Dairy-free Chocolate Cake – Super Easy, Moist, Fudgy

This dairy-free chocolate cake is ultra-rich, moist and chocolaty! It doesn’t use any specialty ingredients and can be made with all-purpose, gluten-free or whole wheat flours. It’s also easy to make vegan!

If you don’t need your cake to be dairy-free, don’t worry – this cake doesn’t have any unusual ingredients. Just use regular milk instead of dairy-free milk! That is the only thing needed to make this cake dairy-free.

This is the same cake as my Halloween cake with eyeballs, but because it’s not Halloween season, and it seems as if most people were disgusted by it according to a poll I did on Instagram, I made a pretty design this time without any gross decorations.

This cake is too delicious to just have it seen around Halloween. It has the perfect chocolate flavor and is so insanely moist.

Plus, I thought it’d be perfect for Valentine’s Day!

This has been my go-to chocolate cake for 15 years. I’ve tried top-ranking chocolate cake recipes, just because I was curious if there’s one better than this, but this one always comes out the winner.

The yield

If you’re telling yourself that you don’t need a whole 8″ cake for just the two of you, I’d recommend making the whole thing, anyway, and freezing what you don’t want to eat within a few days. It freezes great, even with the frosting on it.

And it’s not actually that big of a big cake. I know it looks like it, though.

The amount of frosting is indeed a lot. In everyday life (so when I’m not posting a recipe on the internet), when making this cake, I never frost the sides. The cake doesn’t really need it, and it’s sweet enough without.

If you don’t want to frost the sides, then just make 2/3 of the frosting recipe. You’ll have about 1/4 cup leftover.

You could probably even make just 1/2 of the frosting recipe, and use a little less on the top.

Traditional or a healthy version

You’ve got some options here. You can make a classic non-healthy cake or a healthier cake (which tastes like the regular version!).

You can use:

  • Regular flour, whole wheat, or gluten-free flour
  • Regular eggs or chia eggs
  • Regular sugar, coconut sugar, or honey
  • Whatever neutral-tasting oil you’d like

The milk

Cashew milk is my favorite. It’s more neutral than almond milk.

Oat milk would probably also be great. I haven’t tried soy as I can’t have it but imagine that’d work, too.

If you want to use canned coconut milk, I recommend using 1/2 cup of that + 1/2 cup of water. That’ll thin it down so that it’s like regular milk.

The frosting recipe

I used my chocolate fudge frosting for this. It’s my favorite frosting recipe for good reason! It’s super easy, not overly sweet, and easy to pipe.

And just like when using canned coconut milk for the cake, I’d recommend you use half coconut milk and half water to thin it down.

Like I said above, just make 2/3 of the recipe if you don’t want to frost the sides!

The piping

If you want to make the same designs I did, you’ll need about 1.5x the frosting. The amounts for that are in the notes section below the recipe. You won’t use all of it but can freeze it without issue.

You might be able to get away with makingg 1.3x the recipe, but running out of frosting when you’re almost done decorating a cake is hugely annoying. So I recommend just making more and then freezing.

I used Wilton tip 6B. To see how the swirl was made, check out the video!

Topping ideas

For everyday life, I would’ve just covered this thing with raspberries or strawberries.

I don’t normally fuss with any decorations beyond that but wanted something fancy-looking for Valentine’s Day. I mentioned this in the post about me on The Zestfull, but I’m really enjoying planning little holiday parties for our little family of three.

It gives me something to look forward to, which is especially needed these days when we don’t have much hope of things getting back to normal any time soon.

Using other pans

  • One 9″x13″ pan.

    The bake time will vary widely depending on what combination of sugar / eggs / flour you use.

    The whole wheat / egg / honey version took 48 minutes. The gluten-free / chia egg / honey version only took 22 minutes.

    For the gluten-free or egg-free versions, I recommend to start checking at 20 minutes and then every 5 minutes after that. Otherwise, start checking at 30 minutes and every 5 minutes after that. Bake until a toothpick comes out with some moist crumbs, but no liquid.

