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Chocolate Vegan Cake | Sugar-Free

This beautifully decadent chocolate cake recipe is not only amazingly delicious, but it also happens to be vegan and completely sugar-free (with unrefined sugar option also available). It’s perfect for birthdays, parties, and holidays!

vegan chocolate sugar free cake on silver plate with one slice out

When you think about a cake being vegan AND sugar-free, you might think that it will be dry and dull, but I promise that’s not the case with this scrumptious chocolatey piece of heaven.

You’ll love this sugar-free vegan cake because it’s…

  • Naturally sweet
  • Moist
  • Diary-free & egg-free
  • Loaded with healthy ingredients
  • Cupcake-ready
  • Perfect for birthday cakes
  • Romantic enough for a Valentine’s Day dessert
  • Decadent
  • Delicious!
homemade sugar free cake being sliced on silver plate with cupcakes in background

What is this chocolate vegan cake made of?

I know it is hard to believe that this masterpiece has absolutely zero sugar in it, but it’s true! Neither the cake or the icing has any refined–or even unrefined–sugar included (unless you want it).

For those who are not sugar-free, unrefined sugar can be substituted for the dates, and measurements are included in the recipe card below.

What’s in the cake?

The cake ingredients include whole-wheat flour, unsweetened baking cocoa powder, baking soda and powder, applesauce, vanilla, and vinegar. What makes it taste sweet is Date Paste!

date paste in green bowl with bent spoon

Date Paste is a healthy natural sugar substitute that’s the perfect solution for baking deliciously sweet desserts, and it’s so easy to make with only two ingredients–water and dates!

What’s in the frosting?

The icing for this cake includes wholesome simple ingredients like sweet potatoes (yes, you read that right), cocoa powder, almond butter, whole dates, plant milk, and vanilla. That’s it!

ingredients for sugar free chocolate icing on counter sweet potatoes dates

The inspiration for this sweet potato icing came from Dreena Burton’s Sweet Potato Cake recipe that I have been making for years because it’s amazing!

Dreena’s recipe calls for coconut sugar or other unrefined sugar, so I decided to see what would happen if I tweaked a few ingredients and substituted dates for the sugar. I have to tell you that I was amazed that the frosting tasted every bit as good as Dreena’s original!

A full list of ingredients, measurements, instructions, and a print button can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

How to make this chocolatey wonder

This dairy-free and egg-free chocolate cake recipe is so easy, I know you’re going to be amazed. I think it’s a great opportunity to get those reluctant cooks and even the kids in the kitchen for this.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and make some date paste.

Date paste is super simple to make in a blender or food processor. One great thing is that once you make it, any leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. It freezes well too!

I have written an entire article–How to Make Date Paste–if you want to take a look, but it is super easy. Just add dates and water to a blender or food processor and mix well.

Once the date paste is ready, set it to the side to be added to the wet ingredients shortly.

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.

Making the cake

Place all of the dry ingredients–flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder–in a large mixing bowl and whisk together well.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients–applesauce, plant milk, vanilla, vinegar, date paste–and whisk together thoroughly.

Next, pour the wet ingredients into the large bowl with the dry ingredients and whisk together well. It should be nice and thick as pictured below.

sugar free chocolate cake batter in bowl with whisk

Decide which size and type of pan or pans you would like to use. Personally, I like to use non-stick silicone baking pans because they don’t require any oil and work perfectly for baking.

You can choose to use a number of different sizes of pans including round 8″ or 9″, or even square or rectangle pans. I love my heart-shaped pan for Valentine’s Day and other special occasions. The batter will make approximately two 8″ round cake pans.

sugar free chocolate heart shaped cake in silicone pan

Muffin pans are also a terrific idea for making cupcakes. I’ve put some cooking time adjustments for pans in the Tips section below.

Bake at 350°F for approximately 30-35 minutes for circular 8-9″ pans.

Oven temperatures vary, so around the 25-minute mark, remove the cake from the oven and test for doneness. To do this, insert a toothpick into the center point. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done, otherwise place back into the oven and test again in 5-10 minutes.

Once the cake and/or cupcakes are done, remove from oven and allow to cool before frosting.

vegan chocolate valentine dessert in red baking pan on cooling rack

Making the frosting

This frosting is so easy, it doesn’t even require a bowl! While the cake is cooking is the perfect time to make the frosting.

I like to take the easy way out and cook my sweet potato quickly by poking a few holes in it with a knife, wrapping it in a wet paper towel, and placing it in the microwave for about 5-6 minutes depending on the size of the potato.

Once it’s done, remove the peelings and use the potato flesh in this frosting recipe.

Simply place all the frosting ingredients–including the cooked sweet potato– in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

I use my Vitamix blender, and it works like a charm because it has a tamper that allows for keeping the ingredients moving in thick recipes like this vegan chocolate icing. However, if you have a less powerful machine, you’ll definitely need to stop, scrape the sides down, and continue to blend until smooth.

chocolate icing in blender with top off

Once the cake and/or cupcakes have fully cooled, it’s time to frost and serve!

I love to add a few strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or a combination of them to this cake because it makes a beautiful display.

vegan heart shaped chocolate valentine cake topped with berries

Tips for making vegan chocolate cake

This recipe is very versatile and can be made into a cake or cupcakes.

