Classic Vegan Chocolate Cake

This classic vegan chocolate cake is my go-to tried and tested recipe for when I need a chocolate fix or want to bake a treat for a special occasion.

It’s been a recipe two months in the making and started when my husband Michael requested a chocolate cake for his birthday this year back in March. He wanted a beautiful, rich chocolate cake. I then realised that in all the time we’ve been vegan, I never made one!

This cake was inspired by a chocolate cake that is in my friend Anthea’s cookbook from Rainbow Nourishments. She is a fantastic chef/baker!

Tested to perfection

After trying (and failing) at MANY testers, this is the vegan chocolate cake recipe I’m super proud to share with you. It’s rich, moist, has the perfect amount of crumb, and is layered with a decadent two-ingredient velvety chocolate ganache.

If you love a chocolate fix (or are a chocoholic like me) every now and then, you know a good chocolate cake when you taste one. And this, my friends, will certainly hit the spot! 

Vegan or not, everyone will enjoy this cake. So don’t be afraid to make it for those that usually wouldn’t pick a plant-based cake if on the menu. 

It’s a super simple, fuss-free cake that doesn’t require any fancy kitchen equipment! Just your basics. 

Classic Vegan Chocolate Cake

I also wanted to make a point of saying that it uses your everyday staple pantry ingredients—no need for specialty cacao powders, flours, or egg and dairy replacements. 

Lots of cake creators out there state only to use Dutch-processed cocoa because it’s been treated with alkali. The raw cacao is more acidic; therefore, many say not to use it. However, I have found that it still works nicely in cakes and, again, doesn’t have to be a specialty ingredient that you need to go out and find. 

If you happen to have Dutch-processed cocoa at home, wonderful, if not, it’s perfectly fine to use either cacao or cocoa! More on the differentiating factors of those two in my hot chocolate recipe.

The added ingredients of maple syrup and espresso coffee will bring out the chocolate flavours even more. 

Adding cream to the top of the chocolate cake

Classic Vegan Chocolate Cake

A few tips for making the best vegan chocolate cake

  • Please, please, PLEASE use scales, not measuring cups for this recipe! The cup measurements vary from country to country, and also, the flour that you use will be a different density potentially to the one that I used. So this is why it’s essential to measure it out accurately to get the best results.
  • It’s important to sift the ingredients to avoid any lumps in your batter. Since we’re using coconut sugar, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder, they are all ingredients that can lump quite easily. 
  • To get a nice even bake, use the middle rack in your oven. If baking two cakes, place them side by side. If your oven is too small for that, bake them individually.
  • This cake is best made ahead of time, as you want it to completely cool on your benchtop, then transfer it to either an airtight container or cling wrap and then to the fridge. I usually make mine the morning of when I want it for that evening or the day before. 
  • Let the cake cool completely and sit in the fridge for an hour or two before spreading the ganache. You’ll avoid the ganache sticking to the cake crumb or it being too thin. It needs that time in the fridge to set a little to make it thick and spreadable.

Classic Vegan Chocolate Cake Classic Vegan Chocolate Cake

This classic vegan chocolate cake is:

  • Eggless
  • Dairy-free
  • Soy-free (optional), just pick your ganache chocolate without any soy
  • Nut-free
  • Palm oil-free 

Classic Vegan Chocolate Cake

So if you’re after an easy, moist, chocolatey rich cake that is topped and layered with a creamy dairy-free thick ganache, this is your cake!

It’s not too sweet, yet it doesn’t compromise on flavour. It satisfies that chocolate craving without too much guilt. 

Classic Vegan Chocolate Cake

If you try this recipe, let me know! I would love for you to leave a comment and rating below. If you want to go that extra mile, tag us on Instagram, or share your photo of the recipe on Pinterest. Or Pin It for later!

Other recipes you’ll love:

  1. Vegan Chocolate and Pear Loaf Cake
  2. No-Bake Vegan Chocolate Mousse Cake
  3. Vegan Banana Cake with a Chocolate Ganache
  4. Vegan Vanilla Cake with Coconut Cream and Berries
  5. Easy Vegan Carrot Cake

Classic Vegan Chocolate Cake

Classic Vegan Chocolate Cake

Yield: Serves 10
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

This vegan chocolate cake is decadent, easy to make, and beautifully rich. It's perfect for that chocolate fix or for a special occasion.

