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A truly decadent dessert! – this Vegan Chocolate Cake is rich, moist, and fudgy! It has a tender crumb with a silky-smooth, buttery frosting that is hard to resist. Plus, it’s easy to make and requires simple ingredients.
Sometimes we just need to indulge a little and a slice of this Vegan Chocolate Cake is the best way to do it. It pairs nicely with Netflix and a glass of red wine or a cold glass of Cashew Milk. It’ll satisfy your sweet tooth and brighten your day!
You don’t need a special occasion to make this fabulous dessert, but it’s the perfect treat for birthdays, potlucks, holidays, and more. Almost everyone loves chocolate cake, so it’ll be a winner every time!
Plus, the deep chocolate flavor of this cake will keep them coming back for more. It’s deliciously addictive!
What’s the secret to making a chocolate cake more chocolatey?
Well, there are a few ways to amp up the chocolate flavor, but my favorite way is to use Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder. It provides an intense dark chocolate flavor that’ll turn an ordinary cake into an extraordinary one. It’s a chocolate lover’s dream!
It’s perfect for baking, but it won’t work in every recipe because of its neutral PH, so you won’t be able to use it interchangeably with regular cocoa powder which is more acidic. So make sure the recipe you’re making specifically states which one to use.
However, you can use regular cocoa powder for this recipe if you want and it’ll still turn out chocolatey and delicious! If you want to boost the chocolate flavor, you can add 1 teaspoon of Espresso Powder or fold in a 1/2 cup of Vegan Chocolate Chips into the batter.
What do I need?
For the wet ingredients, you’ll need soy milk, apple cider vinegar, granulated sugar, neutral-flavored oil, applesauce, and vanilla extract. It’s the perfect combination to create a soft and moist cake texture.
For the dry ingredients, you’ll need all-purpose flour, Dutch-process cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
To make the chocolate frosting, you’ll need vegan stick butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, non-dairy milk, and Dutch-process cocoa powder.
(full amounts and instructions in the recipe card below)
How to make a vegan chocolate cake batter
- STEP 1 – Make the vegan buttermilk. Combine the soy milk and apple cider vinegar in a medium bowl and let it sit for 10 minutes. Set aside.
- STEP 2 – Sift the cocoa powder in a large bowl, then whisk with the remaining dry ingredients. Set aside.
- STEP 3 – Add oil, applesauce, sugar, and vanilla to the bowl of buttermilk and whisk to combine.
- STEP 4 – Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and whisk together until just combined. Divide batter evenly into cake pans. Bake them in the oven for 30-35 minutes
How to make the chocolate frosting
- STEP 1 – Add softened vegan butter to a bowl. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer beat on medium until fluffy. About 2-4 minutes.
- STEP 2 – Add the vanilla extract and mix until incorporated (about 30-60 seconds)
- STEP 3 – Add the powdered sugar and cocoa mixture, 1 cup at a time over low speed until it’s mostly incorporated. Scrape down sides as needed. Now turn up to medium-high speed and mix until smooth and fluffy. Repeat until the mixture is gone.
- STEP 4 – On medium speed, add the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
- When you’re transferring the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, use a spatula to scrape out as much as possible. You don’t want to lose that moisture!
- Don’t overwork the batter or the cake will be dense and chewy. Mix the wet and dry ingredients until just combined. A few small lumps are fine.
- Let the cake completely cool before frosting or it will melt.
- You can apply a crumb coat to prevent loose crumbs from getting into the frosting. Here is a quick tutorial on how to apply a crumb coat.
- If you’re adding sprinkles to the cake, add them right after frosting so they stick.
- To prevent frosting from getting on the serving plate, you can place a few pieces of parchment paper on the edges of the plate before placing the cake base on top. Now frost the cake entirely, then carefully remove the pieces.
Can I freeze the cake?
Yes! The cake freezes really well for 3-4 months and will be perfectly moist and tender after thawing. You’d never know it was frozen! Just make sure the cake is completely cooled and wrap each piece really well before storing it.