Cooking times will vary with the size of the pan used. Cupcakes should take about 25 minutes and 8″-9″ pans will cook the cake in about 30-35 minutes. Oven temperatures vary.

When making this into cupcakes, an ice cream scoop with a trigger is perfect for scooping into muffin cups without having to scrape a spoon or fingers.

To check for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake or cupcake and remove. When it comes out clean, the cake is ready.

This cake recipe is not gluten-free, but Minimalist Baker has a great GF Baking Guide that can help convert this cake.

The frosting is already gluten-free.

For those not doing sugar-free, an unrefined sugar can be substituted. Measurements are included in the recipe card below.

healthy chocolate cake with slice missing on silver plate topped with berries

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Other great chocolate desserts

vegan chocolate sugar free cake on silver plate with one slice out

Chocolate Vegan Cake | Sugar-Free

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

This beautifully decadent chocolate cake recipe is not only amazingly delicious, but it also happens to be vegan and completely sugar-free (unless you don’t want it to be).

Ingredients

Cake

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup date paste (3/4 cup unrefined sugar for those not doing sugar-free)
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 1-1/4 cup plant milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Frosting

Instructions

    Cake

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and make some date paste (if using).

    2. Date paste is simply 1 cup pitted dates and 3/4 cup water blended well in a blender or food processor. For more instructions, please see notes in the article above. Once the date paste is ready, set it to the side to be added to the wet ingredients shortly.

    3. Place all of the dry ingredients–flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder–in a large mixing bowl and whisk together well. If you're using sugar instead of date paste, add the dry sugar in this step.

    4. In a medium-sized bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients–applesauce, plant milk, vanilla, vinegar, date paste (if using)–and whisk together thoroughly.

    5. Next, pour the wet ingredients into the large bowl with the dry ingredients and whisk together well. 

    6. Pour the cake batter into a silicone baking pan (or line a regular pan with parchment paper to prevent sticking) and bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes. This recipe will make two 8" round cake pans.

    7. Oven temperatures vary, so around the 25-minute mark, remove the cake from the oven and test for doneness. To do this, insert a toothpick into the highest center point. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done, otherwise place back into the oven and test again in 5-10 minutes.

    8. Once the cake or cupcakes are done, remove from oven and allow to cool before frosting.

    Frosting

    1. I like the take the easy way out and cook my sweet potato quickly by poking a few holes in it with a knife, wrapping it in a wet paper towel, and placing it in the microwave for about 5-6 minutes depending on the size of the potato.

    2. Once it’s done, I simply remove the peelings and use the potato flesh in this frosting recipe.

    3. Simply place all the frosting ingredients–including the cooked sweet potato– in a blender or food processor and mix until smooth. More frosting tips can be found in the article above.

    4. When the cake or cupcakes has cooled, frost and serve!

Notes

Detailed instructions, in-process photos, and my personal helpful tips can be found in the article above.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 15 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 236Total Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gSodium: 275mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 6gProtein: 8g

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

Did you make this recipe?

Please rate and leave a comment because I love hearing from you. Remember SHARING IS CARING!

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Jackie

Friday 15th of January 2021

I made this today for my Awesome Landlord and it turned out really good! I was hoping the cake would be a bit taller and fluffier, but given the ingredients, i'm happy. I'm amazed actually. Great Job!

Vicki

Wednesday 16th of December 2020

Hi there ... I'm about to make this but am in the UK and never sure about cup conversion with the different types of ingredients - do you happen to have the recipe in metric?

Vicki

Thursday 17th of December 2020

@Terri Edwards, Hi Terri - thanks very much for your reply ... do you think it'll be done by Xmas? (was planning to make it for Xmas day) ...

Terri Edwards

Wednesday 16th of December 2020

Hi Vicki- I don't have the metric conversion right now, but the recipe plugin developer is working on that and hopes to have it available soon. So sorry that it doesn't help right now, but it's coming.

Deepshikha

Tuesday 15th of December 2020

I am not a regular baker and this was my fist cake that I made. I made this for my husband’s birthday and trust me it came out so so well. Thank you so much, my husband is health freak so I wanted something with natural ingredients and it was so perfect. Also my frosting is left, could you please tell me what can I do with the left over frosting. Thank you so much, you made our day😀😀😀

Terri Edwards

Tuesday 15th of December 2020

Hi Deepshikha- I'm so glad to hear that this made the perfect healthy birthday cake for your husband. That's terrific news! I love to use any leftover frosting for dipping apple slices. Yummy!

Peggy

Tuesday 24th of November 2020

What size is the sweet potato?

Peggy

Wednesday 25th of November 2020

@Terri Edwards, thanks! I saw the measurement after I posted the question. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Terri Edwards

Wednesday 25th of November 2020

Hi Peggy- Around one cup cubed should be about right.

Amanda

Tuesday 24th of November 2020

Hi I made the cake as little cupcakes, the batter looked and tasted great but the cakes came out quite rubbery and gummy sadly. I wonder what went wrong 😬

Terri Edwards

Wednesday 25th of November 2020

Hi Amanda- I would try reducing the amount of applesauce to see if that helps.