Fudgy, moist and beautifully textured dairy free chocolate cake. Perfect as a 2 or 3-layer cake smothered in vegan chocolate buttercream.
This dairy free chocolate cake is three layers of awesome! Or two layers if you like, and it can be done in 8-inch or 9-inch cake pans so it’s flexible and versatile but most importantly, it’s utterly delicious.
It’s made with homemade dairy free buttermilk – made by mixing lemon juice with soy milk or almond milk – and it’s next level moist, loaded with chocolate flavor and just an all round winner.
Of course this cake is dairy free but it’s also eggless because really, you don’t need eggs to make this cake amazing. It is undetectably dairy-free and egg-free, i.e. no one will guess and everyone will think you’re awesome for baking this cake!
How To Make Dairy Free Chocolate Cake
You will find full instructions and measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post. This is a summary of the process to go along with the process photos.
- It’s so easy to make this chocolate cake, you are going to totally love it.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and spray three 8-inch cake pans for a three layer cake, or two 9-inch cake pans for a two layer cake, with non-stick spray and line the bottoms with circles of parchment paper. Set aside.
- Then sift all purpose flour and unsweetened cocoa powder into a mixing bowl and add sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix together.
- Prepare dairy free buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to a measuring jug and then adding soy milk or almond milk up to the 1 cup (240ml) line and letting it curdle.
- Add the dairy free buttermilk, oil, applesauce and vanilla extract to the mixing bowl and mix it into a thick batter.
- Add in 1 cup of hot coffee and whisk it in briefly with a hand whisk.
- The batter will be thin once the hot coffee is mixed in, and this is how it’s supposed to be for this recipe.
- Divide the batter evenly between your prepared cake pans and then bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cakes comes out clean.
- Let the cakes cool for a few minutes in the pans before transferring to wire cooling racks to cool completely before frosting.
Frosting & Decorating
The frosting is a delicious vegan chocolate buttercream frosting. It’s silky smooth and glides onto the cake like velvety perfection.
Sprinkle dark chocolate shavings over the top and you have a gorgeous dairy free cake.
Dairy free buttermilk. This creates a deliciously moist crumb. The acid from the lemon juice in the buttermilk also reacts with the baking soda to give the cake rise. You can use either soy milk or almond milk to make it, but soy milk tends to give better (richer) results. Other non-dairy milks like coconut milk, oat milk, cashew milk etc may not curdle with the addition of the lemon juice, but can still be used in this recipe if that is what you have on hand.
Canola oil. You can use canola oil or switch it for any vegetable oil. If you want to use coconut oil then make sure it’s melted first. Coconut oil does tend to result in a denser texture.
Applesauce? You can use flax eggs instead of applesauce if you prefer, you would use two flax eggs to replace the applesauce in this recipe.
Hot coffee. This just enhances the chocolate flavor of the cake. If you don’t want to use coffee then you can just use hot water instead.
Can I make this into cupcakes? Yes, this will make 18-24 cupcakes. If you’re looking for a gorgeous cupcake recipe that makes a perfect 12 cupcakes, then check out our classic vegan chocolate cupcakes recipe.
Can you make this cake gluten free? You can switch the regular flour for a gluten free all purpose baking blend. Or check out our vegan gluten free chocolate cake.
Storing and Freezing
Store your dairy free chocolate cake covered at room temperature where it will stay good for 3-4 days. You can also keep it covered in the fridge where it will stay fresh for up to 7 days.
It’s also freezer friendly for up to 3 months! Thaw it in the fridge overnight when you’re ready for it.
More Delicious Chocolate Cake Recipes
- Vegan German Chocolate Cake – the coconut pecan filling will blow your mind!
- Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Cake – you’ll never know there is zucchini in here!
- Easy Vegan Chocolate Cake – the easiest recipe!
- The Best Vegan Chocolate Cake – probably tied with this one for the ‘best’ cake award.
- Vegan Chocolate Fudge Cake – dreamy!
- Vegan Oreo Cake – this one you’ve got to see!
Did you make this recipe? Be sure to leave a comment and rating below!
Dairy Free Chocolate Cake
For the Chocolate Cake:
- 2 cups All Purpose Flour (250g)
- ¾ cup Cocoa Powder (63g) Unsweetened
- 2 cups White Granulated Sugar (400g)
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 2 teaspoons Baking Soda
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 cup Dairy Free Buttermilk (240ml) 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice + Soy Milk or Almond Milk up to the 1 cup line
- ½ cup Canola Oil (120ml) or Vegetable Oil
- 6 Tablespoons Applesauce
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 1 cup Hot Coffee (240ml)
For the Frosting:
- 1 Recipe Vegan Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Prepare three 8-inch cake pans or two 9-inch cake pans* by spraying with non-stick spray and lining the bottoms with circles of parchment paper. Set aside.
- Sift the all purpose flour and unsweetened cocoa powder into a mixing bowl and add the sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix together.
- Prepare the dairy free buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to a measuring jug and then adding soy milk or almond milk up to the 1 cup (240ml) line and letting it curdle.
- Add the dairy free buttermilk to the mixing bowl along with the canola oil, applesauce and vanilla extract and mix into a thick batter.
- Add in 1 cup of hot coffee and whisk it in with a hand whisk. The batter will be thin and this is correct.
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cakes comes out clean.
- Let the cakes cool in the cake pans for a few minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
- Frost with vegan chocolate buttercream frosting and decorate with vegan chocolate shavings (optional).
- Flour. Weigh your flour for accuracy or make sure you measure it correctly using the spoon and level method. Spoon the flour into your measuring cup and then level off the top with a knife.
- Dairy Free Buttermilk – is ideally made with lemon juice + soy milk or almond milk. Other non-dairy milks like coconut milk, cashew milk, oat milk etc may not curdle when mixed with lemon juice but can still be used if this is what you have on hand.
- Applesauce. The applesauce can be switched for 2 flax eggs (6 Tablespoons of Ground Flaxseed Meal mixed with 6 Tablespoons of hot water).
- Coffee. You can either use filter coffee or just add 1 teaspoon of instant coffee to a cup of boiling hot water. If you want to omit the coffee altogether then you can just use a cup of hot water.
- Cake pans. This cake is very versatile, you can make it in three 8-inch cake pans OR two 8-inch cake pans, if you’re doing two 8-inch pans the cake layers will just be thicker. You may need an extra 5 mins baking time if you’re doing it in two 8-inch pans. If you’re making it in 9-inch cake pans then make it in two layers.
- Storing. Store leftover cake covered at room temperature for 3-4 days or covered in the fridge for 7 days.
- Nutritional information is for the cake only, the nutritional info for the frosting is listed on the frosting recipe page.
- Recipe adapted from Ina Garten.