This one-bowl vegan chocolate cake is the perfect snacking cake for any occasion! With no eggs, butter, or any dairy at all required, you probably have everything you need to make it right now. We finish the cake with a vegan chocolate frosting (made with mashed sweet potatoes!) for a rich, light finish.
This is adapted from a depression-era chocolate cake, so it's an old recipe developed not to use expensive eggs or butter. The sweet potato frosting is creamy and mousse-like without too much sugar. If you want a more decadent topping, make a batch of vegan buttercream frosting or cream cheese frosting.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Oil: choose a light flavoured neutral oil like vegetable, canola, or even avocado.
- Flour: we use all-purpose flour but we have also had great success with sifted red fife flour.
- Water: Feel free to swap in your favourite plant-based milk or cooled coffee for the water.
- Oil: You can replace the oil with an equal amount of applesauce, but the cake may dry out faster.
Step 1: add all of the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl.
Step 2: whisk together until well combined.
Step 3: add the wet ingredients to the bowl.
Step 4: stir everything together until the flour is just mixed in.
Step 5: pour the chocolate batter into a lightly greased cake tin that's been lined with parchment paper.
Step 6: bake for 30 minutes, or until the top springs back when pressed gently with a fingertip.
Step 7: cool the cake for 20 minutes before removing from the cake tin and cooling completely on a wire rack.
Step 8: purée all of the vegan chocolate frosting ingredients in a small food processor or a blender until smooth. Use it to frost the cake, then decorate however you like.
- Refrigerate the frosting: it's a good idea to place the cake in the refrigerator for the icing to set, but it's not crucial to do so.
- Add extra chocolate: for extra chocolatey goodness, double the cocoa and stir ½ cup of dark chocolate chips into the batter before baking.
- Make a layer cake: try slicing the cake across the middle widthwise to make two layers, then fill with chocolate frosting and a layer of raspberry jam.
Make sure the cake is completely cool before frosting. While the frosting is less likely to melt than a buttercream (no butter) it will lose the perfectly fluffy texture if placed onto a hot cake.
The middle of this cake does tend to sink just a touch, that's normal, and just the nature of the cake. It's not significant and won't make the cake too dense or claggy.
How to Store
Storage: for longer storage, keep the iced cake in the fridge. Un-iced cakes can be kept on the counter in an airtight container for a few days.
Freezing: transfer the cooled, un-iced cake to an airtight container and freeze for up to three months.
What is vegan cake made of?
The answer to this question varies wildly, but two components remain constant. Vegan cakes contain no dairy or eggs, or any animal products at all.
Why is there vinegar in cake?
Vinegar is often added to cake batter, especially for vegan cakes, because the reaction between it and baking soda causes a greater lift.
Is chocolate vegan?
Not all chocolate is vegan. Look for dark chocolate that contains no milk or dairy in the ingredient list, or chocolate specifically labelled as vegan.
If you make this Vegan Chocolate Cake or any other chocolate recipes on the Baked Collective, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more baking, follow along on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
Vegan Chocolate Cake
- Measuring cups and spoons or digital kitchen scale
- Mixing bowl
- 8-inch (20-cm) round baking tin
- Wooden spoon
- Blender or small food processor
For The Vegan Chocolate Cake
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 5 tablespoon neutral oil vegetable, canola, or avocado
- 1 cup water room temperature
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For The Vegan Chocolate Frosting
- ½ cup sweet potato cooked soft, skins removed, mashed
- ⅓ cup dark chocolate chips melted
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 pinch sea salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
Make The Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Lightly grease an 8-inch (20-cm) round cake tin with oil and line it with parchment paper cut to fit. Set aside.
- Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking power, baking soda, and salt together in a mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Add the oil, water, vinegar, and vanilla. Stir until the flour is just mixed in.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin. Place the tin in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the cake bounces back when lightly touched. Cool the cake in the tin on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Cool completely before icing.
Make The Frosting & Ice The Cake
- Combine all of the frosting ingredients in a blender or small food processor and purée until smooth. Spread evenly over the cooled cake and decorate however you like.
- For longer storage, keep the iced cake in the fridge. Un-iced cakes can be kept on the counter in an airtight container for a few days.