This easy eggless chocolate cake recipe makes an incredibly moist, light and delicious classic sponge every time. It’s a no fail vegan cake that can be made in a jiffy to fulfil your chocolate cravings. Enjoy it plain or use it as a base for decorated cakes. This detailed post shows you how to make this best eggless chocolate cake like a pro, the easiest way! For a healthier option make it with wheat flour and unrefined sweetener following my pro tips below.
This eggless chocolate cake recipe was first posted on the blog 9 years ago. I thought it’s time for me to update all my latest tips and tricks. So in this updated post, I have also tried to answer a lot of readers’ queries which will be helpful for beginners. If you are new to baking or trying this recipe for the first time, I highly insist you read the full post so you bake this beautiful cake easily.
About this recipe
This recipe will give a basic chocolate cake that’s chocolatey, spongy, and delicious. Moreover it’s vegan including the frosting. It is great to serve on its own or use it as a base for decorated cakes. I use the same recipe to make my black forest cake as well.
You can also easily tweak this to your heart’s content by adding chocolate chips, nuts or even swapping the all-purpose flour with wheat flour.
I have also shared 2 easy frostings – a chocolate buttercream frosting and a chocolate sauce frosting. This recipe also comes with bonus tips and tricks of basic decorating.
This cake recipe requires no electric equipment of any kind like a mixer or a beater since the batter is made with the help of a whisk and spatula. So if you don’t have an oven, you can still bake this in a heavy bottom pan by following my cooker cake recipe.
However if you double or triple the recipe, I highly recommend using a mixer (either hand or stand) as it gets the batter to a uniform consistency more easily. That being said you need to be more careful while using these equipment as it can very easily overmix the batter and make a flat cake.
If you are making a buttercream frosting you will need a mixer but the chocolate sauce is just made in a pot.
This eggless cake is baked time and again at home and I have lost count of the number of times I have baked it in my life. So this gave me the chance to experiment with different frostings.
Finally I arrived at a vegan frosting too that tastes not only delicious and healthy but is also low fat and refined sugar free. I have shared a picture of the cake below which I baked recently for my kids’ birthday.
Why this recipe works
Popularly known as a war cake, wacky cake or a depression cake, this recipe was first invented during the World War 2 as a result of introducing the rationing system by the British government to overcome the food shortages.
This cake was baked during those times as it needed only the basic ingredients like flour, oil, baking soda and sugar. Ingredients like eggs, milk and butter which were in shortage were not used. So this recipe is tried, tested and enjoyed across the globe by countless number of folks.
This eggless cake recipe & a no bake biscuit cake recipe had been very popular almost a decade ago and had come in many food magazines and columns.
How to make eggless chocolate cake
1. Preheat the oven to 170 C or 340 F for at least 15 mins. Grease a 8 inch round cake pan. If you do not have an 8 or 9 inch pan, check my pro tips section below to use other pans. I highly suggest using parchment paper to line the cake tray. This way the eggless chocolate cake comes out of the pan easily. If you do not have it, then drizzle some flour all over on the sides and bottom. Invert it & pat it off over the kitchen sink to remove the excess flour.
Prepare dry ingredients
2. Place a sieve over a large mixing bowl. Add
1½ cups all-purpose flour (180 grams)
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda. Before measuring flour & cocoa from the pack, fluff them up with a fork. Then spoon them to the measuring cup and level it with a straight edged knife or object. This way you will get the right amounts.
3. Mix them gently. Then sieve them together twice. This aerates the flour and makes the cake light.
4. Add 1 cup sugar (200 grams) and mix well. I used organic fine sugar. If using coarse sugar then you can also dissolve it in 1 cup water (called for the recipe) and use in the next step. If using jaggery, dissolve and filter it.
5. Make space for the liquid ingredients in the center.
Mixing dry & wet ingredients
6. Pour 1 cup water (room temperature).
7. Pour 1/3 cup oil (80 ml). I have used organic virgin coconut oil. Do use some light oil otherwise the cake may smell oily.
8. Next add 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. Yes this cake needs more vanilla than the other recipes. However if you prefer less you may use only half of it.
