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April 23, 2013

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.


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


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


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


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


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. 




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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.

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 :)

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.


Thanks for the tips, Aida! Hope to try this cake again soon along with some of your other recipes!

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.

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?

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.


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!


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.

Hi Briana,

Wow, 6,000 feet! I've never baked at a high altitude, but I did find some seemingly useful tips here: Hope your cake turns out well! Please let me known how it works out for you!


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?

The cake turned out fabulous! I followed the alterations 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!

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.


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 proved helpful. Isn't the internet amazing? Hope you stick around The Crafting Foodie and try some of my other recipes and crafting projects.


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

Have you tried this with coconut milk??

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?


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,

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

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

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