I don't know about you but something about this year has got me into the spooky season mood more than ever. I just want to curl up with scary movies, light some candles, and eat vegan devil's food cake and Halloween cupcakes. Speaking of which, don't be fooled by the name. One bite of this and you will be in chocolate heaven, promise!

What's is devil's food cake?

Devil's food cake has an intense dark chocolate color thanks to the combination of cocoa powder and baking soda. It's hard to pinpoint the exact origin of devils chocolate cake as it's quite an old recipe, but according to cooksinfo.com, it became popular in the 1900s. Funnily enough, even though modern recipes call for cocoa powder, some of the older versions seem to have used melted chocolate.

By the sound of the name, you might be expecting a rich and fudgy chocolate cake. However, according to Eat This Not That!, devils food chocolate cake is often considered the counterpart of angel food cake. Making it surprisingly light and airy, but with a deep chocolate flavor. It's often made using oil which gives it a lighter texture than using butter, thus one less ingredient to veganize!

This vegan chocolate cake is:

  • Moist and rich without being overly heavy
  • Surprisingly light and fluffy
  • Decadent with a deep chocolate flavor
  • Devilishly good (had to be done)
  • Perfect for special occasions like Halloween or Christmas, it would also make the most epic vegan chocolate birthday cake!
vegan chocolate cake with chocolate shavings and dark background.Pin

Ingredients overview

  • Plain flour/all-purpose flour
  • Unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder: I wanted this vegan chocolate cake to taste rich and decadent without being too heavy so I opted for Dutch-processed cocoa. Like with my vegan chocolate cupcakes, this helps get that intense chocolate flavor and dark color we're going for in this vegan devil's food cake. Dutch-processed cocoa powder is alkalized, you can check the package for acidity regulators such as potassium carbonates if you're unsure of your brand. Raw cacao powder cannot be used for this recipe as it will react with the baking soda and throw off the acidity and flavor of the recipe.
  • Coffee: This intensifies the flavor of chocolate desserts, I rarely bake without it when chocolate is involved!
  • Caster sugar and muscovado sugar
  • Soy milk: Mixed with apple cider vinegar to create a vegan "buttermilk". This gives the cake some rise and keeps it feeling light and not too dense.
  • Olive oil: I love using olive oil in baked cakes but you can also use an alternative neutral-tasting oil such as rapeseed or sunflower.
  • Vegan yogurt: I recommend using thick Greek-style if you can get your hands on it. This helps to keep moisture in the chocolate cake.
  • Aquafaba: To keep this cake light and airy, we're replacing egg whites with aquafaba (chickpea brine).
  • Baking powder and baking soda: These are our leavening agents for this vegan chocolate cake. Both ingredients help the cake to rise while the additional baking soda helps to neutralize the acid from the coffee and muscovado sugar.
  • Vanilla extract and sea salt: Of course, we can't bake a cake without a good hit of vanilla to intensify those flavors and sweetness.
ingredients to make vegan chocolate cake.Pin

How to make this recipe (with step-by-step images)

(Full ingredient quantities and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post)

Decide what size to make your cake

The measurements of this cake are completely up to you. This recipe will make 4 x 6-inch cakes OR 3 x 7-inch cakes. However, to keep that buttercream to cake ratio 50:50 (if you know you know!) we'll be slicing each baked cake in half to make double the layers. So that's 8 layers if you're using 6-inch pans, or 6 layers if you're using 7-inch pans.

If you want to keep this as a simple two-layer sandwich cake you could simply use 2 x 9-inch pans. Note that the baking time for larger pans may be slightly longer, so keep a close eye on the cakes. Check they are done by inserting a wooden skewer - it should come out clean.

Prep your wet ingredients

First make the chocolate mixture by adding the cacao powder, muscovado sugar, coffee, and vanilla to a medium bowl. Add ½ cup boiled water and whisk well until the mixture is smooth. Set this aside to cool and prepare the rest of the wet ingredients.

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil and caster sugar for a minute. Next, add the aquafaba and whisk again. Then add the vegan yogurt and whisk again to combine. Add the vegan buttermilk (soy milk and apple cider vinegar) to the bowl and whisk until mixed. Lastly, add the cooled cacao mixture and whisk again to combine.

Prep your dry ingredients

To another bowl, add dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt) and whisk together.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and use a spatula to fold everything together until you have a smooth batter. Divide the batter into the lined cake pans and bake for 35-40 minutes. Check they are ready by inserting a skewer, it should come out clean.

Refrigerate the cakes

Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for 15-20 minutes and then carefully turn them out onto a cooling rack to cool further. Refrigerate the cakes in an airtight container until ready to use. Chilling the cakes for a few hours makes them easier to work with and decorate.

vegan devils food cake on cooling rack.Pin

Frosting the cakes

I recommend my vegan chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream for this recipe, paired with the chocolate cake and chocolate shavings you'll be in triple chocolate heaven! Once you have made your buttercream transfer it to a piping bag and get to decorating.

To create a 6-tiered cake, use a serrated knife to carefully cut each cake through the middle to form 2 layers. Alternatively, you can keep them as is and make a thick 3-layer cake.

