1-Bowl Vegan Chocolate Cake

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Slice of Vegan Chocolate Cake with chocolate frosting

Four years ago this month, John and I were just kids planning our wedding. We decided to give up sweets during our engagement to feel our best on our wedding day, and to more fully enjoy our dessert bar and wedding cake.

The big day finally arrived. We had been so good, not even having an ounce of sweets aside from honey and the occasional after-dinner mint. And you better believe we pigged out at the reception. I was in sweet tooth heaven.

Flour sugar, cocoa, and other ingredients for making our easy 1-Bowl Vegan Chocolate Cake recipe

Like most, our honeymoon was a time of sheer indulgence so when we got settled back into “real life” we hit the reset button on our diet. Sweets were out the door again.

That was, until we attended the wedding of some close friends in Portland where I met the chocolate cake that perhaps changed my life.

Bowl of Vegan Chocolate Cake batter and two cake layers resting on a cooling rack

Yes, big words for a cake.

I’d resigned to give desserts up indefinitely. But then we show up at this wedding and it’s absolutely charming and the food is delicious and the ambience is perfect and the music is a local bluegrass band…and all at once they bring out this giant chocolate cake.

I wrangled our entire table into a discussion over whether or not this cake was worth breaking my fast for.

Unanimously, we agreed yes. I took one bite into this luxurious, velvety, rich chocolate cake, and amidst so many layers of mousse, cake and ganache my mind couldn’t comprehend what my taste buds were experiencing.

Was it worth it? Without a doubt, yes.

Vegan Chocolate Cake topped with chocolate frosting ready to be spread

These days my sweet tooth still wins once in a while, but I keep it to the occasional indulgence. A donut here, a cookie there, almost always something on the healthier side of the spectrum. But especially in the last 6 months, always dairy free. And so, it was a given that I had to make my dream chocolate cake vegan style.

Friends, I’ve done just that.

As the title suggests, this cake is made in 1 bowl in under 1 hour! You can even make your buttercream frosting in the same bowl you used for the cake. Simplicity at its finest.

Frosted Vegan Chocolate Cake resting on a cutting board

The ingredients are fairly simple and considerably “healthier” than most chocolate cakes.

Coconut oil replaces vegetable or canola
Oil is reduced with the addition of applesauce
Cane sugar replaces granulated sugar
And the only  (vegan) “butter” is in the (vegan) “buttercream” frosting

Slice removed from our delicious and moist Vegan Chocolate Cake

So, what does it taste like? Just like chocolate cake should! It’s:

Tender
Fluffy
Chocolaty
Sweet
Moist
Decadent
Generously frosted
& Perfect with a glass of almond milk

Slice of Vegan Chocolate Cake on a plate and the rest of the cake on a cutting board

If you’re like me, chocolate cake (or any cake, for that matter) deserves a giant scoop of ice cream beside it. Melty ice cream and a thick slice of heavily-frosted cake – does it get any better than that?

But for the modest cake eater, a glass of almond milk is really all you need to wash down this vegan chocolate dream. Enjoy!

Slice of moist and fluffy Vegan Chocolate Cake on a plate

Speaking of almond milk, this recipe marks the first of several recipes we’ll be sharing over the next few months featuring Blue Diamond Almond Breeze! I’ve been using Almond Breeze for years and am thrilled to bring you guys some tasty recipes featuring a product I adore so much. For more information about the integrity of this brand, see their FAQ page.

Now bring on the cake!

Slice of delicious and moist Vegan Chocolate Cake for dessert

1-Bowl Vegan Chocolate Cake

1-bowl vegan chocolate cake made in less than 1 hour with simple ingredients. A 2-layer buttercream-frosted cake that’s moist, fluffy, and rich with chocolate flavor.
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Slice of amazing Vegan Chocolate Cake on a plate
4.74 from 575 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 10 (slices)
Course Dessert
Cuisine Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 Month (frost just before serving)
Does it keep? 3-4 Days

Ingredients

CAKE

  • 1 ½ cups original unsweetened Almond Breeze Almond Milk
  • 2 tsp white or apple cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil, melted (or sub avocado oil)
  • 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee (or sub more almond milk)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups unsweetened applesauce*
  • 2 heaping cups whole-wheat pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour (heaping implies 1 cup + roughly 2 Tbsp)
  • 1 ⅓ cups organic cane sugar (or sub granulated sugar)
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

