Whacky Vegan Chocolate Cake

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(from 44 reviews)
190
vegan chocolate cake

This vegan chocolate cake recipe has been around for decades. It's also called the Whacky cake or the Depression cake. But let me tell you, the taste and texture of this chocolate cake are definitely not whacky or depressing. It's unbelievably moist and tastes like any regular chocolate cake especially with the frosting.

At first, I didn't tell my husband that it was a chocolate cake with vinegar, so he was not able to tell any difference. He liked the cake very much even after I told about the secret ingredient.

But since I knew about the vinegar I was able to feel a very very very mild smell/after-taste. I guess it's psychological. I have to stress here again that when eaten with the frosting this chocolate cake without eggs or dairy is so delicious.

This vegan chocolate cake recipe is definitely a keeper. I'm already thinking of the variations I can make each time.

I also wanted to prepare a vegan frosting for this cake, but I didn't have confectioner's sugar. Actually, I have it somewhere but was not able to find it.

I have made a pact that I won't be buying anything other than dairy products, vegetables, fruits and other extremely necessary groceries for the next 2 months.

Vegan Chocolate Cake For Valentine's Day

Recently I did a pantry audit and was overwhelmed by the things I had accumulated in the past months, especially after starting this blog. I didn't even know that I had bought so much baking/cooking stuff.

That's why I didn't want to buy confectioner's sugar, even though I was so tempted to run to the grocery store. So that's a cool think about this vegan chocolate cake recipe too.

You really don't need to have any special ingredients. Not even eggs, butter or milk. If you bake regularly you would definitely have cocoa powder at home.

Vinegar is also a very common household ingredient. A chocolate cake with vinegar can be baked in no time without much ingredients.

I read in a couple of recipes that this vegan chocolate cake tastes good by itself or just sprinkling confectioner's sugar on top should be good enough. I was wondering what to do for the frosting without the sugar because all the recipes I had called for confectioner's sugar.

Since I was baking it for a special occasion I wanted to frost it. I had a few packs of instant pudding mixes and thought how it would be for a frosting.

I googled and found that pudding mix frosting is very common. Luckily I had the Cool Whip topping which is required for the frosting. Even though I was skeptical, I had to proceed with it anyway because I had no other go. Surprisingly it did turn out good. So the frosting is not vegan.

TOP RATED

Vegan Chocolate Cake Recipe

Prep TimeCook TimeMakes
15 Mins32 Mins + 1 Hr CoolingOne 8 or 9 Inch Cake OR 8 Cupcakes.
AuthorCategoryMethod
CakesBaking
Whacky Vegan Chocolate Cake
5.0 from 44 reviews
Are you looking to make a very easy eggless chocolate cake? This chocolate cake recipe is not just eggless but vegan too. Don't worry hearing the word vegan, because it doesn't call for any special ingredients or difficult process. This is the easiest cake you will ever bake whether egg free or otherwise. Seeing the ingredients you might wonder, "what? chocolate cake with vinegar?" Try it for yourself and be ready to be surprised.
Ingredients for Cake:
  • 1 and 1/2 cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour (I used Bleached)
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (I used Hershey's)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1/3 cup Canola Oil
  • 1 tablespoon White Distilled Vinegar
  • 1 cup Cold Water
Ingredients For Pudding Mix Frosting:
  • 1 cup Cold Milk
  • One 4oz Pack Instant Pudding Mix, Any Flavor (I used Oreo's cookie flavor)
  • One 8oz Container Thawed Cool Whip (I used Fat Free)
Cake Procedure:
  1. Preheat the oven at 350F/180C for 15 minutes. Lightly oil the cake pan you are using.
  2. Stir together all the dry ingredients (flour to cocoa powder) and create a well in the center.
  3. To the well add all the wet ingredients one by one. Mix until just combined. Don't over-mix. It's OK to have some lumps.
  4. Pour the batter in the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Mine was done by 24 minutes. If baking cupcakes, check around 13-15th minute.
  5. Cool completely on a wire rack. I left it for an hour.
  6. To remove the cake from the pan, run a sharp knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake.
  7. Cool completely before frosting. Actually frosting is not even necessary for this moist cake. You may simply dust with confectioner's sugar and top with fresh raspberries.
Frosting Procedure:
  1. For vegan frosting recipes, Check out Vegan Butter-cream Frosting and Vegan Cream-cheese Frosting.
  2. Pour milk into a large bowl. Add the pudding mix. Beat until fluffy for 2 minutes.
  3. Blend in the thawed Cool Whip thoroughly.
  4. Frost the cake/cupcakes and refrigerate it at least for 3-4 hours before serving.
My Notes:
  1. For Cake: I read that apple cider vinegar is better than white distilled vinegar when it comes to baking, because you will not even have that very mild smell or after taste I was referring earlier.
  2. For Frosting: This frosting is not very sweet, but it was perfect with the cake and for us. We don't like overly sweet cakes and frosting.
  3. For Frosting: This measurement will be right for a 13x9 inch cake or a layer cake. I had at least a cup of frosting left over, which I intend to serve in ice cream cones for my son.
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Whacky Vegan Chocolate Cake

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190 COMMENTS

  1. Emine Randall

    This is the easiest and most delicious cake I have ever made

    • Madhuram

      Thanks Emine.

