clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
side view of a slice of vegan gluten free chocolate cake with thick layer of frosting.

Best Vegan Chocolate Cake

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 8 reviews

  • Author: Lexi
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 16 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


This is hands down the BEST vegan and gluten free chocolate cake you'll ever have. It's moist, rich, super chocolate-y and topped with an insanely fluffy vegan chocolate buttercream. The best part? It's easy to make, with just two bowls, a sheet pan and no layers! 




  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, softened at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce 
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/4 cup oat milk (or other nondairy alternative)
  • 1 oz freshly brewed espresso (or 1 tsp instant espresso powder)
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free all purpose flour 
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup melted dark chocolate

Chocolate Buttercream:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) vegan butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 8 oz dark chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • For garnish: dark chocolate shavings


  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F and line a 9x13 inch pan with parchment paper. 
  2. In a mixing bowl, stir together gluten free flour, oat flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. 
  3. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream butter and sugar until fluffy (about 1 minute). Add vanilla, applesauce and maple syrup and continue mixing. 
  4. Stir freshly brewed espresso into oat milk. 
  5. Alternate adding the dry mixture and the oat milk/espresso to the wet ingredients, mixing on medium-low until fully incorporated. Add melted chocolate and continue mixing until incorporated. 
  6. Pour batter into pan and smooth out with a spatula. Bake for 28-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely before frosting. 
  7. To make vegan chocolate buttercream, melt chocolate in 30 second intervals in the microwave, stirring well between each interval, until fully melted. Set aside and let cool until it's cool to the touch. 
  8. Beat butter and powdered sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy – about 3 minutes. Add cooled chocolate, vanilla and salt and continue mixing on medium-high for another 2 minutes. 
  9. Frost cooled cake and top with chocolate shavings or chocolate sprinkles. Slice and enjoy!


Cake pan conversions for circular layer cake: To make this vegan and gluten free chocolate cake into a 2 layer cake, use TWO 9-inch round pans. Divide the batter in half and use an equal amount in each pan. The baking time may be a bit shorter – start with 24 minutes and go from there until a toothpick comes out clean.

Espresso: we prefer freshly brewed espresso in this chocolate cake, but if you don't have access to an espresso machine, you can substitute with 1 tsp of instant espresso powder. 

Gluten free all purpose flour: we always use Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free Baking Flour in our baking recipes and highly recommend it. It's available at most grocery stores and online. (We also use their oat flour!)

Nondairy milk: we prefer using oat milk in this recipe for its creamy texture and mild flavor. You can also use cashew, almond or soy milk.

Storage: Since this cake doesn't contain any dairy products, it stores well covered at room temperature for up to 5 days. If you live somewhere very warm, you can store in the refrigerator to prevent the frosting from melting.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 427
  • Sugar: 31.6 g
  • Sodium: 266.2 mg
  • Fat: 25.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 51.4 g
  • Fiber: 3.6 g
  • Protein: 3.5 g