FROSTING

  • 1 cup vegan butter (softened)
  • 2 ½ – 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup dairy-free semisweet chocolate (melted and slightly cooled)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ~1/4 cup unsweetened original Almond Breeze Almond Milk

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and lightly spray 2 8-inch round cake pans or 1 large rectangular pan with nonstick spray (see notes for cooking times for different size pans // adjust number or size of pans if altering batch size). Dust with cocoa powder, shake out the excess and set aside.
  • Mix the almond milk and vinegar in a large mixing bowl, and let set for a few minutes to activate. Add the oil, coffee, vanilla extract, and applesauce and beat until foamy. If coconut oil hardens, microwave the mixture in 10-15 second increments until melted.
  • Add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to a sifter and slowly sift over the wet ingredients while mixing with a hand-held or standing mixer. If you don’t have a sifter, simply mix dry ingredients in another bowl and add to the wet mixture while beating. Beat until no large lumps remain. It should be creamy and pourable. Taste and adjust sweetness as needed, adding more sugar if desired (I found it plenty sweet).
  • Divide batter evenly between your cake pans or rectangular pan.
  • Bake 25-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.
  • While cooling, prepare frosting by beating together all ingredients until light and fluffy, adding the powdered sugar in small amounts until you reach your desired consistency and sweetness. If it becomes too thick, add more almond milk. If it’s too thin, add more cocoa powder or powdered sugar.
  • Once the cake is cooled, frost generously with buttercream frosting, adding a thick layer between the top and bottom layers (if doing a 2-layer cake). Alternatively, omit the frosting and dust with cocoa powder.
  • Serve with a scoop of dairy-free ice cream, a drizzle of chocolate, or caramel sauce, coconut whipped cream or a glass of almond milk!

Video

Notes

*I tested butternut squash puree in the original recipe and it made it a bit too dense for my liking. Applesauce was perfect, which is why I highly recommend it over other purees.
*Double the recipe and use 4 pans for a 4-layer cake. Halve the recipe and use 1 pan for a 1-layer cake.
*Adapted from my Fudgy Vegan Beet Cupcakes
*Buttercream adapted from Martha Stewart
*Confused on how long to bake your cake when using different pans? Here’s a helpful guide.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.

Nutrition (1 of 10 servings)

Serving: 1 slices Calories: 524 Carbohydrates: 74 g Protein: 4.8 g Fat: 26 g Saturated Fat: 15 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Fiber: 5.1 g Sugar: 51 g

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My Rating:




  1. Theresa says

    I have made this recipe so many times – GF, DF and with regular flour and butter. It is soooo good! Very moist and rich. You won’t regret making this.

  2. Theresa says

    I have made this recipe so many times – GF, DF and with regular flour and butter. It is soooo good! Very moist and rich.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Theresa. We are so glad you enjoy it! Next time, would you mind leaving a star rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! xo

  3. Sam says

    Hello, would love to know if you can recommend steps to make this recipe a day or two in advance of a party? Thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Sam, yes, that would work! We’d recommend keeping the icing and cake separate until ready to serve.

  4. Yarrow says

    I made this today for my sons birthday. I doubled the recipe but kept it as two layers. Decorated it with strawberries, big hit with the whole extended family, not just the vegans. I made apple sauce using a tin of apples and cooked them with some brown sugar for awhile before blending. However there wasn’t quite enough for the 2 cakes so I used a large banana blended up with a couple Tblsp of the apple in the second cake.
    Both cakes turned out so amazing. Cook time just over 1hr.
    Thank you.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! Thanks so much for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications, Yarrow!

  5. Martin says

    Hi, I’m looking forward to trying out this cake after all the great reviews.

    My wife loves the combination of orange and chocolate and I’m wondering if anyone has suggestions on adding some orange flavour to the icing. Perhaps Grand Marnier?

    Thanks,
    Novice baker

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Ohh, classic combo! Orange zest would certainly add a nice flavor, and maybe a splash of orange juice (or grand marnier!) at the end. Let us know how it goes!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lori, we’d suggest storing unfrosted cakes at room temperature for up to a couple days for best texture. It’s best to frost just before serving. Once frosted, store in the refrigerator.

