Vegan Chocolate Cake

Say hello to the best vegan chocolate cake. It's moist & deeply chocolatey, with a rich chocolate frosting made from a secret ingredient: sweet potato!

Today we’re celebrating the launch of my new cookbook, Love & Lemons Every Day, with this vegan chocolate cake! This happens to be a vegan cake, but I promise you’ll love it whether you’re vegan or not.

Vegan Cake Recipe

About This Vegan Chocolate Cake

This may be the healthiest cake I’ve made, but you’d never know it by eating it. It’s perfectly moist with a rich dark chocolate flavor that’s made even richer with a thick layer of vegan chocolate frosting on top.

Secretly, though, this vegan cake is made with half whole wheat flour, and I use maple syrup in place of refined sugar. But the biggest secret of all is in the frosting, which is made from 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 luscious frosting actually gets its wonderful texture and some of its sweetness from a vegetable!

Vegan Chocolate Cake Recipe

Vegan Cake Variations

In the book, I make this recipe as a layer cake. I love serving it that way for big gatherings or parties, but this week, since Jack and I were celebrating together, I opted for a smaller version. I halved the recipe and baked it in an 8×8-inch square pan, which worked out perfectly for us. I’m sharing that recipe – the halved version – below. To make a layer cake, double it and divide the batter between two round 8 or 9-inch cake pans. Alternatively, if you’re serving a crowd and you’re not in the mood for a layer cake, double this and bake it in a 9×13-inch pan!

And if you prefer white frosting on your chocolate cake, the frosting from this vegan carrot cake recipe would be delicious here.

Vegan Cake with Chocolate Frosting and sprinkles

If you love this vegan cake recipe, please let me know in the comments! Then, try this pumpkin cake, this chocolate zucchini cake, these brownies or this banana bread next. Or head to this post with our top 85 vegan recipes.

And don’t forget to order your copy of Love and Lemons Every Day!

Vegan Chocolate Cake

rate this recipe:
5 from 17 votes
Cook Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Serves 9
This moist, rich vegan chocolate cake is actually healthy, made with part whole wheat flour and chocolate sweet potato frosting. Adapted from Love & Lemons Everyday.

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

  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 3/4 cups maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Supernatural Starfetti sprinkles, optional

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

40 comments

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  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!

  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.

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.