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.
Free Recipe eBook
Join our newsletter and get our eBook featuring exclusive breakfast recipes to kickstart your mornings.
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.
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.
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.
This classic vegan chocolate cake is:
- Soy-free (optional), pick your ganache chocolate without any soy
- Palm oil-free
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.
Other recipes you’ll love:
- Vegan Chocolate and Pear Loaf Cake
- No-Bake Vegan Chocolate Mousse Cake
- Vegan Banana Cake with a Chocolate Ganache
- Vegan Vanilla Cake with Coconut Cream and Berries
- Easy Vegan Carrot Cake
- Chocolate Orange Cake (Vegan & Gluten-Free)
- Vegan Banana Custard Cake
If you try this recipe, let me know! We’d 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!
Classic Vegan Chocolate Cake
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Bake Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: Serves 10
This vegan chocolate cake is decadent, easy to make, and beautifully rich. It’s perfect for that chocolate fix or for a special occasion.
- 2 cups / 270g plain flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon bicarb soda
- 1 cup / 150g coconut sugar
- 2/3 cup / 60g cacao powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup / 220ml espresso or strong coffee (preferably freshly made and still warm)
- 1 cup / 230ml plant milk (I’ve tried with soy, almond, and coconut)
- ½ cup / 105ml neutral oil (I use rice bran oil)
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup / 80ml maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius (355 degrees Fahrenheit) 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.
- In a large bowl, sift all the dry ingredients and whisk together to combine well.
- In a separate smaller bowl, combine all the wet ingredients and whisk them until they are well combined and slightly frothy.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix using the whisk until there are no lumps. Please don’t over mix!
- Pour batter into the prepared tin and tap on the benchtop a few times to release any air bubbles.
- 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.
- While the cake bakes, make the chocolate ganache.
- 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.
- Place in the fridge to firm up a little before frosting the cake. It will make it much easier to apply.
Note: 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.
Please read the tips earlier in the post for best results.
- Diet: Vegan
I just had to post another comment having made this cake again for my birthday last week in the uk. I’ve made it a few times now and it’s always delicious, however this time was a challenge. I was using my mums tiny kitchen and only found out too late that she only had a minuscule weighing scale and I had forgotten to buy enough plant milk .. it was a Sunday so shops were closed.. anyway, I used the liquid part of coconut milk to replace the soya milk .. I had just enough… and somehow, miraculously, the measurements worked in spite of a lot of guessing, and the cake was perfect.. my non vegan family absolutely loved it .. thank you Masa for all your incredible recipes.. and for the love and work that goes into the heartfultable.
That’s great, Sally and happy birthday! I’m glad it all worked out in the end. I’ve been in those situations more often than I’d like to admit! 😂 Having to improvise and still make it work is part of the fun. Thank you for your kind words and for sharing your story x
Can you use replace for spelt flour?
Unfortunately, you won’t get the same light and fluffy consistency. You can try 50%/50% but the texture still won’t be the same. Let me know how you go 🙂
Made this about a mont ago and my family loves it so much. They are not vegan but they said it tasted really good might even better than the regular chocolate cakes 😋. Came out really moist and on a perfect sweetness. I substitute the maple syrup with palm lontar nectar and it works fine. I was wondering if I can substitute the maple with coconut sugar and another tbsp of water or plant milk ? I will try it on my next bake tho. Thankyou so much for the amazing recipe.
Thanks so much for sharing and so happy to hear that your family loves it! I personally haven’t tried adding more maple syrup and increasing the sugar but the maple syrup is there to mainly bring out the chocolate flavours even more. Let me know how you go!
Hey 🙂 This sounds amazing and I can’t wait to try it (I’ll have to use honey instead of maple syrup as maple syrup isn’t really a thing where I live). I really hate coffee so I don’t have a coffee maker at home. Any tips what I could use instead of coffee? Would a strong black tea work?
Hi Lina, You can use any type of liquid sweetener instead of maple syrup. The maple syrup and the coffee do strengthen the chocolate flavour so unfortunately, black tea won’t do the same thing. Just add more plant milk instead 🙂 Happy baking!
Hi Masa! This is an incredible recipe….everything about this cake is perfect. We used gluten free flour and a little ground almond (70g) as I have found in other recipes that gluten free flour can end up making cakes very dry. I am usually really unsuccessful with baking cakes, but your video was so great, it made the whole process really easy and clear. The cake was absolutely delicious and we are now looking at your other recipes for inspiration. Thank you so much and thank you for all your fantastic videos, creative recipes and for your dedication to the Minimalist Vegan. Definitely 5 stars!!
Hi Sally, thank you so much! This comment has made my day 🙂 So happy to hear that you were able to make it gluten-free and enjoy it. Happy browsing!
You say to use the weight rather than cup measurements but only give the oil quantity as 1/2 cup. What is that in millilitres please?
I’m sorry I missed that one! It’s 105ml 🙂
Any idea how the baking time or temp should be adjusted if I were to make this into cupcakes?
I haven’t made them as cupcakes before but I would bake for 20-30 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Let me know how you go!
This cake was the easiest cake i have made and it became exactly as i expected, i love the texture and the flavour, very fluffy and moist. Thank you!
Can I use gluten free plain flour instead?
Hi Hannah, you can, it just won’t turn out as fluffy. It will be a denser cake but still delicious 🙂
I tried it and it turned out beautifully! Thanks for the great recipe!
Yay! So happy to hear that 🙂 Thanks for the feedback x
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!
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!
This was the best chocolate cake recipe I’ve ever tried. Loved it. Thank you ❤
Yay, SO happy to hear that!
Hi, can I use whole wheat flour ?
I haven’t tried it so I’m not sure how it will turn out. It will work, it just won’t be the same texture. Let me know how you go!
The recipe sounds delicious! But I don’t have maple sirup where I live. Are there any substitutes to it?
Any liquid sweetener will work 🙂
This looks amazing! Would normal granulated sugar work instead of coconut sugar?
I haven’t tried it, but yes it would!
Doesn’t your vegan chocolate (55% cacao) contain refined sugar?
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 🙂
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.
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!