Suzy Q Cake

A delicious, copycat recipe, this Vegan Suzy Q Cake is a cream-filled devil’s food cake recipe with lots of fluffy, creamy filling. It’s like a Ding Dong snack cake you can make at home. Imagine two rich, chocolate cakes with a thick layer of fluffy vegan ermine frosting in between and more on top!

A slice of Suzy Q Cake sits on a plate in front of the rest of the cake.

If you look at that filling and think to yourself, that’s way too much frosting, you’re in for a treat. Most frosting recipes call for lots and lots of powdered sugar, making them so sweet. But today we’ll be using what’s lovingly referred to as boiled milk frosting. Of course, I’ve veganized it. But the results are the same, a delicious fluffy filling that’s perfect for this Suzy-Q Cake!

Why This Recipe is a Winner

  • Rich, chocolate cakes are served with fluffy frosting in between and top, replicating those tasty snack cakes we grew up eating
  • Using a simple cake recipe as the foundation (wacky cake recipe), keeps this dessert oh-so-easy to make
  • Adding natural cocoa powder makes it part of the process of creating a fluffy cake because the acid in the cocoa powder interacts along with the vinegar with the baking soda

What You Need

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.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Flour — I used all-purpose flour, but you can substitute whole wheat pastry flour.
  • Cocoa powder — I recommend using natural cocoa powder rather than Dutch-process.
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Granulated sugar
  • Vegetable oil — Use a neutral vegetable oil such as canola oil or olive oil.
  • Apple cider vinegar — You can substitute white vinegar or even lemon juice.
  • Plant-based milk — I recommend soy milk to make this frosting because of its high-protein content. You can substitute almond milk.
  • Vegetable Shortening — You can use vegetable shortening or substitute Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, Miyoko’s, or make your own non-dairy butter.
  • Vanilla extract

How to Make Vegan Suzy Q Cake

  1. Mix the dry ingredients from the flour to the salt.
  2. Stir together the wet ingredients.
  3. Combine the wet and dry mixtures and stir until there are no more large lumps of flour.
  4. Pour the batter into prepared cake pans.
  5. Bake cakes for 30 to 35 minutes until done.
  6. Remove the cakes from the oven, and set them aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  7. At 10 minutes, invert cakes onto plates or wire racks to cool completely.
  8. Make the fluffy filling and top cooled cakes with frosting.

Here are more detailed step-by-step instructions.

Step One: Make the Cake Batter

  1. In a medium bowl, pour the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine.
  2. Mix together the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla in a separate bowl.
  3. Stir together the wet and dry ingredients, stirring vigorously until there are no large lumps of flour and only minimal small lumps.
  4. Pour batter into prepared cake pans.

Step Two: Fill the Pans and Bake

  1. Pour batter into prepared cake pans.
  2. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  3. Remove the cakes from the oven and set them aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Then invert them onto plates or wire racks to cool completely before frosting.

Step Three: Filling and Frosting

  1. When both cakes are completely cooled, spoon about half of the fluffy filling over the bottom cake, spreading it evenly across the top.
  2. Place the second cake on top of that.
  3. Spread the remaining fluffy filling evenly over the top cake.
A vegan Suzy Q Cake sits on a plate with frosting on top and between the layers, showing the chocolate cake along the edges.

How to Make Suzy Q Cake Filling

This type of cooked flour frosting is technically referred to as an Ermine Frosting. Here’s how to make this Suzy Q Cake Filling Recipe:

  1. Whisk together the sugar, flour, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes to toast the flour. 
  2. Pour in the vegan milk and use a whisk or spatula to stir it in. 
  3. Continue stirring as the mixture comes slowly to a low boil and thickens. Don’t turn up the heat, or you’ll risk burning it.
  4. Once it’s thick enough that a spoon leaves a trail, transfer it to a heat-proof bowl, cover it with plastic wrap touching the surface (to prevent a skin from forming), and refrigerate until completely cool.
    Looking down on a bowl full of a creamy mixture. It's covered in plastic wrap and the wrap has been tucked down into the bowl, touching the creamy mixture.
  5. Once the flour mixture is cool, add the shortening (or vegan butter) to a mixing bowl and mix on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, around 2 minutes. 
  6. Turn the mixer speed down to medium and spoon in the cooled flour mixture, a spoonful at a time, mixing to incorporate it until adding more. You’ll need to scrape down the sides of the bowl regularly. 
  7. Once all the flour mixture is added and mixed, add the vanilla and salt, turn up the speed to medium-high, and whip for up to a minute until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Note: Don’t get too worried if lumps form in this flour mixture. You can always run it through a food processor or press it through a sieve to break up any lumps.

Serving Suggestions

This Suzy Q Cake is so good you can serve it exactly as it. However, it never hurts to add some fun drizzles on top. Here are some ways to add some fun to your cake:

Storage Tips

Store this cake at room temperature for up to 6 hours or in the fridge for up to 5 days. Individual slices can be frozen for up to 2 months.

A slice of chocolate cake sits on its side, showing lots of fluffy frosting. The rest of the cake sits on a plate behind it.

Marly’s Tips

  • You could add some peanut butter powder to the fluffy filling
  • If you want to make a Banana Suzy Q, use my Vegan Banana Cake recipe and add the creamy filling between the layers.
  • Make vegan chocolate cupcakes and insert that fluffy filling in the middle of each cupcake and on top
  • Make this cake in a 9×13 baking pan and spread the fluffy filling over the top

There you go, lots of ideas to adapt this recipe. However, you slice it, be sure to serve this vegan Suzy Q cake with my Vegan Hot Cocoa. It’s so good!

