Food & Drink

Vegan Chocolate Layer Cake Recipe (Really)

Remarkably, it doesn’t taste like sand

Your Thanksgiving gratitude quickly turned to guilt after you consumed a pile sweets as big as the bird itself.

Keep cravings in check (read: satisfy them without losing your mojo) with a recipe from Gena Hamshaw of Choosing Raw and Food52.

food52 vegan chocolate cake!

Vegan baking can be intimidating at first. We’re told that baking is a science, so how are we to make the experiment work without eggs, milk, or butter? Once upon a time, I thought these ingredients were indispensable. Then I went vegan and realized that we vegans can have our cake and eat it, too.

No recipe proves the point better than this vegan chocolate layer cake. It presents us with not one but three bet-you’d-never-guess-it-was-vegan components. First is the moist, fluffy chocolate cake, which is every bit as easy to make as your current favorite. Next is the chocolate ganache, which is made better by creamy coconut milk.

But the part of this cake I’m most proud of just may be the middle, “buttercream” layer. It’s easy to make vegan buttercream with butter substitutes, but if you’re hoping to keep things a little simpler, try my trick: a mixture of canned pumpkin, almond butter, cocoa powder, and sweetener. You’ll be shocked at how creamy this tastes, even though it’s dairy free and vegetable based. If you don’t have time to bake a cake, it’s not a terrible idea to make the buttercream anyway and eat it with a spoon.


Vegan Chocolate Layer Cake
Serves ten to twelve

3 c. all-purpose flour
⅔ c. cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 c. almond, rice, or soy milk
⅔ c. melted coconut oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1¾ c. organic sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. First, make the cake: Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, add apple cider vinegar to the milk and beat until frothy. Whisk in oil, vanilla extract, and sugar.

4. Add about a third of the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix them together (you can use a spatula, whisk, or a hand mixer on the lowest setting). Add another third, keep mixing for a few moments, and then add the final third. When ingredients are just fully incorporated, stop mixing.

5. Pour the cake batter into two round 8- or 9-inch springform cake pans that have been greased with coconut oil. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting recipe, go to food52.com.

more from food52!
food 52 pecan pie!

Raw, Vegan Pecan Pie
An easy vegan spin on pecan pie, in which sweet medjool dates and coconut oil are healthy stand-ins for traditional filling.

food 52 cookies!

Vegan Holiday Gingerbread Cookies
This recipe proves that vegan desserts can be simple. A sweet, spicy concoction replaces butter with coconut oil and regular milk with the dairy-free variety.

Photos: James Ransom / Courtesy of Food52