Ingredients

Dry:

  • 2 cups (270g) unbleached plain flour
  • 1 ½ tsp (8g) baking powder
  • ½ tsp (5g) bicarb soda
  • 1 cup (150g) coconut sugar
  • 2/3 cup (60g) cacao powder
  • Pinch of salt (2g)

Wet:

  • 1 cup (220ml) espresso or strong coffee (preferably freshly made and still warm)
  • 1 cup (230ml) any plant-based milk (I've tried with soy, almond, and coconut)
  • ½ cup neutral oil (I use rice bran oil)
  • 1 tsp (5ml) apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup (80ml) good-quality maple syrup

Additional:

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (355F) and place the oven rack in the middle. Line a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper and grease the sides for easy removal from the pan. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, sift all the dry ingredients and whisk together to combine well.
  3. In a separate smaller bowl, combine all the wet ingredients and whisk them until they are also well combined and slightly frothy.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix using the whisk until there are no lumps. Please don't over mix!
  5. Pour batter into the prepared tin and tap on the benchtop a few times to release any air bubbles.
  6. Place on the middle rack in the oven baking for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Bake until the skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake. Please don't be tempted to open the oven any sooner as this will make the cake collapse in the middle as it cools. You will see that the cake is starting to separate from the sides of the pan, this is when you can test to see if it's finished. You want the cake to spring back if you touch the top.
  7. While the cake bakes, make the chocolate ganache.
  8. Once the cake is done, let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes before carefully removing it and letting it completely cool on a wire rack.
  9. Place in the fridge to firm up a little before frosting the cake. It will make it much easier to apply.

Notes

This recipe is for one layer of the chocolate cake pictured. If you would like the full two-layered chocolate cake, double the recipe and bake two evenly distributed batters for the same amount of time in two cake pans. Make sure to also double the ganache recipe.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 400Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 50mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 1gSugar: 26gProtein: 5g

Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated automatically. The accuracy of this information is not guaranteed.

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Classic Vegan Chocolate Cake

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20 thoughts on “Classic Vegan Chocolate Cake”

  1. Any idea how the baking time or temp should be adjusted if I were to make this into cupcakes?

  2. How much does this yield for a 9 inch cake pan? Is it only for 1 or I can divide in two? Thank you in advance. I want to try this for my brother’s birthday!

    1. The listed ingredients will make only one layer of the cake pictured. You can cut the cake in half once baked but it will be thinner layers. If you want it to look like the pictures, you will need to double the ingredients or make it twice. I hope that helps to clarify!

  3. The recipe sounds delicious! But I don’t have maple sirup where I live. Are there any substitutes to it?

    1. Surprisingly no! It’s sweetened with coconut sugar. However, I can see that most of the vegan chocolate at that percentage will probably have refined sugars so I have removed that line 🙂

    2. Not sure what happened… my sister hated it. Had to spit it out. Said the outside of the cake was rubbery, and the inside too (she said although it looked wet like fudge, it tasted like rubber). I cooked it at least an hour, probably longer as when I stuck a knife in one side to test it, it came out clean, but when I tested the the other side was still wet.
      I don’t eat gluten as well as eggs and dairy (yay allergies/intolerances! Not) so the main thing was that instead of plain flour I used a homemade paleo flour blend of almond flour, tapioca flour and coconut flour (which was apparently developed to be as close to wheat flour as possible, and worked perfectly in a carrot cake my mum made the same day). I didn’t have coconut sugar on hand so used erythritol mixed w molasses (which is usually used to make brown sugar, and you’ve said in the comments that normal granulated sugar would work so I assumed erythritol would work, especially as I’ve been usually able to switch sugar for xylitol/erythritol) and I used agave as I didn’t have maple syrup (and you’ve also said in the comments that any liquid sweetner should work).
      Other than that I followed the recipe mainly to a T. I used Valhrona cocoa powder and I had a teeny bit more (10ml) fresh brewed coffee which shouldn’t have affected anything. When I mixed it it seemed very thick so I added a splash of extra oat milk. I potentially could have over mixed, but I don’t think I did as I found a lump of flour at the bottom which I had to quickly incorporate whilst pouring it into a greased and cocoa powder-lined tin (usually you use cocoa powder instead of flour to line a tin when making a chocolate cake, for obvious reasons) and then I did hit it against the tabletop a few times to release air bubbles. I used a scale instead of cups (I always use scales if I can, even going so far as converting a recipe with a cup to gram chart accounting for different densities of ingredients)
      I made it last night and let it cool and haven’t put it in the fridge. I’m not sure what made it turn out a fail? I’m just kind of deflated, as one of the things I miss since giving up cow dairy eggs and gluten is a good old moist chocolate cake and I really thought this be the one. I guess not. I have another non vegan recipe I almost successfully made GF and vegan (the eggs were the issue) I might just try that one again.

      1. Hi Olivia, sorry that you didn’t have success with the cake. Based on the alterations that you made, unfortunately, there are too many changes that have been made to get similar or the same results. The almond and coconut flour both act very differently to wheat flour so I would say that this would have been your main culprit. Coconut flour, in particular, requires much more liquid, which is why your mix would have been drier. I have never personally used erythritol so I can’t comment on that, however, I do use xylitol regularly. If it’s anything like xylitol in sweetness, you would need less as it does tend to be sweeter than normal sugar and can be too much (xylitol gives a laxative effect if too much is consumed). Depending on how much molasses you added, this could have also been an issue to the texture of the cake (too much liquid sweetener).
        I have other recipes on the website that would probably suit your dietary requirements more like this Chocolate Mousse Cake or these Choc Brownies that use xylitol.
        I hope you have better success with these!

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