  • Two 12-mold cupcake pans (for 24 cupcakes)

    Use liners and bake for 14 – 18 minutes.

  • Two round 9″ pans

    Your layers will be thinner but it’ll work. You’ll definitely need to bake it a few fewer minutes. I haven’t tried so I don’t have the baking time.

  • Can I just pour it all in one pan?

    Only if it’s a 9″x13″ (23cmx33cm) or another pan with an area of around 117″ (297cm). If you just pour it all into a 10″ springform or something like that, it won’t bake properly and will be gooey and rubbery.

Healthier Valentine’s Day desserts

So this isn’t the healthiest treat. Even if you use honey for the cake, the frosting is sweetened with chocolate, so it’s got a lot of sugar.

For a healthier chocolate treat, try my date-sweetened paleo vegan chocolate mousse or my maple-sweetened paleo fudge.

For a sugar-free treat, I can offer you this delicious keto pudding. Plop some raspberries on top, and you’ve got yourself a super quick Valentine’s Day dessert! You can also use maple syrup if you prefer.

Let me know if you try the cake! I love getting feedback. :)

Questions about this dairy-free cake?

  • Can I use a different egg replacer?

    I’ve only tried chia eggs in this cake and I was quite surprised that it worked. I often have problems with egg subs in cakes.

    I’m guessing that other egg replacers, that you’ve used in other cake recipes with good results, would work here as well, but I’m not positive.

  • Can I really use any type of oil for the cake?

    You can use any neutral-tasting oil like light olive oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, or grapeseed oil, etc.

    If you use unrefined coconut oil, you’ll likely taste some coconut in your cake. If you use refined, you won’t taste the coconut. So I recommend refined coconut oil (and you should melt it).

  • If you use olive oil, can you taste it in the cake?

    I used extra-virgin olive oil, which you can taste in the batter and when the cake is hot out the oven. But once it cools, you won’t taste it at all.

    I should say that I used Aldi or Lidl extra-virgin olive oil. It wasn’t a super expensive and strong one. If you’re worried about it, use light olive oil (the light refers to the taste and not calories).

  • Can I use butter?

    You probably could but the cake won’t be as moist because butter is 80-82% fat and oil is 100% fat.

  • If I make the GF version, can I use a different gluten-free flour mix?

    I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour and the cake was fabulous. If you have found a different brand that works as a sub for all-purpose flour, then it might work here.

    But I can’t guarantee that it’d be as perfect, both texturally and taste-wise, like the Bob’s version is.

    There is no way to use almond flour, coconut flour, or any other grain-free flours. And it’s just totally ridiculous that I haven’t got a paleo chocolate cake recipe. But I’m working on it!

  • Does the GF version taste gluten-free?

    Not at all! This cake tastes just like it was made with regular all-purpose flour. At least with the gluten-free flour mix I used and after the cake has cooled off.

  • Does the whole wheat version taste like cardboard?

    Definitely not! It tastes like it was made with regular all-purpose flour. The cocoa powder, oil and sugar cover up the wheaty taste.

  • Can I reduce the sugar?

    Reducing sugar also reduces the moisture so unless you prefer a dry cake, don’t go overboard. Don’t try reducing the sugar to 1/2 cup or some small amount.

    I think using 1 1/2 cups of sugar would be fine. The honey version is already a reduced amount (1 cup of honey instead of 2 cups of sugar) so I don’t recommend reducing it more than that!

  • Can I use something other than the listed sweeteners?

    I’ve only made this cake with the listed sweeteners and nothing else. So those are the only ones that I know will work 100%.

    I’m guessing that any liquid sweetener that you’d usually use in place of honey would probably work in place of the honey. And any granulated sweetener that you’d usually use in place of granulated sugar would probably also work.

  • Can I freeze the cake layers or the whole cake?

    Yes, you can freeze the unfrosted layers or even the whole cake! Let them thaw in the fridge overnight.

