This delicious dairy free chocolate cake is fudgy, ultra moist and amazingly textured. Make it as a 2 or 3-layer cake and smother it in vegan chocolate buttercream.
You can never have too many recipes for chocolate cake. You know how sometimes those short little blurbs on recipes will say things like: ‘the only recipe for chocolate cake you’ll ever need’. I mean… I even say things like that sometimes!
But you know what beats one good recipe? Two or three or four really good recipes! That all deliver a little something extra special.
This is how I feel about all our chocolate cake recipes (we have a few now, and I love them all), they are all totally divine and all bring it in their own special way.
This dairy free chocolate cake is three layers of awesome! And you don’t even have to do it in three layers, you can do it in 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 makes use of hot coffee to really bring out the rich chocolate flavor of the cake and it’s next level moist!
Of course this cake is dairy free but it’s also egg free 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
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 some vegan buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to a measuring jug and then adding soy milk up to the 1 cup (240ml) line and letting it curdle. You can also use almond milk for this step if you prefer, but soy milk works really well.
Add the vegan buttermilk to the mixing bowl along with some oil, applesauce and vanilla extract and mix into a thick batter.
Then add in 1 cup of boiling hot coffee and whisk it in 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.
Dairy Free Chocolate Cake Frosting
The frosting is a delicious vegan chocolate buttercream frosting! It’s silky smooth and glides onto the cake like velvety perfection.
Grate some vegan chocolate to sprinkle over the top and you have a gorgeous dairy free cake.
Dairy Free Chocolate Cake From Scratch Q&A
Why Vegan Buttermilk? The vegan buttermilk 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 the vegan buttermilk but soy milk gives better (richer) results.
Can I use a different oil? You can use any vegetable oil. We used canola oil, but olive oil also works great, as does melted coconut oil.
What can I use instead of 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.
What can I use instead of coffee in this cake? If you don’t want to use coffee then you can just use boiling hot water instead.
Can I make this into cupcakes? Yes, this will make 24 cupcakes. If you’re looking for a perfect cupcake recipe that makes a perfect 12 cupcakes, then check out our classic vegan chocolate cupcakes recipe.
How to store this Dairy Free Chocolate Cake? Store this cake covered at room temperature where it will stay good for around 4 days. You can also keep it covered in the fridge where it will stay fresh for up to 7 days.
Can I freeze this Dairy Free Chocolate Cake? Yes, it’s freezer friendly! Thaw it in the fridge overnight when you’re ready for it.
More Delicious Dairy Free Chocolate Cakes!
- 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 – yep, it’s 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!
Dairy Free Chocolate Cake
For the Chocolate Cake:
- 2 cups All Purpose Flour (250g)
- 3/4 cup Cocoa Powder (63g) Unsweetened
- 2 cups White Granulated Sugar (400g)
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 2 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 cup Vegan Buttermilk (240ml) 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice and Soy Milk up to the 1 cup line
- 1/2 cup Canola Oil (120ml) or Vegetable Oil
- 6 Tbsp Applesauce
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 cup Boiling 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 vegan buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to a measuring jug and then adding soy milk up to the 1 cup (240ml) line and letting it curdle (you can also use almond milk for this).
- Add the vegan 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 boiling 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 grated vegan chocolate (optional).
- Store leftover cake covered at room temperature for 3-4 days or covered in the fridge for 7 days.
- 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.
- Vegan Buttermilk can also be made with almond milk if you prefer.
- The applesauce can be switched for 2 flax eggs (6 Tablespoons of Ground Flaxseed Meal mixed with 6 Tablespoons of hot water).
- You can either use filter coffee or just add a tsp 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 boiling water.
- 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.
- 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.