try these Black Bean Brownies – NO flour required
The cake works well at any of the following:
It tastes like a classic chocolate cake because it is a classic chocolate cake!
Unlike many other vegan cake recipes, this one does not require a single ingredient not found in traditional chocolate cakes, such as flax or chia eggs, avocado, or black beans.
Baking soda helps it rise, and applesauce or banana or nondairy yogurt binds the cake without eggs, also keeping it delightfully light and fluffy. The recipe can be dairy free, egg free, whole grain, and even oil free.
No one ever suspects it’s healthier and vegan.
Single serving version: Vegan Chocolate Mug Cake
Chocolate Cake Flavors
Mounds Bar Cake: Frost with coconut cream or Vegan Chocolate Mousse, and top with more shredded coconut.
Nutella Chocolate Cake: Frost each layer with chocolate hazelnut butter or my recipe for Healthy Nutella.
German Chocolate Cake: Add a homemade or store bought caramel frosting, mixed with chopped pecans and toasted coconut.
Black Forest Vegan Chocolate Cake: Frost with Coconut Whipped Cream or cashew cream, and decorate with cherries or cherry jam.
Mocha Cake: Add a small spoonful of instant coffee to your favorite chocolate frosting or to my Chocolate Avocado Mousse.
Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake: Use peanut butter in place of the oil for an oil free cake. Frost with the vegan cream cheese frosting recipe from my Easy Cinnamon Rolls post, and beat a half cup of peanut butter into the frosting.
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How to make a vegan chocolate cake
Start by gathering all of the ingredients.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and grease two 8-inch round or square pans, then set the pans aside.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, sweetener, and optional chocolate chips until evenly mixed.
If using almond butter, gently warm it until soft and easily stir-able. Whisk the nut butter or oil, applesauce, yogurt, or banana, water, and pure vanilla extract in a new bowl. (If you want it to be a one bowl cake, it technically does work to just add all of the liquid ingredients into the dry mix instead.)
Pour the wet into the dry mixture and stir until just combined. Don’t over-mix. Smooth into the prepared 8-inch pans, dividing the batter evenly between the pans.
Bake on the oven’s center rack for 25 minutes, or until the cakes have risen and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out mostly clean.
Let cool before frosting. (It’s not required, but if you can wait, I recommend letting the cake sit overnight and not tasting until the next day, because the flavor is richer and sweeter after sitting a day.)
When ready to frost, go around the sides of the cake pans with a knife, then invert the chocolate cake onto two plates. Frost separately, then place one cake on top of the other. Add icing to the sides, then serve and enjoy. The cake can be frosted ahead of time if you prefer.
I like to store leftovers in the fridge for freshness (especially if iced with a perishable frosting) for up to a week, but you can store them covered at room temperature for a day or two if you wish. Cake slices can also be frozen.
Vegan Cake Frosting Recipes
I recommend this shortening-free Vegan Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.
Or feel free to use your favorite homemade frosting or one of the options listed above in the “chocolate cake flavors” section of this post.
Surprisingly, there are also many store brand frostings that are accidentally vegan, including some of the flavors from Duncan Hines, Pillsbury, Simple Mills, Miss Jones, and Betty Crocker. Look on the labels to see which flavors don’t contain milk products.
Above, watch the vegan chocolate cake recipe video
Vegan Chocolate Cake Recipe
- 2 cups spelt or white flour (for low carb, try this Keto Cake Recipe)
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup mini chocolate chips, optional
- 1 1/2 cup sugar, or xylitol for sugar free
- 1/2 cup applesauce, banana, or yogurt of choice
- 1/2 cup oil, almond butter, or allergy-friendly sub
- 1 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup water
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease two 8-inch pans. Set aside. Stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, optional chips, and sweetener in a bowl. If using almond butter, gently warm it until soft and easily stir-able. In a new bowl, whisk the oil or nut butter, applesauce or yogurt, water, and vanilla. Pour wet into dry and stir until just combined (don’t over-mix). Pour into the pans.
Bake on the center rack for 25 minutes or until batter has risen and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out mostly clean. (I like to take them out when still a little undercooked, let cool, then set in the fridge overnight. This prevents overcooking, and the cakes firm up nicely as they sit.) If you can wait, I highly recommend not tasting until the next day… this cake is so much richer and sweeter after sitting for a day! When ready to frost, go around the sides with a knife, then invert each cake onto a large plate. Frost separately, then place one cake on top of the other if a double-layer cake is desired. At this point you can also frost the sides if you wish. I linked a few of my favorite frosting recipes earlier in this post.