Dark, Moist, Rich Chocolate Cake with Creamy Chocolate Frosting – Dairy Free

Dark, Moist, Rich Chocolate Cake with Creamy Chocolate Frosting - Dairy Free | The Crafting Foodie
 Whenever I entertain, whether it's a birthday party, dinner party, or even a play date, one of the first questions I ask after making an invite is, "Does anyone in your family have food allergies or sensitivities?"

I'm particularly cognisant of allergies when it comes to children. In the presence of a towering chocolate cake or a sprinkle-filled cupcake allergies are easily forgotten. So my solution is simple, just make a delectable dessert catered to specific dietary needs. That way everyone can enjoy, and the EpiPen and Benadryl stay put in the medicine cabinet.

Dark, Moist, Rich Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting - All Dairy Free | The Crafting Foodie

 Not all chocolate cakes are created equally. I've probably made four or five dozen different chocolate cake recipes, and I know what I'm looking for when I eat or create a chocolate cake. It has to be a rich, deep chocolaty flavor with a moist and tender crumb. So, when setting out to make a dairy-free version, I was apprehensive.

 

Dark, Moist, Rich Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting - All Dairy Free | The Crafting Foodie
 In the end, I think it turned out amazing. Even without the diary, this cake and frosting  pack such a serious chocolate punch that the butter and cream you would find in most recipes isn't even missed.This cake definitely earned a permanent place in my dessert repertoire.

Dark, Moist, Rich Chocolate Cake with Creamy Chocolate Frosting - Dairy Free | The Crafting Foodie

The resident budding baker and taste tester in our house also weighed in with resounding approval. While rocking her beaded headband, she proclaimed her love for the cake as she scarfed down a substantial chunk.

CakeYas

The cake was such a hit in my house that before I could repurpose leftover cake the entire confection disappeared (mainly into my husbands tummy as breakfast and dessert over three consecutive days).

Dark, Moist, Rich Chocolate Cake with Creamy Chocolate Frosting - Dairy Free | The Crafting Foodie

Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake
 

Adapated From Sweetapolita's Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups plus 1 tbs (330g) all-purpose flour

3 cups (600g) granulated sugar

1 cup plus 1 tbs (135g) cocoa powder

1 tbs baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

3 eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups soy, almond, or rice milk

1 1/2 tbs white vinegar

1 1/2 cups strong black coffee, hot

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 tbs vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare three, 9 inch cake pans by lining each of them with parchment paper, buttering them, and dusting them with flour.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bow of a mixer.

Combine the non-dairy milk, vinegar, coffee, oil, vanilla extract in a medium bowl. Beat in the eggs.

With the mixer on low, carefully combine the dry ingredients. Slowly add the wet ingredients while continuing to mix on low speed in order to prevent the batter from splattering out of the bowl. Mix until combined. The batter will be very thin.

Divide the batter equally between the three prepared pans. Bake for about 30 minutes, rotating pans half way through baking.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before inverting the pans to release the cakes. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting.

Yields three, 9-inch cakes

 

Dairy Free Chocolate Frosting

Ingredients

2 cups Earth Balance or another non-dairy, non-hydrogenated butter substitute, softened

7 cups confectioners' sugar

1 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 tbs vanilla extract

1/2 cup soy, almond, or rice milk

Directions

Sift the confectioners' sugar and cocoa in a large bowl.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for a few minutes until it is creamy.

Add the dry ingredients to the butter.

In a small bowl mix the non-dairy milk, vanilla, and the salt until the salt is dissolved. Add the mixture to the mixer. Mix until a creamy, smooth texture is achieved. 


 

 


Comments

  1. Gail says

    I was tasked to bring non-dairy cupcakes to the party because I bake. But I don’t bake cake because I don’t like cake. Or I didn’t like cake until now. This. is. amazing. AMAZING. I followed the recipe exactly. It made 2 doz cupcakes plus enough left for a deep 8″ round cake. The frosting recipe is exactly perfect. {With the little round cake I had some fun…split it, filled it with chocolate ganache, frosted it, topped with fresh raspberries and served with raspberry coulis. We heard angels singing…}
    Madison, Indiana thanks you because I’m taking this cake everywhere.

  2. Aida@thecraftingfoodie says

    Hi Gail,
    I’m so happy the cake converted you into a cake-lover. It’s so good, isn’t it? It’s definitely a favorite in my family. Your ganache/raspberry cake sounds absolutely delicious. Will have to give it a try! And I’m so glad you’ll be introducing the cake to all of Madison, Indiana :)

  3. Cindi says

    I don’t do many dairy free cakes, but I have one customer who is lactose intolerant AND a regular, so this is my go to DF recipe!!! I love it, and clearly my customer loves it as she keeps ordering it. Just yesterday, her HUSBAND called in an order!!! Thanks so much for this delectable confection!!!

