Chocolate Layer Cake for Dairy-Free, Egg-Free & Nut-Free Celebrations


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 Recipe - dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soy-free, and optionally vegan-friendly

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.

Chocolate Layer Cake Recipe - dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soy-free, and optionally vegan-friendly

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.

Chocolate Layer Cake (Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This is my children's first pick for birthday cakes!
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 9-inch double-layer cake
Chocolate Cake
  • 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
Chocolate Frosting
  • 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
Chocolate Cake
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. 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.
  3. Pour the batter into your prepared cake pans and even out.
  4. Bake the cakes for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes before carefully removing turning them out onto wire racks to cool completely.
Chocolate Frosting
  1. While the cakes are cooling, make the frosting.
  2. 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.
Cake Assembly
  1. 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).
  2. 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.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 slice (1/24 cake) Calories: 271 Fat: 10.4g Saturated fat: 1.9g Carbohydrates: 44.9g Sugar: 30.9g Sodium: 239mg Fiber: 1.5g Protein: 2.3g

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About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. Is this recipe milk free AND soy free? My son has milk allergies and soy allergies and it has been very difficult to find a recipe that is free of both.

  2. This recipe is my GO to for all birthday’s and most parties. I always get compliments and I know I have a cake that pretty much everyone can eat. It is very versatile. I made a cake for our cast party on Saturday…and will be making cupcakes this weekend for a bridal shower…and my kids aren’t left out!

  3. Rebecca Atkinson on

    Awesome and versatile recipe. Also makes great cupcakes or a slab style cake. Or halve ingredients for one smaller cake. Or yet for one more option, omit the baking soda and you have brownies.

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