Vegan Chocolate Orange Cake

Are you a chocolate lover who’s also committed to a vegan lifestyle? This vegan chocolate orange cake recipe lets you indulge in a guilt-free, decadent treat that will satisfy your sweet tooth. I’ll guide you through the ingredients, preparation, baking, frosting, decorating, and serving this delicious vegan dessert.

A slice of layered chocolate cake has an orange slice on top. Another slice in the background has an orange slice on the plate. There are 2 fresh oranges in the background.

Whether it’s a special occasion or a simple craving, this cake is the perfect solution. In fact, it’s a new favorite in our house. I especially love adding orange “flower” slices on top. So decorative!

Let’s dive in and learn how to make this irresistible eggless chocolate orange cake recipe.

Key Ingredients

You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.

Don’t worry, these ingredients are all plant-based and easy to find. Let’s take a look at what you’ll need:

  • Flour — It’s OK to use all-purpose or plain flour here. You can substitute whole wheat pastry flour or even gluten-free flour formulated for baking.
  • Cocoa Powder — You can use natural cocoa powder for a fluffy cake or mix in a little Dutch-process cocoa powder for a darker cake.
  • Leavener — We’ll use both baking powder and baking soda.
  • Salt — A pinch of salt brings out the sweetness in this cake.
  • Vegetable Oil — You can use canola oil or any neutral-flavored vegetable oil.
  • Applesauce — I like mixing applesauce in this cake to add moisture. Are you out of applesauce? Here are some great applesauce substitutes you can use in baking.
  • Instant Coffee — We use a teaspoon of instant coffee to enhance the chocolate flavor.
  • Fresh Orange — This cake will need at least one fresh orange. You’ll need to use two if your orange is on the smaller side.
  • Frosting — I used Vegan Chocolate Frosting for this cake. If you like a lot of frosting (like me), then go ahead and double the batch. Or you can make a “naked cake” by not frosting the sides.

With these ingredients, we can move on to preparing this scrumptious dessert.

A slice of vegan chocolate orange cake is on its side on a plate. There is a fork with a bite in front of the cake. There are two oranges in the background.

How to Make Vegan Chocolate Orange Cake

  1. Mix sugar with flour and remaining dry ingredients.
  2. Combine water, vegetable oil, applesauce, orange juice, vanilla, and instant coffee.
  3. Pour hot water over the vegetable oil mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Pour the vegetable oil mixture in with the flour mixture and stir until combined.
  5. Pour the batter into prepared pans and bake.
  6. Allow the baked cakes to cool before adding chocolate frosting.

Storage Tips

Cover the cake and store it at room temperature for up to 3 days. You can transfer individual slices to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 7 or 8 days. Or freeze the cake for up to 2 months.

Make vegan chocolate orange cupcakes by adding the batter to a muffin pan lined with cupcake papers. Fill each compartment about 3/4 full and then bake for around 20 minutes.

Cake Baking Tips

To ensure the perfect bake for your vegan chocolate orange cake, follow a few fundamental baking principles:

  • Ensure your oven is preheated to the correct temperature before combining the wet and dry ingredients for your batter. This helps the batter cook evenly and prevents any overcooking or undercooking.
  • Prepare your cake pans (or pan) by greasing them with vegan butter or oil and flouring it lightly. Or use a parchment round to make it easier to remove the cake once it cools.
  • As the cake bakes, resist the temptation to peek inside the oven. Opening the oven door can cause the temperature to drop, affecting the texture and rise of your cake. Instead, use a timer and the oven light to see how your cake is progressing.
  • Test for doneness — use a toothpick to test for doneness by inserting it into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, you can safely remove your cake from the oven. 
  • Once your cake has finished baking, set a timer for 10 minutes. The cake must cool a few minutes before removing it from the pan. Place a cooling rack on top of the pan, then turn the pan over, allowing the cake to release from the pan onto the cooling rack.
  • Let your cakes cool completely before adding frosting. This will prevent the frosting from melting or becoming too runny.

While the cakes are cooling, you can prepare the vegan frosting for the ultimate finishing touch.

Frosting

Once your cake has finished baking, the real fun begins: The frosting!

A perfectly frosted cake can elevate a simple dessert into a show-stopping centerpiece. But, with a vegan cake, it’s crucial to find a frosting that doesn’t rely on traditional butter or cream. Luckily, there are plenty of vegan frosting options to choose from.

One simple option is a chocolate ganache frosting made with dairy-free chocolate chips and coconut cream. Melt the chocolate chips and whisk in the coconut cream until smooth and glossy.

For a lighter frosting, try a vegan ermine frosting, which is made with less sugar and has a whipped texture.

Another popular frosting option is a vegan cream cheese frosting. For a citrus twist, add some orange zest or juice to the frosting for a delicious complement to the chocolate cake.

Once you’ve chosen your frosting, let your cake cool completely before spreading it on. A warm cake can cause the frosting to melt and slide off. By waiting until the cake is thoroughly cooled, the frosting will cling to the cake, creating a beautiful finish.

Now that your cake is frosted, it’s time to add those final touches with some decorations.

Decorating Your Cake

Now that you’ve conquered making an orange chocolate cake vegan and frosting it to perfection, it’s time to put the finishing touches on your masterpiece. Here are some ideas to take your cake to the next level:

  • Fresh fruit: Cut up some oranges and arrange them on top of the cake. Not only will it add a pop of color, but it’s also a delicious way to add some extra flavor.
  • Chocolate shavings: Use a vegetable peeler to shave a high-quality chocolate bar. Spread the chocolate curls over the top of the cake. It’s an easy way to add a touch of elegance and richness to your dessert.
  • Edible flowers: If you can access edible flowers like roses, violets, or lavender, they can make a stunning addition to your cake. Just ensure they’re free of pesticides or chemicals before using them.
  • Sprinkles or nonpareils: For a festive look, sprinkle some colorful or shiny metallic sprinkles over the top of your cake. You can also use nonpareils to create a fun, confetti-like effect.

