Decadent Vegan Chocolate Cake

This decadent vegan chocolate cake features a vegan chocolate buttercream filling and a shiny dark chocolate ganache. It’s cake perfection!

Best Vegan Chocolate Cake

Chocolate cake on your mind? Ours too. This incredible, decadent vegan chocolate cake is fully plant based, from the rich, moist chocolate cake to the light and fluffy buttercream filling. Oh, and did we mention a dark chocolate ganache topping? You’re going to want to stop what you’re doing and run to the kitchen to make this: NOW! This legitimately incredible vegan chocolate cake is dark chocolatey, just sweet enough, and my soul-mate chocolate cake (the perfect birthday cake for chocolate lovers). The recipe is courtesy of our friend Gena of The Full Helping from her new book, Food52 Vegan. How to make it this beauty? Here are all of Gena’s secrets.

How does this fit into our idea of a balanced diet? See How to Eat a Balanced Diet: 5 Tips.

Decadent vegan chocolate cake

Step 1: Make the vegan chocolate cake.

First up, the chocolate cake! This cake turns out so perfectly moist, you’ll never want to make another chocolate cake again! (This will be my birthday cake for all time.) In a standard chocolate cake, you’ll typically see butter, eggs, and milk. For this vegan chocolate cake, you’ll use coconut oil instead of butter. Coconut oil is a great substitute for butter because the texture is similar.

No eggs are needed in this vegan chocolate cake because it’s been formulated with the right amount of liquid to to make for a beautifully moist, chocolate-y cake. For the milk, you can use the non-dairy milk of your choice. In our baked goods we like to use a high-quality almond milk. In this recipe, you’ll also add a bit of apple cider vinegar to the non-dairy milk to give it a little tang like buttermilk. Mix it all up in your mixer, pour into two round baking pans, and bake for about 25 minutes.

Tip: After baking, make sure to let your cakes cool for a few hours until room temperature (or even overnight) before icing!

Vegan buttercream icing

Step 2: Make the vegan buttercream.

On to the vegan buttercream filling! This is where this vegan chocolate cake gets even more fun. Standard chocolate buttercream is made with, as the name implies, loads of butter! Since this vegan buttercream can’t use butter, it has a genius solution.

The vegan buttercream is made of pumpkin puree, cocoa powder, maple syrup, and almond butter. Yes, pumpkin! And almond butter! These healthy, whole food ingredients combine into a seriously tasty version of buttercream frosting. And it’s totally plant based! Honestly, if you don’t have time to bake this vegan chocolate cake, it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to make the filling anyway. We’d eat it with a spoon!

Tip: Using the pumpkin hear gives it a “fruity” undertone that pairs perfectly with the chocolate. When we served it to friends, they asked if there was raspberry in the cake! It took them about 100 guesses to get down to the fact that there was pumpkin in it.

Chocolate ganache topping on chocolate cake

Step 3: Make the chocolate ganache topping.

The final piece of this BEST ever vegan chocolate cake is the vegan chocolate ganache! I don’t think I will ever ice a cake again: this chocolate ganache finishes into a shiny hardened coating that’s loads better than any cake frosting out there. You’ve got to try it to believe it!

A standard chocolate ganache is a mixture of chocolate and heavy cream. Here, the vegan chocolate ganache is made from bittersweet chocolate, coconut milk and maple syrup. You’ll melt it all together. And then, get ready for this: pour it over the cake and let it drip down the sides. Oh. MY! The result is unreal.

After you’ve added the ganache, refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour. This helps the ganache to set: it will appear more “matte” at that point, though it’s still luminous and shiny. It makes for one beautiful, indulgent and over-the-top good vegan chocolate cake.

Tip: Go slow and steady when you’re pouring the chocolate ganache. It can tend to pool on one side and fall off the cake stand if you’re not careful. (It did for us, but we were happy to lick it up!)

And now, let’s eat cake.

Piece of vegan chocolate cake

About the book

This recipe is from our friend Gena of The Full Helping and her new book, Food52 Vegan. It’s an incredible collection of vibrant, enticing vegan recipes that eaters of all kinds can enjoy. If your dad is scared of eating vegan things (like mine), secretly make something for him from this book: he’ll never know it! Gena is an incredible cook and her recipes are always spot on. We could not recommend checking out her book more! Congratulations, Gena on this incredible cake. (Really. We are its biggest fans.)

This vegan chocolate cake recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

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Best Vegan Chocolate Cake

Decadent Vegan Chocolate Cake


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (15 votes, average: 4.73 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1214 1x

Description

This decadent vegan chocolate cake features a vegan chocolate buttercream filling and a shiny dark chocolate ganache. It’s cake perfection!


Scale

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 3 cups (375g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2⁄3 cup (60g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (475ml) unsweetened nondairy milk, homemade or store-bought
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 3⁄4 cups (350g) sugar
  • 2⁄3 cup (160ml) melted coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the filling

  • 1 cup (245g) pumpkin puree
  • 1⁄4 cup (20g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1⁄4 cup (60ml) maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons almond butter or cashew butter

For the ganache

  • 6 ounces (170g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1⁄2 cup (120ml) coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Coat two 8- or 9-inch (20 or 23cm) round springform pans with melted coconut oil.
  2. To make the cake, put the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. In a medium bowl, vigorously whisk together the nondairy milk and vinegar until frothy. Whisk in the sugar, oil, and vanilla. Add about one-third of the mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a spatula or whisk, or use an electric mixer on the lowest setting. Repeat, adding the remaining liquid in two more additions, mixing just until incorporated after the final addition. Pour the batter into the prepared pans.
  4. Bake for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven but leave the cakes in their pans and let cool completely.
  5. To make the filling, process all the ingredients in a food processor.
  6. To make the ganache, put the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Combine the coconut milk and maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just simmering. Pour over the chocolate and stir until melted. Let cool to room temperature.
  7. To assemble the cake, remove the layers from their pans. Place one, top side up, on a serving platter and gently shave off the rounded top with a sharp knife. Spread all of the filling over the top. Place the other cake layer atop the filling. Pour the ganache evenly over the top and let it drizzle down the sides. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
  8. Leftovers will keep in a covered container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Notes

Reprinted with permission from Food52 Vegan by Gena Hamshaw

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Cake

Keywords: Vegan chocolate cake, Vegan buttercream, Vegan buttercream frosting, Plant based cake, Plant Based Chocolate Cake

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

5 Comments

  • Reply
    marcee
    October 13, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    can it be made with a gluten free blend flour instead of AP flour?

    • Reply
      Sonja Overhiser
      October 14, 2019 at 9:27 am

      You could definitely try a 1 for 1 gluten free blend! We’ve found those tend to work well as a substitute.

  • Reply
    Kristin
    October 14, 2019 at 10:51 am

    My husbands family has people that are gluten, egg, nut, and dairy-free so finding dessert options that all can enjoy is a challenge. This one comes so close and looks delicious! Any suggestions for gluten-free flour and a substitute for the almond/cashew butter?

    • Reply
      Sonja Overhiser
      October 15, 2019 at 9:10 am

      Thanks for asking! Yes, that does sound like a challenge! Here we’d suggest using a 1 for 1 gluten-free flour blend: those tend to work well in cakes (we’ve used the Bob’s Red Mill brand for some other things and it has worked pretty well). For the nut butter, you could substitute sun butter! Let me know if you try.

  • Reply
    Janice
    October 19, 2019 at 10:05 am

    Have you used regular cake pans instead of springform? I don’t want to run into a problem with the cake not releasing easily from the pan. Thanks!

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