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. Sorry, but mine turned out very badly. There was way too much oil for my taste. And while it is quite dark, which I usually love, the oil drowned out the chocolate.

    1. Joan, I’m really sorry to hear this. I’m a little surprised, too, as we actually tested and tweaked and retested this recipe several times, cutting down on the amount of oil in the original recipe from 1 1/4 cups to 1 cup. Our testers found the tweaked version of the recipe–the one that appears on this page–to be moist and chocolatey. May I inquire what sort of oil and milk you used? And just to confirm, you used the recipe from this site and not the book, yes? We’ll get to the source of the problem, I promise.

    2. Joan, sorry to hear that. What kind of oil did you use? Was it sunflower as the recipe suggests? I am also wondering if your oil was fresh and had not turned rancid as you had said the oil drowned out the chocolate. Could you taste and smell the oil? Perhaps we could persuade you to try it again and let us know how you make out. Thanks for letting us know.

  2. This cake was a life saver when we were invited over to a dinner party where I knew the hostess to be vegan. I was in charge of dessert, and this recipe was a winner–moist with excellent flavor. Everyone enjoyed it, vegan or not. I served it by topping it with powdered sugar and spooning a simple berry sauce over it. I found it was best eaten the same day it was made.

  3. If you turn this into 12 cupcakes, each cupcake will have 395 calories. Not bad for a fantastic chocolate treat. 🙂

    1. I highly recommend using cupcake liners when turning this cake into cupcakes! I just pulled a batch from the oven and they’re all hopelessly stuck to the pan.. 🙁 It tasted great though 😉

      1. Hi Andrea, so sorry that you found yourself in a sticky situation. The cake calls for a buttered and parchment lined cake pan, so those cupcake liners should work great. Let us know if you make these again and whether you felt the liners needed a dollop of buttering as well.

    1. Hi Jessica,

      I asked several of our testers about substitutes for soy milk. They suggested using either unsweetened almond milk or hemp milk instead of the soy milk. Please let us know how it turns out.


  4. Three vegan recipes in this week’s post – if you count this one, the Smoky Vegetarian Chili and the Chocolate-Dipped Molasses Cookies (from a Maine writer, I noticed). Watch out! You’re moving toward the dark side.

    1. Shhhhhhhhh, Christine, you’ll ruin our surprise! Actually, it just sort of happened. We’ve all manner of recipes scattered throughout the site that just happen to be vegan…or vegetarian…or gluten-free…or diabetic-friendly…or, well, you get the idea. But many, many thanks for noticing!

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