The Best Ever Vegan Chocolate Cake

vegan chocolate cake with coconut frosting

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!

a slice of rich and delicious Vegan Chocolate Cake with Coconut Frosting

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…)Β  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.

perfect Vegan Chocolate Cake 4

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.

Moist and rich Vegan Chocolate Cake with Coconut Frosting 2

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!

vegan chocolate cake with coconut frosting with fork

The frosting is delicious on its own, I just whipped up a basic buttercream without the butter, I substituted coconut cream insteadΒ  (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 πŸ™‚

a vegan chocolate cake with coconut frosting in the pan

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

vegan chocolate cake
3.24 from 46 votes

Vegan Chocolate Cake

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!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Yield 9 -12 servings
Author Sue Moran


  • 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

Coconut frosting

  • 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.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

vegan chocolate cake pin



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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    May 9, 2020 at 4:43 am

    Thank you for this recipe! It’s been my go-to vegan cake recipe for three years. Everyone I’ve introduced to loves it and many have attempted to make it themselves. So delicious!

    • Reply
      May 9, 2020 at 8:52 am

      Sooooo glad you love this Ruat πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Stephanie Oliver
    January 25, 2020 at 1:38 pm

    I just have to let you know that this is my go to chocolate cake recipe. It checks all of the boxes. Vegan (check), yummy (check), moist (check), chocolate (check), easy (check)!!! This is a delightfully easy delicious recipe that I have shared with many people. Thank you

  • Reply
    May 27, 2019 at 5:30 am

    Mmm.. Made it. Again. Still sooooooo good!
    Thanks again!

  • Reply
    January 28, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    Hi Sue
    What kind of flour do you use in this recipe? Is self raising best? I’m excited to try this recipe for my friends birthday, it looks so chocolatey and fudgey!

    • Reply
      January 28, 2019 at 12:54 pm

      I love this cake Laura, and I use regular all purpose flour.

  • Reply
    Heidi B
    December 13, 2018 at 10:05 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      January 28, 2019 at 1:13 pm

      You’re so welcome Heidi!

  • Reply
    May 3, 2018 at 6:39 am

    Hi Sue,

    The recipe looks amazing! I have recently been reducing/eliminating my oil intake when I can – have you ever tried this with applesauce or other replacements for the oil and if so, how did it turn out? I’m making this tonight and will give it a shot! Thanks!

    • Reply
      May 3, 2018 at 7:03 am

      Hi Emilee, I’ve only tried it this way, but the cake has so little oil to start with that I think it might work, please let us know if you experiment! You might try mashed banana as well.

  • Reply
    March 26, 2018 at 10:27 am

    It is such a great recipe! Thanks so much. Discovered it only a few weeks ago and already I am up to bake it for the 5th time today…! πŸ˜€

    • Reply
      March 26, 2018 at 10:37 am

      Haha, what a great comment, thanks Tanja! I love this cake too, and you’ve inspired me to go bake it again πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Bonnie Holster
    July 24, 2017 at 11:45 pm

    Hi there

    I’ve made this cake 2 days in a row, one for my work colleague’s baby shower and on e for home. Everyone who has tried it loves it! Thank you so much for sharing, it’s become a part of my go-to recipes ??

    • Reply
      July 25, 2017 at 7:16 am

      I’m really happy to hear this Bonnie, If I didn’t have to constantly come up with new recipes for the blog I’d be making this cake all the time πŸ™‚ I’ve been meaning to try to come up with other versions of this, it’s so easy!

      • Reply
        January 22, 2018 at 11:39 pm

        Been vegan since 2015 and I love this recipe! It’s my go to cake ever since I came across it and everyone loves it. I’ve been wondering if there was a way to make this vanilla as well. Please post if you come up with different versions. Thank You πŸ™‚

        • Reply
          January 23, 2018 at 7:17 am

          I’ll work on that Sarah, I love this cake, too.

  • Reply
    March 20, 2017 at 6:48 am

    Im so going to try this… like now!

  • Reply
    Jewel Ownbey
    March 10, 2017 at 8:46 am

    Can you make these into cupcakes?