9. Add 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice or vinegar. Make sure you use good quality vinegar. I have used organic apple cider vinegar.
10. Mix all these well gently with a whisk or a spatula just until well combined.
11. You will notice that the cake batter begins to bubble up. The acidic ingredient vinegar or lemon juice begins to react with the baking soda. Do not over mix at this stage, it may make the cake dense.
Baking eggless chocolate cake
12. Pour the cake batter to the pan. Knock it to the kitchen counter a few times.
13. Bake it in the preheated oven in the middle rack for 30 to 35 mins. Check after 27 mins. The timings may vary depending on the oven. So bake it until the skewer inserted comes out clean.
14. Allow it to cool down for 8 to 10 mins on a wired rack. Let air circulate beneath the cake pan else the cake will sweat. Later invert it on a cake rack.
15. Remove the parchment papers. Cool it completely. If you prefer to frost you can do a chocolate frosting or you can just dust some powdered sugar and some sprinkles. This eggless chocolate cake tastes best the next day. It keeps good at room temperature for 2 days and in the fridge for 6 to 7 days.
Frosting eggless chocolate cake
Cool the cake completely before proceeding to frost with chocolate buttercream. If you want to use chocolate sauce frosting, the cake needs to be slightly warm. First prepare one of the frostings following my steps below or you can also simply melt some chocolate chips and spread it. For this option read below frosting 3.
Add a tablespoon of frosting or chocolate sauce on the centre of the cake stand or a disposable cake board. Spread the frosting slightly and place 4 long strips of parchment papers on four sides to hold the spills.
Then transfer your cake gently so the centre sits on the frosting and the edges on the parchment papers. If you intend to pour the sugar syrup which I shared in the FAQs, you can pour or brush a few tablespoons all over the cake and wait for 5 minutes before you proceed.
Frosting 1: Chocolate sauce
Mix together ¾ cup milk, 2 tbsps cocoa, 1 tsp vanilla extract & 4 to 6 tbsps sugar in a sauce pan. The mixture has to be smooth and uniform without any lumps. Begin to cook on a low to medium heat stirring constantly until slightly thick & creamy. Taste test and add more sugar if needed & continue to cook until the sauce becomes thick. To check dip a spoon in the sauce, it must be thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.
For the chocolate sauce frosting, mix it well and pour gently half of the quantity.
Wait for it to spread, then pour the rest, retaining some in the sauce pan.
Spread it gently starting from the center so sauce spreads well. Then pour the remaining and spread it gently so it drips on to the sides beautifully.
Add fine chopped nuts or chocolate shavings. Avoid adding color sprinkles on this as they are likely to dissolve and let out the color.
Frosting 2: Chocolate buttercream frosting
To make chocolate buttercream frosting, make sure the butter is soft yet cold enough to hold shape. To check, press down the block of butter, it must dent easily, yet hold shape without being too soft.
Add it to a large mixing bowl or a stand mixer bowl. Begin to beat until soft and fluffy. You can also do this with a whisk but takes time. Sift cocoa and powdered sugar directly to the butter. Pour vanilla and 2 tbsps milk or whipping cream. Mix them up lightly firstly so it won’t mess up the counter.
Beat until smooth, fluffy and light. I should be of spreading consistency. If it is too thick, then add another half to 1 tbsp milk or cream. Beat well until it reaches a good smooth and spreadable consistency. Do not overbeat to the extent butter begins to melt. If required you can keep it in the fridge for a while.
To spread the buttercream frosting, just add the frosting over the centre of the cake.
Using a spatula, begin to spread it all over evenly.
Then finish off on the sides and drizzle sprinkles. Pull off the parchment papers gently.
Frosting 3: Simply melt ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips with 2 tbsps of milk or whipping cream. You can do it in microwave for 1 minute, stirring every 20 to 30 seconds or on stove top.
To melt it on stovetop, bring 2 cups water to a boil in a pot and place the bowl of chocolate chips into it ensuring water doesn’t seep into the bowl. Keep stirring until the chocolate melts completely and becomes smooth. Pour it over the cooled cake and spread it with a spatula.
