Vegan Chocolate Coconut Cake

published on , modified on

vegan chocolate coconut cake

This organic, vegan chocolate cake has a creamy coconut filling reminiscent of a mounds candy bar. The cake is covered in a thin layer of vanilla buttercream frosting. It’s topped with a rich chocolate ganache drip, ribbons of buttercream frosting, and pieces of vegan mounds candy bars.

This recipe makes a 2-layer 8” or 9” round chocolate coconut birthday cake (16 servings).

Table of Contents

(click the links below to skip to the section you’re looking for)

♫ Listening to ♫

Asido by Purity Ring

I was the weird kid that traded my Reeses cups for the other kids mounds bars on Halloween. Coconut and chocolate go together like Rilakkuma and Korilakkuma.

I made this vegan birthday cake for my dad. If you were wondering if chocoholism is hereditary, I think this supports that theory.

Keep your device from going to sleep while you cook

Vegan Chocolate Cake Ingredients

  • 2 cups nondairy milk
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or substitute white vinegar)
  • 2 ½ cups unbleached white flour
  • ⅔ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅔ cup sunflower oil
  • 1 ½ cups organic sugar*
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Vegan Chocolate Cake Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Coat 2 round cake pans with any vegetable oil (or vegan nonstick spray).

Combine vinegar and soymilk and let sit.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder into another bowl.

Add the oil, sugar, and vanilla to the soymilk mixture and stir well.

Add the dry ingredients slowly to the wet, mixing continuously. Stop mixing when you can no longer see any dry ingredients.

Pour half of the batter into each cake pan.

Bake for 35 minutes, until when you insert a toothpick into the center of one, it comes out clean. (If making cupcakes, bake for 18-20 minutes. If making 4” cakes, bake for 22-25 minutes.)

Cool the 8" round cake pans on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes.

Flip the pans upside down onto the cooling rack to cool the rest of the way. My cakes typically take a couple of hours to cool completely.

Vegan Vanilla Frosting Ingredients

  • ¾ cup vegan butter or margarine*
  • ¾ cup organic palm shortening*
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 6 cups organic powdered sugar*
  • up to 2 tablespoons nondairy milk (optional, to achieve a creamy consistency if needed)
  • vegan food coloring (optional, but I used Color Kitchen)

Vegan Vanilla Frosting Directions

Leave the ingredients sitting out before using them. Best results come from using room temperature ingredients.

Whisk the shortening and margarine for 1 minute using a stand mixer or a handheld electric mixer.

Sift in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing for at least minute between each addition.

Add the vanilla extract, and mix for 2 more minutes.

Remove three-quarters of the frosting.

Blend 1 cup of shredded coconut, using the pulse button 3-5 times. (This step is optional.)

Mix the remaining white frosting with the coconut.

Fill the 2 cake layers with the coconut mixed with frosting.

Use the white frosting to complete the crumb layer of frosting.

Chill the crumb layer to harden to touch.

Divide the frosting into 2 bowls. Leave one white.

Add vegan food coloring to the other bowl of frosting and mix well (I used my stand mixer with the whisk attachment). If you use color kitchen all-natural food coloring, follow the directions for mixing on the packet.

Spread or pipe the white and colored frosting around the cake in any design you prefer. The top doesn’t have to be perfect since it will be covered with ganache.

Spin the cake while smoothing out the icing with an offset spatula.

Chill the cake while you make the ganache.

vegan mounds cake

Vegan Chocolate Ganache Ingredients

  • 6 ounces vegan chocolate chips
  • 4 ounces nondairy milk

Vegan Chocolate Ganache Directions

Heat the nondairy milk on the stove until it starts to simmer.

Add the vegan chocolate chips and remove from heat, cover the pot, and swirl it around.

Wait for 5 minutes before uncovering and whisking the chocolate ganache until smooth and melted.

Cool the ganache for around 15 minutes before decorating cake.

Decorating the Vegan Mounds Cake

Spoon ganache around the perimeter of the cake at one-inch intervals to get the perfect size drips to start falling down the sides of your cake. To see more details on how to do this, see my recipe for grasshopper cake.

Fill the top of the cake once you have all the drips on the sides. Use an offset spatula to smooth out the ganache on the top. You can also tap the entire cake on the counter to get the spatula lines to settle.

Chill the cake while you prepare the decorations.

Fill a piping bag with the remaining frosting. I like to add the colored and white frosting side by side so that they pipe out like an ombré.

Gather sprinkles, colored coconut, candy bars, and any other decorative treats you plan to use. For this cake, I used the remaining color kitchen food coloring to color some coconut and sprinkled that on top of the cake.

Cut vegan mounds candy bars into pieces. Amy's Sunny candy bars are a vegan version of mounds candy bars. If you don’t have sunny bars, you can also make your own vegan mounds to put on top of the cake, or see the FAQ below for other options.

Remove the cake from the fridge.

Pipe frosting on the cake as you choose.

vegan mounds cake

Decorate with whatever you have.

slice of vegan mounds cake

Questions and Answers

Can I make this cake with chocolate frosting instead of vanilla frosting?

Sure! There’s an excellent rich chocolate buttercream frosting recipe in my rocky road cupcakes recipe.

I can’t find Sunny Bars. Are there other vegan mounds bars?

Yes! Two of my favorite vegan mounds bars are Unreal coconut bars and Ocho dark chocolate coconut bars. Ocho makes ones that are vegan and ones that are not, so make sure you get the right one. If you can’t find either of those, you can also make you own using my mounds candy recipe.

Ingredient Substitutions for Mounds Cake

  • Nondairy Milk: You can use any kind of plant milk in this cake recipe. If you’re making this for someone who avoids nuts, choose oat milk or organic soymilk. If you’re making this a gluten-free cake, use almond milk, milkadamia milk, or organic soymilk. If you’re making this for someone who avoids soy, use almond milk or oat milk. Otherwise, just buy the cheapest vegan milk you can find. If you don’t have the full amount of nondairy milk that the cake recipe requires, you can substitute any amount with water, coffee, or nondairy creamer. You can also mix and match different nondairy milks. If you use soymilk, I recommend buying organic or non-GMO to make sure it’s vegan.
  • Vinegar: If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, replace it with lemon juice, white vinegar, or lime juice. You just need some sort of acid to interact with the nondairy milk to create vegan buttermilk.
  • Oil: I recommend using safflower, sunflower, avocado, or coconut oil for baking cakes. Those oils withstand high heat, which helps you avoid transfats. But, you can use other oils such as vegetable oil, canola oil, or grapeseed oil. People even make cakes with olive oil, but I don’t recommend it.
  • Flour: To make this cake gluten-free, replace the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend. But keep in mind that your results may not be as moist and delicious if you make this modification.
  • Cocoa Powder: I use fair trade, organic cocoa powder, but you can use whatever kind you have.
  • Baking Soda: If you are out of baking soda, replace the 1 ½ teaspoons (9-10g) baking soda in this recipe with an additional 1 ½ tablespoons baking powder.
  • Baking Powder: If you’re out of baking powder, you can replace the 1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder in this recipe with and additional ¼ teaspoon baking soda.
  • Sugar: You can use any number of sugars, as long as they’re vegan. Options include sucanat, coconut sugar, raw sugar, organic sugar, or demurara. If you’re not sure if your sugar is vegan, you can contact the company and ask. If you avoid conventional white sugar or granulated sugar, and you should be ok.
  • Vanilla Extract: Vanilla flavoring and vanilla extract can be used interchangeably. The only difference is that vanilla extract is in a base of alcohol and vanilla flavoring is in a base of glycerin. Try to use 100% pure vanilla extract or flavoring. If the ingredients don’t specifically say vanilla bean, then it may be made of chemicals. More rare, but still possible, it could be made with animal products.
  • Vegan Butter: I usually use organic whipped earth balance. I like the flavor and the consistency. It always works great in every recipe. If you avoid soy, they make a soy-free version too. You can use any brand of vegan butter or margarine that you prefer. The smoothness of the frosting may vary, depending on what brand you use. (I would avoid Miyokos, for instance.)
  • Vegan Shortening: If you don’t have access to vegan shortening, replace it with more vegan butter or margarine. Using vegan butter in place of shortening will make a frosting that is less stable at room temperature. Therefore, you should keep it in the fridge instead of on the counter, if your house is warm.
  • Powdered Sugar: Try to find organic powdered sugar to make sure that it’s vegan. The 24-oz bag of 365 organic powdered sugar from Whole Foods is the perfect amount and it’s inexpensive, compared to other brands of organic powdered sugar. If you’re not sure if your powdered sugar is vegan, read my list of vegan powdered sugar brands.
  • Food Coloring: I used color kitchen all-natural food coloring for this recipe. Check out my entire list of vegan food coloring for other options.
  • Chocolate Chips: For the 1 cup (6oz/170g) of vegan chocolate chips in the ganache, you can substitute any vegan chocolate. I like to use fair trade and organic chocolate, but I know that can get pricey. If you’re trying to save money, Trader Joe’s sells cheap vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips. Guittard makes less expensive fair trade vegan chocolate chips that are sold in a lot of grocery stores.

Comments or Questions?

If you make this mounds cake recipe, snap a pic, post to instagram, and tag me @vegandollhouse. I love to see your creations!

Please message me (instagram or email) if you have any questions or feedback about the recipe.

Similar Recipe Suggestions

If you love the chocolate-coconut marriage, check out my other chocolate coconut recipes.

  • These heart-shaped mounds chocolate candies use an alternative sweetener and are naturally colored with dragonfruit.
  • These heart-shaped mounds waffles with mini chocolate chips make a fun breakfast for special occasions.
  • This german chocolate cake is mostly naked but has a rich dark chocolate ganache drip.

If you love coconut, but don’t care for chocolate (WHO EVEN ARE YOU?), check out my mini pastel coconut cakes recipe.

To convert this mounds cake into an almond joy cake, try replacing the frosting with my vegan almond frosting.


* I use mostly organic ingredients when I cook. I realize that not everyone has the disposable income to buy only organic ingredients. So, I only specify organic on the ingredients that matter: when buying the organic (or non-GMO) version is the only way to ensure that an item is vegan.

This post links to items I used when I made this recipe. If you click on the purple Buy Now button on a product page, you will go to a website (like Amazon) where you can buy the same product I used. Sometimes, the store you purchase from (Amazon, Etsy, etc.) will pay me for referring you. This costs you nothing extra, and I would never recommend a product that I don’t use. These affiliate programs help me buy the ingredients to create these recipes for you. Read more about this in my privacy policy.



Wow! This is a stunning cake and I am right there with you on the chocolate and coconut.
Carol -⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I did NOT like coconut as a kid. I thought that it SHOULD be good -- but there was always something weird about it. When I got older & started shopping at health food stores, I discovered NATURAL coconut --- and I LOVED IT!!! Then I found out that Baker's (and other companies) add SULPHUR to their coconut! THAT was the weird taste! Now I eat LOTS of coconut -- as long as it is all natural -- no sulphur & no preservatives.
HawaiiRastaLady -⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

love love love coconut
miawf -⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Very cute and stylish cake!
TonyShard -⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