If you stayed over at my house on a Friday night back in the day, you’d know I had two requirements for a good time – mom’s Better Than Sex Cake, and USA Up All Night. From 1991-1998, this B-movie variety show introduced me to classics like Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and Hell comes to Frogtown. And, in a twist of fate, they were both things my mom didn’t particularly care for! We weren’t allowed to say “sex” so we had to call it “Better Than a Handshake Cake” and I watched Up All Night with my finger on the “previous channel” button because I wasn’t allowed to watch that, either.

Still, the combo of chocolate cake, caramel sauce, whipped topping and crunchy toffee candy bars was the stuff of dreams. When I first published by book you couldn’t buy stuff like vegan whipped cream at the grocery store so this recipe is INTENSE and has lots of steps. But if you want to stick to the store-bought roots of the original, I have a quick version too.

Vegan Better Than Sex Cake – Cheater’s Edition:

Note: A surprising number of cake mixes are vegan! Most of them call for water, oil, and eggs to prepare them. If you have a preferred replacement for eggs, and the cake mix only calls for 1-2 eggs, use whatever you like. However, I’ve noticed when mixes call for three eggs you need to combine replacements that will: help the cake rise, bind the mixture, and add moisture. So I like to use the following in cake mixes that call for three eggs: 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce, 1 tsp baking soda + 1 Tbs vinegar, & either one egg’s worth of egg replacer, or 1 egg’s worth of flax egg.

Bake the cake in a 9×13″ pan and allow it to cool completely. Once it’s cool, use the handle of a wooden spoon or a metal straw to poke holes all over the cake. Pour about 6oz of caramel sauce into the holes (it’s fine if it gets on the cake, too. Chop up the candy bars and spread about 1/2 on the cake. Top with whipped topping, then sprinkle the remaining chopped candy on top. Sneak into your room and eat it before mom finds out.

For the from -scratch recipe below, you’ll need to prepare a batch of DIY Chocolate Cake Mix.

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Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Vegan Better Than Sex Cake

A 100% from-scratch, veganized version of the cake I loved but wasn't allowed to talk about as a kid. If you're making the Whipped Coconut Cream, place the cans of coconut milk and whisk in the refrigerator overnight so they're all very cold when you're ready to use them.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: better than sex cake, vegan better than sex cake, vegan cake
Servings: 12


  • double boiler (rig one up with a pot & glass bowl if you need to)
  • stand mixer or hand mixer


Chocolate Cake

  • 1 batch DIY Chocolate Cake Mix, prepared link above

Caramel Sauce

  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup plain, unsweetened nondairy milk
  • 2 Tbs arrowroot starch
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Whipped Coconut Cream

  • 3 (14 oz) cans full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar


  • 3/4 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chopped, or use chips
  • 1 Tbs plain, unsweetened nondairy milk
  • 1/2 cup slivered or chopped almonds or crunchy thing of your choice


  • Prepare the cake as directed in that recipe, baking in in a 9×13" pan. While it's baking and cooling, prep the rest of the ingredients.

Make the caramel

  • In a large measuring cup, whisk arrowroot starch into the soy milk and set aside. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the margarine, maple syrup, sugar and salt. Stirring constantly, cook until the margarine melts and the mixture begins to bubble.
  • Add soy milk mixture, and turn the heat up to medium. Cook, whisking often, until the mixture bubbles again. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Set aside to cool while you prepare the other ingredients.

Prepare the crunch topping

  • Cover a baking sheet with waxed paper. Place the chocolate and soy milk in a double boiler, melting the chocolate. Stir in the almonds, and spread the mixture onto the waxed paper. Chill in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes, or until the chocolate hardens. Remove from fridge, and chop into small pieces.

Whip the coconut milk

  • As noted above, place coconut milk cans and whisk attachment for mixer in refrigerator the night before you're going to make this topping.
  • Without shaking them, open the cans of coconut milk and scoop out the thick cream on top. Place the cream in your mixing bowl, add the sugar, and beat with the chilled whisk for 1-2 minutes, until it’s thick and fluffy.

Fill and frost

  • With the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the cooled chocolate cake. Pour caramel sauce into holes and drizzle on top of cake. Top with ½ chopped chocolate, and frost with Whipped Coconut Cream. Sprinkle top with remaining chopped chocolate. Serve immediately.
  • Whipped Coconut Cream sets up when chilled, so you can refrigerate it for about 30 minutes, then scoop it into a piping bag if you want to be fancy. If you refrigerate the frosted cake, be sure to let it sit out about a half hour before serving so the whipped cream softens.


I know, I know. This is a lot of work. Feel free to break it up into a few days! Make the caramel sauce ahead of time, it stores up to 2 weeks in the fridge. Bake the cake the night before! The only thing that should really be done last minute is the whipped coconut cream.