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Best Dairy Free Chocolate Cake Recipe (Easy and Moist)

This old fashioned easy recipe for chocolate cake, that also happens to be a dairy free chocolate cake recipe, is simple and delicious.  In the pan in less than 15 minutes, it also is a vegan chocolate cake recipe and is one of the best chocolate cakes I know of.

Julia Child once said a party without a cake is just a meeting. 

I don’t know if I’d go that far, but definitely one always needs dessert!

Especially on Valentine’s Day, when we want to make those around us know they are loved.

Dessert is definitely one way I show my love.

With Valentine’s Day being in the middle of the week, it’s important to keep things simple.

Well, this moist and delicious cake is about as simple as it gets. 

This moist chocolate cake is an old fashioned cake, that also happens to be a naturally vegan cake.

A recipe that probably came about during the depression when milk and eggs were rationed and not easy to come by.

This is one chocolate cake that I’ll keep making and making.

Truly a regular cake that one can serve day after day and never get tired of.

One could snack on this cake instead of cookies, and one could easily gift this cake to a neighbor or friend in need.

Quicker than baking cookies, this cake took me less than 15 minutes to get in the pan.

The glaze takes 2 minutes.

no dairy chocolate cake recipe on white plate with glaze being poured on

This cake was King Arthur’s recipe of the year in 2014.

After making it you will know why it receives such accolades.

And if that’s not a few good reasons to bake this cake, I don’t know what are.

Manservant has been keeping a fork in the pan while stealthily stealing bites of cake, thinking I don’t know.

I can easily tell because the aluminum foil that covers the pan is not properly sealed, but somehow this cake still is moist.

You guys do that, don’t you?

This easy chocolate cake may also be known as a poke cake or a wacky cake, as it’s the vinegar and baking soda that cause the cake to rise and create a fluffy texture.

I made this in a square pan, but next time I’ll use a round cake pan.

You could easily double the recipe and make it a birthday cake with frosting in the niddle of the cake.

So let’s get started, shall we?

dairy free chocolate cake recipe with chocolate glaze on white plate

The Ultimate Guide to this Dairy Free Chocolate Cake Recipe

Ingredients for Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake:

Dry Ingredients:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Sugar
  • Natural cocoa powder (Hershey’s)
  • Baking soda
  • Espresso Powder
  • Salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • Cold water straight from the tap
  • Canola Oil or any neutral oil
  • Vanilla extract
  • Vinegar (apple cider or white vinegar)


  • Chocolate Chips
  • ​Half and Half, Coffee, Or your choice of milk

no dairy chocolate cake vegan chocolate cake

How To Make this Dairy Free Chocolate Cake Recipe:

1. Preparing the Cake Pan:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Grease one 8-inch square pan or 1 9″ round pan that’s 2″ deep  with cooking spray. No need for parchment paper.

2. Dry Ingredients:

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, espresso powder and salt.

4. Wet Ingredients:

  • In a large 4 c measuring cup or a medium bowl, combine the water, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and vinegar.

5. Combining Wet and Dry Ingredients:

  • Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing until well combined. No need for an electric mixer.

6. Baking the Cake:

  • Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs attached and the cake starts to pull away from the edge of the pan.

7. Cooling and Assembling:

  • Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. It can be served warm, or place the pan on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
  • Once cooled the cake can be frosted and then covered in plastic wrap and served within a few days.

8. Frosting and Decorating:

  • Prepare your favorite frosting recipe. You can use a simple powdered sugar frosting or this simple chocolate chip glaze made with or without non-dairy milk.
  • Frost the cooled cake layers and stack them to create an easy layer cake.

no diary chocolate cake recipe with glaze on white plate with fork

Tips for the Best Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake:

  1. Quality Cocoa Powder:
    • Choose a high-quality, unsweetened cocoa powder for a rich chocolate flavor.
  2. Properly Greased Pan:
    • Grease the cake pan thoroughly to prevent sticking.
  3. Refrigeration for Improved Texture:
    • If you make a double recipe layer cake refrigerate the cake layers before frosting to make the assembly easier.
  4. Creative Additions:
    • Customize the top of the cake with fresh raspberries, sprinkles, dairy-free chocolate chips, or a drizzle of dairy-free chocolate ganache. Personally, I loved the shiny glaze and felt no need for further embellishment!
  5. Gluten-Free Option:
    • For a gluten-free version, use a gluten-free flour blend instead of all-purpose flour.

Why This Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake Stands Out:

  • Simple Ingredients: Easy-to-find and simple pantry ingredients make this recipe accessible to all.
  • Versatility: Whether you follow a regular diet or a vegan, dairy-free, or gluten-free diet, this recipe caters to various dietary needs. No need to worry with this cake about everyone’s dietary requirements!
  • Fluffy Texture: The combination of vinegar and baking soda creates a wonderful cake texture.
  • Rich Chocolate Flavor: A perfect balance of cocoa powder, sugar, espresso powder and vanilla extract makes a chocolate lover swoon.

Is this the best chocolate cake ever? That’s up to you.

I know this perfect recipe is one of the easiest and tastiest chocolate cakes I’ve ever made.

This is also the best vegan chocolate cake I’ve ever had-not that I’ve ever had one before! LOL!

But truthfully, this is ot a doctored up recipe made for vegans.

It’s just a good chocolate cake and as fas as I’m concerned everyone need a simple and delicious chocolate cake recipe that can be whipped up fast.

no dairy chocolate cake recipe

So what’s the secret ingredient in the crazy cake?

Well, it’s real simple.

Love. Just love.

Happy Valentine’s Day, my friends.

Still Hungry?

Hershey's Syrup Chocolate Cake

Easy and Rich Hershey’s Syrup Chocolate Cake

chocolate cake on blue plate

Another Quick Chocolate Cake from Alice Medrich

warm mousse chocolate cake

Warm Mousse Like Chocolate Cake

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no dairy chocolate cake recipe on white plate with fork

Easy Chocolate Cake

  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 Minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 - 8 Servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American


I could munch on this no dairy chocolate cake recipe all day long. Moist and chocolatey, with a simple rich glaze, this cake is quicker to make than cookies!


Units Scale

1 1/2 c unbleached, all purpose flour

1 c sugar

1/4 c unsweetened cocoa, (I used natural)

1/2 t table salt

1/t t espresso powder

1 t baking soda / 3/4 t baking soda at high altitude (5000 ft)

1 t vanilla extract

1 T cider or white vinegar

1/3 c canola oil

1 c cold water


1 1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 c half and half or your choice of non-dairy milk or 1/3 c coffee or water


Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease and 8″ square pan or a 9″ round pan that’s 2″ deep.

Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. In a large 4 c glass measuring cup or bowl whisk the vanilla, vinegar, oil and water. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until well mixed. Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake cake for 25 – 30 minutes or until the cake starts to pull away from the edges of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, with maybe a few crumbs attached.

This cake is delicious on its own. It makes the perfect snacking cake and I do not say that lightly. However, it is also delicious with this easy chocolate glaze, that my husband just loved.

To Make Glaze:

Melt the chocolate chips with the half and half, or your choice of milk, or coffee or water-and whisk to combine. I did this in the microwave and then poured it over the cooled cake and used an offset spatula to spread it.


This chocolate cake is also called a wacky cake which may have originated during the depression when eggs and butter were rationed. It is also known as a poke cake.

Keywords: depression cake, vegan chocolate cake recipe, dairy free chocolate cake, best dairy free chocolate cake recipe, dairy free chocolate cake recipe

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