To assemble the cake, pipe a little buttercream on your turntable to secure the cake. Make sure you reserve about a third of the buttercream for the top and sides of the cake. Place the first layer of cake and follow with a layer of piped buttercream. Continue this process for the remaining layers, then pipe the sides and top with the remaining buttercream.

vegan chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream against dark background.Pin

For garnish

So this step is "optional", but you've come this far, I'm rooting for you!

Adding a lavish layer of dark chocolate shavings to this vegan chocolate cake makes it even more devilishly tasty.

The best way to get those beautiful chocolate curls is by first melting the chocolate and setting it in the freezer.  I don't usually wear gloves in the kitchen because I find the waste completely unnecessary however, for this job I do recommend it as it's going to get messy! Grate the chocolate. If the block of chocolate begins to soften, place it back in the freezer to set. Gently press the grated chocolate into the sides and on top of the cake and bon appetit!

slice of vegan layered chocolate cake.Pin

More frosting ideas

Storage instructions

This cake is best served at room temperature so I recommend making it just before or a few hours before serving and keeping it out for serving. You can keep the cake out at room temperature for up to a day and after that, store it in the fridge in an airtight container if possible. Allow it to come to room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving.

chocolate cake for Halloween.Pin

More vegan cake recipes

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Vegan Devil's Food Cake (Epic Chocolate Cake)

4.87 from 36 votes
PREP TIME: 2 hrs
COOK TIME: 40 mins
TOTAL TIME: 2 hrs 40 mins
Servings: 15
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Description

This vegan devil's food cake is intensely chocolatey and surprisingly light and airy. Layers of moist vegan chocolate cake and Swiss chocolate buttercream make it devilishly delicious, perfect for Halloween or as a birthday cake!

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup (65 g) cacao powder, Dutch processed
  • ½ cup (110 g) muscovado sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (10 g) instant coffee granules
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (236 ml) soya milk
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ cups (300 g) caster sugar, (superfine)
  • ¾ cup (178 ml) olive oil, or neutral tasting oil
  • 4 tablespoons (60 ml) aquafaba, *see recipe notes
  • 4 tablespoons (80 g) vegan yoghurt, I recommend Greek style
  • 2 ½ cups (312 g) all purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons (8 g) baking powder, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons (8 g) baking soda, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon (3 g) sea salt

Frosting

Garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C (356°F). Line the base of three 7" cake tins with a circle of parchment paper and spray the sides with oil spray. Or if using 6" cake tins, use four cake pans.
  • Add the cacao powder, muscovado sugar, coffee, and vanilla to a medium bowl. Add ½ cup boiled water and whisk well until the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool for 10-15 minutes.
  • To make the vegan "buttermilk" add the soy milk and apple cider vinegar to a small bowl, stir and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil and caster sugar for a minute. Add the aquafaba and whisk again. Then add the vegan yogurt and whisk again to combine. Add the vegan buttermilk mixture to the bowl and whisk until mixed. Lastly, add the cooled cocoa mixture and whisk again to combine.
  • To another bowl, add dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) and whisk together.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients and use a spatula to fold everything together until you have a smooth batter.
  • Divide the batter into the lined cake pans and bake for 35-40 minutes. Check they are ready by inserting a skewer, it should come out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for 15-20 minutes and then carefully turn them out onto a cooling rack to cool further. Refrigerate the cakes in an airtight container until ready to use. Chilling the cakes for a few hours makes them easier to work with and decorate.

Frosting

  • Meanwhile, make the vegan chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream and transfer it to a large piping bag.
  • To create a 6-tiered cake, use a serrated knife to carefully cut each cake through the middle to form 2 layers. Alternatively, you can keep them as is and make a thick 3-layer cake.
  • To assemble the cake, pipe a little buttercream on your turntable to secure the cake. Make sure you reserve about a third of the buttercream for the top and sides of the cake. Place the first layer of cake and follow with a layer of piped buttercream. Continue this process for the remaining layers, then pipe the sides and top with the remaining buttercream.
  • Use a cake scraper to smooth out the sides and surface of the cake.

Garnish

  • Melt the chocolate and pour it into a small container lined with cling film. Place in the freezer for about 15 minutes or until solid. Wearing gloves, grate the chocolate. If the block of chocolate begins to soften, place it back in the freezer to set.
  • Press the grated chocolate into the sides and on top of the cake.

Storage

  • This cake is best served at room temperature so I recommend making it just before or a few hours before serving. You can keep the cake out at room temperature for up to a day and after that, store it in the fridge in an airtight container if possible. Allow it to come to room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving.

Notes

  • Nutritional information is based on the cake without frosting.
  • Aquafaba: The liquid part from tinned chickpeas.
  • Vegan chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream: For a 6-tier cake, you will need 1.5x batches of buttercream, for a 3-4 tier cake. 1x batch will be enough.
  • If you feel like delving into that coffee flavor why not go all out with vegan coffee swiss meringue buttercream.
  • To mellow out the chocolate flavor you could go with classic vegan Italian meringue buttercream.
  • I haven’t tried it with chocolate yet, but vanilla cream cheese frosting would most likely be delicious smothered over this cake.

Nutrition

Calories: 377kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 295mg | Potassium: 240mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 67IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 3mg
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