Easy Best Vegan Chocolate Cake

This is the ultimate Vegan Chocolate Cake recipe because it creates a super moist cake that is also easy to make! Do you love chocolate cake? You don’t have to give it up because of your egg free, dairy free diet! Make easy vegan cakes instead!

A thick slice of chocolate layer cake on a plate in front of the rest of the cake.
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I’ve got a reputation for having a sweet tooth. But I’m picky about my sweets. If I’m going to spend my calories on it, it better be good! Do you know what I mean?

Well, it doesn’t get much better than this — a rich, decadent vegan chocolate cake with thick, fluffy chocolate frosting.

This vegan dark chocolate cake is made with minimal ingredients and lots of flavor!

A slice of cake on a plate with a fork beside it sits in front of the rest of the cake.
Each chocolate cake slice of this moist vegan chocolate cake is indulgent!

How to Make Vegan Chocolate Cake

If you’re curious how to make a vegan cake, this recipe will provide the answers!

I worked to create the perfect mix between a moist, delicious, indulgent cake, and a super easy vegan chocolate cake. Because if it’s an overly complicated recipe, it can take the fun out of the entire experience. I’ve been there before so I know!

And I’m a certified vegan dessert creator, so I know the pleasure of making a complicated recipe. It’s just I prefer the KISS principle when it comes to my day-to-day baking (Keep It Simple, Silly!). 🙂

So, here are the vegetarian chocolate cake ingredients you’ll need: granulated sugar, brown sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, plant-based milk, coconut oil (or vegetable oil), applesauce, vanilla extract, coffee extract, hot water, and chocolate frosting.

Let’s get to the steps for making this chocolate vegan cake.

Step One: Preheat your oven and prepare the pans

Preheat your oven to 350F, because once the batter is ready, you’ll want to bake the cakes immediately to take advantage of the power of the baking powder and baking soda to add lift to your cakes.

Prepare your baking pans too, by coating two, 8 or 9- inch round cake pans with vegetable cooking spray. Cut parchment paper into two 8 or 9- inch circles. Place the round parchment paper in the bottom of the pans. Spray papers with vegetable cooking spray. Set aside. 

Step Two: Mix the dry ingredients with a mixer

Flour and cocoa powder have been mixed in a mixing bowl in a stand mixer.

Combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. I used a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, but any mixer will do. Mix it until combined.

Step Three: Combine the Wet Ingredients

In a separate bowl, combine the milk, melted coconut oil, applesauce, vanilla and coffee extract.

Wet ingredients are in a bowl and poured into a mixing bowl of a stand mixer with dry flour ingredients.

Give it a stir and then pour into the mixing bowl with the flour mixture. Mix on low speed for a few seconds and then use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl. Then mix on medium speed for a minute or two.

Step Four: Add Hot Water

Heat one cup of water in the microwave for about one minute to get it good and hot.

Hot water in a pyrex measuring cup is being poured into a mixing bowl of a stand mixer with chocolate cake batter in it.

Then carefully pour the hot water into the mixing bowl with the rest of the vegan choc cake batter. This helps to bloom the cocoa, giving your cake a very rich, chocolatey flavor! Mix on low speed for a few seconds. Then use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl. Then mix on medium speed for another minute.

Step Five: Pour and Bake

Pour the batter in equal amounts in the two prepared cake pans. Place these in the oven and bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until the edges of the cake pull away from the side of the pan and a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Once the cakes are done, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Then place a plate or wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert it so that the cake falls out of the pan and onto the plate or wire rack.

Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.

A slice of chocolate cake sits on its side with a bite cut out with a fork.
Add sprinkles to make this vegetarian birthday cake recipes extra special!

Looking for vegan birthday cake recipes? This best vegan cake recipe will be your favorite special occasion go-to dessert! Add colorful sprinkles to make this cake even more festive!

How to Make Vegan Chocolate Frosting

You want a vegan chocolate frosting that’s light and fluffy on top of that delicious vegan moist chocolate cake. The frosting for this chocolate cake recipe needs to be nothing short of fabulous.

Vegan chocolate buttercream frosting is a favorite frosting for this chocolate cake! Make sure you use a mixer to get that frosting nice fluffy!

A chocolate cake has frosting on the top and between the two layers, but no frosting on the sides.
This is referred to as a Naked Cake, because the sides are not frosted.

