1 Bowl 2 Layer Vegan Chocolate Cake | picklesnhoney.com

Simple 2 Layer Vegan Chocolate Cake

1 Bowl 2 Layer Vegan Chocolate Cake | picklesnhoney.com

A few words before we get to this chocolate cake…

I was just about done writing this post Friday morning when Aaron noticed sudden swelling around my neck and throat. I have no idea how I didn’t feel it; I must have been really in the writing zone. Long story short(er), we spent the last two days in urgent care, which sent me straight to the ER, and then finally to the hospital very, very late last night for observation and a biopsy (that never happened). A CT scan, round after round of blood work (all normal), no food or water, and eight doctors later (a rant for another post), we’re exhausted but told that it’s a very large thyroid cyst. We’re switching hospitals because my experience was so frustrating. I will need to see an endocrinologist to get further testing to try to determine the root cause and a treatment plan as soon as possible this coming week. I came home this afternoon and downed a green juice for my immune system after all of those hospital germs, and then a giant piece of this 2-layer chocolate cake for my soul. Both seem to be helping.

All of this is to say I’m going to do my best to keep up with regular posting because it keeps me sane and I have some awesome recipes I can’t wait to share, but there may be some unplanned radio silence while we get this sorted. Fingers crossed though, no more ER visits, preferably ever.

1 Bowl 2 Layer Vegan Chocolate Cake | picklesnhoney.com

Okay, enough serious stuff. Can we talk about this vegan chocolate cake? I have had a lifelong love affair with chocolate cake and chocolate frosting. When I look back on old photos from when I was little, a few things are true:

  1. I really liked frilly pink dresses, despite my parents trying to style me in cool unisex Nikes and overalls (overalls were cool!).
  2. I didn’t like to walk, preferring to be carried, preferably on someone’s shoulders. My dad tells funny stories about carrying me this way on the NYC subways in the 80s…which were, um, rough. I would pull his hair really hard and the obnoxious teenagers would mock him, “Amaaaannndaaa! Stop pulling my hair!” Sorry, dad.
  3. I had chocolate cake and frosting, usually with a few rainbow sprinkles, allll over my face 90% of the time. I did a pretty good job of keeping it off of the pink frilly dresses though. Toddler priorities.

1 Bowl 2 Layer Vegan Chocolate Cake | picklesnhoney.com

I honestly don’t know how I’ve blogged for almost 3.5 years now and NOT shared a vegan chocolate cake recipe. I partly blame the cupcake trend for stealing the cake-y glory, and I did redeem myself slightly with a vegan vanilla cake last year and recipes for vanilla and chocolate vegan buttercream frostings.

This vegan chocolate cake though—this makes (almost) everything right. If you know someone who doubts even for a second that vegan desserts are just as good better than traditional baked goods, make them this simple chocolate cake. It’s this perfect balance of fudgy dark chocolate, but with a light crumb and a classic frosting that’s sweet but not cloyingly so.

1 Bowl 2 Layer Vegan Chocolate Cake | picklesnhoney.com

I’ve lightened up the cake just a little, using non-dairy yogurt and applesauce in place of lots of oil, and even the oil is healthier than most cakes since it’s unrefined coconut instead of canola (with lower glycemic coconut sugar too). I just love the texture this combination of yogurt + applesauce + coconut oil produces. It somehow makes the cake more rich, which means a small slice will totally hit the spot.

1 Bowl 2 Layer Vegan Chocolate Cake | picklesnhoney.com

1 Bowl 2 Layer Vegan Chocolate Cake | picklesnhoney.com

I’ll admit, I was tempted to break out the rainbow sprinkles to re-create the vegan chocolate cake of my childhood; however, I went all grown up with some shaved extra dark chocolate instead.

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate.

1 Bowl 2 Layer Vegan Chocolate Cake | picklesnhoney.com

Your chocolate cravings are no match for this easy 2-layer vegan chocolate cake. All you need is 1 bowl, 10 ingredients, and a super simple vegan chocolate buttercream. You will probably get chocolate on your face, which is a-okay because that’s part of the fun!

1 Bowl 2 Layer Vegan Chocolate Cake | picklesnhoney.com


Simple 2 Layer Vegan Chocolate Cake

1 Bowl 2 Layer Vegan Chocolate Cake | picklesnhoney.com

Simple 2 Layer Vegan Chocolate Cake


Serves: one 8-inch 2-layer cake

Prep Time: 30 mins

Cook Time: 35 mins

A simple 2-layer vegan chocolate cake that's healthier than store-bought, but you'd never know it! This cake is super rich, fudgy, and extra delicious, and the vegan buttercream frosting is easy to whip up (just 10 minutes!) while the cake's in the oven.

1 Bowl 2 Layer Vegan Chocolate Cake | picklesnhoney.com

Simple 2 Layer Vegan Chocolate Cake



For the chocolate cakes:

  • 1 cup plain non-dairy yogurt
  • 1 2/3 cups non-dairy milk (I used cashew milk)
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 5 tablespoons melted coconut oil, plus additional for greasing the pans
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 cup raw cacao powder, sifted (or cocoa powder)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

For the frosting:

Cuisine: Vegan Servings: one 8-inch 2-layer cake

Prep Time: 30 mins Cook Time: 35 mins

A simple 2-layer vegan chocolate cake that's healthier than store-bought, but you'd never know it! This cake is super rich, fudgy, and extra delicious, and the vegan buttercream frosting is easy to whip up (just 10 minutes!) while the cake's in the oven.


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease two 8-inch cake pans and set them aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the non-dairy yogurt, non-dairy milk, applesauce, coconut oil, sugar, and vanilla.
  • Slowly stir in the flour, cacao powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Mix until just combined (be careful not to over-mix!).
  • Divide the batter between the two cake pans and bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven to cool completely.
  • Once cool, gently remove the cakes from the pans and spread a layer of buttercream frosting on the top of one of the cakes, then place the second cake on top. Spread a layer of frosting on top of the second cake and all around the sides of the cakes. If you find that you're picking up crumbs when you're trying to spread the frosting, I recommend applying a thin layer of frosting (don't worry about the crumbs), refrigerating for 20 minutes until cold, and then applying a second, neater layer of frosting. If you have extra frosting, feel free to pipe it around the edges of the cake. Slice and enjoy!

Notes [1]

Want to make a single layer chocolate cake? No problem! Divide the recipe in half, bake in 1 cake pan, and make 1 batch of vegan buttercream frosting.

Copyright © 2022 Amanda Maguire for Pickles & Honey

Leave a Comment

  1. Jess says

    I’m so sorry to hear of your recent health hiccup Amanda. I hope you find answers soon, along with a better level of care. I too know all too well how frustrating it can be to be bounced from doctor to doctor without getting anywhere. Sending you lots of healthy, healing vibes!

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks Jess. <3 Going from doctor to doctor is super frustrating. The lack of communication and accountability is awful. Sorry you've had to experience that too.

  2. Heather says

    This looks delightful and I will DEFINITELY be making it. As for the health scare, I’m so sorry. Last summer I had sudden sharp pains breathing, but I really felt it was muscle related. The doctors made me make sure it wasn’t a blood clot that traveled to my lungs since I had a risk factor for it. The hospital tested the blood wrong THREE times. They had previously been amazing. I ended up getting it done at a different one days later -very bad for a potential clot. Thankfully my intuition was right and it was an intercostal muscle strain!

    1. Amanda says

      Thank you, Heather. xo That is so frustrating about the hospital testing it wrong 3 times! I’m glad your intuition was right. The doctors also checked my neck for blood clots, and everything looks okay. I’m also relieved that my thyroid levels are normal. I just want to get the biopsy/aspiration done ASAP so I can stop worrying about what it could be or the potential of infection, blocking my airflow, etc. Hopefully we can get this scheduled for tomorrow and not have to go through the ER for what should be a simple procedure. The waiting is terrible!

  3. For a veganified chocolate cake – this looks pretty damn good and close to an original choc cake! Love how surprisingly healthy and rich it is!

    1. L says

      I know your comment is intended to be a compliment, but this looks *close* to an “original” chocolate cake? What does “original” mean, exactly, and how would this cake possibly look more like it?

  4. Kait says

    Before I started reading I was all ready to profess my love for you just based on the title + photo…now I’m in mom mode! So still professing my love but with a boatload of HOPE YOU’RE OK behind that too.


