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sliced vegan mocha cake

The ULTIMATE Mocha Cake Recipe | Vegan + Gluten Free

  • Author: thebananadiaries
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 16 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


If you love coffee and chocolate, then you have to try this deliciously decadent mocha cake! Full of rich cocoa and strong espresso, this mocha cake is super fluffy, tender, downright decadent! And it happens to be naturally vegan, eggless, dairy free, and refined sugar free!



Vegan Mocha Cake:

  • 240 mL dairy-free milk, room temperature
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 375 grams all purpose flour or gluten free 1:1 baking flour, sifted
  • 60 grams cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp espresso powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 200 grams coconut sugar
  • 113 grams vegan butter, room temperature
  • 190 grams unsweetened applesauce, room temperature
  • 185 grams water + 1 tsp dissolvable espresso powder (or swap in coffee), room temperature

Dairy Free Mocha Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cup vegan butter, room temperature
  • 34 cups powdered sugar or powdered coconut sugar, sifted
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp espresso powder



  1. Be sure to read all instructions before beginning. Measure out all ingredients for the cake.
  2. Prep: Preheat the oven to 350F, and prepare three 6″ cake pans. You can also use 8″ cake pans if you’d like. Grease the bottoms and sides of the pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside. Prepare the vegan buttermilk by mixing together the dairy-free milk and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl and set aside for 5-7 minutes to curdle. You can prepare the batter while the buttermilk is forming. 
  3. Make the batter: in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment or a large bowl and a hand mixer, cream the vegan butter until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the coconut sugar, and cream together again until the sugar begins to slightly dissolve into the vegan butter, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and bottom of the bowl as needed. Then add in the applesauce, and mix again on medium speed until combined. To the mixture, add in about half of the flour mixture, along with half of the buttermilk. Mix on medium speed until the flour starts to combine with the wet. Add in the remaining flour mixture and buttermilk, and mix again just until there are no more dry streaks. Slowly pour in the hot espresso, and mix on medium speed until the coffee has just mixed into the batter. If using a stand mixer, remove the bowl from the stand mixer.
  4. Bake the cakes: pour the batter into the three cake pans evenly. Place the cakes into the oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. If using three 8″ cake pans, the cakes will bake a bit quicker. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool in their pans for 10 minutes. Then carefully transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely, about 45 minutes.
  5. Prepare the mocha buttercream: When ready to frost, beat the vegan butter until creamed, about 3 minutes. Then sift in the powdered sugar and continue beating until it becomes a fluffy vanilla buttercream. Add in the cocoa powder and espresso powder, and start by beating the cocoa powder into the middle so as not to create a dust around the bowl, then beat the entire buttercream mixture together with the cacao powder until full incorporated.
  6. Assemble the cake: place the bottom layer onto a cake plate and adding about 1 cup of frosting to the top of the cake. Spread it just to the edges, then add the second layer and repeat. Top with the third layer and frost with the remaining frosting. Decorate as you’d like, and enjoy!
  7. Storage: Store any leftovers covered at room temperature for up to 2 days or sliced in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.


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!

Keywords: mocha cake, mocha cake recipe, chocolate mocha cake, vegan mocha cake