Vegan Chocolate Cake

This vegan chocolate cake recipe is made with cocoa powder, vinegar, soy or almond milk, and all the other usual baking ingredients. No one will know the difference between it and regular chocolate cake. Swear.

Two vegan chocolate cakes stacked on top of each other.

Adapted from Bea Vo | Tea with Bea | Ryland, Peters & Small, 2011

Here’s the thing about this vegan chocolate cake. People who don’t even know it’s vegan love it. And we’re not inclined to tell them. It somehow makes it all the more gratifying when they go back for seconds. And they will go back for seconds.–Renee Schettler


This cake isn’t particularly prone to drying out any quicker than a regular chocolate cake. We doubt you’ll have leftovers for long, but if you do, they should last up to 5 days at room temperature when tightly covered.

Vegan Chocolate Cake

Two vegan chocolate cakes stacked on top of each other.
This vegan chocolate cake recipe is made with cocoa powder, vinegar, soy or almond milk, and all the other usual baking ingredients. No one will know the difference between it and regular chocolate cake. Swear.
Bea Vo

Prep 20 mins
Cook 1 hr
Total 2 hrs 20 mins
12 servings
374 kcal
5 / 3 votes
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  • 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pan that's 2 inches (5 cm) deep


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup natural cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • A pinch salt
  • 1 3/4 cup unsweetened soy milk or unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 2/3 cups superfine sugar or just blitz granulated sugar in a blender until finely ground but not powdery
  • 1 cup sunflower oil you can substitute any mild-flavored vegetable or olive oil, plus more for the pan
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract


  • Preheat the oven to 325˚F (163˚C). Oil a 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pan that’s 2 inches (5 cm) deep and line it with parchment paper.
  • Dump the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the soy milk, vinegar, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a spoon until well combined.
  • Spoon or scrape the mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake for 40 to 55 minutes. It’s done when a wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out with almost no crumbs attached and the center of the cake, when pressed, springs back slightly instead of sinks. Bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes if necessary.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  • Slide a table knife or a paring knife between the cake and the edge of the pan to loosen, then carefully invert the cake onto the wire rack. Invert it again so it’s right-side up and let cool on a wire rack for 1 hour.
Print RecipeBuy the Tea with Bea cookbook

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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 374kcal (19%)Carbohydrates: 48g (16%)Protein: 4g (8%)Fat: 20g (31%)Saturated Fat: 2g (13%)Sodium: 233mg (10%)Potassium: 151mg (4%)Fiber: 3g (13%)Sugar: 28g (31%)Vitamin A: 73IU (1%)Vitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 74mg (7%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

Recipe Testers' Reviews

This may very well be the Platonic ideal of chocolate cake, vegan or otherwise. Almost indecently moist and tender, it also boasts a robust chocolate flavor that isn’t undermined by too much sweetness. I’m usually able to bake a cake, eat a slice, and then ignore the rest until my boyfriend dispatches it, but this cake leveled any defenses I’d like to think I possess. Needless to say, it did not cool for 1 hour, nor did it serve 8 to 10. Pure black magic.

I do have one caveat here: I didn’t have enough sunflower oil, and so I blended it with a mild olive oil. The cake turned out perfectly.

This was an amazing cake—rich, moist, and deep chocolate in flavor. No one would believe it was vegan. It's one of the best recipes I've come across. The recipe is easy, accurate, and simple.

As the cake was cooling, the outer layer seemed to be starting to dry out; however, once I stored it covered, it was back to being moist again. This cake would work well with a nice frosting or ganache topping or simply served with crème fraîche and raspberries.

Originally published February 7, 2012


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  1. Hi, is there a particular brand of soy milk that works better than others for this recipe? And can I substitute the red wine vinegar with apple cider vinegar? And, lastly, when I made this cake, the baking soda taste was quite present – can I reduce the amount of baking soda? And if so, by how much? Thank you!

    1. Natalie, we didn’t find any particular brand was better than another for the cake, but you do want to make sure it’s unsweetened. I think it would be fine to substitute the apple cider vinegar here. As for the baking soda, the reaction between the soda and the natural cocoa powder is critical to helping the cake rise so I’d be hesitant to reduce it. Make sure you are using natural cocoa powder and that your baking soda is fresh.

        1. You’re welcome, Natalie. The batter should be fine, however, you may find the cake is just a little sweeter than it would be with unsweetened milk.

  2. 5 stars
    Made this cake for my vegan son’s 28th birthday. In ten years of baking vegan cakes, this is the best so far. I substituted almond milk for the soy milk, used Valrhona Cocoa Powder, and peanut oil, which is usually my vegetable oil of choice. I undercooked it just a bit–it was wonderfully moist, and the center a bit gooey, in a good way. I know my son liked it a lot because he had a second serving.

  3. what’s the purpose of the vinegar if i might inquire? i don’t usually see vinegar as an ingredient on baking recipes but i’d appreciate an explanation 🙂

    1. Hi Spenny, vinegar is often used for it’s leavening and flavor enhancing properties. It can boost the effect of baking powder and baking soda, as well as giving soy milk more of a dairy quality.

  4. I decided to make this cake (actually three of them) for Valentine’s. Huge, huge success. I decided NOT tell tell anyone the cakes were vegan until they had tasted them and raved about how light, moist, and amazingly chocolatey and tasty they were. Pure shock on everyone’s faces. Must say, they did not last long and will be a repeat. BTW, I used GF all-purpose flour and added 1 tbsp more as well as coconut milk. SPLENDID!

  5. The cake is baking in the oven as I type. I’m just wondering, does it pair well with icing, or does it do best standing alone? Many thanks.

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