Once you’ve added your decorations, it’s time to serve up your delicious creation and enjoy!

Serving Cake

Now that your plant-based chocolate orange cake is beautifully decorated, it’s time to serve it up and enjoy! Before cutting the cake, have a clean and sharp knife on hand to get the perfect slice. Then, consider these toppings:

  • A scoop of vegan chocolate ice cream pairs nicely with individual cake slices.
  • For an extra special touch, serve each slice with a dollop of whipped cream made from coconut cream and a sprinkle of orange zest. This will enhance the citrusy flavor of the cake and provide a creamy texture to add to the richness of the chocolate.
  • If you’re serving this cake for a special occasion, consider adding a few other desserts to create a dessert table. Some great additions include vegan chocolate truffles, chocolate orange chocolate chip cookies, decorative cake pops, or fresh fruit skewers. 
  • Slice an orange, cut one edge up to the center, then twirl it and secure these “flowers” to the cake with toothpicks for a decorative touch.

Lastly, don’t forget to savor each bite of this indulgent cake. Whether you enjoy it with coffee or tea or as a sweet treat after dinner, this vegan chocolate orange cake will satisfy your sweet tooth and impress your guests.

Why This Recipe is a Winner

  • FLAVORFUL — Each bite is infused with chocolate and orange goodness!
  • UNIQUE — Anyone can serve a chocolate cake, but adding orange zest makes this cake unique and memorable.
  • PARTY FAVORITE — Your guests will be impressed with this indulgent cake!
A slice of chocolate cake on a plate has an orange slice on top. There is another cake slice in the background and two oranges.

Vegan Chocolate Desserts

If you love this chocolate orange vegan cake, here are more delicious vegan chocolate desserts to try:

In conclusion, satisfying your sweet tooth doesn’t require compromising your dietary preferences. This vegan chocolate orange cake recipe allows you to indulge in a guilt-free, delicious dessert.

From gathering the ingredients to decorating your cake, this recipe is simple and easy to follow. So why not give it a try?

As a famous quote by Virginia Woolf goes, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” So, indulge in this vegan chocolate and orange cake and let it bring joy to your taste buds and soul.

A slice of eggless orange chocolate cake sits on a plate. There is a orange slice on top of the cake.

Eggless Chocolate Orange Cake

You will love this easy eggless chocolate orange cake recipe. This recipe provides some essential tips to make a perfectly delicious, soft, and moist chocolate cake infused with orange flavor. Combined with creamy chocolate frosting, it's the ultimate cake experience!
5 from 3 votes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Resting time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 14 slices
Calories: 289kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 medium orange
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (natural, not dutch processed)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium orange
  • 1 cup water (see note)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil (see note)
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup hot water
  • 1 batch vegan chocolate frosting
  • Optional Toppings: Thinly sliced orange wedges

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C. Coat 3 8-inch round cake pans with vegetable cooking spray. Cut parchment paper into two 8-inch circles. Place the round parchment paper in the bottom of the pans. Spray papers with vegetable cooking spray. Set aside. 
  • Mix together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Zest the orange and add the orange zest to the cocoa flour mixture. Mix until combined.
    Orange zest is sitting on top of a cocoa flour mixture in a mixing bowl. There are oranges around the bowl and a microplane zester.
  • Juice the zested orange. You should have roughly ¼ cup of orange juice. Supplement with lemon juice if it's not quite ¼ cup.
  • In a separate bowl combine orange juice, cold water, vegetable oil, applesauce, vanilla, and instant coffee. Stir to combine. Pour this in with the cocoa/flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  • Measure the water into a pyrex (heat resistant) measuring cup. Heat in the microwave until hot (not boiling). Pour the hot water into the batter and stir to combine.
    A hand holds a pyrex measuring cup, pouring hot water into chocolate batter in a mixing bowl. There is a spoon in the mixing bowl and two oranges sit next to the bowl.
  • Pour half the batter into each of the prepared pans.
    Chocolate cake batter is being poured into a round cake pan. There are oranges barely visible by the pan.
  • Bake for 25 to30 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 9×13 cake pan, bake for approximately 40 to 45 minutes.
  • Remove cakes from the oven and allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Then invert the cakes onto wire racks and cool completely before frosting.
  • While the cakes are cooling, make the vegan chocolate frosting. Spread half of the frosting over one of the cooled cakes. Add the second cake on top and top it with more frosting, reserving some frosting for the sides. Garnish with orange wedges.
  • Store leftover cake in the fridge.

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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 instead of melted coconut oil, but I find coconut oil yields the best results.
Calories: 289kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 207mg | Potassium: 187mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 45IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 2mg

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

4 Responses to Vegan Chocolate Orange Cake

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyAmanda Reply

    5 stars
    Loved this with the orange right in the cake. Delicious!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      I’m so glad you liked this cake, Amanda!

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyDeirdre Reply

    Haven’t made it yet but am going to try it for my Vegan daughter. It looks delicious and I’m sure she will love it. Thank you for recipie.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Deirdre! Thanks for writing and I’m so glad to hear from you. I hope you and your daughter love this cake as much as we do!

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