More Vegan Cake

If you love this vegan Suzy-Q Cake, be sure to check out these delicious cake recipes:

A slice of Vegan Suzy Q Cake sits on a plate. You can see some of the rest of the cake in the background.

Vegan Suzy Q Cake

A delicious, copycat recipe, this Vegan Suzy Q Cake recipe delivers a chocolate cake with rich, creamy filling, just like the snack you used to buy at the store!
5 from 6 votes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 18
Calories: 392kcal

Ingredients

Chocolate Cake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups cold water

Fluffy Filling

  • cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plant-based milk
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening (See notes for substitutions)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

For the Chocolate Cake

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F/175°C. Spray 2 round 8 or 9-inch cake pans with vegetable spray. Cut rounds of parchment paper to place in the bottom of each pan and spray those with vegetable spray.
  • In a medium bowl, pour the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine.
  • Stir together the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla in a separate bowl.
  • Stir together the wet and dry ingredients, stirring vigorously until there are no large lumps of flour and only minimal small lumps. Pour batter into prepared cake pans.
  • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Once done, remove the cakes from the oven, and set them aside to cool for 10 minutes. Then invert them onto plates or wire racks to cool completely.

For the Fluffy Filling

  • The filling for this cake is basically a boiled flour frosting. To make it, whisk together the sugar, flour, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes to toast the flour. 
  • Pour in the vegan milk and use a whisk or spatula to stir it in. 
  • Continue stirring as the mixture comes slowly to a low boil and thickens. Don't turn up the heat, or you'll risk burning it. Once it's thick enough that a spoon leaves a trail, transfer it to a heat-proof bowl, cover it with waxed paper touching the surface (to prevent a skin from forming), and refrigerate until completely cool.
  • Once the flour mixture is cool, add the butter to a mixing bowl and mix on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, around 2 minutes. 
  • Turn the mixer speed down to medium and spoon in the cooled flour mixture, a spoonful at a time, mixing to incorporate it until adding more. You'll need to scrape down the sides of the bowl regularly. 
  • Once all the flour mixture is added and mixed, add the vanilla, turn up the speed to medium-high, and whip for up to a minute until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Frosting Cakes

  • When both cakes are completely cooled, spoon about half of the fluffy filling over the bottom cake, spreading it evenly across the top. Then place the second cake on top of that. Spread the remaining fluffy filling evenly over the top cake.

Recommended Equipment

(The products above contain sponsored links to products we use and recommend)

Notes

You can substitute vegan butter such as Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, Miyoko’s, or homemade vegan butter in place of vegetable shortening. I do not recommend using butter-flavored vegetable shortening.
Calories: 392kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 239mg | Potassium: 98mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 291IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 27mg | 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.

This post was originally published in 2019 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.

This is an example of one of the older photos:

Slice of Vegan Suzy Q Cake on a plate with a fork resting on the plate and a bright blue background

19 Responses to Suzy Q Cake

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyLaura Reply

    Your cake looks delicious! I’m hoping to make it for a friend who is lactose intolerant. Any recipe ideas for a frosting she can eat? Thanks!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Laura – the frosting posted with this recipe is dairy free and so delicious. I highly recommend it. Let me know how it goes!

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMagic of Spice Reply

    5 stars
    You don’t have to apologize…I am not here for healthy, lol 🙂 Love the cake 🙂

  3. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMs. Adventuress Reply

    Oh wow!

    And thanks so much for your 100 Thing Challenge comment. Too funny. I hear tell you can ((own)) just 100 things and win the challenge, though!

  4. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyRyan Reply

    This is the type of recipe I’m always on the lookout for, delicious and healthy for my 2 picky eating sons.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      I bet it’s something even the pickiest of eaters should love. Who can’t adore chocolate and cream? It’s all gone now, but I’m still enjoying the memories of that cake!

  5. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMonet Reply

    Hostess has quite a few recipes that I’m interested in unpacking…and this was certainly on my list! It is frightening to consider some of the ingredients they pack into their plastic wrapped goods! Thanks for creating/finding such a delicious vegan version. This cake looks moist, rich and too delicious to pass up.

  6. Avatar thumbnail image for Marlyfooddreamer Reply

    Hostess snack cakes have always sort of wigged me out, but I’d happily take the homemade version. The whole idea of the beef fat confirms for me that I don’t ever want the packaged version!!! I’m not vegetarian or vegan but beef fat in a backed good? GROSS!
    Your cake looks delicious.

  7. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyJeanne Reply

    5 stars
    I’ve never tried a Hostess Suzy Q cake, but I can tell that yours is infinitely better! Why in the world would there be beef fat in a cake? Insanity! I love the bright blue background that you used for the photos.

  8. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyNoelle Reply

    YUmmmmmyy! Hey I do not always like healthy recipes, so I think I might have to keep this in my to-make tab! I want a slice ASAP! 🙂

  9. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyStella Reply

    Oh Marly! You always have the best ideas on what recipes to veganize. This cake does look delicious, and I know it’s probably just as good as the original if not better. Me wants a slice with my coffee right now;)
    p.s. beef fat? Icky…!

  10. Avatar thumbnail image for Marlyanne Reply

    This looks awesome, thank you for including it on your site, I may have to give it a try!! Have a great day, anne

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Thanks, Anne, for your comment and the inspiration!

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