Vegan Mexican Chocolate Cake

Slices of vegan Mexican chocolate cake topped with powdered sugar

Samere Fahim Photography / Getty Images

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 1 (9-inch) cake
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
278 Calories
9g Fat
47g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 278
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 159mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 47g 17%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 27g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 10mg 1%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 32mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Inspired by Mexican hot chocolate, made famous by the movie "Chocolat," this vegan Mexican chocolate cake recipe uses both cinnamon and cayenne to get a spicy chocolate flavor. The spices blend perfectly with rich chocolate for a deliciously flavorful dessert.

Even though this cake is made from scratch, it's just as easy as a boxed mix. You simply add all of the dry ingredients followed by the wet ingredients and mix them together for a one-bowl batter. It only takes a few minutes to throw together and comes out moist and flavorful. The recipe makes one 9-inch cake, but you can double it to make two layers. Top simply with a dusting of powdered sugar or go all out and top with vegan chocolate frosting or drizzle with chocolate ganache.

Since this is a vegan recipe, it's meat, dairy free, and egg free. A small amount of oil replaces the standard butter and a tablespoon of white vinegar helps stand-in for eggs and give the cake its lift. You won't taste the vinegar in the finished cake—it largely bakes off in the oven and melds with the other flavors.


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 cup cold water

  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F and lightly grease a 9-inch-square or -round cake pan.

  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon, and cayenne and stir. Add the cold water, vegetable oil, white vinegar, and vanilla and stir until just combined.

  4. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

  5. Let the cake cool completely. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve.

Recipe Variations

  • For a richer flavor, swap some or all of the cold water with chilled coffee. It will accentuate the chocolate flavor without turning it into a coffee-flavored cake.
  • Double up on the chocolate by dusting the finished cake with cocoa powder instead of confectioners' sugar.
  • Sprinkle the top of the cake with finely chopped, toasted walnuts or pecans or chocolate chips for textural contrast.


  • This vegan chocolate cake will keep for a few days at room temperature. Cover tightly and keep in a cool place.
  • A baked and completely cooled cake can also be frozen. Wrap tightly in several layers of plastic wrap and place in a zip-top freezer bag. Freeze for up to three months. Let thaw overnight in the fridge before using.