Celebrate your big day with the BEST Chocolate Vegan Birthday Cake! This rich and moist cake is made with easy-to-find ingredients, and is a recipe the whole family will love.
Can we all agree that the one non-negotiable item on birthdays is a birthday cake? Every year for my birthday, my mom asks me what kind of cake I want, and without fail I either choose an almond cake or a carrot cake. But, this vegan birthday cake was for my brother's birthday per his request, so that's what I made him!
Why you'll love this vegan birthday cake
- It's vegan-friendly and super rich
- The applesauce makes it moist
- The icing is made with the BEST ingredients
- Oh, and it's covered in sprinkles!!
Flour - I only tested this recipe with all purpose flour, so that's what I recommend using.
Sugar - Cane or granulated
Milk - Any kind of dairy-free milk, though I tend to recommend almond or oat
Coconut oil - Unrefined
Applesauce - Unsweetened
Chocolate chips - Make sure to use vegan-friendly chips (Enjoy Life brand are my favorite) if you want to keep this cake vegan
Step 1: Combine the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, stir the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together, then set it aside.
Step 2: Whisk the wet ingredients. First, melt the coconut oil (either over the stove or in the microwave) and set it aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, applesauce, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla together. Once the melted coconut oil comes to room temperature, add it into the bowl and stir to combine.
Step 3: Pour batter into cake pans. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, then stir. You can do this with an electric mixer or a spatula. Line your cake pans with parchment paper, then pour the batter evenly into the pans and bake the cakes for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Step 4: Make the icing. Be sure to wait until the cakes have completely cooled before icing them. To make the icing, melt the chocolate chips and butter together, stirring constantly to make sure the chocolate doesn't burn. Transfer melted chocolate to a bowl, then add the cocoa, powdered sugar, milk, almond butter, and vanilla and stir until the icing is smooth (I like to use an electric mixer for this).
Step 5: Assemble the cake. To assemble, slice the "dome" off of the cakes, then place a large dollop of icing on top, using an offset knife to ice the cakes. Place the second cake on top and repeat this process, and end by covering the whole cake with sprinkles (optional).
Tips and FAQs
- Leave the cake in until it’s done. I know this may seem like common sense, but don’t just assume it’s done after 45 minutes because mine was. Every oven is different, so be sure to do the toothpick test to check when yours is done. This cake is super moist, so it might take a bit longer to bake.
- Don’t put the icing in the refrigerator. The icing is super thick, so it actually doesn’t need refrigerated at all. My suggestion is to wait until your cakes are completely cooled and THEN make the icing and ice the cakes right away, rather than prepping the icing ahead of time. If you DO refrigerate the icing, it will harden a bit and you’ll have to add a splash of milk in order for it to be spreadable.
- Use vegan-friendly sprinkles. Some stores sell them, but if you want to be totally sure, you can check out this guide, or simply order some online.
Can I make this in advance?
Yes and no. You can make the cakes the a day or two beforehand. To do this, bake the cakes then wait for them to cool before wrapping them in plastic wrap and placing them in the refrigerator. With that said, I would wait to make the icing until the day you plan on serving the cake.
How long will this stay fresh?
Most cakes stay fresh for up to 3 days, and I'd say this cake is about the same.
Enough with the tips already, let’s eat this vegan birthday cake!
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Chocolate Vegan Birthday Cake
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups raw cane sugar or sub white sugar
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- 3 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups almond milk
- ½ cup coconut oil melted
- 1 cup applesauce
- 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup dairy free butter
- ¼ cup dairy free chocolate chips
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar or more if needed
- ¼ cup almond milk
- 2 tablespoon almond butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; stir and set aside.
- Heat coconut oil in a small saucepan OR in a microwave-safe dish until melted; set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine milk, applesauce, vinegar, and vanilla; stir in oil.
- Combine wet and dry ingredients with an electric mixer; stir really well so the batter is runny and not chunky.
- Grease two 8 inch baking pans with coconut oil and then pour batter evenly into each pan.
- Bake cakes for approximately 40-45 minutes, or until batter is cooked all the way through.
- Once cakes are done, remove from oven and wait 10 minutes or so before carefully transferring them to a cooling rack. Wait until cakes have cooled before icing them.
make the icing:
- Do so by heating butter and chocolate chips together over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally until combined; transfer to a bowl and then add the cocoa, powdered sugar, milk, almond butter, and vanilla; stir with an electric mixer until everything is smooth. The icing should be pretty thick but still spreadable.
- Remove the top "dome" from one of the cakes with a knife so that the cake is flat on top and, using a spatula, ice the top of that cake before placing the second cake on top, using the icing as glue to hold the cakes together.
- Use the spatula to ice the rest of the cake
- Add sprinkles, cut and enjoy!
UPDATE: This post was originally published in May 2016. It was updated with new photos and text in July 2020.