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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 an 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!

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.

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

These heart cupcake pans are also great if you would like to make cupcakes instead of cake. They are silicone and non-stick.

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. If you want to really take it over the top, sprinkle a little Homemade Powdered Sugar over the top.

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

Other great chocolate desserts

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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 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon 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 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon 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 them 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 them from the oven and allow them to cool before frosting.

    9. The heart cupcake pans are also great if you would rather have cupcakes.

    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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sugar free chocolate vega heart shaped cake pinterest photo collage

Diana Valanty

Saturday 9th of October 2021

I am new to plant based baking. I don't normally comment on recipes, but this is absolutely delicious and satisfying. Made as directed with no changes. Next time I might switch up the almond butter for peanut butter, yum!

Terri Edwards

Saturday 9th of October 2021

Hi Diana- Welcome to the plant-based community, and I'm glad that the cake recipe was a keeper! Thanks for the great feedback.

Akanksha Kushwah

Friday 17th of September 2021

Tried this cake for my son’s 3rd birthday. And Oh my! didn’t expect this guilt-free cake to be so amazingly delicious as well. This recipe is a keeper, it’s gonna make appearance at all our special occasions. Thank you so much for sharing this!

Terri Edwards

Friday 17th of September 2021

Hi Akanksha- YAY! I'm so glad that you enjoyed it and that you'll be making it for all those special occasions. Thanks so much for letting me know. :)

Natalie

Wednesday 1st of September 2021

Can peanut butter be used instead of almond butter in the frosting (I always have it on hand)?

Terri Edwards

Thursday 2nd of September 2021

Hi Natalie- Sure, peanut butter would be a good replacement for almond butter. Enjoy!

Bianca

Wednesday 28th of July 2021

Hi Terri! I'm super excited to make this recipe for my daughter's 1st birthday. I'm just wondering if you used vanilla essence or vanilla extract? I hope it isn't a silly question, here in Australia sometimes we use different names for things, so just thought I'd check. Thanks!

Bianca

Friday 30th of July 2021

@Terri Edwards, thank you so much for your quick response! I'll be making it this weekend so I'll let you know how it goes :)

Terri Edwards

Thursday 29th of July 2021

Hi Bianca- I use vanilla extract for this cake. Hope you enjoy it, and happy 1st birthday to your little girl!

Alison

Sunday 11th of July 2021

Thank you for this wonderful recipe. We all love it. Can you tell me if we can freeze it please?

Terri Edwards

Monday 12th of July 2021

Hi Alison- I am so glad that you love the chocolate cake recipe! Yes, this should freeze well.

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