  6. Lori Dwinell says

    Two questions. When do you remove the cakes from the tins ? I am not sure if it makes a difference but do you measure the coconut oil solid then melt or melt and measure out 2/3 cup? Thanks!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lori, we typically let cool in the pan for ~15 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to fully cool. Measure after melting for greater precision.

  7. Lavanya says

    My first time baking a cake! Took some planning to get all the supplies and learned as I went (had to learn how to cool and frost a cake properly), but this was an absolutely delicious cake! The texture of my sponge was more fudgy than light, so it get more like a brownie. I wonder what might have caused that?
    Thank you for the excellent recipe!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yay! So glad this recipe worked well for your first cake, Lavanya. This cake tends to be a bit more rich and fudgy because it is vegan. Thanks for the review!

  8. Maria says

    Okay, I usually don’t comment on recipe sites, but this recipe yielded a cake that was INSANELY FLUFFY. I actually didn’t have applesauce on hand and ended up mashing canned pears, and it still worked. Wonderfully light and chocolatety. It is a beautiful base for frosting, cream, or milk. I look forward to making it again! Adding this to my go-to recipes! Thank you!

  9. Emily says

    Oh man, is this cake amazing! Yum! It is so beautifully moist, and I think that comes down to the applesauce in the recipe.

    I will certainly make it again! I’m not a big cake baker but it was easy enough to bake and SO delicious that I will certainly do it again!

  10. Emily says

    This is better than any non-vegan chocolate cake we’ve ever had. It’s
    honestly the only cake recipe you need, regardless of whether you’re vegan. We make it for everyone’s birthday.

  11. Camille says

    I’ve been making this recipe for years, it’s a strong favourite in my whole extended family!
    I add dark chocolate chunks or dark chocolate chips in the batter for extra texture and it’s perfect!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Gretchen, we don’t have experience baking at altitude, so we’re not sure! Sorry we can’t be of more help!

      • Gretchen says

        I didn’t make any adjustments for high altitude and it was super moist, light and delicious. I’ve won a few baking awards and this is the first vegan dessert I’ve tried. Everyone raved about it, including people who “don’t like cake”. I don’t see any reason to make any other kind of cake from here on out. Great recipe! I topped it with fresh raspberries = yum!

  12. Anna says

    The cake was very delicious. However, the coconut oil made the mixture really lumpy and it split. As I don’t have a microwave I prepared a bain marie, put the bowl with the mixture on top and beat it with a hand mixer. It became smooth again but did not get frothy. I also baked it in a higher springform tin and cut it horizontally after it cooled before filling and covering it with a vegan ganache. The result was a decadent, moist and delicious cake. I will make it again for a special occasion.

  13. Ethan M. says

    I’ve baked a lot and of different types of cakes but this is my absolute favorite. Doubled it to make a 4 layer for a larger birthday party and have made it as written several other times, every time it comes out perfect. I was a little hesitant at first, as it didn’t have eggs and the leavening seemed on the lighter side, but again, it has turned out beautiful and moist every time. If I could give this 10 stars I totally would.

  14. Pochehli says

    Hi, So DELICIOUS. I Loveli this recipe.Thank you for sharing your modification.I made this cake for my little boy.Its perfect.
    Thank you.

  15. Ren Fernandes says

    So, my daughter has a new science tutor. She is retired, used to lecture in astronomy and she said she doesn’t want to be paid in money but a nice vegan chocolate cake would be good once in a while. I came across your recipe and decided we would give it a go. We aren’t vegan but we love to bake in this house. We used soya milk as that’s what we had, and 2 mashed bananas instead of the fruit puree (not sure if there is an equivalent to unsweetened apple puree in the UK and didn’t have time to make our own). We also didnt use coffee as we werent sure if this lovely lady liked coffee
    the cake turned out to be the best chocolate cake we have ever had! It was moist, and chocolatey and so delicious, we kept one half and just gave her the other half with frosting on the top.. give it a go – you won’t be disappointed.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw, thank you SO much for the lovely review, Ren! We’re so glad you and your daughter’s tutor enjoyed it! xo

  16. Iryna says

    I just made this cake for a new parish member’s birthday celebration – it is a wonderful cake and I got lots of compliments on how tasty it is. It absolutely had to be vegan and I looked at several well-rated recipes online. This recipe attracted me because of a lower content of sugars. My mom who hates sweet things and treats cakes with suspicion, said that surprisingly, it was well balanced and not overly sweet! Thank you.