Expert Tips

Here are some tips to make delicious simple vegan cake recipes perfect every single time:

  • You may be tempted to use melted vegan butter, but I highly encourage you to use either melted coconut oil or vegetable oil. It adds more moisture to the cake that makes it perfect!
  • Why the hot water? It’s a great question. I add hot water to my chocolate cake to bloom the cocoa powder, giving the cake a more robust chocolate flavor.
  • Do you use natural or dutch processed cocoa powder? I prefer natural cocoa powder in this best vegan chocolate cake recipe. However, I did use dutch processed cocoa powder in the frosting.
  • Where can I find coffee extract? I buy coffee extract at our local grocery store, but if you have trouble finding it, I’ve included a link to buy it online. Adding coffee extract brings out the chocolate flavor in this recipe, but it won’t make the cake taste like coffee. I promise!
  • Need a vegan gluten free chocolate cake? Simply substitute gluten free baking flour for the all purpose flour!
  • Use whole wheat pastry flour to transform this into a healthy chocolate cake recipe.
  • This recipe calls for plant-based milk. I have used both high fat, creamy nut-based milks and more “watery” almond milks, and all have worked!

Make Ahead and Storing Suggestions

If you want to make this cake ahead of a big event, for example, if you’re making vegan birthday cakes recipes, simply make the cakes ahead of time and then allow them to cool completely. Learn more about freezing cakes and which types freeze best!

Go ahead and make the frosting and add a crumb coat to tops and sides of both cakes (a thin layer of frosting). The frosting will help keep the cakes moist.

Place the frosted cakes on a tray and place the tray in the freezer for about an hour, or until the cakes are frozen. Remove the cakes from the freezer and wrap in plastic wrap, followed by a layer of aluminum foil. Return the cakes to the freezer. They will keep for up to a month. You can also freeze the remaining frosting.

When your big day comes, remove the cakes (and frosting) from the freezer and allow everything to thaw. Frost the cakes and then you’re ready to serve!

For storage, keep this cake in a sealed container. It will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days, in the fridge for up to a week. I’ve been known to cut the cake into individual slices, and freeze those on a tray and then transfer to a freezer bag once frozen. This way you can have freshly baked cake any day of the week!

Love Vegan Cake Recipes?

If you love vegetarian cake recipes and vegan chocolate desserts, you will definitely want to try your hand at even more vegan cake recipes! Try these on for size:

Do you need more vegan cake ideas? Be sure and try my Chocolate Cherry Dump Cake recipe! It will blow your mind!

A slice of chocolate cake on a plate with a fork beside it. The text reads: Best Vegan Chocolate Cake.
Vegan chocolate cake recipes are the best when they’re easy and indulgent!

That’s it for this simple vegan chocolate cake!

I hope you love this recipe as we do! Have you tried it? Be sure and leave a comment and a rating of this recipe below and then take a quick photo and share it with me using #namelymarly on Instagram. I love seeing your creations!

A thick slice of chocolate layer cake on a plate in front of the rest of the cake.

Easy Vegan Chocolate Cake

You will love this easy vegan chocolate cake recipe! This recipe provides some important tips to make a perfectly delicious, soft, and oh-so moist chocolate cake. Forget vegan, this is absolutely the best chocolate cake ever!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Vegan Chocolate Cake
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Resting time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 14 slices
Calories: 293kcal
Author: Marly

Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (natural, not dutch processed)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plant-based milk (see note)
  • 2/3 cup melted coconut oil (see note)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon coffee extract
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 batch Vegan Chocolate Frosting

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Coat 2, 8 or 9- inch round cake pans with vegetable cooking spray. Cut parchment paper into two 8 or 9- inch circles. Place the round parchment paper in the bottom of the pans. Spray papers with vegetable cooking spray. Set aside. 
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or using hand mixer) mix the sugars, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix until combined.
  • In a separate bowl combine, milk, melted coconut oil, applesauce, and extracts. Stir to combine. Pour this into the mixer with the flour mixture. Beat on low until combined. Use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl. Then beat on medium speed for about a minute until combined. Add the hot water and mix on low until combined. Use a spatula to scrape down sides of the bowl. Then beat on medium for a minute. This batter will be runny.
  • Pour half the batter into each of the prepared pans.
  • Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until the edges have pulled away from the sides of the pan and the center of the cake is set. A tester inserted in the center should come out clean.
  • If using a 9 X 13 cake pan, bake for approximately 40 – 45 minutes 
  • Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Then invert the cakes onto wire racks and cool completely before frosting.

Notes

This cake is divided into 14 slices. The nutrition estimation is based on one serving without frosting.
I have used both a thick, creamy nut-based milk and a more “watery” almond milk for the plant-based milk ingredient in this recipe and both have worked great!
You can substitute vegetable oil in place of melted coconut oil, but I find coconut oil yields the best results.

Enjoy this dairy free chocolate cake recipe!

Updated by Marly · Permalink