This vegan chocolate cake is a quick and easy recipe that melts in your mouth. It's not your traditional layered cake, but a shorter and easier-to-make version.
Its flavor is rich, chocolatey, and indulgent. Eat it as is, or fill it with sour-cherry jam for that extra sweet and tart flavor that no one can resist.
What to expect
There are many versions of a vegan chocolate cake, from tall, layered chocolate cakes covered with ganache, to flatter chocolate sheet cakes.
Our vegan chocolate cake is a simpler version of a layered cake and is inspired by Italian breakfast cakes (yes! we do eat cake for breakfast in Italy).
In practice, this cake is made with very simple ingredients, in very little time, and it tastes delicious!
You can eat this cake without filling, it's plenty flavourful to be eaten this way. Or you can fill it with jam or custard.
Our favorite filling is a sour-cherry jam. Other jams that work well with it are apricot, cherries, and orange jams.
Alternatively, you can fill it with one of our vegan custards: here are the links to the recipes for classic vegan custard, chocolate custard, coffee custard, and pistachio custard.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Flour: you can use all-purpose flour, whole-grain flour or a mix of 50% all-purpose and 50% whole-grain. For a gluten-free option, use a gluten-free flour mix for cakes.
- Plant-milk: we use soy milk but you can substitute it with oat milk, almond milk, or any other plant-milk.
- Sugar: we tested both white sugar and unrefined can sugar.
- Oil: any vegatable oil with a light colour and flavour. Alternatively, melted vegan butter works well too.
- Chocolate: we use two types of chocolate in this cake. First, cacao powder bloomed (melted) in hot, almost boiling water to enhance its flavour. Second, we add some dark chocolate chips.
- Baking powder: since we do not use eggs, we rely on baking powder to make the cake rise a little. It works perfectly!
- Sour cherry jam: this chocolate cake is delicious also without the sour cherry jam, but adding a layer of this jam in the middle of the cake it's an easy trick to take this vegan chocolate cake to the next level.
- Optional ingredients: you can add crushed walnuts to make the cake even richer. You can also add the greated zest of one orange, and one teaspoon of vanilla extract. Finally, you can sprinkle the cake with powdered sugar to make it look prettier just before serving it.
- Hand mixer or whisk
- Silicon spatula or wooden spoon
- Springform pan 9 inch (23cm) in diameter - see conversion table below if you have different size.
Preheat the oven to 340F or 170C. Lightly grease your springform pan with oil, then dust it with flour. Set aside.
In a small pot bring the water to a boil. Turn the heat off, then add the cacao powder. Stir with a spoon till the cacao melts. Set aside.
In a bowl, add soy milk, sugar, oil, melted cacao powder in water, and mix with a spatula or a spoon.
Note: if you decide to add the grated zest of one orange and the vanilla extract, this is the right time to add them.
Sift in the flour and the baking powder and whisk with a hand mixer for just a few seconds until all the ingredients are combined. You can whisk manually if you prefer.
Note: do not over-mix. Over-mixing will develop the gluten in the flour, which will make the cake heavy and less soft.
Finally, add dark chocolate chips, crushed walnuts, and give it a stir.
Transfer the cake batter to the springform pan and bake at 340F or 170C for about 30 minutes.
TIP: Insert a toothpick in the center of the cake. If it comes out dry, the cake is cooked. If it comes out wet, cook a few more minutes.
To fill the cake: First, let the cake cool down completely, then with a serrated knife cut it open in half, fill with jam, close, and sprinkle with powdered sugar or cacao powder. Enjoy!
How to scale this recipe?
This recipe is easy to scale. We calculated the scaling number for you. Pick the springform pan that you want to use for your cake, then multiply all the ingredients in our recipe box by the scaling number in this table.
|Springform pan size||Scaling Number|
|4 inch (10 cm)||0.22|
|5 inch (13 cm)||0.31|
|6 inch (15 cm)||0.44|
|7 inch (18 cm)||0.60|
|8 inch (20 cm)||0.79|
|9 inch (23 cm)||1|
|10 inch (25 cm)||1.23|
|11 inch (28 cm)||1.5|
- Melt the cacao powder: the secret to a chocolate cake that is moist and full of chocolate flavour is to bloom, or melt, the cacao powder, in very hot water for a few minutes before adding it to the other ingredients.