Dairy-free Chocolate Cake (gluten-free option)

Rated 5.0 by 9 readers
Dairy-free Chocolate Cake – Super Easy, Moist, Fudgy
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 8 slices



  • 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar or coconut sugar or 1 cup (320 grams) honey
  • 1 3/4 cups (218 grams) all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour or for gluten-free, use 1 3/4 cups (242 grams) Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-free Baking Flour
  • 3/4 cup (85 grams) cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large (50 grams each, out of shell) eggs or 2 chia eggs for vegan1
  • 1 cup (240ml) dairy-free milk of choice2
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) oil3
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240ml) boiling water
  • For the frosting (see notes if you want to have enough to pipe):4

  • 3 cups (510 grams) chopped dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup (180 milliliters) dairy-free milk of choice
  • 3/4 cup (168 grams) refined coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


    For the cake:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 °F (175 °C). Line 2 round 8" cake pans with parchment paper on the bottom and then grease the sides of the pans.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.
  3. Mix until combined and then stir in the boiling water. The batter will be almost as thin as water.
  4. Divide the batter between the two pans.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with maybe some moist crumbs, but no uncooked liquid.
  6. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pans, and then turn out onto a rack to cool. Let cool completely before frosting.
  7. To make the frosting:

  8. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, mix together the chocolate chips, milk, coconut oil, vanilla extract and salt. Stir until melted and completely smooth.
  9. Let the pan cool for about 15 minutes (or until cool enough to place in the refrigerator) and then place the pan in the refrigerator for about 1-2 hours, stirring after every 15-20 minutes, or until firm enough to spread on the cake. I need about 1 hour. If you forget about it and leave it in the refrigerator too long, it'll be too firm to spread, so be sure to keep checking on it. If it gets too hard, very lightly reheat it on low heat, stirring constantly, until it's soft enough.
  10. Once the cake has cooled, spread about 3/4 cup of frosting on the first layer, about 1 cup on top of the cake, and the rest on the sides.
  11. Cover and refrigerate leftovers for up to 4 days. You can also freeze the frosted cake or unfrosted layers for up to 3 months.


  1. To make the chia eggs for this recipe, mix together 2 tablespoons of ground chia seed with 6 tablespoons of water until well combined. Let sit for about 1-2 minutes or until goopy like regular eggs.
  2. If you want to use canned coconut milk, I recommend using 1/2 cup of that + 1/2 cup of water. That’ll thin it down so that it’s like regular milk. For the frosting, use 6 tbsp coconut milk + 6 tbsp water.
  3. I recommend something neutral like refined coconut oil, light olive oil, grapeseed oil, vegetable oil or canola oil.
  4. These are the amounts for the frosting if you want to have enough to make the same piped decorations (with a Wilton 6B tip). You'll have some leftover but can freeze leftovers for a few months.
    – 4 1/2 cups (765 grams) chopped semi-sweet chocolate
    – 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (266 milliliters) milk of choice
    – 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (252 grams) refined coconut oil
    – 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
    – 3/8 teaspoon salt
  • To make this recipe as cupcakes (it'll yield 24):
  • Preheat your oven to 350 °F (175 °C). Line two muffin pans with 24 liners. Follow the prep instructions above. Bake for 14 – 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with some moist crumbs, but no liquid.

  • Let cool for 5 minutes in the pans, and then turn out onto a rack to cool. Let cool completely before frosting. They can be frozen unfrosted for about a month or refrigerated for 4 days.

  • For the frosting, use 2/3 of the above recipe. That'll yield 2 cups of frosting, which is enough for 2 tablespoons of frosting per cupcake. So that's 2 cups chocolate, 1/2 cup milk of choice, 1/2 cup coconut oil, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 1/8 teaspoon salt.

Adapted from Hershey's One Bowl Chocolate Cake

Recipe by  | www.texanerin.com

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51 comments on “Dairy-free Chocolate Cake – Super Easy, Moist, Fudgy” — Add one!