    • Reply
      March 10, 2017 at 9:28 am

      Yes, for sure, just watch the baking time, it will be much shorter.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2017 at 1:16 am

    Gisele bundchens vegan birthday cake

  • Reply
    plasterers bristol
    September 20, 2016 at 9:21 am

    This sounds really delicious and something new to try. Thank you for sharing this.


  • Reply
    April 30, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    I looked at this recipe because you said it was the best chocolate cake, and it is vegan…imagine my surprise when I see it is the very first cake I learned to make when I was about 10. Thank you for the reminder — and the memory, as my mum’s birthday was just the other day.

  • Reply
    April 30, 2016 at 3:56 am

    Yolie &Tricia – did you try using coconut sugar and/or oil as subs? I have both on hand. This recipe does sound equally easy and delish!

  • Reply
    April 11, 2016 at 1:02 am

    Hi Sue. I made this last week and we totally loved it. My husband took about half of it to work and all his female co-workers wanted to have the recipe!! I only changed the frosting a bit, I whipped the coconut cream on top of the coconut milk can with only 3 or 4 tablespoons powdered sugar. It was sweet enough and easily piped. Thanks for sharing! And one more thing: I liked the cake even better after 1 or 2 days in the fridge, it was really set, moist and brownie like.

  • Reply
    March 27, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    I grew up on this cake. It’s the only chocolate cake I like. The King Arthur flour company has this variation, plus several more (including a spice cake)
    both in their old cookbooks and online. They are conveniently vegan because of the World War II shortages.

  • Reply
    February 28, 2016 at 10:42 am

    Thank you so much for the recipe! Found this on Pinterest, but wanted to leave a comment, as this cake is just very very good. I made the cake with 1cup flour + 1/2 cup rice flour and the icing with 1 cup powdered sugar and 5 tbsp coconut milk (as I don’t like super sweet icings much) and it was also soooo good.

    • Reply
      February 28, 2016 at 11:26 am

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment Deniz — I appreciate it πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Janet Schmidt
    February 27, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    Made this cake today and boy is it good! I actually made a mistake with the amounts of baking powder and salt-thought my spoon was 1 t, it was really 1 1/2 t but it still was great, nice and fluffy, not like my yellow cake “pancakes”! Thanks for a wonderful recipe!

    • Reply
      February 27, 2016 at 4:13 pm

      So glad to hear it — I love the texture of this cake, and good to know you can make a slight adjustment and still have it turn out πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Alice Meikle
    October 29, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    This is so good! Really easy and the ingredients are affordable and not obscure like some vegan cake recipes. Would definitely recommend. It has an amazing consistency and the icing is divine.

    • Reply
      October 29, 2015 at 4:02 pm

      I love what you said, Alice — some vegan cakes can be off putting because they contain so many ‘substitutions’ for regular ingredients. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply
    October 3, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    Hi! I have a friend that can’t have any dairy or lactose free products. So I just wanted to make sure that this recipe is safe to make for here? Can’t wait to try this recipe!

    • Reply
      October 4, 2015 at 7:33 am

      It is, Emma, there are no dairy products in this!

  • Reply
    July 20, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    I’ve made this cake now twice! I read the name of it (chocolate vegan cake) out loud to a friend near by. He said, “that sounds good-NOT”. He’s gobbled it up both times not knowing it was this recipe. I used the rich vegan chocolate frosting, though. This will be my go to quick chocolate cake…AMAZING!

    • Reply
      July 20, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      I’m so glad you liked it Stephanie, it’s truly my favorite chocolate cake now!

  • Reply
    June 28, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    I made this last night and it was a definite hit! I think that it tastes even better on the second day – if there’s any left that is πŸ˜‰

    • Reply
      June 28, 2015 at 3:27 pm

      Thanks Sandra, I’m so glad to hear that you liked it, I’m totally sold on it!

  • Reply
    June 22, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    I’m impressed! This cake not only looks stunning and delicious, but the instructions have to be the easiest thing ever. Going to give it a try very soon!

  • Reply
    Thao @ In Good Flavor
    June 22, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    Wacky cakes are one of my favorite cakes to make. They are so easy…and delicious! I’m drooling over this one!

    • Reply
      June 22, 2015 at 12:56 pm

      I can’t wait to try some variations, what is your favorite?