You don’t even have to thaw the cake before frosting it either. Just give it an hour before serving it. Freezing it also makes it sturdier and the frosting glides on easily without crumbs getting in the way.
If you have leftover cake that is already frosted, you can still freeze it. I like to cut it into slices and freeze each piece separately. Then you can have a piece of cake any time you’d like. It’ll only take 10-15 minutes to thaw.
Can I use the cake batter for cupcakes?
Yes! It’ll make about 18 cupcakes, so you’ll need two 12-cup cupcake tins. Fill each slot with cupcake liners and pour the batter about 3/4 of the way into each one. Bake for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Alternative frosting options
More chocolate recipes to enjoy:
I love to hear from you
If you make this Vegan Chocolate Cake recipe, let me know what you think by ★ star rating it and leaving a comment below. It would really make my day. You can also follow me on Instagram and share your creation with me. Just tag me @veganhuggs and hashtag #veganhuggs so I don’t miss it.
Vegan Chocolate Cake
- 1 1/2 cups soy milk
- 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (sub lemon juice)
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons avocado oil , or any neutral-flavored oil (grapeseed, sunflower, vegetable, etc.)
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (*see note about measuring)
- 3/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder (sub unsweetened cocoa powder)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Preheat your oven to 350 °F (177 °C). Lightly grease two 8-inch cake pans for easy cake removal. (9-inch pans can be used too)
- In a large mixing bowl with a Mesh Strainer on top, sift the cocoa powder into the bowl to break up clumps. Remove strainer and add flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine well. Set aside.
- In the medium bowl with the buttermilk, add the oil, applesauce, sugar, and vanilla. Whisk to combine well.
- Now slowly pour the wet ingredients into the larger bowl of dry ingredients. Scrape the sides of the bowl so you get all that moisture. Whisk together until just combined. Small lumps are fine. (*Don't over mix or it can create a dense and chewy cake)
- Divide batter evenly into each cake pan. Bake them in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (some dry crumbs are fine, just not wet batter). Don't overbake or the cake will be dry.
- Let the cake cool in the pans for 15-20 minutes before removing. Then let them cool on a rack completely before frosting.
- In a medium mixing bowl fitted with a mesh strainer on top, add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder and sift together to break up clumps. Set aside.
- Add the softened vegan butter to the bowl of a Stand Mixer (or use a Medium/Large Stainless Steel Bowl with a Hand Mixer). Beat until pale and fluffy for 2-4 minutes.
- Add the vanilla extract and mix until incorporated (about 30-60 seconds)
- Now add the powdered sugar and cocoa mixture, 1 cup at a time over low speed until it's mostly incorporated. Scrape down sides as needed. Now turn up to medium-high speed and mix until smooth and fluffy. Repeat until the mixture is gone. Taste and add more sugar if needed.
- On medium speed, add the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
- If the cake is not cool yet, store the frosting in the fridge in an airtight container. It may harden a little in the fridge. Just give it a good stir and let it sit for 5-10 minutes at room temperature.
Useful Tools To make This Recipe
- Two 8-inch Round Cake Pans
- MEASURING FLOUR: For accurate results, don’t scoop the flour with a measuring cup directly from the flour container. Instead, Aerate the flour first, then scoop the flour out of your container with a spoon and then into a measuring cup. Don’t pack or tap the cup. After filling, lightly sweep a butter knife across the top to remove the excess flour.
- STAND MIXER: you can use the paddle or balloon whisk attachment. The whisk adds more air into the frosting which gives it a slightly whipped texture. If you want a more traditional buttercream, use the paddle attachment.
- FROSTING: it can stay out at room temperature for quite a while without melting, so you can leave the decorated cake out. However, if it's too warm, the frosting will start to soften. I prefer to store the decorated cake in the fridge and take it out an hour before serving. This also helps set the frosting and prevents it from getting too soft.
- If you'll be adding sprinkles or decorations on top of the frosting, make sure to do so right away or they won't stick.
- If you're using regular cocoa powder for the frosting, you may want to add 1/4 cup more to the recipe. Taste before adding more.
- Use organic powder sugar to ensure that it's vegan.