5 comments are awaiting moderation!

  • Nichole says
    August 9, 2021 @ 2:17 am

    Can I use cocoa powder in place of the chocolate chips?

    • Erin replies to Nichole
      August 15, 2021 @ 6:27 am

      In the frosting? No, because then there would be no sweetener at all in the frosting and it wouldn’t firm up, it’d just be a runny mess. Sorry about that!

  • Harlow says
    August 6, 2021 @ 11:01 pm

    hi, can I make it in any pan? or does it have to be round and 8 inches

    • Erin replies to Harlow
      August 7, 2021 @ 6:36 am

      Hi! I just added a section called “Other pans” to the post (in the middle of the post) so you can see your options. :)

  • Laura says
    July 30, 2021 @ 1:26 pm

    Hi there,

    If I make this cake the night before and ice it, does it need to be refrigerated overnight or can I leave it out of the fridge for approx 12 hours?



    • Erin replies to Laura
      August 7, 2021 @ 6:38 am

      Hello! I’m so sorry for just now seeing your question. I’m afraid my answer is coming too late but for anyone else wondering, 12 hours would be fine. Sorry again!

  • Lydia says
    July 12, 2021 @ 10:48 am

    Hi, this sounds delicious! Can I use this recipe for cupcakes?

    • Erin replies to Lydia
      July 16, 2021 @ 8:38 am

      I’m sorry for just now seeing your question! Yes, they can. Directions for cupcakes are now in the notes section right below the recipe. :) I hope you’ll enjoy them!

      • Lydia replies to Erin
        July 17, 2021 @ 9:49 am

        Hi, thank you for this wonderful recipe and all the tips! I saw your post on cupcakes after I posted my question. I made cupcakes for my girl’s 1st birthday and it was delicious!
        I used Macadamia milk, couldn’t get Cashew. I am baking another batch for the weekend :)

  • Martin Badcock
    July 5, 2021 @ 9:27 pm

    I made this because a friend is avoiding dairy while breastfeeding and I have to say it’s one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve ever made, with or without dairy! It just worked perfectly and went down an absolute storm. Think this might be my go-to chocolate cake recipe going forwards…

    • Erin replies to Martin Badcock
      July 16, 2021 @ 8:40 am

      Wow! I’m so glad that they were a hit and that you’ll make them again in the future. That was so nice of you to make your breastfeeding friend a special treat. :) I hope she loved them, too. Thanks a ton for your feedback!

  • Christina says
    June 29, 2021 @ 1:26 am

    Hi, thanks for your recipe! I only have one cake tin in each of the following sizes: ONE 6-inch round tin: ONE 8-inch round tin; ONE 8-inch square tin; ONE 9-inch by 13-inch rectangular tin. I do also have a 12 cupcake tin and a 24 cupcake mini cupcake tin.

    May I know if I could adapt your recipe to bake in ONE tin instead? How should I modify the recipe or baking time and temperature?

    Thanks so much!!

    • Erin replies to Christina
      June 29, 2021 @ 12:34 pm

      Hello! You can use one 9″x13″ pan. The bake time will vary widely depending on what combination of sugar / eggs / flour you use. The whole wheat / egg / honey version took 48 minutes. The gluten-free / chia egg / honey version only took 22 minutes. For the gluten-free or egg-free versions, I recommend to start checking at 20 minutes and then every 5 minutes after that. Otherwise, start checking at 30 minutes and every 5 minutes after that. Bake until a toothpick comes out with some moist crumbs, but no liquid.

  • Samuel says
    June 5, 2021 @ 8:34 am

    I swapped out the milk with a cup of disaronno (and cooked it on a single cake sheet tin) and it’s THE BEST THING IVE EVER BAKED thank you!!!

    • Erin replies to Samuel
      June 5, 2021 @ 10:03 am

      Wow, what an amazing idea! And a whole cup?! I love that you did that. :D Thanks for the tip! I’m so glad that you enjoyed it!

