This is a super moist, richly flavored chocolate cake, topped with a fluffy cloud of espresso buttercream. No sacrifices in texture or flavor are made to achieve this easy as…cake vegan treat!
I’m not sure there’s a better match than chocolate and coffee? At least when it comes to sweet treats, this combination has always been a favorite. The coffee sn’t overwhelming, rather it compliments the chocolate and intensifying its flavor.
Tips for Perfect Vegan Chocolate Cake and Fluffy Espresso Frosting:
- Sift! Sifting is a must to avoid bitter lumps of cocoa powder and other dry ingredients in your cake. You might be surprised at how much doesn’t get through the sifter and could have ended up in your cake! Use the back of a spoon to break up the lumps so they sift through.
Don’t reduce the amount of sugar or the oil – these are both very important for the structure and texture of the cake. Reducing them or substituting with other ingredients will effect the quality and moist character of the cake.
- Add the hot water or coffee at the end. I really love how coffee enhances the chocolate flavor but if you prefer not to use caffeinated liquid, you can use hot decaf or even hot water. The hot liquid is added at the end which gets the chocolate to bloom and the intensity of the chocolate flavor and a bit of fudginess happens!
- Prepare your pan really well to avoid a disappointing situation where the cake sticks to the pan or even tears. For a sheet cake, I like to line the baking pan with parchment paper, and then lightly grease the sides of the pan which aren’t covered. Leaving some paper overhanging is helpful if you’re looking to remove the entire cake at once to serve. Vegetable spray is the easiest. If you don’t have vegetable oil spray, you can grease the pan with shortening, being sure to get into all of the nooks and crannies. Don’t use margarine/vegan butter, it can sometimes cause more sticking!
- Let the cake cool completely to room temperature before adding the frosting, or it will melt.
- This recipe calls for instant espresso powder. This is a fine powder which readily dissolves in the frosting. Larger granules like you’d find in instant coffee would need to be dissolved in water first, and this will thin out the frosting. If that’s all you have, you can put in into a grinder or food processor to break it down into a fine powder.
- If you don’t have stick style vegan butter, resist using the tub style. While it holds up well when kept in the fridge, it’s too soft at room temperature and the frosting may melt or become thin. The frosting can be made with all shortening if desired but tastes better with half vegan butter sticks.
If you make this Vegan Chocolate Cake with Fluffy Espresso Frosting, please let me know in the comments below and give it a rating in the recipe card! Also, I love connecting on Instagram where you can tag me in your creations using my recipes. Thank you for reading along!
Vegan Chocolate Cake with Espresso Buttercream
For the Cake:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup plant-based milk
- ⅔ cup neutral oil eg avocado, canola etc
- 3 tbsp white vinegar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup fresh hot coffee or hot water
For the Espresso Frosting:
- ½ cup vegan butter (stick, not tub style)
- ½ cup non-hydrogenated shortening
- 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 3 tbsp instant espresso powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-4 tbsp plant-based milk
- chocolate shavings for garnish, optional
For the Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ with parchment paper, lightly greasing any areas not covered with paper.
- In a large bowl, sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the plant-based milk, oil, vinegar and vanilla extract.
- Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and pour in the hot coffee or water. Whisk together just until combined.
- Add the batter to the baking pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean or with a few cooked crumbs.
- Let the cake cool completely.
For the Frosting:
- In a stand mixer with a balloon whisk (or with a large bowl and beaters), beat the vegan butter and shortening together until fluffy. Add in the confectioner’s sugar, one cup at a time. Beat for 3-4 minutes, scraping down the sides occasionally. Add in the vanilla and espresso powder and beat another 5-7 minutes. Add plant-based milk only if necessary and 1 tbsp at a time. I normally don’t add any. If you do add some, beat for a couple of minutes after each addition.
- Spread the frosting over completely cooled cake. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings, if desired.