    Cindi In CT

  4. Aida@thecraftingfoodie says

    Hi Cindi,
    Yay! So glad that this recipe is your go-to DF chocolate cake. It also makes some pretty amazing cupcakes. I’m fine tuning a DF vanilla cake and vanilla frosting recipe, and hopefully that’ll be a hit as well.

  5. Nessa says

    Would I just omit the cocoa if I wanted a white frosting? Or will I have to substitute more icing sugar in its place? Reason being I want to be able to use gel colouring.

  6. Kate says

    Thanks for sharing this great recipe!

    Just made this cake for my mother-in-law’s birthday. Came out pretty good for my first try making cake from scratch! I’m wondering what you use for strong hot coffee. I used espresso and it was a bit strong in the cake.

  7. Aida @ TheCraftingFoodie says

    Hi Nessa,

    Simply omitting the cocoa powder would result in a frosting with too much fat, and substituting more sugar may make the frosting too sweet. I’m still working on a dairy-free vanilla frosting, but here’s what I would recommend:

    2 cups of non-dairy, non-hydrogenated vegan butter
    4 cups of confectioners’ sugar
    1/4 tsp salt
    2 tbs good quality vanilla extract
    2 to 3 tbs of non-dairy milk

    I hope the recipe works for you! Let me know how it turns out

  8. Aida @ TheCraftingFoodie says

    Hi Kate,

    I’m so glad that the recipe worked well for you! Isn’t baking so gratifying? Just throw some ingredients into a bowl, mix, bake, and the results can bring so much happiness to those around you.

    For the coffee in the recipe, I use my everyday coffee (which is Peet’s Coffee and Tea: Major Dickason’s Blend). I simply brew a stronger cup (a higher coffee to water ratio). I use about 3tbs per 8oz cup of coffee. I’ve also made this cake using decaffeinated coffee for my daughter’s birthday party. It worked just as well!

    Hope you try the cake again, and if you do, I’d love to hear how it worked out.

    Aida

  9. Erin says

    This cake is almost identical to to Podleski one (You’re gonna die anyway) but I am wondering if your icing recipe is salty? I find the earth balance butter to be quite salty. I am new to dairy free living as my 9m old daughter is anaphylactic and we are all going dairy free to limit exposure.

  10. Karla says

    This sounds great! I’m looking for a birthday cake recipe that’s dairy and gluten free. Has anyone tried this recipe with a gluten free flour blend?

  11. Aida @ TheCraftingFoodie says

    Hi Erin,

    I’ve always used Earth Balance brand non-dairy “butter” in my baking, and it’s never been too salty for me, but if you’d prefer something without salt, you can always try Earth Balance’s natural shortening. I’ve never used it to make frosting, but a friend of mine whose son is allergic to dairy almost always uses it to make frosting because she finds that the shortening gives her frosting a bit more stiffness which is helpful when she pipes flowers and other fancy designs. As a disclaimer though, I think using shortening in the frosting may leave a slight, greasy film in one’s mouth. But that’s just me. You might not be able to tell the difference between the butter and shortening!

    Hope that helps!

    And hats off to you and your family for going dairy free to limit your nine-month-old’s exposure to dairy! There are so many healthy, amazing alternatives to dairy readily available.

    Best,
    Aida

  12. Aida @ TheCraftingFoodie says

    Hi Karla,

    I haven’t tried the cake with a gluten-free flour blend. If you give it a try, please let me know which blend you choose and how the cake turns out. I’d love to try it out myself!

    Thanks,
    Aida

  13. Briana says

    So excited to try this recipe! Has anyone baked this cake at a high altitude? We are at 6,000 feet and I usually have to make some adjustments for cakes.

  14. Karen says

    Thank you for posting this recipe. I’m making a 3 tier cake and need a firm, but moist cake. How does this rate as far as density?

  15. Briana says

    The cake turned out fabulous! I followed the alterations allrecipes.com suggested and it worked great! Everyone at my dairy intolerant 1-year-old’s birthday party loved it and were very surprised it was dairy free. This is such a wonderful recipe and I will make again and again! Thanks so much!

  16. says

    Hi Karen,

    I’ve used this cake recipe to make a small, two-tiered cake (9inches and 6 inches). The cake was very sturdy, and I would definitely feel comfortable using the recipe to make a larger tired cake. While the cake is moist with a tender crumb, it still has a level of density that makes it quite sturdy. Hope that helps! Best wishes on your 3 tier cake project.

