When that craving for chocolate hits, grabbing a chocolate bar or maybe even a bowl of chocolate ice cream is sure to suffice. But why not really lean into that craving? Chocolate cake is a total classic, and it’s the perfect addition to a celebration or simply just to fix a sweet tooth.
But what about for those opting for a vegan lifestyle? Luckily, chocolate cake doesn’t have to fall by the wayside. And this cake recipe may even prove to you that a vegan chocolate cake is better than its classic egg-and-milk-filled counterpart.
This recipe for vegan chocolate cake is surprisingly simple. And the results are incredible. Just because this cake is vegan, it certainly doesn’t mean it’s dull on flavor or lacking in texture. This vegan chocolate cake is jam-packed with rich cocoa flavor and a delightful crumb, and it’s as moist and indulgent as can be. Trust us, even those who don’t eat vegan everyday won’t even be able to tell the difference. And for those who do opt for a vegan diet, it’ll fulfill that desire to dig a fork into a delicious chocolate cake in no time.
Gather the ingredients for this vegan chocolate cake recipe
To get started on making your own vegan chocolate cake, you’ll want to be sure you have all of the ingredients on hand at home. The beauty of this recipe is that it only utilizes simple, easy-to-find ingredients. There’s nothing hard to pronounce here!
For this vegan chocolate cake recipe, you’ll only need a handful of ingredients. You’ll need white sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, mashed banana, oil, coconut or almond milk, and some hot water.
In addition to the cake batter ingredients, you’ll also need two sticks of vegan butter, powdered sugar, and an additional four tablespoons of coconut milk or almond milk to make the frosting for this cake. If desired, you can certainly add pure vanilla extract into the frosting for this cake as well.
What substitutions can be made with this vegan chocolate cake recipe?
This vegan chocolate cake truly isn’t too far off from a classic chocolate cake recipe. It still utilizes the same basic dry cake ingredients. The difference for this cake is in the wet ingredients.
Of course, a classic cake would call for eggs in the mixture. However, by utilizing a quarter cup of mashed banana for every egg you would normally add in, you can mimic exactly what eggs do in your recipe. With mashed bananas, the cake still has a nice rise, along with a great, moist texture. But if you don’t have bananas on hand, utilizing a quarter cup of applesauce per egg can work as a substitution in a pinch.
For this recipe, a milk alternative is also utilized in both the vegan chocolate cake batter and the frosting. We used coconut milk from a carton, not a can, for this recipe. However, if you don’t have coconut milk on hand, using any other milk alternative such as almond milk, oat milk, or hemp milk will certainly work.
Mix the dry ingredients for this vegan chocolate cake recipe
Once your ingredients are gathered and ready, it’s time to start preparing your vegan chocolate cake. First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit to be sure it’s up to the correct temperature once your batter is ready for baking.
To make your vegan chocolate cake batter, start by mixing the dry ingredients. It’s best to mix the dry ingredients separately before adding any wet ingredients to avoid mixing the batter longer than necessary.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the white sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. You may opt to use a stand mixer for this step instead, or simply use a mixing bowl with a large wooden spoon. With the hand mixer or wooden spoon, mix the dry ingredients until well incorporated. Be sure the mixture is free of any clumps before moving onto the next step.
Add in the wet ingredients to finish the batter and then bake this vegan chocolate cake
Once the dry ingredients are well incorporated, it’s time to add the wet ingredients to complete your vegan chocolate cake batter.
Mix in the mashed banana, and then add in the oil. Continue mixing the batter, and add in the coconut milk. Once all of the wet ingredients are incorporated into the mixture, without overmixing, stir in the hot water. Be sure the water isn’t boiling hot, but hot to the touch. Stirring in the hot water will make the batter a bit thinner, but this is what you’ll want. It helps to add incredible moisture to the cake.
Once the batter is ready, prepare two eight-inch round cake pans. Spray the cake pans with cooking spray or line them with parchment paper to be sure your cakes won’t stick to the pans. Once the cake pans are prepped, divide the chocolate cake batter between the two pans. Bake the cakes for 25 minutes, and then remove the cakes from the oven to cool.
Make the vanilla vegan frosting for this vegan chocolate cake
While the baked chocolate cakes are cooling, it’s the ideal time to make the vanilla vegan frosting to go on top.
For this vegan frosting, we used two sticks of vegan butter, which you can find at most grocery stores. If you’re familiar with making buttercream frosting, the vegan butter sticks will work just the same.
Use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer to make the vegan frosting. Add the butter into the bowl and begin to mix to break it up. Add in two cups of powdered sugar, continue mixing, and then add in the four tablespoons of coconut milk. With the mixer still running, gradually add in the rest of the powdered sugar. Continue mixing until the mixture comes together and the frosting forms. Turn the speed up on the mixer and whip the frosting to produce a nice, smooth texture.
Frost the vegan chocolate cake
When the cakes have fully cooled, carefully remove them from the cake pans. Use a cardboard cake round, a cake stand, or a plate as the base for assembling your cake. Place one of the vegan chocolate cake rounds on the assembly surface. Use a spatula to frost the top of the first layer, and then place the second layer of cake on top.
To frost the outside of the cake, you can use a flat spatula or a piping bag fitted with an icer tip. Frost the entire cake with the vegan frosting. To achieve the "naked cake" look on the exterior of the cake, use an icing scraper or metal spatula to gently scrape some of the frosting off to reveal the sides of the chocolate cake.
To decorate your cake, top it with additional piped frosting if desired. Finish the cake off by dusting it with powdered sugar and topping it with chocolate or rainbow sprinkles.
This recipe for vegan chocolate cake is surprisingly simple. Just because this cake is vegan, it doesn’t mean it’s dull on flavor or lacking in texture.
- 1 ½ cups white sugar
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup mashed banana
- ½ cup oil
- 1 cup coconut or almond milk (plus 4 tablespoons for frosting)
- ½ cup hot water
- 2 sticks vegan butter
- 10 cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the white sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. Mix with a hand mixer or wooden spoon until well incorporated.
- Add in the mashed banana, mix, and then add in the oil. Continue to mix, and then add in the coconut milk.
- Stir in the hot water. The batter will thin out.
- Prepare two 8-inch cake pans by spraying them with cooking spray or lining them with parchment paper.
- Divide the batter between the two cake pans. Put the cake pans in the oven, and bake the cakes for 25 minutes. Once baked, remove the cakes to cool.
- While the cakes are cooling, make the vegan frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, cream the vegan butter. Add in 2 cups of powdered sugar, mix, and then add in 4 tablespoons of coconut milk and the vanilla extract. Continue mixing, gradually adding in the rest of the powdered sugar until the mixture comes together. Whip the frosting until smooth.
- Once the cakes are cooled, place one cake round on a cardboard cake board or plate. Frost the top of the first layer, and then add the second layer. Use a flat spatula or piping bag fitted with an icer tip to frost the entire cake. For a "naked cake" look, scrape the sides of the cake gently to remove enough frosting to let the side of the cake show through.
- Dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder and decorate with chocolate sprinkles if desired.