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Vegan Chocolate Cake

Also known as depression cake this chocolate cake is made without eggs or dairy. It makes it the perfect vegan cake.

Crisco non dairy frosting and this chocolate cake create the tastiest vegan cake you can think of! Vegan mini chocolate chips bring this easy cake recipe to perfection.

Vegan chocolate cake with slice

Eggless and dairy free?

Health is not the only reason for an eggless cake. Also current egg prices and availability make it rather difficult to make regular cakes. This recipe evolved at the Great Depression when eggs and dairy were hard to come by and not very affordable. The trick in this recipe is to bloom the cocoa powder with hot coffee or water for a more intense chocolate flavor. The other trick is to mix in the vinegar at the very end shortly before filling the batter in the prepared cake pans and baking the cakes. The vinegar will interact right away with the baking powder and soda and the cake batter begins to increase in volume.

Ingredients of chocolate cake with amount

These are the cheesecake pans that I always use in my recipe videos: Springform pan and Removable bottom pan

A 8 inch springform pan is the traditional choice to make most cheesecake recipes. I usually use it for no bake cheesecakes. For baked cheesecakes I prefer the removable bottom pan. It has the advantage of fitting a water bath snuggly around it.

Chocolate Depression cake

Vegan Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Depression cake


1/2 cup (50 g) cocoa powder

2 cups (480 ml) boiling hot water or hot coffee

1 1/2 cups (300 g) white sugar

2/3 cup (180 ml) vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups (360 g) all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons white vinegar

For the non dairy frosting:

1/2 cup (50 g) cocoa powder

1/2 cup (120 ml) hot water, coffee, or milk

1/2 cup (226 g) Crisco shortening

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 cups (500 g) powdered sugar

1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Check out my Zucchini Chocolate Cake tutorial while this one is in the making


Step 1:

To make the chocolate cake prepare two 8 inch baking pans with parchment paper and grease them. Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Add cocoa powder to a large mixing bowl and pour hot water or coffee on top of it. Let it sit for a few minutes and then whisk it until it is combined. Add in oil, sugar and vanilla and mix it in. Add the dry ingredients and mix them in until smooth. Quickly mix in vinegar and watch how the batter doubles in size.

Step 2:

It is important to work fast after mixing in the vinegar. Divide the batter between two cake pans and bake it in the preheated oven for 35 minutes. Check the doneness with a wooden skewer. When the skewer comes out clean of with a few moist crumbs it is done. Let it cool in the cake pans for about 10 minutes. Then remove the cake pan and let the layers cool on a wire rack completely

Step 3:

For the frosting add cocoa powder and hot coffee in a big mixing bowl and let it bloom for 3 minutes. Then mix it until smooth. Add crisco, vanilla and salt. Mix until well combined. Mix in powdered sugar little by little until smooth. Then whip it for about 2 minutes until it has a fluffy consistency.

Step 4:

To decorate the chocolate cake place one cake layer on a cake plate. If it has a dome cut it even. Then spread 1/3 of the frosting on top. Smooth it out. If you want to you can add some mini chocolate chips on top. Top it with the second cake layer. Then cover the whole cake with a thick layer of frosting. It does not have to look pretty. Finally add some mini chocolate chips on the top or pipe some swirls. You can decorate it however you like!


Vegan chocolate cake


  • The cake layers will be more sturdy if an egg replacement is used

  • Make sure to mix the cake better with a hand mixer for about 30 seconds after adding the vinegar so that everything is mixed in evenly.

  • If you want to pipe swirls on the cake I would recommend to add about 1/2 cup or more of powdered sugar to the frosting used for that. So first cover the cake with frosting and then use left over frosting mixed with more powdered sugar to pipe swirls. If it is too soft still place it in the fridge for about 10 minutes, whip it up and then try again.


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