  2. Cindi

    Hi. What is cool whip?

    • Madhuram

      It’s store bought ready to use whipped cream.

  3. yam

    Hey , I want to know if it is possible to replace water by milk? BTW thanks for this fabulous website 😉

    • Madhuram

      Of course you can.

  4. Rachel

    Dear Madhuram,
    It’s me Rachel. I don’t know if you remember me. I am the one who has a egg allergy and my grandma found your website. But anyway for Christmas I got a mini cupcake maker and we used this recipe. Oh my goodness they came out perfect anyway. God has blessed you with this gift to bring joy into people’s hearts like me and my grandma! Thank you! Your friend Rachel!

    • Madhuram

      Thank you very much for your kind words, Rachel.

  5. ml

    This is not vegan.

    • Madhuram

      The cake is vegan but not the icing.

  6. spandana

    I tried this receipe yesterday. I added walnuts to the batter and made them as cupcakes. They turned out perfect. Thanks for a great recipe.

    • Madhuram

      You’re welcome Spandana.

  7. Hinglaj

    Hi, I made this cake and liked it a lot. It’s so delicious. Made this on new year every one soo happy…thank you for sharing ur recipe:)

    • Madhuram

      You’re welcome Hinglaj.

  8. katr

    What can I use in place of vinegar? I only have red wine vinegar. I would appreciate any suggestions. I heard that bubbly soda water may work? Thanks!

    • Madhuram

      Any type of vinegar should work Katr. I too have heard that soda works but haven’t tried it.

  9. wen

    can i substitiute plain flour with rice flour instead?
    thanks!

    • Madhuram

      It wouldn’t work because it’s gluten-free.

  10. Esti Allina

    Just a note to those looking for true vegan recipes and ingredients: even if a whipped topping like ‘Cool Whip’ says it’s ‘non-dairy’ it’s not because it has sodium caseinate, a dairy derivative. If you want to be sure an item is non-dairy, look for the word ‘pareve’ on the label. That’s a designation for kosher-labeled items to let us kosher folk know an item is ‘neutral’. We don’t mix meat and dairy, so it’s important to know what is truly neutral and hence the ‘pareve’ designation. If you see a u inside a circle, with ‘D’ next to it, it means it’s dairy – either because of the ingredients or the equipment the item was processed on.

    • Madhuram

      That’s a very good tip Esti. I will look for those indications hereafter.

  11. vanessa melissa

    Hi, I love all your recipes. l wish you could keep updating more and more.

  12. Is It Possible To Make Vegan Chocolate Delicious? - Kosher Gum

    […] to eat a delicious vegan chocolate cake, try this recipe with step by step instructions and more […]

  13. DrG

    Looks like the cake is vegan but the frosting certainly isn’t. Do you have a good vegan frosting recipe?

  14. resham

    hey please can you tell me what is cool whip and pudding mix?

    • Madhuram

      Hi Resham if you live in the US/Canada, you can find cool whip in the frozen foods section and pudding mix in the baking aisle.

      • resham

        hy i dont live in US/Canada, I live in India!

  15. Deepa

    Hi, please let me know if I can use butter instead of oil. Also can you tell me if I can bake it in a 9 inch cake pan and make it a layered one using this recipe.

    • Madhuram

      Deepa you can use melted butter instead of the oil. You can also bake it in a 9-inch cake pan but my guess is that the cake will be quite thin, so be patient while slicing the cake into half for making the layers. Allow to cool completely and try using a floss (of course, unflavored) to slice it. Or better bake 2 cakes. Remember that this recipe is for only 1 cake, so you will have to double the measurements.

  16. Elle

    Hi,
    I’m to the whole vegan baking, and have to say THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS RECIPE! I have a ton of allergies and have had trouble finding recipes to cook! I cooked this on the weekend and it was delicious!! I followed your suggestions from a comment in the banana chocolate cake recipe, about omiting the vinegar, adding half a cup of banana and reducing the water. It was a very moist cake and my family loved it, way healthier than normal baking too, i’m so happy:)am now looking forward to making more recipes on this site – he he

    • Madhuram

      I’m glad I was able to help you Elle.

