This delectable treat has been my immediate and extended family’s favorite chocolate vegan birthday cake for longer than I care to admit — it’s that good. Of course, it’s good for other special occasions. It may look fancy, but this recipe is easy to make and doesn’t take much hands-on time.
This recipe is one that has been passed around from person to person, origin unknown, both in real life and on the web. I’ve tinkered with it until it became my own. I also concocted a simple chocolate-peanut butter frosting, which is literally the icing on this moist cake.
What kind of cake pan(s) to use
It’s best to use 9-inch springform or silicone cake pans with straight sides. These will give you the best success in releasing the cake easily, and intact.
If you have neither springform nor silicon pans, metal nonstick cake pans will work if you cut rounds of baking parchment and line the bottoms, and oil their sides.
What if you only have one cake pan? You’ll need to bake one layer at a time, or make this a single layer cake, cutting the recipe in half. I’ve made it like that many times, and it’s great that way, too!
To make this a single layer cake …
Whether a single- or double-layer cake, this recipe makes one 9-inch round cake, 8 generous or 12 smaller slices. To make a single layer cake, simply cut the recipe in half and use one cake pan.
For the single layer cake, it’s advisable to skip the jam, since it would be tricky to spread the frosting over it.
Recipe adapted from Vegan Express by Nava Atlas. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
Explore more …
- Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Whipped Cashew Frosting
- Ultra-Moist Amazing Vegan Chocolate Layer Cake
- Chocolate Chip Vegan Sweet Potato Cake
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (or combinedwith other flours; see options in Notes)
- 2 cups natural granulated sugar (like Florida Crystals, etc.)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups warm water
- 1/2 cup safflower oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Raspberry or other favorite jam
- 2/3 cup vegan chocolate chips
- 2 heaping tablespoon peanut, cashew, or other nut butter (skip if any of your guests have nut allergy)
- 1/3 cup vanilla or plain plant-based milk
Optional (any or all)
- Powdered sugar or sprinkles
- Fresh raspberries or sliced strawberries
- Mint leaves
- Preheat the oven to 325º F.
- Combine the first 6 (dry) ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir together until well combined.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the warm water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Stir together with a wooden spoon until the dry ingredients are moistened, then use a whisk to stir vigorously until the batter is smooth.
- Divide the batter evenly between two lightly oiled 9-inch round springform or silicon cake pans. (if you only have standard round cake pans, cut two circles of parchment to line the bottom.) Bake for 30 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center tests clean.
- Let the cakes stand until cooled to room temperature. Run a knife around the sides of the pans. Invert one of the cakes onto a serving plate. Spread the top of the cake with jam. Invert the second cake over the top of the first.
- Make the frosting. In the microwave: Combine the ingredients in a small bowl and microwave for 45 seconds, then stir. Add a few seconds at a time until the mixture can be stirred smoothly, with the chocolate chips completely melted. In a double boiler: Combine the ingredients in the top portion of the double boiler. Bring water to a slow boil in the lower portion. Place the top of the boiler over the bottom and cook until the chocolate begins to melt, then continue to stir and cook until smooth. Most important is to take your time with both methods so the chocolate doesn’t seize, or it will be impossible to spread the frosting.
- Spread the frosting over the cake immediately. If you’d like, decorate the cake with any of the optional ingredients. Let stand for 20 to 30 minutes to allow the frosting to harden.
- Cut into wedges to serve.
Feel free to combine all-purpose flour (unbleached, preferably) with whole wheat pastry flour (NOT bread flour), light spelt flour, or einkorn flour. About half and half is good, though any ratio will work.
See lots more irresistible vegan desserts & sweets.