  17. Chloe says

    Hello – For the batter, would it work to sub date sugar for granulated? For the frosting, would it work to sub powdered sugar for either date or Stevia sugars? Thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Chloe, we think it would work in the cake, but for the frosting, you’d need to blend it into a powder first. We haven’t tested with these modifications though, so can’t guarantee the result. Let us know if you do some experimenting!

      • Chloe says

        I ended up subbing the powdered sugar in both the cake and the frosting with date sugar. It was so good! Lovely recipe and easily adaptable this way if you are looking for natural sweeteners. It was really delicious, cake is quite dense but in a lovely way – it was just really fudge-y. Which might be how it is regardless of sugar type, I just have not made it with the powdered sugar. So delicious!

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Chloe! Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your modification! xo

  18. Michelle Murphy says

    Hi there, I have made this delicious cake a few times, however, the last two times the cake has cracked and broken in half! Any tips as to what I am doing wrong? Many Thanks

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Michelle, have you changed anything about the recipe the last two times? Perhaps baking too much or too little, or substituting any of the ingredients? Is it cracking when you remove it from the pan?

  19. Theresa says

    Hello! How many cupcakes would this make and how long would I bags them for? Thanks for being my go-to source for vegan recipes.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Theresa! We haven’t tried this recipe as cupcakes but other readers have had success making ~24 cupcakes and baking for 23-27 minutes. Hope this helps!

  20. Jessi says

    Thank you for recommending this recipe!! Definitely a better option for me – and my son! What can I use in place of almond milk? My son has a dairy and nut allergy – so maybe either soy milk or coconut milk? Can’t wait to make this for our party on Saturday and post my review!! :)

    Jessi

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jessi, we’re so glad the recommendation was helpful! Soy milk or a thinner coconut milk like those in the carton (not canned) would work. Hope you love it! xo

  21. KOTLCRULES says

    This is my favourite chocolate cake recipe, I use a gluten free flour and have made it three times, the gluten free flour I use is Cup 4 Cup Gluten free all purpose flour and it works great for this recipe, I am making it for the fourth time and am infusing the almond milk with lavender and making a lavender buttercream or whipped cream instead of the chocolate buttercream.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Ohhh that sounds divine! Thanks so much for the wonderful review and for sharing your modifications!

  22. Dayna says

    The frosting on this recipe is Gods-Honest-Truth Life Changing™. I’m not even a frosting fan, and I lovingly eat it from a spoon, no cake. (I mean, it’s also unreal on cake.)

  23. Gabriela says

    I wonder if someone baked this cake without using a beater/ food mixer. I don’t have one but I really wanna make this recipe!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Gabriela, other readers have mentioned using a whisk with success – it will just be more effort and may not be quite as fluffy. Hope that helps!

  24. Lauren says

    I have been baling vegan for 6 years now, and this remains my favorite chocolate cake recipe. It is super versatile, and it always comes out the best chocolate cake ever!!!

  25. Wendy says

    What a delicious cake! I used less sugar in the frosting (just under 2 C) bit otherwise just as written. Yum! Great cake for my husband’s birthday ❤️

  26. Monica says

    This recipe is a keeper! I started making the cake before realizing that my applesauce was moldy, so I subbed smashed banana. It gave the cake a banana flavor, which is nice but I’ll try it as written next time. The cake itself isn’t very sweet, so if you do a pan cake which uses less frosting than a layer cake, I’d recommend a couple tablespoons more sugar or using sweetened milk. Other than that, it was wonderful! Rich and flavorful, not too dense, and the frosting is delicious.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thank you for sharing your experience and modifications, Monica! So glad you enjoyed it overall! xo

  27. Mia says

    Made this for my mothers birthday and everyone loved it! Probably the best vegan cake recipe, im definitley gonna make it again, I thank you a lot for this recipe