  17. mb

    hi,
    is it ok to use bensdorp (dutch-processed cocoa) with this recipe? if yes, should the baking soda be changed into baking powder?
    thank you.
    mb

    • Madhuram

      If I were to try this recipe using Dutch Process Cocoa, I would use about 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder instead of 1 teaspoon baking soda. Try it and let me know how it turns out.

      • mb

        hi, i just tried it with 1/4 tsp baking powder. the result was flat, not fluffy at all and the texture was kinda gummy. any other suggestions? thanks!

        • gs

          I’m a vegan so I have lots of experience baking vegan goodies. The reason why it didn’t for you is because the vinegar needs the baking soda so it can cause a reaction and make the cake rise. You can just substitute the Dutch process cocoa and not make any other substitutions (keep the 1 teaspoon baking soda as is).

          • Madhuram

            Thanks for the input GS.

  18. nk

    Can I use whole wheat flour for this recipe? If so, how much?

    • Madhuram

      If you havent baked with whole wheat flour or used to the taste of whole wheat flour in baked goods, I would suggest using half whole wheat flour and half all purpose flour. Plain whole wheat flour DOES NOT taste good in all recipes and especially in cake recipes. If you still want to use it, try finding white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour. Bulk Barn has whole wheat pastry flour (its called soft wheat flour) or try the organic aisles of grocery stores/Whole Foods etc. Also you should be careful while preparing batter with whole wheat flour because over mixing whill toughen the cake/cookies.

      Check this recipe where I have used barley flour in place of all purpose flour: https://www.egglesscooking.com/2009/11/26/vegan-barley-flour-chocolate-cake/

  19. Nandini

    i used the icing sugar, margarine and cocoa powder but the milk i used was quite warm. I noticed that by the next day it was a wee little bit diminished. I thought it might be because of
    using the hand mixer on warm milk? By the way, the vegan white cake uses EnerG? Is there anyway to substitute that? I don’t get the Ener-G here in India 🙁

  20. Nandini

    and if i want to make this without the chocolate flavor can i just
    use cornflour in place n cocoa powder??? my husband is not much
    into chocolates he prefers vanilla flavored plain cakes better 🙁

  21. Nandini

    Hi madhu
    i just tried this cake today and it was absolutely YUM!!!!
    unbelievable that an eggless cake can be so moist n fluffy 🙂
    the complete credit goes to u and this treasure of a blog ….
    but one small thing i tried the chocolate frosting u used for ur
    chocolate bottle gourd cake and it had slight smell to it .. i
    thought may be the icing sugar had gone bad ???
    luv
    nandini

    • Madhuram

      Thanks for trying the recipe Nandini. What are the ingredients you used for the frosting?

  22. Ranjani

    Hi,

    I tried this cake a week back and it came out well. I was overwhelmed as this is jus my 3rd cake 🙂 and I should definitely accept tat a partial credit goes to you as well, for an amazing procedure..an excellent effort!! congrats :)hope you post more recipes..

    belated Ugadhi wishes..

    • Madhuram

      Thanks Ranjani.

  23. Rama

    I would like to know what I can use instead of apple cider vinegar, for these things are not easily for it is not easily available in India. And things like egg substitutes are also not available here, So can you tell how i can use ordinary vinegar without getting the smell. I don’t like to use condensed milk too for it is too high is fat, also can i use whole wheat flour instead of maida.
    Please can you email these details to me at rama.ananth@gmail.com

    • Madhuram

      You could use regular white vinegar Rama. You have to try it for yourself to see if you the smell bothers you because my family didn’t notice it but I did. So you wouldn’t know unless you try it for yourself. The egg substittues depend on the recipe. There is no straight forward substitute for all recipes. You have to choose a substitute depending upon the recipe. As far as I know you can all the substitutes but for EnerG in India. Applesauce can be made at home, but cooking and pureeing it. Regarding using whole wheat flour, again this one too also doesn’t work in all recipes and its also an acquired taste. You have to start incrementing the quantity of whole wheat flour before you can use it fully.

    • Nandini

      hi
      u can find the apple cider vinegar in Namdhari’s fresh …
      m from bangalore but i guess u can find it elsewhr also
      hope it helps

  24. Shri

    I just tried this cake.. Used the exact measurements. However, the top and the bottom of the cake tured out hard.. the inside was moist but not super moist like most of the people who tried it. Please advice. Undoubtely the easiest recipe and tasted good on the inside. Also when eating it was sticking to the mouth a little. Please help and advice on what I did wrong.

    • Madhuram

      Maybe you baked it a little too long Shri.

  25. Tracy

    Hello! I tried this with the apple cider vinegar as cupcakes. Yum!! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Madhuram

      You’re welcome Tracy.

    • Madhuram

      Thanks Tracy.