Vegan Chocolate Cake

The BEST vegan chocolate cake recipe! It's moist and deeply chocolatey, with a rich chocolate frosting made from a secret healthy ingredient.

Vegan Chocolate Cake

This vegan chocolate cake recipe comes from my new cookbook, Love & Lemons Every Day. Today, I’m sharing it in honor of the book’s launch, but this vegan cake recipe would be perfect for any celebration. It’s moist and delicious, with a rich dark chocolate flavor. Topped in a luscious frosting, it’s a dessert that everyone will love, whether they’re vegan or not.

Spreading frosting on a vegan cake

Vegan Chocolate Cake Recipe Ingredients

This vegan chocolate cake tastes rich and decadent, but secretly, it’s healthy. Healthy for a cake, that is. 🙂 Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • All-purpose flour and whole wheat flour – They make the cake wholesome, but still moist and tender.
  • Cocoa powder – It adds rich chocolate flavor.
  • Baking soda and apple cider vinegar – They help the cake rise.
  • Almond milk – Or any non-dairy milk you like. Soy milk or oat milk would work here too.
  • Maple syrup – Instead of using refined white sugar, I sweeten this vegan cake naturally with maple syrup.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – For moisture and richness.
  • Cinnamon and vanilla extract – They enhance the cake’s chocolate flavor.
  • And sea salt – To make all the flavors pop!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Vegan Frosting

Frosting Your Vegan Cake

But the real healthy secret to this recipe is in the frosting. Despite its creamy texture and rich flavor, it’s not made with powdered sugar or vegan butter. Instead, I use baked sweet potato!

As you blend the frosting together, the heat of the sweet potato melts chocolate chips into a smooth puree that’s finished with coconut oil and cocoa powder. While it may feel decadent, this frosting actually gets its luscious texture from a vegetable!

Of course, if you prefer vanilla frosting on your cake, that’s fine too! This vegan frosting recipe would work perfectly.

Vegan Cake with Chocolate Frosting and sprinkles

Vegan Chocolate Cake Recipe Variations

You can make this vegan chocolate cake recipe three ways:

  • In an 8×8-inch square pan. Follow the recipe below to make this variation. It will yield a vegan chocolate cake like the one you see pictured here. I make this variation when I’m just baking for Jack and me.
  • As a layer cake. In the book, I make this recipe as a layer cake. To make it, double the recipe below and bake the batter in two round 8- or 9-inch cake pans. I love making this variation for parties and gatherings!
  • As a sheet cake. Don’t want to bother with layers? I get it! Double the recipe below, and bake it in a 9×13-inch pan.

All three versions are delicious!

Vegan Chocolate Cake Recipe

More Favorite Vegan Treats

If you love this recipe, try one of these vegan desserts next:

Want even more vegan dessert recipes? Check out Love & Lemons Every Day!

Vegan Chocolate Cake

rate this recipe:
4.96 from 25 votes
Cook Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Serves 9
This moist, rich vegan chocolate cake is secretly healthy, made with part whole wheat flour and a chocolate sweet potato frosting. Adapted from Love & Lemons Every Day.

Ingredients

Sweet Potato Frosting

  • 1 large sweet potato, enough to yield 3/4 cups mash
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • pinch of sea salt

Chocolate Cake

Instructions

  • Make the sweet potato frosting: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Use a fork to poke a few holes into the sweet potato. Place on a baking sheet or on a piece of foil and roast until very tender, about 60 minutes. Let the potatoes cool slightly, then measure 3/4 cups of the soft flesh. In a (small) food processor, puree the sweet potato, chocolate chips, cocoa powder, coconut oil, and salt. The heat of the sweet potato will melt the chocolate.
  • Make the cake. Reduce the oven heat to 350°F and grease an 8x8 baking pan.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the flours, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. To the same bowl, add the almond milk, maple syrup, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla. Stir until combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top of the cake springs back when pressed or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place the pan on cooling racks and cool for 10 minutes.
  • Gently loosen the sides of each cake with a knife. Remove the cakes from the pan and place back on the racks to cool completely. Frost the cake and serve!

vegan chocolate cake

52 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Natalie from lilcookie.com
    04.06.2019

    5 stars
    This chocolate cake looks so delicious and I would never have guessed it’s vegan. Can’t wait to try this recipe ♥

  2. Katelyn
    04.06.2019

    Is the frosting sweet? It looks like it doesn’t have sugar in it.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.06.2019

      It is! There’s sugar in semisweet chocolate chips and also natural sugars in the roasted sweet potato!