  • Reply
    June 22, 2015 at 8:39 am

    I am so intrigued by this! It’s a must-try because I love a good chocolate cake. It looks so moist…no eggs or dairy – really impressive!

    • Reply
      June 22, 2015 at 9:07 am

      It’s for real, Monica, but I guess it’s not anything new!

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s+Recipes
    June 20, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    You have me craving chocolate cake in this early morning! That coconut frosting is heavenly.

    • Reply
      June 21, 2015 at 7:37 am

      Haha, that’s my job, Angie πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    June 20, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    Suddenly the only thing I want in the world is chocolate cake, and I adore that frosting!!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    June 20, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    I am so intrigued by this cake. I’ll definitely try it, as it looks delicious! Love the frosting, too πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      June 21, 2015 at 7:39 am

      Thanks Jennifer!

  • Reply
    June 20, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    I’ve never commented before but I want you to know that I find your recipes incredible. In fact, I go to you first. This is definitely your “sweet spot”! πŸ™‚ I wonder if coconut sugar could be substituted for regular sugar in this recipe. I just bought some for the first time yesterday and I’m dying to try it.
    What do you think?

    • Reply
      June 21, 2015 at 7:41 am

      First of all, thanks for making my weekend Yolie! Second, I think you can use coconut sugar just as you would regular sugar, and I bet it would be particularly good in this cake. I am dying to try it, let me know how it turns out. As for the frosting, though, you need to stick to confectioner’s sugar, unless you can process the coconut sugar into a fine powder.

  • Reply
    Elaine Cobb
    June 20, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    Hi Sue. This cake looks so yummy. I can’t wait to try it. I am not vegan.
    I had to look in my old, favorite recipes to find the one this reminds me of. I received it from a girl I worked with in the late 60’s. I don’t know how old the recipe is. Probably from during WWII for the reasons you mentioned. It has the same ingredients as this recipe of yours but different proportions.
    It is called “Crazy Chocolate Cake”. I always make it in a bundt pan as the batter is thin. Here it is.
    3 cups flour 3/4 cup oil
    2 cups sugar 2 cups water
    6 Tbsp cocoa (I always use Hersey’s) 2 Tbsp vinegar
    2 tsp baking soda 2 tsp vanilla
    1 tsp salt
    Mix dry ingredients then add liquids to them. Pour into 10″ ungreased tube pan.
    Bake 45-60 min. at 305 degrees.

    I thought you’d get a kick out of this.

    I love your recipes so much. Each one I’ve tried is to die for. Not only desserts, main dishes too!

    • Reply
      Elaine Cobb
      June 20, 2015 at 2:14 pm

      Oops! My carefully planned columns of ingredients got mushed together when it printed. Oh well. Sorry.

    • Reply
      June 21, 2015 at 7:43 am

      Oh thanks SO much for taking the time to write out your recipe for us, Elaine – I will give it a try, I’m sure it’s the same thing! I like the idea of doing it in a bundt. Do you frost yours in any way?

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    June 20, 2015 at 11:51 am

    Oh my goodness Sue, if you say it’s the best chocolate cake you’ve ever made, I need to crank up my oven despite the fact that it’s almost 100?F here! And it’s so… easy, what a win-win!

    • Reply
      June 20, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      It’s sooo good Chris, I pinky swear!

  • Reply
    June 20, 2015 at 10:37 am

    had to smile at the ” I’d be safe because it’s, well, you know…vegan. ”

    know what you mean – never satisfying, always something missing, so if you say it’s great, I trust you, and shall pin this recipe right away!

    • Reply
      June 20, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      Hey, whatever works, vegan or not, this cake is good πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Kennedy [email protected] KCole's Creative Corner
    June 20, 2015 at 9:44 am

    I love the idea of a VEGAN chocolate cake! Vegans love cake, too right?

    • Reply
      June 20, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      Everybody loves cake πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    June 20, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Wow – I can even smell it baking! I bet you could sub coconut oil for the vegetable oil too – brilliant recipe! Love that beautiful white icing too. Yummy πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine
    June 20, 2015 at 7:40 am

    Simply stunning!!! Chocolate cake is an essential πŸ˜‰

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