If you like chocolate, coffee, and cake, today is your lucky day. And if you’ve never baked a cake before, let this easy one-bowl recipe be your first! Rich, moist, and ultra-chocolatey, please welcome your new go-to chocolate cake recipe: Chocolate Olive Oil Cake with Espresso Frosting!

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake with Espresso Frosting [Vegan]



Cooking Time




For the Cake:

  • 1/2 tablespoon vegan butter, to grease the pan
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (see note)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder (see note)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 to 10 coffee beans, coarsely ground or crushed in a mortar and pestle (optional, see note)


To Make the Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square pan or an 8- or 9-inch round cake pan with vegan butter. Line the bottom of the pan with a square or circle of parchment, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt, and whisk until evenly mixed.
  3. Add the water, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, and vanilla, and stir just until blended to avoid overmixing.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean with a few crumbs sticking to it, 25 to 30 minutes.
  5. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack, peel off the parchment paper, and let cool completely.

To Make the Frosting:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, blend the vegan butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Sift the powdered sugar, cocoa, and espresso powder into the bowl using a wire-mesh strainer, then add the vanilla and blend on medium-high speed until creamy.
  2. Add the crushed coffee beans, if desired, and blend to combine.

To Serve:

  1. Once the cake has cooled completely, place it on a serving plate. Frost the top (and sides, if desired) evenly with the frosting. Serve and enjoy!


— The cake will stay fresh in a covered container at room temperature for a day or up to 3 days in the fridge. If refrigerating, allow the cake to warm to room temperature before serving. — The cake can be baked in an 8-inch square pan, or an 8- or 9-inch circle pan. An 8-inch circle cake will be slightly taller and will take up to 5 minutes longer to bake. — To make a 6-inch cake that serves 4 to 6 people, simply halve the recipe for both the cake and frosting. — There are two types of unsweetened cocoa powder available in stores: natural and dutch processed. Natural cocoa has a reddish-brown color and an intense bittersweet chocolate flavor. Dutch-processed cocoa is much darker in color, resulting in baked goods that appear almost black (as pictured above), with a slightly less bitter flavor, similar to an Oreo cookie. For this recipe, either type works, so use whichever you prefer. — Espresso powder is sold in the baking aisle of many grocery stores and online. It is simply made of coffee beans that are very finely ground, allowing you to add coffee flavor to baked goods without affecting the texture. — The crushed or ground coffee beans add a delightful subtle crunch to the frosting, but if you prefer a perfectly smooth frosting, feel free to omit them. — To make this recipe gluten-free, simply substitute the all-purpose flour for your preferred brand of 1-to-1 gluten-free baking flour, which can be found in grocery stores and online.