Ingredients and substitutions
Baking soda: Use a high quality natural baking soda that uses no chemicals during the process. I have found that it is the quality of baking soda that truly affect the flavor of this cake. I use Bob’s Red Mill baking soda which has always given me consistent results. A low quality or chemically processed baking soda can leave a peculiar odour in your cake. Read the faq section on how to test your soda bi carbonate before using.
Salt: Use Himalayan salt, powdered rock salt, sea salt or fine kosher salt for this recipe. I suggest not to use table salt.
Flour: The best, light and airy cakes are always made with all-purpose flour. So for the same results, use all-purpose flour. Like most other cake recipes, this one too works well with wheat flour. But due to the lack of eggs, any eggless cake made with whole wheat flour will have a slightly denser texture due to the bran in the flour. If you are an health enthusiast then you will still love it.
All-purpose flour imparts a milky aroma to any baked goods while whole wheat flour imparts a nutty and more intense flavor. So the choice is yours.
Cocoa: Since this recipe uses baking soda, we use natural cocoa powder. Avoid using Dutch processed as it won’t react the same way when combined with baking soda. You can use the natural cocoa powder from Hershey’s. I have also tested this recipe with organic cacao powder which works just as good.
Liquid: For the liquid you can use water, milk or a combination of orange juice & water. Dairy or vegan milk like almond milk or soy milk from the tetra packs can be used. In this post I have used water. Dairy milk gives a slightly denser texture to the cake. My recent trials have been with orange juice and water which works great too.
Flavouring: Vanilla extract or vanilla powder is the one I suggest here. You can also add 2 teaspoons of fresh orange zest. Often readers ask me if extract & essence are same. They are not same. Vanilla essence is an artificial flavoring agent so you will have to use only a few drops in the recipe.
Fats: Oil or melted unsalted butter are the choices here. Though a few readers have made it successfully with ghee I haven’t tested it yet. For many years now, I have been using organic cold pressed coconut oil with great results and have never felt the flavor of coconut or oil in my cake. You can go with any neutral flavourless oil. If you intend to refrigerate the cake, then avoid using butter and ghee.
Sweetener: Use regular cane sugar for best results. With other kinds of sweeteners, the cake is more likely to pick up those flavors. However I have tested this recipe with jaggery, palm jaggery and coconut sugar and the cake turns out good. Dissolve the jaggery or coconut sugar in the liquid first and then use it. You can also strain it. But note that the sweetness will be on the lower side because all jaggery and coconut sugar are not the same.
Acidic ingredient: You can use lemon juice or vinegar like apple cider. This is one of the key ingredients that reacts with the baking soda and rises the cake while baking.
Precise measurements: For best results, do not alter the quantities of ingredients as this will alter the texture and flavor of your cake. Either use a kitchen scale or measuring cups & spoons for exact quantities. Eye-balling ingredients won’t work here.
Temperature of ingredients: Ensure the ingredients are at room temperature before making batter. If using butter, melt it slowly in a sauce pan. Ensure it is not hot.
Do not rest the batter: Begin to make the batter while your oven is preheating. After making the batter, it has to go right away into the oven for baking. Do not let the prepared batter rest as this will result in a flat cake.
Test baking soda before use: Make sure you use good quality baking soda. To test it, add 2 tbsps of lemon juice or vinegar to a bowl. Add ¼ teaspoon baking soda & stir. If it is fresh then it will bubble & fizz heavily immediately.
Next if the mixture does not bubble & fizz up it indicates the baking soda is not active and has gone bad. So replace it with a new bottle of soda. If your baking soda is not active the cake will turn flat and will not rise and won’t come out spongy.
For this recipe, you will need a 8 or 9 inch cake pan. Using a smaller pan, even a 7 inch pan will crack your cake top. If you do not have a 8 or 9 inch cake pan, follow these tried and tested tips to bake it in smaller pans.
- Simply pour the batter to two 6 inch pans and bake for 20 mins or a little longer until the tester comes out clean.
- Halve the recipe and bake in one 6 inch pan.
- Bake cupcakes by pouring to 12 cupcake moulds. These take around 14 mins to bake.
- Pour half cup batter to 2 ramkeins or cupcake moulds (1/4 cup batter to each) and pour the rest of the prepared batter to a 6 inch pan. Bake the 6 inch cake in oven and microwave the ramkeins on high (1200 watts) for 1 minute. You can also steam the cupcakes over a pot. But use steel cups for best results. Please note that you shouldn’t bake the cake and the cupcakes both at the same time in the same oven as the timings are different. Opening the oven door often to check will result in a collapsed cake or sunk cake.
- If you want to use a 7 inch pan, make 1 cupcake and the rest use for cake.
Eggless cake may not come out fluffy for a host of reasons like not sifting the flour well, inactive leavening agent, improper mixing or overmixing the batter leading to deflation of air bubbles. Read my pro tips where I clearly explain these below.
For a spongy cake use all-purpose flour and avoid wheat flour. Sponge cakes are always made with cake flour but in this recipe all-purpose flour does the job. The bran in the wheat flour won’t give you the same sponge as the all-purpose flour or cake flour does in any recipe.
Over mixing the cake batter can make the cake sticky, slimy or gluey. So mix the wet and dry ingredients just until combined, ensuring not to overdo. Also ensure you cool the cake in a cool and dry place, away from high humid spots in your kitchen.
To avoid crust on your cake top, use the right pan size for the recipe. Using a smaller pan than the recipe calls for or pouring too much batter in a small pan will require the cake to be baked longer resulting in a crust on top.
Add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda to a small bowl and pour 1 tsp vinegar or lemon juice right over it. The mixture fizzes heavily & bubbles if the baking soda is fresh, active and good. It means it is good to use. If it is not active, then it means it has gone bad or expired.
Usually baking soda can be replaced with thrice the amount of baking powder. But not for this recipe as you will need to replace 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 3 teaspoons of baking powder which is a lot here. This substitution can leave an aftertaste in the cake.
More FAQs on eggless chocolate cake
How to make eggless cake moist?
To keep your eggless cake moist, boil 2 tbsps sugar with 4 tbsps water in a sauce pan until the sugar dissolves & begins to bubble. Cool & brush or pour a few tablespoons of the syrup over the cooled eggless cake. Use as much as needed.
Can I bake this cake without an oven?
Yes! You can bake this eggless cake in a pressure cooker or an heavy bottom pot. You can check my detailed post on how to make a cake in cooker.
How to use wheat flour in this recipe?
Whole grain flour has bran in it so they soak up more moisture than the all-purpose flour. Adding little more water is essential while making the batter so the cake won’t turn out too dense and hard. Check the video to know the batter consistency. Also use fine ground whole wheat flour.
Can I use butter?
Butter improves the flavor of the cake. However with butter you need to finish the cake while it is at room temperature. Refrigerating it will solidify the fats and make the cake hard. But reheating it in a microwave or steaming it over a pot, just makes it as good as the freshly baked cake.
Can I use milk?
Milk not only adds flavor, fats and nutrition but also makes the cake slightly denser. For the texture you can check the pictures of my black forest cake here. I wouldn’t suggest milk and wheat flour combo as using both can make the cake denser.
Can I add choco chips?
Yes use about ¼ cup chocolate chips.
Can I make this cake with dry fruits & nuts?
Yes you can use about half cup fine chopped tutti fruttis or mixed dry fruits. Toss them in 1 tbsp flour and gently stir them with the prepared batter at the last step.
Eggless chocolate cake
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
Ingredients for eggless chocolate cake
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (organic maida or wheat flour) (180 grams)
- ¼ cup cocoa powder (20 grams, use good quality cocoa)
- 1 teaspoon Baking soda (5 grams, check expiry date)
- ⅓ teaspoon salt (2 grams, I use pink salt)
- 1 cup sugar (200 grams) (organic, or 1.5 cups grated jaggery)
- 1 cup Water (240 ml, use milk to make rich cake)
- ⅓ cup oil (80 ml) (coconut, canola, light olive oil or melted butter)
- 1 tablespoon Lemon juice (15 ml) (or apple cider vinegar or plain vinegar, use good quality)
- 1 tablespoon Vanilla extract (15 ml (or vanilla powder or essence as needed)
For the chocolate sauce (Frosting 1 – method 1)
- ¾ cup milk (180 ml) (or almond or cashew milk, refer notes)
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (10 grams)
- 4 to 6 tablespoon sugar (or powdered jaggery as needed)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (5 ml)
or For chocolate buttercream frosting (Frosting 2 – method 2)
- ¼ cup unsalted butter (soft but cold)
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder (good quality)
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar (or icing sugar)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 to 2 ½ tablespoons milk (or whipping cream)
Preparation for eggless chocolate cake recipe
- Preheat the oven to 170 C or 340 F for at least 15 mins.
