Cakes/ Dessert/ Recipes

Vegan Double Chocolate Cake with Brown Sugar 7-Minute Frosting

My birthday was last week and I didn’t eat any cake.

Sure, I ate pre-birthday tiramisu, red swedish fish and a gooey brownie buuuuuuuuuut no cake. To remedy that situation and to start my 27th year off on the right foot, I made myself a belated birthday cake the other day. Oh, yes I did!

This vegan chocolate cake recipe is the same recipe I used to use a million years ago when I worked at the bakery in Florida. My boss couldn’t believe it when I created a completely vegan, fluffy chocolate cupcake that rivaled his butter-laden one. At the bakery, I topped my vegan chocolate cupcakes with a vegan buttercream frosting and a vegan chocolate sandwich cookie (like Newman’s Own).

NOT THIS TIME! Friends, let me introduce you to 7-minute frosting (<—-not vegan. for vegan frosting for this cake, try this one). Warning: your life is about to change.

7-minute frosting is the first frosting I ever made on my own. I vividly remember standing over the stove with my mom’s old white handmixer, whirling egg whites together with boiling sugar syrup until clouds of billowy frosting magically appeared before my eyes. True story.

This brown sugar version is a little more old fashioned than the traditional “boiled frosting”, and I love how the mellow flavor of the sugar goes perfectly with chocolate cake. It’s a match made in heaven, I tell ya!

To make brown sugar 7-minute frosting you need brown sugar, egg whites, water and vinegar. Yes, vinegar. Trust me on this one. And don’t worry about the uncooked egg whites, either—-you’ll cook the egg whites just fine while you drizzle in the boiling sugar syrup. No fear!

The end result is a frosting that is half meringue and half buttercream. For a little more of a vanilla flavor, you could add some vanilla extract to the mix, but I love it just as it is. It’s the fluffiest frosting I know and perfect for sandwiching together thick slices of double chocolate cake, wouldn’t ya say?

I want to bury my face in the above photo. Right.this.second.

I’m a firm believer that you can never go wrong adding extra chocolate chips, so this cake is made extra chocolately that way. I’ve made this cake dozens of times over the years, but this go around I tried using coconut oil in it. Hmmmm….it tasted the same but since coconut oil is a solid at room temperature, I found that the melted oil seized up into tiny clumps after adding cold ingredients (milk). The tiny clumps of coconut oil then formed teeny tiny holes in the cake. Drats.

Moral of the story is that you can certainly use whatever oil you like here, but if you don’t want to see small holes in your beautiful cake, I recommend NOT following my lead and using canola oil instead.

Vegan Double Chocolate Cake with Brown Sugar 7-Minute Frosting

makes two 8″ cake layers

cake recipe slightly adapted from The Moosewood Cookbook

Print this recipe!


3 cups flour

2/3 cup cocoa, preferably dutch-process or Hershey’s “extra dark”

1 tsp baking soda

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup oil (I used melted coconut oil but would recommend using canola instead)

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 tbsp vanilla extract

2 cups soy milk or almond milk

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

for frosting—

2 1/2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed

1 tsp vinegar

2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

2/3 cup water

2 egg whites, unbeaten


Preheat oven to 375.

Thoroughly grease and flour two 8″ cake pans, shaking off the excess flour. Set prepared pans aside.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

Combine the soy milk and the vinegar in a glass measuring cup and let stand for two minutes to curdle. Then, pour into another bowl and add the oil, sugar and vanilla extract. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and fold in chocolate chips. Divide batter evenly into prepared pans and bake for about 30 minutes, until cakes start to separate from the sides of pan. Remove from oven and let cool completely before icing.

To make the icing, bring the brown sugar, vinegar and water to a boil on the stove. Boil for three minutes then remove. With either a hand mixer or a Kitchen Aid mixer running, slowly drizzle the boiling syrup over the egg whites, beating continually. Do not stop beating. Add vanilla extract if using. Continue for about 7 minutes, until frosting has a meringue-type consistency and can hold peaks.

To finish cake, place one cake round on a plate and spread the top with frosting. Gently set other cake round on top and spread more frosting on top and down sides if you like.

This cake is best the day it’s made.


1.5 hours



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  • Kristen @ notsodomesticated
    June 20, 2012 at 3:56 am

    Yum!! I’ve made frosting like that before, only it was with melted chocolate. But the idea of cooking the egg whites with the warm chocolate, and then beating it to death … it really does result in the best frosting EVER. Like, ever. I could eat that stuff for the rest of my life and be happy. 😉

  • Marissa
    June 20, 2012 at 4:34 am

    This looks amazing!!

