This chocolate layer cake is a riff on classic wacky cake, and was created by Linda Coss, author of the allergy-friendly cookbook, What’s to Eat?. Her version includes a delicious chocolate frosting, which is also free of dairy, eggs, nuts, and soy! It’s the perfect dessert to satisfy a room full of guests, even if they don’t have any food allergies.
Chocolate Layer Cake for Dairy-Free, Egg-Free & Nut-Free Celebrations
We originally shared this recipe in 2007, but it has since been updated to include both the frosting and the cake in one recipe, along with some additional details.
Back when Linda created this recipe, dairy-free butter alternatives were limited. But these days, almost every grocer carries at least one vegan buttery spread or stick brand, if not several. Linda originally used Earth Balance, and they do have a couple soy-free varieties that work great. She uses vegetable oil for the cake, but you can keep it soy-free with non-GMO canola oil, extra light olive oil, or grapeseed oil. Avocado oil or coconut oil might also work well, but will impart more flavor and create a richer texture.
Special Diet Notes: Chocolate Layer Cake
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, optionally vegan, and vegetarian. But be sure to choose the butter alternative that suits your dietary needs.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups water
- ⅔ cup oil
- 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup dairy-free butter alternative, room temperature
- 2½ tablespoons honey (can sub agave nectar for vegan)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 2½ tablespoons water
- 2½ cups powdered sugar
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Whisk until the batter is smooth and the ingredients are well-blended.
- Pour the batter into your prepared cake pans and even out.
- Bake the cakes for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes before carefully removing turning them out onto wire racks to cool completely.
- While the cakes are cooling, make the frosting.
- Place butter alternative, honey, and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Sift in the cocoa powder. Using a hand mixer on low speed, cream the ingredients together. Add the water and sift in the powdered sugar. Beat on low speed until combined, then beat on medium speed until creamy.
- Once the cake layers are completely cool, place one layer in the center of a serving platter, upside down (so that the flat side of the cake, which was on the bottom of the cake pan, is facing you).
- Using a frosting spatula, spread the top of the first layer with frosting. Place the second cake layer on top of this, right-side up. Spread frosting over the top and sides of the entire cake.