    Aida

  17. says

    Hi Briana,

    Thanks so much for letting us know how the cake turned out on your daughter’s birthday. I’m thrilled that the tips for high altitude baking from allrecipes.com proved helpful. Isn’t the internet amazing? Hope you stick around The Crafting Foodie and try some of my other recipes and crafting projects.

    Best,
    Aida

  18. Emily says

    I just made this cake tonight for a friend birthday party! It taste excellent! I made it soy free as well by using corn oil instead and it still Taste great! I only made it with 2layers for her birthday cake and saved one layer for me! This is the best soy/diary free dessert I’ve had since I’ve been on this diet. Thanks again

  19. says

    Hi Emily,
    I’m so glad the cake worked out for you, and that it’s the best dairy/soy free recipe you’ve had to date! Great idea switching out the canola oil with corn oil. Hope you enjoyed the singe layer that you set aside for yourself. Isn’t it delicious with a cup of tea or coffee?

    Best,
    Aida

  20. says

    Hi Catherine,

    I’ve never made the recipe with coconut milk, but I think it should be fine. The chocolate has quite a depth of flavor that I think it will mask any coconut flavor that would be present in the coconut milk. If you give it a try, please let us know how it worked!

    Best of luck,
    Aida

  21. Laurie says

    Just made this cake for my daughters 4th birthday party tonite and I am blown away by how moist and flavorful it is!! Cannot wait to dig in to it…..and I know my daughter and her friends will love it!! Best of all is knowing that it is dairy free and full of healthy yummy ingredients….thanks for sharing this! Laurie

  22. says

    This recipe looks really promising! Just two questions: Do you think I could 1/2 the recipe and still have fabulous results? And, would the cake be freezable (to make ahead – but not the icing)?
    Thx, Bernadette

  23. says

    Hi Bernadette,

    You can definitely make the cake ahead of time and freeze it. I would make sure that the cake is completely cooled before wrapping each layer in plastic wrap then aluminum foil before storing it in the freezer.

    As for halving the recipe, I’ve never done it, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. If you’re hesitant to half the recipe, you could use the extra batter to make another cake and freeze it, or you could make cupcakes with the extra batter and freeze those. You could then use the chocolate cupcakes to make these: link to thecraftingfoodie.com.

    To make the cupcakes dairy free, omit the candy inside the cupcakes (the cookies are already dairy-free), and for the frosting substitute the butter with Earth-balance spread.

    Please let me know how it turns out! I promise that the recipe is worth it!

    Best,
    Aida

  24. says

    Hi Laurie,

    I’m super happy to read your comment! So, what did you think about the taste? It’s pretty good, isn’t it?

    Every time I make this cake, even for friends and family who’ve eaten it dozens of times, they cannot believe that it’s dairy free and that it’s so good. My brother in-law (who is a foodie himself), thinks this is one of the best chocolate cakes he’s ever eaten. I would agree ;)

    Thanks for taking the time to leave such a kind comment! I hope to see you around The Crafting Foodie!

    Best,
    Aida

  25. Kaitlin says

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I just made it the other day for my sister who is nursing my nephew with an intolerance to dairy and soy so she has not eaten chocolate in months! So happy that I was able to make it for her and that it was SO delicious! We all loved it even my 5 year old niece! My sister has now been eating it everyday for 4 days straight! Great recipe!!

  26. SunshineNYC says

    Hi, I want to make this for my son’s birthday, but I’d rather not use coffee (even decaf). Can I use just hot water? Will it affect the taste and texture? Have you tried it?

    Thanks!

  27. says

    Hi Kaitlin,

    I’m so happy to hear that the recipe brought a spot of happiness and chocolate-craving-satisfaction to your sister (especially since she’s nursing!). You can make the same batter and bake them as cupcakes. It would probably make more than two dozen cupcakes easily, but you could freeze them. Then she could defrost one, two, or three at a time and enjoy them whenever she’s craving chocolate cake!

    Best,
    Aida

  28. says

    Hi Sunshine NYC,

    You can definitely take the coffee out of the cake. It won’t effect the moisture or the texture very much if at all. It will effect the taste a bit since coffee helps bring out the rich, darker aspects of chocolate. But, it should still be plenty chocolatey without the coffee :)

    I would substitute the coffee with hot water. The hot water helps the powdered cocoa develop its flavor. All of my favorite chocolate cake/cupcake recipes with cocoa include adding either hot water or hot coffee.

    Wishing you the best on your baking adventure. Please let me know how it turns out!