Like with coffee, the chocolate flavour will come out stronger and richer if you bloom it first in hot water. Additionally, melting the chocolate first in hot water will make your cake very moist and soft.
- Do not stir the cake batter too much: you only need to stir the ingredients together for a few seconds to combine them. If you stir too much, the gluten network in the flour will be activated, and your cake will be heavy and too compact.
- Bake immediately: once you have added the baking powder into the batter you need to bake your cake as soon as possible. That's why it is important to preheat the oven and to pre-grease your cake pan.
Dark chocolate with a cacao content of 70% and above is generally vegan. If you are in doubt, read the label. The same is true for cacao powder, cocoa powder, and dark chocolate chips.
1) Melt the cacao powder in hot water for 5 minutes before adding it to the cake batter.
2) Do not use butter, not even vegan butter or coconut oil, but just a little vegetable oil.
3) Do not over-mix the batter. Just mix it together with a spatula for a few seconds. Don't worry about lumps.
4) Add the baking powder last.
5) Prep a springform pan and preheat the oven so you can bake your cake immediately after mixing the ingredients together.
This cake stores well for up to a week. You can keep it on your kitchen counter, covered and out of direct sunlight. If it's very hot where you live, then keep it in the refrigerator.
You can freeze this vegan chocolate cake, but it would be best to do it before you add the jam. Cut it in half, then put it in a freezer bag, and freeze for up to 3 months.
When you take it out of the freezer, let it thaw in the refrigerator first, then add the jam, and keep it at room temperature for an hour before eating it.
- Different jam: while we think that sour cherry jam is the best for this cake, feel free to experiment with different types of jams. For instance, orange jam would be great here. Also apricot would work really well.
- Chocolate custard: have you seen our vegan chocolate custard? It's perfect to use as a filling for this cake. It's also a very easy recipe to make, and your cake will be even more chocolatey.
- Pistachio custard: if you are searching for a vegan chocolate cake with a twist, then look no further. Make our vegan pistachio custard, and use it to fill this delicious cake. To make it even more special you can sprinkle the top of the cake with crushed pistachios.
- Orange curd: if you love the combination of orange and chocolate, then you can fill this cake with a quick homemade orange curd. You can even make our whole orange curd cake. It's delicious!
- Vegan nutella: for the most intense chocolate experience you can follow the recipe for our vegan hazelnut spread that taste just like nutella and use it as filling for this cake.
Vegan chocolate cake
- Hand mixer or whisk
- Silicon spatula or wooden spoon
- Springform pan 9 inch (23cm) in diameter - see conversion table above if you have different size.
- 2 cups flour all-purpose or whole wheat flour
- ½ cups cacao powder
- ¾ cups water
- ¾ cups soy milk or other plant milk
- ¾ cups sugar
- ¼ cups vegetable oil sunflower, canola, etc
- ⅓ cups dark chocolate chips
- ⅓ cups walnuts
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 9 ounces sour-cherry jam or cherry, apricot, orange jam
- Preheat the oven to 340F or 170C. Lightly grease your springform pan with oil, then dust it with flour. Set aside.
- In a small pot bring the water to a boil. Turn the heat off, then add the cacao powder. Stir with a spoon till the cacao melts. Set aside.
- In a bowl, add soy milk, sugar, oil, melted cacao powder in water, and mix with a spatula or a spoon.Note: if you decide to add the grated zest of one orange and the vanilla extract, this is the right time to add them.
- Sift in the flour and the baking powder and whisk with a hand mixer for just a few seconds until all the ingredients are combined. You can whisk manually if you prefer.Note: do not over-mix. Over-mixing will develop the gluten in the flour, which will make the cake heavy and less soft.
- Finally, add dark chocolate chips, crushed walnuts, and give it a stir.Transfer the cake batter to the springform pan and bake at 340F or 170C for about 30 minutes.TIP: Insert a toothpick in the center of the cake. If it comes out dry, the cake is cooked. If it comes out wet, cook a few more minutes.
- To fill the cake: First, let the cake cool down completely, then with a serrated knife cut it open in half, fill with jam, close, and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Enjoy!
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