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.

Two vegan chocolate cakes stacked on top of each other.

Vegan Chocolate Cake

5 / 5 votes
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.
David Leite
Servings12 servings
Calories374 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time2 hours 20 minutes


  • 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.
Tea with Bea

Adapted From

Tea with Bea

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Serving: 1 sliceCalories: 374 kcalCarbohydrates: 48 gProtein: 4 gFat: 20 gSaturated Fat: 2 gSodium: 233 mgFiber: 3 gSugar: 28 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2011 Bea Vo. Photo © 2011 Kate Whitaker. All rights reserved.

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.

This is a very good chocolate cake. It’s simple to make, smells wonderful while baking, and comes out very pretty. My tasters all went back for seconds. No one knew, nor could they tell, that the cake was vegan.

Realizing I only had almond milk and no soy milk, I thought I would give the cake a try anyway. I opened the oven to check it at about 45 minutes, and it looked like a cupcake—the center had risen considerably, but then settled as the cake cooled. This cake is delicate and does require care while removing it from the pan and placing it on the cooling rack. I might wait 15 minutes before I remove it from the cake pan next time. It came out tender, moist, slightly crisp on top, and dense in the center.

For eye appeal, I might dust it with confectioners’ sugar, but it doesn’t need any enhancements.

This cake was easy to make and turned out quite well. This is a very moist and tender cake with a rich, dark color. I like the fact that it mixed quite easily by hand and I didn’t have to take out my big mixer and deal with cleaning it. I was also happy to see that the cake could be baked at 325°F rather than at 350°F, unlike most cake recipes. I bake all of my cakes at 325°F and am able to avoid getting a crown on the top of my cake.

This is a very easy chocolate cake. I followed the recipe exactly, and it took about 1 hour and 20 minutes to bake completely. The chocolate color was very dark and intense, and the cake extremely moist. The chocolate flavour was very good. I served it with plain Greek yogurt on the side but it would be very good with berries and ice cream or whipped cream as well.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 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.

    1. Christine, marvelous! Thank you. And please wish your son a very happy birthday from all of us here, at LC.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!