This ultra-moist amazing vegan chocolate layer cake is a Hannah Kaminsky masterpiece, perfect for birthdays and holiday gatherings (shhh … it’s a chocolate mayonnaise cake).
Here’s what Hannah has to say: “Creamy bittersweet chocolate frosting is the luscious glue that holds together this tower of three tender cake rounds together, and though no further decoration is needed, a light dusting of confectioner’s sugar really seals the deal.”
The ultimate vegan chocolate layer cake!
Hannah continues: “Nothing short of a show-stopper, it may not be a surprising choice, but it’s sure not your average cocoa birthday cake.
No, I take that back — It most certainly is not just a chocolate cake, but in fact the chocolate cake. The chocolate cake I’ve been searching for before I even knew what good chocolate cake was, when I would have been just as thrilled by a half-price grocery store cupcake as a fine French gateaux.
All it took to get there was of coarse endless experimentation over the years, but also a bit of humbling. That’s because I had to enlist some help from an ingredient previously reviled and downright banned from this household … mayonnaise.”
Prep tip: Unlike most standard cake-making procedures, you’ll want to start by preparing the frosting first, since it takes some time to cool and set.
Link through to Hannahs’ Bittersweet Blog for the rest of the story behind this incredible vegan chocolate layer cake. And read a Q & A with Hannah here. Photo and recipe by Hannah Kaminsky, reprinted by permission.
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Chocolate fudge frosting:
- 1 1/2 cups plain plant-based milk (see Note)
- 16 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 cup vegan butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Rich chocolate cake:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups natural granulated sugar
- 1 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups plain Plant-based milk
- 1 1/2 cup brewed and cooled coffee
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- Confectioner's sugar (optional)
- Pour the plant-base milk into a medium sauce pan, and bring just the the brink of boiling. You only want to scald it, so quickly take the pan off the heat, and add in the chopped chocolate. Let sit for a few minutes to melt, and then stir the mixture thoroughly until smooth.
- Cut the butter into tablespoon-sized pieces, and add them into the melted chocolate, stirring until completely melted and mixed in. Incorporate the vanilla, and let sit at room temperature until cool. Transfer into the fridge to chill. It may take as long as 2 to 3 hours to fully cool, but bear in mind that it will not thicken to the point of being pipe-able; This is a very soft, silky frosting, more like ganache than buttercream. Once it’s merely spreadable, it’s ready to use.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350º F and lightly grease and flour three 8-inch round cake pans. You can also do this successfully with just two pans, as long as you measure your batter carefully and have patience.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer or a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, ground flax seeds, salt, baking powder, and soda. Make sure that all of the dry goods are evenly distributed throughout.
- In a separate bowl, combine the plant-based milk, coffee, vinegar, and vanilla, and let sit undisturbed for about 5 minutes. At that point, add in the secret ingredient here, the vegan mayo, as well as the oil, and mix well.
- Add the liquids into the bowl of dry ingredient, and slowly mix, just until the batter is mostly smooth and homogeneous. A few lumps are fine, as long as you don’t over-mix. That would cause your cake to come out very tough and chewy, which is not what we’re looking for! Don’t worry if the mixture seems excessively soupy- That is indeed the correct consistency.
- Divide your batter evenly between your three prepared baking pans. [If you're only using two, measure out the full amount of batter, and divide by three. You should end up with somewhere around 2 1/2 of batter in each pan. Reserve the remaining third in your fridge while the first two cakes bake, and allow the cakes to cool completely before turning them out onto a large plate. Quickly rinse and dry one of the pans, re-grease and flour, and bake the final amount of batter in the same manner.]
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, with perhaps a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Let cool completely before assembling and frosting.
- To achieve the decorative pattern on top of the cake as pictured above, first chill the frosted cake thoroughly so that chocolate frosting can set slightly. Take a large doily and gently place it on top, without pressing down, and sprinkle powdered sugar all over. Lift the doily straight up without shaking it, which will remove the excess and leave a lovely, lacy design in its place.
Choose a full-fat, richer variety for the best results; I prefer almond milk that’s slightly on the thicker side. Coconut milk would also be a good choice here.
If you enjoy this rich chocolate dessert, you might also like …
Robin Robertson’s Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
Here are lots more delectable vegan desserts & sweets.