vegan chocolate cake coffee buttercream

It’s no secret that I love baking cookies. They’re quick to throw together, and I always store leftovers in the freezer for future snacking. But if I have plenty of time and a willing audience, you better bet I’m making a cake! There’s something about a slice of cake that just feels complete. This chocolate cake with coffee buttercream frosting is one of my favorite desserts to share with friends.

I came up with this dense coffee buttercream recipe years ago, and I think it balances sweetness with richness and flavor. I’m really not a fan of super sweet frosting, and this hits the spot for me.

There are a million different vegan chocolate cake recipes out there, and no doubt each of you has your go-to version. For what it’s worth, I’ve tried several different versions over the years, sometimes side-by-side for comparison, and this one, based on Joy of Cooking‘s “Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake,” has consistently turned out the best, in terms of both flavor and texture. It’s moist and chocolatey with an even crumb, and I definitely encourage you to try it out! I’ve adapted it here to create 2 9″ layers, so this is definitely a recipe for a crowd.

chocolate cake coffee buttercream

If you want to frost your cake the way I did here, check outΒ this tutorial for a pretty petal effect. It’s really easy, and I think that small bit of extra effort toward presentation goes a long way! Just keep a couple of tips in mind. First, save yourself a world of frustration by doing a crumb coat before you start decorating. Second, if you don’t have a tiny spatula to spread your dots, you can use a small spoon instead. Lastly, keep in mind that if your frosting gets a little too soft as you work your way around the sides of the cake, you should stick your pastry bag in the fridge and walk away for 10 minutes before continuing. Be patient, and you’ll have a beautiful cake in no time!

5.0 from 12 reviews
Double-Layer Chocolate Cake with Coffee Buttercream
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-12
  • 3 c all-purpose flour
  • 2¼ c sugar
  • ¾ c cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 c cold water or coffee
  • ½ c vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 4 tsp vanilla
  • Coffee Buttercream Frosting
  • ½ c shortening
  • ½ c vegan butter
  • 5 c powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee dissolved in 1 Tbsp vegan milk
  • up to ¼ c plain, unsweetened vegan milk
  1. Preheat oven to 375Β°.
  2. Grease and flour two 9β€³ cake pans and line with parchment paper.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together water or coffee, oil, vinegar, and vanilla.
  5. Stir until the dry mixture is just moistened; some lumps are okay. The batter will turn lighter in color.
  6. Pour quickly into prepared pans.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes.
  9. Loosen sides of cake from pans, then flip them out of the pans and onto cooling racks.
  10. Cool completely before frosting.
  11. Meanwhile, prepare frosting.
  12. Cream shortening and butter.
  13. Add powdered sugar, coffee mixture, and 1 tablespoon vegan milk; beat with a fork until blended.
  14. Add more vegan milk, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency. Use less milk for dense frosting, and more for a whipped consistency. If you'd like it to be particularly fluffy, beat with a hand mixer instead.
  15. Frost and decorate cake as desired.
Don’t be tempted to peek before 20 minutes have passed, or your cake may not rise properly!

Obviously, don’t forget to fold your heart in.

It’s been such a great month, y’all! I won’t be blogging at this maniacal, every-day rate until next year, but I’ll still be posting recipes regularly. I’ve genuinely loved reading all of your comments, and hope y’all stick around in the months to come. Stay vegan!