Dairy Free Chocolate Cake

A slice of dairy free chocolate cake on a plate.

Who’s got a chocolate craving? With this dairy free chocolate cake, you can dig into a delicious tender layered cake with a fluffy cocoa-packed buttercream frosting. Perfect for birthdays, holidays, or anytime you’re in the mood for a treat.


Here’s a photo of the ingredients you’ll need for the cake, along with selected ingredient notes:

Flour, dairy free milk, cocoa powder, eggs, vanilla, vinegar, water, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and oil.
  • Vanilla almond milk – I like the slightly sweet flavor this has for a baked cake, but you can substitute oat milk (plain or vanilla) as well. You can also substitute with other dairy-free milks of your choosing, but I’d recommend avoiding full-fat canned coconut milk for this particular recipe.
  • Hot water – This should be very hot. The heat helps bring out the flavors of the chocolate. You can also substitute this with a half cup of hot coffee if you’ve got a pot brewing; I love that subtle mocha flavor combination.

As far as frosting goes, you can either buy a store-bought frosting (many are dairy free – check labels), or you can make your own. I’ve gone with a double-chocolate theme here – if you want to as well, here’s what you’ll need for the chocolate frosting, along with selected notes:

Powdered sugar, dairy free butter, dairy free milk, vanilla, and cocoa powder.
  • Dairy free butter – I recommend Country Crock plant butter sticks for frosting; they work incredibly well. Earth Balance sticks also work.
  • Powdered sugar – It has to be powdered sugar – do not try to substitute with granulated sugar. Powdered sugar makes the frosting light, fluffy, and smooth. (Granulated sugar will be grainy and won’t create the same texture).


Ready to get cooking? You’ll find step by step photos and tips below, but you’ll find the full recipe amounts and instructions at the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F, and preparing two cake pans. You’ll want to cut circles of parchment paper and pop those in the pans. This will help prevent the cakes from sticking. Then, grease each pan and set it aside.

A cake pan with a circle of parchment paper in it.

Next, add the vinegar to your almond milk and let it sit for a few minutes. It should start to separate – this is normal and what we want! It’s creating a faux buttermilk.

Almond milk and vinegar mixed together in a measuring cup.

In a bowl, combine the almond milk mixture, oil, sugar, vanilla, and eggs. Whisk or stir everything together well.

Eggs, sugar, vanilla, almond milk, vinegar, and oil whisked together in a bowl.

Now add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir everything a few times, mixing around the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, then dump the hot water into the bowl and continue stirring until just combined. Avoid over mixing the batter as it can create a tough cake.

Chocolate cake batter in a bowl.

Pour the batter into the two pans, and bake ‘em!

Once the cakes are done, you can let them cool. At this point, you can decide if you want to use a store bought frosting, or if you’d like to prepare your own. 

Two baked cakes in round cake pans.

If you want to prepare your own, just dump your frosting ingredients into a stand mixture, and use the whisk attachment to mix. Start slowly to allow things to incorporate – and to avoid splashing powdered sugar and cocoa powder all over the kitchen! Then increase the speed to high and let whisk until you’ve got a light, fluffy frosting.

Frost your first cake, put the second on top, and frost the tops and sides. Now you’ve got a delicious layered chocolate cake!

A frosted dairy free chocolate cake on a cake stand.

Recipe FAQ

Here are some common questions that may come up as you prepare this recipe:

How should you store dairy free chocolate cake?

Store at room temperature in a cake container or covered with plastic wrap for up to 2-3 days. If you plan to keep the cake longer, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Can you convert chocolate cake to cupcakes?

Yes! You’ll prepare the batter as directed, but portion out into a cupcake tin about ½ to ¾ of the way full. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick pulls out clean from the center.

What frosting flavors work well with chocolate cake?

In addition to chocolate frosting, vanilla frosting, peanut butter frosting, and coconut frosting all work well with chocolate cake.

Allergens in this recipe

Disclaimer:  Always double check ingredients and labels yourself prior to making a recipe.  While I try to check all ingredients for allergens, there’s always the chance I may miss something or manufacturer formulations can change.

As written, this recipe is dairy free.

This recipe does contain wheat/gluten, eggs, soy, and tree nuts (almond milk). 

The eggs are necessary in this recipe for structure and richness in the cake, and I do not recommend substituting them in this recipe. You may be able to adjust for the other allergens as follows, though:

  • To eliminate wheat/gluten: Substitute the all-purpose flour for a 1:1 gluten free flour blend. Note that each blend is different and not all blends may hold their structure well for a cake.
  • To eliminate soy: Instead of vegetable oil, use avocado oil or canola oil, and double check that your dairy-free butter is free from soy.
  • To eliminate tree nuts: Use oat milk instead of almond milk, and double check that your dairy-free butter is free from tree nuts.

More Dairy Free Cake Recipes

Looking for more dairy free cake recipes? Try one of these tasty treats:

I hope you love this dairy free chocolate cake recipe! It’s been a favorite at our house – as well as party guests. If you get a chance to try it, feel free to leave a recipe rating or comment below.

Dairy Free Chocolate Cake

This dairy free chocolate cake is sure to satisfy anyone’s chocolate cravings! Perfect for birthdays or holidays.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword dairy free chocolate cake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 16 slices
Calories 454 kcal
Author Dairy Free for Baby


For the cake:

  • cup vanilla almond milk (or oat milk, or any dairy-free milk)
  • ½ tbsp vinegar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup hot water

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup dairy-free butter, softened (i.e.two sticks Country Crock Plant Butter Sticks or Earth Balance)
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup vanilla almond milk (or oat milk, or any dairy-free milk)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of two 9-inch cake pans with a circle of parchment paper, then grease well.
  2. In a measuring cup, combine the almond milk and vinegar. Let sit for about 5 minutes, until it starts to separate (making a faux “buttermilk”).
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond milk mixture, oil, sugar, vanilla, and eggs, until well combined.
  4. Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the bowl. Stir a few times, then pour in the hot water. Continue stirring until combined (do not over mix).
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Place in the oven and bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick pulls out clean from the center. Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then flip onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
  6. While the cakes are cooling, prepare the frosting. Combine the softened dairy-free butter, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, vanilla, and almond milk in the bowl of a stand mixer.* Use the whisk attachment, first at slow speed to combine, then at high speed to create a light, fluffy frosting.
  7. When the cakes have cooled completely, frost the first cake, then place the second cake on top. Frost the top and sides of the layered cake. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • *If you don’t have a stand mixer, just use a regular bowl and a hand mixer.
  • Quick tip – Whenever I bake a cake, I find it helpful to place a baking sheet on the rack below the rack with the cake pans – just in case you mis-measured ingredients and your cake pan overflows. This way, the mess falls to the pan below rather than the bottom of your oven.


Nutrition facts (approximate, includes cake and homemade frosting): 454 calories, 20.5 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 290 mg sodium, 68.5 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 52 g sugar, 4.5 g protein, Vitamin D: 2%, Calcium: 5%, Iron: 12%, Potassium: 4%

Share: What’s your favorite kind of dairy free cake? If you tried this recipe, what did you think?

Feel free to pin this post to save for later!

A double layered dairy free chocolate cake on a cake stand.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating