This rich and moist vegan mocha cake is so easy to make in just one bowl and is topped with a velvety 3 ingredient mocha ganache! You won’t believe this mocha cake is dairy free!

sliced vegan mocha cake

Why you’ll love this easy mocha cake recipe:

If ever there was a beginner’s cake recipe that’s also just as suitable for advanced cake bakers, this is it.

Based off of my award-winning vegan chocolate cake (that yes, can be made gluten free!), we have the ultimate coffee and chocolate lover’s snack cake.

As a vegan baking cookbook author, who’s had many a cake in my day, I have to say that this mocha cake is *the* vegan cake recipe to make.

And honestly, you’d never know it’s dairy free. I’ve had several non-vegans who didn’t know I had made this mocha cake; no one knew it.

slice of vegan mocha cake

Let’s talk about this mocha cake recipe:

  • The actual cake is so tender, moist, soft, and fluffy without being dense, gooey, or gluey!
  • The mocha ganache is an actual *dream* and is the perfect easy frosting for beginners (but if you want, you can use my vegan chocolate frosting!).
  • The cake itself has a perfect balance of rich chocolate, strong and flavorful coffee, and just enough sweetness without being too much!
  • If you’ve never made a vegan cake before, DO NOT WORRY! It’s so so simple, and even easier than traditional baking! Like my chocolate zucchini cake, we’re making this recipe as a sheet cake, which makes it even more beginner friendly!

How is mocha cake different from chocolate cake?

You might notice that with my vegan chocolate cake, I also add in a cup of coffee to the batter. This is because coffee helps to enrich the overall chocolate flavor.

However, the difference with this vegan mocha cake is that we’re also adding in instant espresso powder.

This will amplify the coffee taste so that it is more in line with mocha rather than just chocolate.

sliced vegan mocha cake

Mocha Cake Ingredients:

Because this mocha cake is naturally eggless and dairy free, you won’t see either of those ingredients down below in the recipe card (nor in this list below!).If you’re skeptical about vegan baking, your mind is about to be changed!

For this vegan mocha cake, you’ll need:

  • Flour: you can use all purpose flour or gluten free 1:1 baking flour
  • Sugar & brown sugar: Adding in brown sugar as well keeps this cake super moist from the molasses!
  • Cocoa powder: I go into depth about which cocoa powder to use below.
  • Dairy free yogurt: this replaces eggs typically found in a cake recipe.
  • Vegan butter: there are so many great vegan butter brands on the market these days! I recommend Miyoko’s or Earth Balance butter sticks!
  • Vegan buttermilk: this is a combination of dairy free milk (such as oat milk or coconut milk) and apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Acts just like regular buttermilk!
  • Coffee or Instant Espresso Powder: More on that below!
plate of bitten mocha cake with a fork

How to make a mocha cake (overview):

For the full written instructions and ingredient measurements, see the bottom of this post in the recipe card. You can also hit the “jump to recipe” button at the top of this post! Here, we’ll go over a brief overview of the steps, along with providing visuals for a better understanding of the recipe.

You’re just going to love how easy and simple this chocolate mocha cake recipe is to make. We’ll start by making the cake layers, then the frosting, and finally, assembling.

The mocha ganache:

This is the best mocha ganache that I’ve ever had, in my opinion. And same goes for my family! It’s super simple, and you actually don’t need to dissolve the instant espresso powder beforehand (though you still can).

You just need vegan chocolate, vegan heavy cream, and instant espresso powder.

For vegan heavy cream: I recommend Silk! or Plant Crock. They’re amazing! You don’t need to use coconut cream, but can if that’s what you prefer- you just might have a coconut aftertaste to your ganache. Another option is using cashew cream!

I prefer to make the ganache while the cake is baking to give it enough time to cool and thicken before frosting the cake.

For a layer cake: you can also use the vegan butter option, and then use a hand mixer to cream the chilled ganache into a fluffy 2-ingredient frosting!

Can I use instant coffee instead of instant espresso powder?

You absolutely can swap in instant coffee powder if that’s that is what is available. The taste won’t be as strong as using espresso powder, but you will still create that mocha flavor!

What is the difference between instant espresso powder and espresso powder?

If you’re in the store looking for instant espresso powder and are only finding espresso powder- don’t worry! They’re actually the same thing. Either product will work! However, this is MUCH different from ground espresso. Instant/ espresso powder will dissolve in the cake batter and frosting, whereas ground espresso or even ground coffee will leave granules of coffee in your actual cake and frosting.

sliced vegan mocha cake

You are just going to absolutely love this easy mocha cake recipe! It’s FULL of coffee flavor, and absolutely no one will be able to detect that this cake is vegan, eggless, dairy free, refined sugar free, and even gluten free!

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and a rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. This helps others to find the recipes! As always, I absolutely love to see your beautiful creations on Instagram and Pinterest, so be sure to tag me there as well!

More vegan cake recipes you’ll love:

Best Ever Vegan Chocolate Cake

Best Vegan Coconut Cake

Classic Vegan Vanilla Cake

Vegan Oreo Cake

Best Vegan Red Velvet Cake

Want to save this recipe for later? Add it to your favorite recipe board on Pinterest!

Moist Vegan Mocha Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting Pinterest pin

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and a rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. This helps others to find the recipes! As always, I absolutely love to see your beautiful creations on Instagram and Pinterest, so be sure to tag me there as well!

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sliced vegan mocha cake

Moist Vegan Mocha Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.6 from 8 reviews
  • Author: Britt Berlin
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 55
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 16 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


This rich and moist vegan mocha cake is so easy to make in just one bowl and is topped with a velvety 3 ingredient mocha ganache! You won’t believe this mocha cake is dairy free!



Mocha Cake:

  • 1 1/4 cup (300 mL) vegan buttermilk, room temperature
  • 3 cups (375 g) all purpose flour or gluten free 1:1 baking flour, sifted
  • 1 cup (95 g) all natural cocoa powder, sifted
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 3/4 cups (350 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (110 g) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted vegan butter*, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1 cup (220 g) dairy free yogurt, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp espresso powder, decaf if desired
  • 1 cup (240 mL) hot water + 1 tsp dissolvable espresso powder (yes an additional tsp of espresso powder! or 1 cup (240 mL) brewed coffee, decaf if desired)

Mocha Ganache:

  • 1 batch vegan chocolate ganache
  • 1 tbsp dissolvable espresso powder, decaf if desired
  • Vegan chocolate shavings, for decoration


  1. Be sure to read all instructions before beginning. Measure out all ingredients for the cake.
  2. Prep: Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 9×9 baking pan with parchment paper (or if doing a layer cake, three 8″ cake pans with parchment paper). Prepare the vegan buttermilk according to instructions.
  3. Whisk the wet ingredients: Add the sugar, brown sugar, melted vegan butter, dairy free yogurt, vanilla extract, espresso powder, and coffee to a large bowl. Whisk until combined. Then add in the cocoa powder, and whisk until there are no clumps of cocoa powder in the mixture. Then add in the baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt, and whisk to evenly distribute the leavening ingredients throughout the batter.
  4. Finish the batter: Add in the flour and vegan buttermilk, and whisk just until the dry ingredients are incorporated into the chocolate cake batter. 
  5. Bake: Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan, and place into the oven to bake for 50-55 minutes. If you’re baking as a layer cake, the layers will only need 30-35 minutes. As a sheet cake in a 9×13 pan, about 35-40 minutes. 
  6. While the cake is baking: Make the vegan mocha ganache. Prepare the ganache according to instructions, stirring in the dissolvable espresso powder as well. Then set aside in the fridge to cool and thicken again. You can stir it every 30 minutes or so, noting how thick it’s getting. You want smooth and spreadable consistency, like Biscoff cookie butter almost.
  7. Cool: Remove the cake from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Do not frost until the cake is fully cooled.
  8. Frost and serve! Top the cooled mocha cake with the thickened chocolate ganache and spread to the edges of the cake. Top with shaved chocolate or vegan chocolate covered espresso beans. Enjoy!


Room temperature: this is different for different liquid ingredients. Vegan butter should be 65F, and dairy free milk and applesauce should be 70-72F. 

Espresso powder is different than ground espresso! Please see post for full details.

Please see blog post for full recipe notes + tips!