    Best,
    Aida

  29. Ginny says

    I made this cake gluten free using Bob’s Red Mill GF All Purpose Baking Flour and by dusting the pans with powdered sugar instead of flour (although I guess I could’ve used the GF flour too). Turned out GREAT! I haven’t perused your blog at all so you may have already posted a vanilla/white cake recipe. If not, get on it! :)

  30. Michelle says

    Hi,

    The cake sounds great. I’m planning on making it this weekend and DF is a must in my family but I’m woundering how do I subsitute the sugar to make it sugar free aswell.

    thanks, Michelle

  31. Alicia says

    I recently made this for a coworker who’s soy free/dairy free and everyone proclaimed they were the best cake ever!! They were amazing and it was so great that she was able to have cake on her birthday! Thank you so much

  32. says

    Hi Alicia,

    I’m so glad your co-workers loved the cake! Recently someone asked me for my most decadent, chocolatey chocolate cake. When I gave them this recipe, the were shocked that it was diary free. Haha! It really is that good ;)

  33. Jenny says

    This was AMAZING. I am dairy free due to my nursing baby being sensitive. I used Earths Best coconut “butter.” This is the first cake I have ever made I can’t believe it turned out so well. It was for my 3 year olds birthday and everyone loved it. I don’t think I will ever make a regular cake this may just be it.

  34. Katie G. says

    I just made this for my dairy intolerant daughter’s 2-year-old birthday. Everyone loved it and all agreed that it was one of the best chocolate cakes they’d had, dairy or no! I’m also going to make this my go-to frosting for sure. I far prefer it over the buttercream that had previously been my standard recipe. Thank you so much!

  35. says

    Jenny,
    I’m so happy! Isn’t it sad living without good chocolate cake? A lot of people ask me what my favorite “real” chocolate cake recipe is (meaning one with dairy). They’re shocked when I say it’s this one. After they make it, they soon realize that the cake is tasty even without dairy!

  36. Jackie says

    THE BEST DAIRY FREE RECIPE, I have a friend who is dairy free, have tried many times to make cake for her but have never liked the cake, this time tho I wouldn’t have even known in a blind taste test it was dairy free, very happy!

  37. Erin says

    This is officially the best cake ever! This was my first cake from scratch and it turned out amazing!. I made it with becel vegan margarine and chocolate almond milk. Only had one pan so made one solid cake and it took forever to bake but cooked evenly and was soooo moist and rich and delicious. My coworkers devoured the cake and asked for the link. My new favourite!

  38. says

    Yay Erin! I’m so happy that your first cake from scratch was this recipe, and that it turned out great. Isn’t it amazingly rich and moist? It’s so good that frosting isn’t necessary! Thanks for stopping by with such kind words!

    Best,
    Aida@TheCraftingFoodie

  39. Bessie says

    Would it be ok to use earth balance shortening for the frosting or do you recommend that I get the earth balance butter substitute? Thank you so much for sharing & posting this! My daughter is anaphylactic to dairy & tomorrow is her 9th birthday !!! Thank you!!!

  40. Laurie says

    made this a second time last night with bobs red mill gluten free flour mix, no dairy no gluten and a fabulous dessert once again….everyone at the party loved it!! Thanks for such a great recipe!!

    • Aida Arain says

      Hi Ros,
      1 TABLEspoon is the correct measurement for the cake. I know it seems like a lot, but it is the correct amount. Good luck with the cake!

      Best,
      Aida

  41. ros malik says

    I have baked your chocolate cupcakes. I used the mini cups without frosting. It was very yummy. This is the best i ‘d try. It is a keeper recipe

  42. Holly says

    I made this today, using coconut oil and cut the sugar down a little bit but wow. I’ve recently gone dairy free through necessity and this is the best chocolate cake I’ve had dairy free or otherwise. I made frosting using coconut milk, melted dark chocolate and avocado (yes, avocado) but it was seriously amazing. Great recipe!

    • says

      Thanks so much Holly! A friend asked me for my absolute favorite chocolate cake, and when I sent her this recipe she was skeptical. But seriously – it is THE BEST chocolate cake recipe I’ve come across. I’m so glad it worked out for you. Your version sounds delicious!

  43. Emily says

    I can’t wait to make this! If i want to make this cake in a 9×13 rectangular pan is there anything i need to change to the recipe? Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Emily,
      I think that the batter may be too much for one 9×13 pan. How high are the sides? If they sides are at least 2 inches, I think you could make a 2 layer 9×13 rectangular cake! I hope it works out well. It’s a really delicious cake!
      Best,
      Aida

  44. Sarah Jonas says

    Hi there Aida,
    Do I have to use confectioners sugar or will caster sugar be ok, also can I use pure sunflower dairy free spread?

    Kind regards Sarah x

    • says

      Hi Sarah,
      Confectioners sugar for the frosting and caster sugar for the cake. I think you could use pure sunflower dairy free spread. I’ve only used Earth Balance non-dairy spread, but I would think the sunflower oil based spread would work just fine! I hope it works out for you!
      Best,
      Aida

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