  • Molly @ RDexposed
    June 20, 2012 at 4:38 am

    This frosting has me intrigued!

  • Jenn
    June 20, 2012 at 4:51 am

    Looks Delilah! Are you turning vegan again or just like to experiment?

    • Jen
      June 20, 2012 at 6:52 am

      *that’s delish…I don’t know who Delilah is 😉

  • katie @KatieDid
    June 20, 2012 at 5:00 am

    that first photo with the side light and exposed brick is just lovely. Absolutely love it!

  • mom
    June 20, 2012 at 5:15 am

    Thought it looked like meringue on top! Looks delish!

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin
    June 20, 2012 at 5:35 am

    This looks amazing! I actually ate Moosewood’s vegan chocolate cake when I went to their restaurant this summer and no one in my family could believe it was vegan – it was so rich and fudgy!

  • Jordan @ Bake Write Sleep
    June 20, 2012 at 5:36 am

    That sounds yummmmy!

    Although it smooths out well for decorating purposes, I just can’t get with the texture of the Swiss meringue. I might try this one, since it’s half/half… but I’m just a diehard buttercream kind of girl. Even though I live in crazy humid Florida. (I’m a glutton for punishment, apparently, which I’m sure you can understand, as you live in Florida too!)

  • Angela @ Happy Fit Mama
    June 20, 2012 at 5:37 am

    Delicious! I was just looking for a cake recipe too!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    June 20, 2012 at 5:48 am

    Oh. My. Goodness. I want to bite a chunk out of my screen right now!! This looks phenomenal, and I hope you DID consume the cake on the day it was made as you said! 😉 My gran used to make the most amazing lemon meringe pie and my favourite part of it was always the meringue. Having a meringue-esque icing sounds divine!

  • Shannon (A Fork In Each Hand)
    June 20, 2012 at 5:52 am

    Yum yum chocolate cake! This looks incredible!

  • DessertForTwo
    June 20, 2012 at 5:59 am

    Happy (belated) Birthday! 🙂

  • Liz@The Intrepid French Learner
    June 20, 2012 at 6:07 am

    Wow, that looks delicious. I used to have a housemate who was vegan and “treated” us to many of her vegan creations, and she once made a vegan chocolate cake… not so good. Judging by the ingredients in yours, it should taste better.

    I’ve seen special “vegan” chocolate chips… is that just a marketing ploy? You mention (regular, I presume) semi-sweet chocolate chips. Is there any reason a strict vegan wouldn’t eat them?

    • Han
      October 25, 2012 at 6:43 am

      Hi Liz,

      I agree, this looks amazing!

      In regards to the chocolate chips. Most, if not all, chocolate chips that are non-vegan have some dairy product in them (the % that is not cocoa is usually a combo of sugar and milk solids-even in dark chocolate chips which are at most usually 75-80% cocoa). So that rules them out for strict vegans. I am personally not a strict vegan and also happen to love chocolate, but that is the reasoning behind avoiding it if you are.

      Happy cooking.

      Han xxx

  • Jenna | The Paleo Project
    June 20, 2012 at 6:12 am

    Any way to extend a birthday is okay in my book!! Happy Birthday Month!

  • Kristen @ Popcorn on the Stove
    June 20, 2012 at 6:14 am

    I think this post may have already changed my life! As soon as it’s not a billion degrees out, I’m going to whip this up… yum!

  • Allyn
    June 20, 2012 at 6:20 am

    I turned 27 the day after you. We really are birthday buddies!
    I’ve been curious about this icing for a long time, but your inclusion of brown sugar (which I LOVE) has put me firmly on the side of “must make it NOW.”
    Though I think cupcakes will be my vehicle of choice to get in in my face.

  • Kathleen @ KatsHealthCorner
    June 20, 2012 at 6:25 am

    A VEGAN Chocolate Cake?!?!?! I would totally make this for my birthday! It sounds (and looks) AMAZING!!!! 😀

  • Cait's Plate
    June 20, 2012 at 6:45 am

    This looks seriously incredible. The cake looks SO moist! And I’m a sucker for a good 7-minute frosting. My mom has a 7-minute buttercream and I LOVE it.

  • holly
    June 20, 2012 at 6:59 am

    saving this one to make myself on my birthday in august! NOMNOM!

  • Living The Sweet Life
    June 20, 2012 at 7:25 am

    I adore you for making this SO easy, my waistline – – not so much 😉 lol. This is a great recipe, and I love your cupcake measuring spoon – – so cute!

