The Best Ever Vegan Chocolate Cake ~ this easy one bowl Depression era ‘wacky cake’ is made without butter or eggs, and yet it’s rich, moist, and incredibly delicious!
I have no resistance to a great chocolate cake, it’s one of my trigger foods, and things quickly go south if I’m left alone in a room with one. When I heard about this recipe I thought I’d be safe because it’s, well, you know…vegan. Let’s just say that’s not something I associate with a decadent dessert. BUT. Hold on to your hats, because if you haven’t tried this yet, it’s going to change your world forever.
This is the best homemade chocolate cake I’ve ever made.
Notice there are no modifiers in that sentence…I can’t believe it myself, I always thought cake had to have stuff like butter and eggs and milk in it. But I guess not. (As I type this I am shuttling back and forth to the kitchen to slice off one sliver after another…) This Vegan Chocolate Cake, made without butter, eggs, or any dairy products whatsoever, it’s the best, moistest, most tender cake I’ve ever made, and it was DEAD EASY. You don’t even need to grease the pan. You can mix it right IN the pan if you want to.
I’m impressed by so many things about this cake. For one thing, you can whip it up in your sleep, the baking instructions are all of one sentence long. To be honest, I’ve used box mixes quite a bit over the years, I think they have great flavor and texture. Chocolate cake was the default birthday cake in my family growing up, and I carried on that tradition with my own kids. I was the official cupcake mom throughout their school years, and I made gazillions of them. What is amazing about this recipe is that it rivals that fluffy texture you can get from a good box mix without all the artificial ingredients. And without any dairy or eggs! It’s wacky. Which must be why Wacky Cake is an alternative name for this recipe.
This type of cake dates back to the early part of the last century when wars and the Great Depression made ingredients like butter and eggs scarce and expensive. It’s been perfected and passed down through generations, but probably would have faded away into obscurity if not for the current popularity of vegan diets. I find it fascinating because the cake lacks nothing as far as I can tell, I don’t miss the butter, eggs, or dairy in the least. I’m also amazed at what a rich chocolaty result you get from just cocoa powder. It’s literally the perfect cake, there’s no reason in the world that I can see to add the dairy back in. No kidding!
The frosting is delicious on its own, I just whipped up a basic buttercream without the butter, I substituted coconut cream instead (the thick stuff at the top of a can of coconut milk). I also have a vegan chocolate frosting recipe here. I was impatient and couldn’t wait for the cake to cool completely before frosting it, so mine is a little droopy, but yours won’t be :)
If you like chocolate cake I urge you to try this. I made it two days in a row and it came out equally great each time. It’s such a simple recipe I think it’s foolproof. It would make fantastic cupcakes, too.
Reader Rave ~
“Hi Sue, I have been making this cake ever since you posted it on your site. Everyone that I make it for declares it delicious. Thank you for the great recipe.” ~ Heidi
- 1 1/2 cups flour (fluff up the flour first, scoop it and then level off)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup water
- 5 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 Tbs white vinegar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 Tbsp thick coconut milk (skim the top off of a can of full fat coconut milk, or look for coconut cream)
- 3 cups (maybe more) confectioner's sugar
- sweetened shredded coconut for garnish
- Set oven to 350F
- Whisk the cake ingredients together and spread into an 8x8 baking pan. Bake for about 30 minutes until the cake is risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out without wet batter clinging to it.
- Let the cake cool before frosting.
- To make the frosting, beat the sugar gradually into the coconut cream until it is of a spreadable consistency. You may want to add more of the cream, or more sugar as you go. You can add vanilla to the frosting, but I didn't.
- Spread the frosting on the cooled cake and immediately top with the shredded coconut.