    • Danielle Sher
      05.11.2019

      It is sweet but if you wanted to make it sweeter you could add more chocolate, or a little milk chocolate too or just a drizzle of maple syrup? I also add a little vanilla

  3. Misha from theglitteratiaffair.wordpress.com
    04.07.2019

    Wow..love this one. Amazing. Keep Glittering, love TGA by Misha ❤️😘👍

  4. Anne
    04.07.2019

    5 stars
    Hi! I got your cooking book and baking the chocolate cake right now. I made the frosting and it is absolutely tasty, but turned rather dark compared to yours. I used semisweet chocolate chips. Does it matter which kind of sweet potatoes are used? Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.07.2019

      It’s pretty brown and dark and chocolatey… I photographed it next to a window so maybe it’s just the light reflecting that you see. I hope you like the cake!

  5. cindyfromminneapolis
    04.07.2019

    5 stars
    This post was so timely. It’s my husband’s today and I was looking for a nice, simple, vegan chocolate cake to make. I made it this morning, sneaked a piece to taste before serving it tonight. It’s really delicious and you’d never know it’s dairy free! This is a keeper! Thank you!

  6. Margo
    04.07.2019

    Can you substitute soy milk for the almond milk?

  7. Naveen Sohail
    04.08.2019

    5 stars
    I’m chocoholic and always search new chocolate cakes recipes but I must say this cake looks so spectacular and wait to try this.

  8. Sarah | Well and Full
    04.08.2019

    This cake looks absolutely delicious! I love those sprinkles on top 🙂

  9. Ashley
    04.08.2019

    Sweet potato to make vegan frosting?! Brilliant! I always struggle with how to make a solid vegan “buttercream” and it feels impossible. I have to try your method immediately. (Vanilla frosting would be a struggle just because of the color, but maybe I can get away with a white sweet potato? I have to try all of this right now…) I just feel like you’ve gifted me a revelation. Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.10.2019

      Ha, yeah I don’t know if it’ll work as vanilla – the chocolate really masks the vegetal flavor of the sweet potato.

  10. Ela
    04.08.2019

    This looks and sounds delish! This is perfect for my daughter’s 2 year birthday! I was looking for a healthy yet decadent alternative. Two things:
    1) Can I substitute oat milk for almond?
    2) Does roasting the sweet potatoes affect the taste? Could I just steam them instead until soft enough to puree?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.10.2019

      Hi Ela, yep, oat milk should work fine, and as long as the sweet potato is soft enough to puree steaming it should be fine!

  11. Hannah
    04.10.2019

    Hi! This cake looks unbelievable and I’m literally drooling over here. I have a question, can I make the cake and frosting a day in advance and just frost it the day I serve it? Or should I prepare everything, frost it and put it in the fridge? Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.10.2019

      Hi Hannah, it’ll work either way – if you frost it, leave it at room temp, covered. I hope you love it!

  12. sarita from therecipebucket.com
    04.15.2019

    5 stars
    i love sweet potato and making the frosting out of it seems very yummy. i am definitely going to give this a try. thanks for this recipe.

  13. Rahim
    05.06.2019

    chocolate cakes are always one of the best dishes and your looks absolutely delicious

  14. Danielle Sher
    05.11.2019

    5 stars
    Fantastic chocolate cake recipe! All in one bowl and relatively healthy (for cake!) so I make it with my toddler all the time, it’s super easy!

    We aren’t vegan and I’m scared to make a cake without eggs for fear of it being too heavy, so I add three and it’s bouncy and moist and delicious! But I really do need to try making it without!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.11.2019

      oh, ha ha, I’m glad you all loved it! It rises really well without eggs too :).

  15. Rebekah
    05.27.2019

    5 stars
    This was terrific! Doable and delicious – my new chocolate cake go to. Thanks so much!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.29.2019

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  16. M Ali
    06.25.2019

    I must try Vegan Chocolate Cake at home.

  17. Anglinia Rose
    08.08.2019

    5 stars
    Vegan chocolate cake look vrey yummy. Your cooking is great. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Kat
    09.21.2019

    Can I use spelt flour or oat flour instead of whole wheat and all-purpose flours?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.21.2019

      Hi Kat, you can use spelt flour for sure. Oat flour probably won’t work without other adjustments. Hope that helps!

  19. Niloufar
    12.31.2019

    Hello hello
    Adoring your pictures and recipes!
    A question about the frosting ingredients: may I substitute sweet potato purée with pumpkin purée? The where I live, they are unavailable…
    Thanks

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      12.31.2019

      Hi, pumpkin puree should work fine – if from a can, it might be slightly thinner but I think it would still work. The frosting might have a slight pumpkin taste, but I don’t think that would be a bad thing.

  20. Susan Caparelli
    02.08.2020

    How can I change out the flours to make it Gluten Free?

    • lee
      04.21.2020

      I also would love to make this gluten free. Can we swap out the flours listed with GF flours instead? any specific ratios?

      • Jeanine Donofrio
        04.22.2020

        Hi Iee, I haven’t tested this recipe with GF flours, so I can’t say for sure but an all purpose GF mix like Bob’s Red Mill’s or Pamela’s should work.

  21. Nicola
    03.14.2020

    5 stars
    The frosting is brilliant!! It tastes amazing. I still can’t believe that there is sweet potato in it as you can’t taste it at all. It’s important to use chocolate chips that you like the taste of as that’s the flavor that comes through.

  22. Kavita
    04.12.2020

    5 stars
    This was so good!!! It tasted just like the Betty Crocker chocolate cake I used to love as a kid. I really loved the sweet potato frosting!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.14.2020

      Hi Kavita, I’m so glad you loved it!

      • Noah
        10.05.2020

        Hello. How much minutes to bake the cake??

        • Jeanine Donofrio
          10.05.2020

          Hi Noah, it’s in the recipe card at the bottom of the post (above the comments), in step 4.

  23. Liz
    04.22.2020

    5 stars
    I made this yesterday and holy guacamole! It is delicious! I steamed my sweet potato in the microwave simply to cut down on time and ended up needing to add 1 tsp. of almond milk to my frosting as it was a tad thick after processing.

    Everything about this cake is fabulous but I must give special mention to the sweet potato frosting. I may never go back to anything else! A true stroke of genius. So good I contemplated not making the cake and just eating the frosting.

  24. Irene
    07.09.2020

    I’m excited to try this cake! Would the frosting still taste good without the chocolate chips? Or is there a different unrefined alternative I can substitute it with?
    Also, is there a reason you chose olive oil for the batter or would coconut oil work the same?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.10.2020

      Hi Irene, chocolate chips are necessary for the frosting, it wouldn’t be very chocolatey without them. You can use melted coconut oil for the cake batter, just make sure your almond milk is at room temp (not cold) before you mix everything together.

  25. Joka
    10.28.2020

    4 stars
    Baking soda isn’t something I can find in the store here. I replaced it with sodium bicarbonate although I know it’s not the same. The cake was falling apart, it was grainy, so it’s probably due to the lack of baking soda. Do you know with what I should replace it?
    The taste was very great and the sweet potato frosting was amaaazing!
    Thank you!

    • Evie
      11.20.2020

      Baking soda and sodium bicarbonate are actually the same thing (NaHCo3 – this coming from a baking & chemistry enthusiast). The different one would be baking powder, which usually makes cakes fluffier due to its longer reaction time with the other ingredients (but it’s not called for in this recipe, so basically you did everything right)

  26. Cindy Osaki
    10.29.2020

    5 stars
    Yummy vegan chocolate cake-made for hubby’s bday! I substituted dark chocolate chips since we don’t like it too sweet and it tasted great! I definitely recommend this recipe and plan to make it again! Even my non-veggie friend loved it!!

  27. Carol
    12.19.2020

    5 stars
    Made this today and it was great! Followed the recipe exactly. Didn’t have time to make the frosting but I’m sure it would be good.

  28. Jasmine from Cakeandcroissants.com
    03.15.2021

    5 stars
    Hey this looks delish, can I put the sweet potato through a sieve to make it a bit smother?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.15.2021

      I think it might be too thick for that, the food processor gets it pretty smooth though!

  29. Leah
    03.23.2021

    Hello Hello!
    I hope you are doing well! I am making this chocolate cake for my dads 70th birthday!
    I recently made your peanut butter chocolate chip cookie bars and my dad LOVED the icing on those, with dates, walnuts and cocoa powder. Would that work on this cake as well? He doesn’t love icing that’s too sweet.

    Thank you 😊

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.23.2021

      Hi Leah, I’m so glad he loved the bars! I think that icing would be hard to frost on the cake, since it’s so thick. The cake isn’t firm like those bars so it’ll be harder to spread without cake crumbs coming up. I’d give this sweet potato frosting a go – it isn’t too sweet, in my opinion.

  30. Becky
    04.04.2021

    5 stars
    Ever made the recipe for cupcakes? Any tips or advice? My daughter is wanting cupcakes for her birthday. Thanks.!!
    Ps- I’ve made it as a layer cake and we loved it!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.05.2021

      Hi Becky, I haven’t tried but I bet it would work. I’d bake them for less time – start checking around 18 minutes. (I’m not sure of the total yield)

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.