    • jenna
      June 20, 2012 at 7:35 am

      Can you believe right after that photo was taken I dropped that measuring spoon and broke it?! My heart hurt.

  • Alice
    June 20, 2012 at 7:36 am

    Lovely recipe, I’m going to try it soon. But the frosting isn’t vegan, there are egg whites in it!

  • Margarita
    June 20, 2012 at 7:36 am

    glad you enjoyed your birthday and even more glad that you made yourself a cake! i totally wanna see for myself the magic that happens with the frosting!

  • Heather {ModernMealsforTwo}
    June 20, 2012 at 7:39 am

    Hello! This looks incredible! I’ve never done any vegan baking, but this recipe plus my personal challenge to make one layer cake a month in 2012 means I may have just found the right cake for June!

  • Sarah
    June 20, 2012 at 7:45 am

    Ah yes – more chocolate chips, more power to ya! 😀 This frosting looks like so much fun. I will have to try it!

  • Laura @ She Eats Well
    June 20, 2012 at 8:09 am

    7 – min frosting is legendary in my family. My Mom would make it all the time growing up as it was my Dad’s favorite. This post brings me right back to my childhood! Yum!

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks
    June 20, 2012 at 8:16 am

    I’ve heard amazing things about 7 Minute Frosting. I’ve never tried it but now I want to.

    I love that you paired a vegan cake with non-vegan frosting….whatever tastes the BEST is what I would pair together. And looks like you’ve got a winner. And happy belated bday, again 🙂

    June 20, 2012 at 8:18 am

    love the idea of 7 minute frosting! and this vegan cake looks so easy to make. definitely adding it to my recipe list.

  • Rachael
    June 20, 2012 at 8:48 am

    I love brown sugar frosting – so so good!

  • joelle (on a pink typewriter)
    June 20, 2012 at 9:07 am

    This looks SO FREAKIN’ GOOD! I want a big piece right this second!

  • Sarah
    June 20, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Vegan chocolate cake is one of my FAVS (and I had a strict non-vegan policy).

    Where did you get those measuring spoons!?? Cupcakes + baking = life essentials. I need those in my life!

  • Liz
    June 20, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Wow! This cake look’s FABULOUS!

  • Emilie @ Emilie's Enjoyables
    June 20, 2012 at 9:35 am

    ahhh that frosting looks so fluffy and delicious!

  • Lee, Anytime Health
    June 20, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Everyone deserve birthday cake, even if it’s a week late! Interesting that you used vinegar, I have never heard of that! I’m thinking this is going to have to go in my recipe to-do’s. Buttercream frosting is a little rich for me, but have meringue. Perfection!

  • mollyk
    June 20, 2012 at 10:10 am

    This looks so good! I’m so excited about the icing recipe because I can’t eat corn and as you probably know most fluffier icing recipes involve powder sugar which also involves cornstarch. Can’t wait to try it!

  • Caroline L.
    June 20, 2012 at 10:24 am

    The cake looks divine!

  • Lauren @ Sassy Molassy
    June 20, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Oh my my, Jenna, this looks amazing!!

  • traci
    June 20, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Great job! The cake looks so good. You did an amazing job. Cant wait to try it

  • Kristen R.
    June 20, 2012 at 11:55 am

    This is my dream cake. You are my hero. And since my birthday was on June 10th, I think I deserve to treat myself. That and the whole mother of 22-month-old twins thing. That calls for a big ol’ slice. 🙂

  • Jacqueline
    June 20, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Your pictures of this cake are gorgeous!!! How you managed to photograph this super-delicious cake without eating half of it first proves you have better self control than I do. This looks SO good, Jenna!! I think you’re definitely starting your 27th year on the best note possible.

  • johanna
    June 20, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    I love your recepies! I have one question though… Since I’m swedish I don’t know how much “a stick butter” is. I would be very happy if you could tell me how much it is in grams of pounds or somthing like that, thank you!

    • jenna
      June 20, 2012 at 12:31 pm

      Well, there’s no butter in this recipe! 😉 However, for future reference, 1 stick of butter = 4 oz 🙂

  • Julia {The Roasted Root}
    June 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Ohhhh girly, this cake looks fabulous! Well deserved as a belated bday treat – a bday without cake is no bday at all! Way to give yourself a celebratory cake even if it was late. FYI, I LOVE sweedish fish, good going on those bad boys, too! 🙂

  • Chand
    June 20, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Jenna. One stick of butter is 8 ozs. I believe. =\

  • Chand
    June 20, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Nope your right! 8 tablespoons! 4 ozs. I will now go back to being a non commentator!