- Grease a 8 or 9 inch round cake pan & drizzle some flour on it. or Line with a parchment paper. Set aside.
- Mix 1 ½ cups flour, ¼ cup cocoa powder, ½ tsp salt and 1 tsp baking soda.
- Sieve the flour mix at least twice to aerate the flour. This makes the cake light.
- If using wheat flour then sieve four times.
- Add 1 cup sugar and mix it well. I use fine sugar.
- If you are using coarse one then you can also dissolve it in 1 cup water (called for the recipe) and pour it in the next step.
How to make eggless chocolate cake
- Make a well (space) in the center. Pour 1 cup water, 1/3 cup oil or melted butter, 1 tbsp vanilla extract and 1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar.
- Gently begin to mix well from the liquid ingredients in the center.
- Using a whisk or spatula, mix just until the flour is combined well with the wet ingredients. Do not over mix.
- The batter will be runny. Pour it to the cake pan.
- Knock it a few times against the kitchen counter to release air bubbles.
- Bake for 30 to 35 mins. Check after 27 mins. The bake time may vary depending on your pan size and oven. So Just bake it until a skewer or a tester inserted comes out clean.
- To check if it is completely baked, insert a skewer in the center of the cake and check. It must come out clean.
- Keep the cake pan on a wire rack and allow it to cool down for 8 to 10 mins in the pan.
- Invert eggless chocolate cake gently on a wire rack. Allow it to cool.
- You can frost the cake if you like or just sprinkle some powdered sugar.
- This eggless chocolate cake tastes best the next day.
Making chocolate sauce (Frosting 1)
- Mix together ¾ cup milk, 2 tbsps cocoa, 1 tsp vanilla extract & 4 to 6 tbsps sugar.
- The mixture must be lump free & smooth.
- Begin to cook on a low to medium heat stirring constantly until slightly thick & creamy.
- Taste it and add more sugar if needed & boil. Cool completely.
- Place the cake on a plate or a tray that can hold the excess dripping from chocolate sauce.
- Pour the chocolate frosting on the warm eggless chocolate cake.
- Spread with spatula. For step by step pics, please refer this Ragi cake.
OR Making frosting for eggless cake (Frosting 2)
- Ensure the butter is soft yet cold. When you press down the block of butter, it must dent easily yet hold shape without melting.
- Add butter to a large bowl and beat it until soft and fluffy. You can use a hand mixer or just a whisk.
- Place a sieve over the butter bowl. Add cocoa and powdered sugar to the sieve. Sieve it well.
- Pour vanilla and 2 tbsps milk or cream. Mix them up lightly.
- Then whisk or beat until everything turns smooth fluffy and light. It must be of spreadable consistency.
- If it is too thick, then add another half to 1 tbsp milk or cream. Beat well until it reaches a good consistency.
- Do not over beat else the butter begins to melt.
- If needed you can keep it in the fridge for a while.
- Spread a tbsp of frosting on your cake stand. Place 4 – 2 by 8 inch parchment paper strips across the four sides of the cake stand.
- Place the cake over these papers with the frosting beneath the cake.
- Scoop off a good amount of frosting to the cake. Begin to spread from the center and then towards the sides.
- Place the cake in the fridge for about 40 mins. Then smoothen the cake with a spatula. Remove the parchment papers gently.
- Eggless chocolate cake is ready. Slice & serve.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
Eggless chocolate cake recipe first published in May 2012. Updated and republished in April 2021.