  • Marie says
    May 15, 2021 @ 1:50 am

    Thank you for your fabulous recipe!
    Quick question before I embark on a glorious baking journey:

    Have you tried using a single cake tin and cutting it into layers? (I’m specifically thinking about a springform tin lined with baking paper.
    Would it rise the same in one single cake pan?

    • Erin replies to Marie
      May 15, 2021 @ 6:42 am

      Hello! No, it definitely wouldn’t rise the same. It would be very dense and not cook through. If you don’t have two cake pans and don’t want to bake one layer, clean the pan and bake the next layer, then you can make cupcakes out of them. :) A 9″x13″ pan would also work.

      • Marie
        replies to Erin
        May 15, 2021 @ 6:58 am

        Excellent! Thanks for your speedy response 💖

        • Erin replies to Marie
          June 5, 2021 @ 10:04 am

          You’re welcome! I hope you enjoyed it if you got to try it out. :)

  • krissy says
    May 7, 2021 @ 2:58 pm

    Hi, where is the written out recipe?

    • Erin replies to krissy
      May 7, 2021 @ 4:59 pm

      Hello! The whole recipe is written out before the comments section. :) Enjoy!

  • Marg says
    May 6, 2021 @ 8:46 pm

    Putting this comment in again since no response so far…
    The cake looked great and was dairy free which was the goal. Made it a day in advance so refrigerated it. Next day icing rock hard. Couldn’t get birthday candles in. Wonder if I should’ve left it out for several hours before serving? Some slices were a bit crumbly too.

    • Erin replies to Marg
      May 7, 2021 @ 5:03 pm

      I’m sorry for not replying straight away. We’re dealing with a family emergency and I haven’t been at my computer for several days. The frosting shouldn’t be rock hard. Did you follow the frosting recipe 100% or make any changes at all? If you followed it exactly, I’m not sure what the problem could be. It’s firm when chilled, but not rock hard. Letting it come to room temperature definitely softens the frosting, so much so that it’s spreadable.

  • Marg says
    April 30, 2021 @ 5:16 pm

    Where can you get dairy free semi sweet chocolate? Want to make for my daughter’s birthday today and she is omitting dairy for breastfeeding purposes.Please respond quickly if possible. Thanks.

    • Erin replies to Marg
      April 30, 2021 @ 5:18 pm

      Hello! You should be able to find it everywhere as semi-sweet chocolate is naturally dairy-free. :) Some companies might add milk, but it’s not the standard. So just check the labels of your favorite brands.

      • Marg replies to Erin
        April 30, 2021 @ 7:01 pm

        Unfortunately all I see have milk in it. Found 72% cacao chips in Trader Joe’s which are dairy free. Will that work for frosting?

        • Erin replies to Marg
          April 30, 2021 @ 7:06 pm

          That will! You can add a little powdered sugar if it’s not sweet enough.

        • Marg replies to Marg
          April 30, 2021 @ 10:41 pm

          Ok cakes are cooling on rack. When should I remove parchment circles and when stacking what’s the best surfaces to use? Two flat bottoms against each other? Bottom of cake as top layer of bottom where frost? And then put bottom of other cake on top of filling? What works best and looks well? Thanks.

        • Erin replies to Marg
          May 1, 2021 @ 6:23 am

          Hello! Your comment came in when I was already in bed so I just saw it now (6:20am German time). You can remove the paper whenever. You put the two flat bottoms together. So there will be a layer of frosting between the two flat bottoms.

    • Preethi replies to Marg
      May 17, 2021 @ 8:24 am

      Hi! I’m doing diary free for breastfeeding purpose, Nestle brand have Allergen Free semi sweet morsels (Nestle also have Dark chocolate morsels in allergen free) and have ben using them for my brownies. Not sure if you have already found another brand. Hope this helps :)

  • ieva says
    April 6, 2021 @ 9:18 am

    Absolutely perfect! 🙏🏻😍

    • Erin replies to ieva
      June 5, 2021 @ 10:03 am

      I’m so glad that you enjoyed it! Thanks for your feedback. :)

  • Amanda Dixon
    February 8, 2021 @ 12:50 am

    What a fabulous cake! It was perfectly chocolate with the right level of moisture and such a soft crumb. Bravo! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful cake.

    • Erin replies to Amanda Dixon
      February 19, 2021 @ 10:13 am

      I’m really happy that you liked it! Thanks a bunch for your feedback. :)

  • Tammy
    February 7, 2021 @ 10:25 pm

    I’m so impressed this is dairy free. What a beautiful and decadent cake..I wish I could reach in for a slice right now!

    • Erin replies to Tammy
      February 19, 2021 @ 12:27 pm

      Thanks so much! I wish you could, too. :)

  • Tristin
    February 7, 2021 @ 8:38 pm

    Love that this can be made dairy free and vegan!! Making this luscious cake for Valentine’s Day. Thanks for sharing.

    • Erin replies to Tristin
      February 19, 2021 @ 12:28 pm

      I hope that you enjoyed it! :)

  • Leslie
    February 7, 2021 @ 5:00 pm

    Chocolate cake is the ULTIMATE dessert for me! Your recipe has me drooling, it’s so perfect!!

    • Erin replies to Leslie
      February 19, 2021 @ 12:28 pm

      Thanks a ton! I’m so happy you liked it. :)

  • Kathryn
    February 5, 2021 @ 9:07 pm

    This chocolate cake is so moist and delicious! You would never guess its dairy-free! I want to make these into cupcakes next time and I cannot wait..Thanks for a delicious dessert recipe :)

    • Erin replies to Kathryn
      February 19, 2021 @ 12:29 pm

      I’m sorry for just now seeing your comment! I’m so glad that you enjoyed it. :) You’re welcome for the recipe and thank you for the nice review!

  • Candice
    February 5, 2021 @ 1:31 am

    Yay for dairy free chocolate cake…and this cake is a winner! It was so moist and fluffy at the same time… will be making this one again!

    • Erin replies to Candice
      February 19, 2021 @ 12:31 pm

      Woohoo! I’m so happy that you liked it! And awesome that you’ll be making it again. :) Thanks a bunch for your comment!

  • Lori | The Kitchen Whisperer
    February 4, 2021 @ 5:14 am

    Oh my dear sweet heavens LOOK AT THAT CAKE! It looks uber moist and so decadent! Give me a fork and I’m in heaven! I LOVE how you give the options to use chia seeds in lieu of eggs! I know what’s for dessert this weekend!

  • Alene says
    January 30, 2021 @ 6:24 pm

    This is gorgeous! I am gluten free, not by choice and can tolerate lactose free milk. My husband’s birthday is in February, and he adores chocolate. He always says he doesn’t want a cake, but this looks too delicious not to make. And I know he will happily eat it despite not wanting a cake. I love your recipes when they are gluten free! Thank you!

    • Erin replies to Alene
      February 19, 2021 @ 12:58 pm

      Hi Alene! I’m so very sorry for only now seeing your comment! I just found it in the spam with a bunch of other nice comments. :( I hope that your husband had or will have a lovely birthday and that if you tried the cake, that you all loved it. I’m happy to hear that you like the GF recipes. :) Thanks a ton for your comment and sorry again!

      • Alene replies to Erin
        February 19, 2021 @ 3:35 pm

        No problem! His birthday is February 22, which is why he was named George! And he’s getting this cake whether he wants one or not. I love to bake, even despite being gluten free, even though it’s a little more of a challenge. So that when a baking recipe actually works, I make it over and over. Can’t wait to try this one! Thank you!

        • Erin replies to Alene
          February 21, 2021 @ 7:30 pm

          Haha. I love that he’s getting one whether or not he wants one. I guess you’re making it today or maybe tomorrow so good luck! I hope he’ll love it as much as we do and that he has a happy, happy birthday tomorrow!

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