  • Michelle @ Turning Over a New Leaf
    June 20, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    I love this! I made a 7-minute frosting with white sugar at work (I’m the backup baker at a coffeeshop, in addition to being lunch crew) a while back. It was served on our snickerdoodle cupcake and it was so nervewracking to make, but ended up being so easy! I’m glad to see that a brown sugar variation is possible!

  • Kelly @ My Love Affair With Running
    June 20, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    AH! This looks amazing! My birthday is next week so I have done a bit of emailing action.. hopefully they will get the the hint 😉

  • Kim @ The Family Practice
    June 20, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    I didn’t have any cake for my birthday either! Maybe I can make this – is a month late too late to celebrate?!

  • Moni Meals
    June 20, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    I will be making this for sure!!
    I will let you know how it turns out. fantastic recipe, and I could care less that it takes 1.5 hours! 🙂

  • Kelly
    June 20, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Wow…this looks amazing and I don’t even like cake! ha! I want to bury my face in the above photo too.

  • luv what you do
    June 20, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    I’m ready for life changing frosting! The whole cake looks amazing and I can’t wait to have a reason to make it!

  • Full-Flavored Life
    June 20, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Can’t wait to try this cake! Happy belated birthday!!

  • Mo
    June 21, 2012 at 12:06 am

    Looks delicious! 🙂 Thanks for the vegan treat and easy frosting.

  • Marie-Sophie
    June 21, 2012 at 5:10 am

    When you bake with coconut oil, it is essential to take all ingredients (eggs when using, milk, everything!) out of the fridge beforehand so they can come to room temperature! Then you should be completely fine !! the cake looks yummy – I am going to try it with the coconut oil 🙂

  • Sloane @ Life Food and Beer
    June 21, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Last week was my 27th Birthday too. I didn’t have cake either, and thought about making myself one. But I would have ate the whole thing by myself. I had a Chocolate Chip Cookie that was almost as good 🙂

  • Emily @ Life on Food
    June 21, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    I would bury my face in that slice too. I will have to check out that frosting. I really hate using powdered sugar so this is right up my alley.

  • Urban Wife
    June 21, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Ok, now I want to dive right into my monitor and eat this cake. Holy yum.

  • Roxana GreenGirl { A little bit of everything}
    June 21, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Happy Belated Birthday Jenna! A wonderful cake to celebrate, even if it was a little late!
    Love the chocolate cake, you can never have too much chocolate.
    p.s. I have the same cupcake measuring spoons 🙂

  • Katrina
    June 24, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Love that frosting! This cake sounds super fabulous Jenna!

  • The bestest of the best. | To the Moon and Back Again
    August 3, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    […] – Vegan Double Chocolate Cake (made into cupcakes) half with Brown Sugar 7-Minute Frosting and half with Champagne […]

  • pam
    August 21, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    not very vegan, but sounds good

  • Meredith
    October 14, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Thnank u for posting! I used this for my dairy free child’s 3rd birthday cake, iced with a strawberry icing From vegan alien guide website, it was awesome and the guests couldnt believe it was vegan. My husband is vegan so I’m always looking for something yummy, thank u so much!!

  • Ally
    April 11, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    I paired the frosting with the vegan chocolate cupcakes instead and it was delicious. It satisfied my chocolate craving.

  • aly
    August 1, 2014 at 8:33 am

    I just made your vegan double chocolate cake for a vegan friend. It was divine! I think this might be one of my go-to cake recipes for vegans and meat eating friends alike! Since my friend is vegan, I topped it with OhSheGlow’s two ingredient frosting. Yum!

    Thank you for the great recipe!

  • Igz
    September 14, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    Lovely vegan cake but the frosting isn’t vegan.

  • Jesse
    September 27, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Egg whites=not vegan

  • Aly
    October 23, 2014 at 4:35 am

    I have made the cake twice, and I have received to a of compliments each time! The first time I made it for a vegan friend with meat loving kids (I used a simple coconut milk and chocolate frosting from Oh She Glows) and her and her kids loved them! Her kids kept coming back for more.

    Thanks for the awesome recipe! I think it might become one of my go to chocolate cake recipes.

  • April Knight
    November 7, 2019 at 9:17 am

    More Vegan recipes here –
    Healthy and tasty!!))

  • Builddaysis.Com
    April 12, 2020 at 12:36 pm

    You ll find it best to spread the frosting while it s still warm. Just make sure that your cake is cool before you begin the frosting.