This delicious dairy free chocolate cake that is easy to make, super moist, and perfect for a 2 or 3-layer cake for a holiday or birthday cake. Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free and delicious.
Dairy Free Chocolate Cake
This dairy free chocolate cake recipe is fool proof. I don’t say things like that lightly either. It’s hard to make a recipe fool-proof since there is such a variety of flours and brands. But I think this is really able to support these variations and still come out with a perfect balance of texture and moisture. I have a few tricks to help you along. Let’s tell you more!
Why Is Dairy Free Chocolate Cake a Good Thing
Everyone should have a dairy free cake in this arsenal because not everyone can eat dairy. And by dairy, I mean both cow’s milk and eggs. Some people can eat one or the other, but it is useful to have a cake recipe that avoid both so you can have a party and not worry.
Plus dairy free chocolate cake batter is delicious to eat raw, not something you can ever do with a traditional chocolate cake batter.
How is This Chocolate Cake Dairy-free?
You can probably guess that eggs are the reason a cake binds and rises. So I use a few non-dairy things to do that instead.
1. To help the cake rise, add vinegar. That reacts with baking soda and helps the cake rise.
2. Use flax eggs which make a nice egg replacer in terms of texture and flavor.
3. If your flour doesn’t have xanthan gum, add 1/4 tsp to help the texture bind.
How Does This Dairy Free Chocolate Cake Taste?
Well, my husband Philip just said: “This is the most incredible cake I have ever had!” Sounds scripted haha, but it’s not. He just said it to my girls while doing the dishes.
Okay, so my take is this. It is so full of chocolatey flavor and has a light airy crumb. The flavor comes from a quality cocoa as well as the addition of coffee. The coffee flavor is not noticeable; the coffee simple deepens the chocolate flavor. But if you don’t want to add coffee, just replace it with more milk.
How to Make a Dairy Free Chocolate Cake From Scratch
This is a basic cake recipe. Combine dry with wet, and bake. Of course that is an over-simplification. But it really is a familiar road if you’ve ever baked a cake before.
Here are some tips and substitutions.
1. Any vegetable puree can be used instead of the sweet potato puree, or of course apple sauce can be used.
2. Three tbsp of apple sauce can also be used instead of the flax egg.
3. I used a quality unsweetened cocoa powder with this cake, but you can use cacao powder. It is healthier but also more expensive.
4. Be sure to measure the flour and cocoa first, combine and then sift and re-measure. Most likely the amount will match but that’s the process I follow. Sifting is important to combine the cocoa and flour well and to reduce clumps.
How to Bake Flat Cake Layers
My cakes are usually so sloped and lopsided, I wanted an Insta-worthy cake this time. Also one to serve for the holidays. So I researched and found a wonderful way to bake flat layers. Baking strips. They are the flat fabric strips you see wrapped around my pans. And they worked perfectly!
The way they work is they keep the sides of your cake baking slower so the middle keeps up, resulting in an evenly baked layer top. No dome. Actually mine had a slight dome coming out of the oven but I pressed it down gently with the bottom of a glass while the cake was still hot and that resulted in a perfectly flat top.
How to Use Baking Strips to Make Flat Layers
Buy the baking strips here. Soak them in ice cold water while you mix up batter. Squeeze dry a bit. Mine were not too drippy but I don’t think I soaked them long enough which is why I had to press the dome at the end.
Wrap the strips around the pans BEFORE you put in the batter, but AFTER you have greased and floured the pans. Pour in the batter, bake and you will have insta-worthy flat layers.
Can I Make Cupcakes From This Dairy Free Chocolate Cake Recipe?
Sure ! I think it will fill 18 cupcake liners, more or less.
How to Store This Dairy Free Chocolate Cake?
Store this cake at room temperature, loosely covered and frosted. It will be okay for about 3 days before it will begin to dry out.
You can also freeze the cake before frosting it for months.
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Dairy Free Chocolate Cake
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour or a GF mix like Bob's Red Mill's 1 to 1 baking flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder or cacao powder which is healthier but more expensive
- 1 cup organic cane sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
- 1/3 cup sweet potato puree or apple sauce
- 1 flax egg (Or 3 tbsp of aquafaba, the liquid from a can of chickpeas)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 350 F.
- Mix up flax egg by adding 1 tbsp flaxseed to 3 tbsp of water, stir and set aside for 10 minutes.
- Coat the inside of two 6-inch cake pans with butter, coconut oil or a non-stick spray. Dust with cacao powder. Optionally, you can add a circle of parchment paper on the bottom.
- Sift together the flour and cocoa.
- Activate your milk by adding the vinegar to it and stirring so it curdles. This creates a mixture that activates the baking soda and creates a lovely moist crumb.
- To the large mixing bowl, add the flour/cocoa mixture, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Use a hand mixer or just a spoon or whisk to combine these dry ingredients.
- Add in the curdled milk, veggie puree, flax egg (or aquafaba) and vanilla.
- Mix with a hand-mixer or hand whisk until combined, but don't overmix.
- Pour the batter evenly into prepared cake pans.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
- Let cool for a ten minutes in pans, then pop cakes out onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
- Add powdered sugar, cocoa powder, vegan butter, vanilla extract and half of the soy milk to a large mixing bowl.
- Use a hand-mixer or an electric mixer to combine. Add the milk gradually until you have a creamy consistency.
- If your frosting seems too liquidy, add powdered sugar, if it too thick, add milk a tsp at a time. The final frosting should be spreadable.
Assemble the cake
- Frost each layer, and either frost sides or leave bare.
Dee Dine is founder of Green Smoothie Gourmet, a plant based recipe blog, and author of the recent cookbook, Crazy Healthy with 4 Ingredients . On this blog you’ll find incredibly easy recipes with hidden veggies for anyone wanting to eat healthier, regardless of diet. Dee has graduate degrees in sciences and journalism. More about Dee Dine here.