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Amazing Vegan Cake Recipe:
Chocolate Espresso Cake

I came up with this vegan cake recipe idea for chocolate espresso cake because my husband loves java chip ice cream and I wanted to make a vegan equivalent. I couldn't find a recipe that I loved, so I improvised, and it ended up being a winner of a vegan chocolate cake.

I decorated the top of the mocha cake with whole espresso beans that are vegan, and when my husband saw the cake, he knew exactly what flavor it was going to be.

He leaned down to smell it and said, "Are those espresso beans? Is it a coffee-flavored chocolate cake??"

Remember what we learned on The Food Network, "you eat with your eyes first." No matter how delicious your vegan chocolate cake tastes, the people eating it will think it tastes better if you take 15 minutes to make the top look beautiful enough to impress your guests.

Vegan Cake Recipe

The vegan cake recipe itself gives you a light, fluffy, decadent mocha cake. Even though there's only a cup of coffee in the whole cake and a few tablespoons in the frosting, it gave us an instant jolt of energy. I guess we'll chock that up to pure cocoa powder, chopped espresso beans in the middle frosting layer, and some strong coffee in the batter.

I used some spelt flour to give this vegan cake recipe a bit more nutritional value. You could substitute all the all-purpose white flour with white whole wheat, spelt, or another favorite kind of flour; just realize that it might change the texture of the cake and make it heavier. You can also substitute in another favorite sugar rather than using sucanat or cane sugar.

Coconut milk is my secret ingredient to the most moist, fluffy, delicate cake on the planet, and you can't taste the coconut flavor at all in the finished product. As always, you can substitute in your favorite vegan milk substitutes, butter substitutes, and any type of lightly flavored oil in this vegan cake recipe. And lastly, you could use raw cacao in place of the cocoa powder, which would give it a really strong chocolate flavor.

You might notice that the vegan cake recipe calls for no egg substitute. That's right- it doesn't need it! This cake sticks together perfectly well, rises just fine, and has perfect texture without anything resembling an egg. You also don't need an electric mixer for this vegan cake recipe; it's basically as easy as opening a premixed package of cake mix, but so much healthier and better tasting!

Believe me; there's absolutely no way to tell this is vegan. It's delicious.

Ingredients for Chocolate Espresso Cake:

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. spelt flour (or more all-purpose)
  • 1 1/2 c. sucanat (or other natural sugar)
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 c. vegan cocoa powder
  • 1 c. coconut milk (or another vegan milk)
  • 2 Tbsp. raw organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1 c. cold coffee (if you want to use espresso, use 1/2 c. and add 1/2 c. nondairy milk)
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. coffee extract (or more vanilla extract)
  • 2/3 c. safflower oil (or canola)
  • 1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil two 9 inch round baking pans and set aside.

Combine the flours, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder in a bowl and sift to combine.

In a separate bowl, combine the coconut milk and vinegar and allow to sit for a few minutes to curdle. Add in the coffee, extracts, and oil, and stir to combine.

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the wet into the dry. Stir to combine, just until you can't see any flour anymore and until most of the lumps are gone. You don't want to stir too long or you'll start to make the batter stiff.

If you're adding chocolate chips into your cake batter, fold them in now.

Divide the batter evenly amongst the two reserved baking pans and tap them on the countertop to release any bubbles.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the edges of the cake pull away from the sides of the pan and a fork inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool on a baking sheet for a few minutes. Flip the pan upside down to loosen the cake, remove the pan, and let them cool on the cooling rack.

Don't frost the cakes until they are completely cool or you'll have a mess of broken cake that's impossible to frost.

Ingredients for Vegan Chocolate Frosting, Mocha Style:

  • 3/4 c. non-hydrogenated, nondairy butter (Earth Balance), softened
  • 4 c. confectioner's sugar
  • 1/3 c. cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3-4 Tbsp. cold coffee
  • 1/2 c. chocolate covered espresso beans, chopped (optional)

Directions for Homemade Chocolate Frosting:

Cream the butter in an electric (or hand held) mixer for about 5 minutes, until very loose and light. Add in the sugar and beat for another 2-3 minutes, until creamed. Add in the cocoa powder, vanilla, and coffee and beat until light and fluffy.

For some reason, sometimes I feel like I need to adjust the measurements at the end. If your frosting doesn't taste sweet enough, you can add a little more sugar. If it's so thick that you can't frost a cake with it, add a little more coffee or a teaspoon of nondairy milk. If the cocoa flavor isn't prominent enough, add in cocoa or more vanilla-- sometimes vanilla helps to bring all the flavors together, so it could be your magic ingredient.

When I frosted this chocolate espresso cake, I chopped up chocolate covered espresso beans and added them to the middle layer of frosting. It gave the cake a nice crunch and reinforced the vegan mocha cake concept.

› Chocolate Espresso Vegan Cake Recipe

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