    1. Amanda says

      Thanks Kait. <3 Hoping tomorrow's appointment is a helpful one. I need to email you later because I know you of all people will be able to relate to the shitty hospital experience. 😉

      1. Kait says

        Absolutely email me! I’m in the midst of an insurance situation now so I feel you completely. Good luck at your appointment.

  5. Geez Amanda what a scare. I hope the biopsy goes well. I have had two on my thyroid and although they say it doesn’t hurt I’d take some anti-inflammatories before. Be super careful with your seat belt on the way home, if you have a small pillow or can fold a towel to keep it between you and the belt it will be a lot more comfortable.

    It almost seems silly to comment about the cake, but YOU need to stop with these great recipes. Ha,ha. No seriously, I’m almost passing out from the pictures. I too heart chocolate and can’t wait to make this.

    All the best in the next few days. xoxo Kellie

    1. Amanda says

      Thank you for the suggestions, Kellie! Especially about the pillow for the car ride home (luckily it’s a short ride). The last doctor told me not to take things like ibuprofen because it would mask a fever (and the one before him said advil/tylenol was fine, so…??), but I have been taking lots of turmeric as an anti-inflammatory. Maybe that will help. 🙂 I just hope they actually do the biopsy today and that it isn’t “indeterminate”.

      Also, not at all silly to comment about the cake! It always makes me happy to hear when people want to make my recipes, and Aaron will be thrilled to hear you like the photos. xo

  6. Marika says

    Hi Amanda. This cake looks wonderful and I’m sure I’ll be giving it a whirl soon—I’ve never needed my arm twisted to try a chocolate cake (my childhood photos also show ample smeary evidence of chocolate consumption). I’ve been sitting at the back of the class here, quietly enjoying your beautiful site—but I wanted to speak up and let you know how much I enjoy it and how much I appreciate your hard work. I’ve spent some time in hospital recently myself and I know how important it is to have doctors you feel good about. Be sure to get the rest you need. I wish you well, well, well—and thank you for this beautiful cake.

    1. Amanda says

      Thank you for the super sweet comment, Marika! You just made my morning. I’m sorry to hear you had to spend some time in the hospital recently. I hope you’re feeling better and we can both stay out of there (at least for a long time). On the up side, I will say that it’s made me even more of an advocate for myself and more compassionate to those who have to be there.

  7. AC says

    Sorry to hear about your ill health, hope you are feeling much better soon.
    Thank you for all the great recipes you blog, the chocolate cake looks amazing!

  8. sharon says

    Hi Amanda, I was looking at your recipe for the frosting, and you refer to non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening. What is that?

    1. Amanda says

      I use the Earth Balance shortening sticks (found in the refrigerated section near the butters), but I think there are other brands as well (Nutiva comes to mind). Stores like Whole Foods should have this, and if for some reason you have trouble finding it, you can always put in a request. Hope this helps!

  9. Natalia says

    It looks perfect!

  10. Caitlin says

    i read this post on my phone when you first posted it (and commented on insta), but i just wanted to comment here and tell you how amazing you are. i hope you keep us updated on what happens, since we (and especially me!) care about you and want to know how everything is going <3

    also, this cake should be in my belly right now. and even though i'm not a big icing person, i[m pretty sure i could eat this icing with a spoon out of a bowl. especially if there were peanuts on top. oh man…

  11. Pingback: Vegan Lemon Bars
  12. Richa says

    oh no. i hear you about the docs and number of tests and people who will trow around random stuff. hang in there and sending you lots of love and luck to find the right doc, both a good medical doc and a good person who cares.

    now for the cake. the pharma companies should take note on how to get people to eat medicines. hide them in this chocolate cake 🙂

  13. Rachel R. says

    Made this along with the chocolate buttercream frosting for my husband’s birthday cake today. HUGE HIT. I used dark chocolate cocoa powder, and it made for a seriously intensely chocolate cake – just what the hubby wanted. Great, easy cake recipe!

    1. Amanda says

      I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed the cake, Rachel! I like that you used dark chocolate cocoa powder. I’m with your hubby–the more intense the chocolate, the better! Happy (belated) birthday to him!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *