This dense, fudgy and moist chocolate cake happens to be dairy-free, egg-free and perfect for your next celebration.
Easiest Vegan Chocolate Cake
This is the easiest Vegan Chocolate Cake, made with pantry-staple ingredients for a dense, rich espresso-spiked chocolate flavor and topped with light and fluffy chocolate buttercream frosting.
Who doesn’t love chocolate cake? Whether it’s for a birthday, Valentine’s Day, or a regular Tuesday night, it’s never a bad time for a slice of fudgy cake with plenty of frosting.
This vegan chocolate cake, in particular, is one of my favorite dairy-free dessert recipes. It has all of the flavor of a classic chocolate cake (including the frosting), but without any dairy or eggs.
How to Make Vegan Chocolate Cake
Start making this recipe with the chocolate cake batter. Here’s what you need to make it:
All-purpose flour. I use organic flour from King Arthur.
Cocoa powder. Cacao powder will also work.
Cane sugar. I use organic to make sure it’s vegan.
Baking powder and baking soda
Cinnamon. To warm up the rich chocolate flavor a bit.
Instant espresso powder. This won’t add much caffeine to your cake, but adds a delicious bitter quality.
Vanilla. Use pure extract if possible.
Almond milk. Or any plant-based milk you like.
Apple cider vinegar. To help the baking powder activate with a bit of acid.
Semi-sweet chocolate. Make sure your chocolate is vegan!
Can I use Pastry Flour?
Certainly! If you use cake or pastry flour, the texture of your cake will be even lighter and airier.
Tips for Making Vegan Cake
Because this cake doesn’t rely on eggs or dairy, there are a few steps that are slightly different from your typical cake-making process.
Start by making vegan “buttermilk”. Combine the dairy-free milk with the vinegar and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes to sour a bit.
Use melted butter for easier blending.
Make sure you let the cakes cool fully before trying to frost them. OTherwise, your frosting will melt right off.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
The frosting on this cake is an airy, light and fluffy chocolate buttercream. Without any dairy, it’s incredibly rich and airy. You’ll want to keep this frosting on hand for all of your vegan baking projects. Here’s what you need:
Powdered sugar. Granulated sugar will make a grainy texture in your frosting, so opt for confectioner’s sugar.
Cocoa powder. Cacao powder also works!
Vegan butter. Let it soften to room temperature for easiest blending.
Vanilla. To contrast some of the decadent chocolate flavor.
Almond milk. Any dairy-free milk works.
Storing Leftover Cake
You can store leftovers for up to 4 days in an airtight container in the fridge. The cake also freezes well. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
If you’re making the cake ahead of time to serve for a party, I recommend frosting the cake just before serving.
Assembling the Layer Cake
When your cake layers and frosting are ready, you can assemble this vegan chocolate cake.
Start by trimming the cake. The goal is to make as flat a surface as possible. The best way to do this is with a serrated knife.
You can make two or three layers with this cake.
If frosting the cake gets difficult, you can pop the whole thing in the fridge for a few minute to help firm up the frosting.
On top, I like to make cute little decorations with a piping bag. And of course, chocolate sprinkles because there’s never too much chocolate. Elegant chocolate shavings will also work beautifully!
Did you know that Cacao AND Cocoa are the same thing?
Chocolate is actually made from Cacao beans (or seeds). It’s said that companies who use the term ‘Cacao’ are referring to the beans, pods, or ground up version of the beans. However, the term Cocoa is often referred to as the powdered version of it all (which is formed after the fat is pressed out of the bean).
Of course there’s a whole process that happens and you can find out more about that here.
Note that to make cocoa powder, the fat must be removed from the chocolate. This means that cacao or cocoa powder is lower in fat and calories than regular chocolate.
So of course, it’s always best to go with a brand of Cacao that contains those nutrients and are premium to ensure that your body actually receives all of those boosters. Navitas Organics’ version of Cacao not only does that, but it’s so delicious as well! You can always purchase it on their site or through a large retailer like Amazon.
Cacao has a host of health benefits which include:
High in iron and tryptophan (which is an amino acid that helps the body make serotonin—a relaxing chemical).
MADE OUR RECIPE(S)?
If you make this Vegan Chocolate Cake + Chocolate Buttercreamrecipe or any other recipe from us, be sure to tag us on Instagram at #Orchidsandsweettea so that we can share the love!
1cuporganic cocoa powder(You can also use Cacao powder as well!)
1 1/2cupsorganic cane sugar
2tspsdissolvable espresso powder
1cupAlmond milk(You can use your fave plant-based milk!)
1Tbspapple cider vinegar
1/2cupvegan butter, melted
1cupvegan semi-sweet chocolate, melted
4-5cupsorganic powdered sugar, sifted
1/4cuporganic cocoa powder
1/2cupvegan butter, softened at room temp.
1/4cupAlmond milk(You can use your fave plant-based milk!)
Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease (with butter) AND line with parchment paper the bottoms of THREE 6-inch cake pans or TWO 8-inch pans.
In a bowl or measuring cup, add the milk and apple cider vinegar together, whisking until combined. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes until the mixture slightly thickens.
In another bowl, add together the espresso powder and boiling water, mixing until powder fully dissolves.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt until combined.
Add in the milk-ACV mixture, melted butter, melted chocolate, and espresso mixture and mix together using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until just combined.
Divide the batter evenly into each of the cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick or butter knife comes out clean when tested in the centers.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the center of the cakes come out clean using a toothpick.
Remove cakes from the oven and let them rest in the pan for 10 minutes or so before removing the cakes and placing them onto a cooling rack to fully cool. NOTE: Let them cool for at least 1-2 hours in a cool place.
VEGAN CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM:
Simply beat the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer (or using a hand-mixer) on medium-high speed, until smooth and pale. Add in the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and milk, continuing to mix on medium-speed until you reach the desired consistency----smooth and fluffy. NOTE: Add more milk (1 Tbsp at a time if too thick) or powdered sugar (for more thickness).
Place the first cake layer on your cake stand and evenly cover the top with buttercream. Now, top with 2nd layer and add more buttercream atop that layer. Finally, top with final layer and top with remaining buttercream, spreading it over the tops and sides of cake, evenly and thinly.
Once fully frosted, add small little designs of the buttercream using a piping bag + tip followed by chocolate (or rainbow) sprinkles around the sides and top of cake, if desired. Chill for 5 minutes to ensure that buttercream sets.
When ready to serve, remove from the refrigerator. Slice and enjoy!
Tips & Tricks
STORAGE: Keep cake leftovers stored for up to 4 days in the fridge. Keep it in an airtight container to keep the cake from drying out. You can also freeze the cake tightly wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 3 months. Before serving, defrost the cake on the counter.
FLOUR: For an extra fluffy cake, you can always use cake flour instead of all-purpose. See post for more!
CUPCAKES: This recipe yields about 2 dozen cupcakes. Simply bake for 18-20 minutes instead, until centers come out clean.