Yes, you read the title right.
Vegan chocolate cake. Vegan buttercream. Vegan dessert.
I think I am probably the most omnivorous person around – I really love all types of food. Meat, milk, fish, vegetables, sugar (obviously)…the list goes on. Baking with limitations, therefore, is not my forte. However, one of my closest friends is vegan, choosing to eliminate all sorts of ingredients commonly found in sweet delights from her diet (which totally amazes me. I could never do it, so PROPS TO YOU, Miss Bailey !). When her birthday rolled around, I was DETERMINED to concoct a vegan-friendly dessert…for what is a birthday without cake ?? Though it was definitely an adventure for me (the ingredients list is more exotic than normal…did you know vegan butter exists ?! Super cool !), the end result was pretty tasty – I would definitely make the cake again. While I’ll admit that it feels strange to make a cake without eggs, the texture is exactly the same as any chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten and I bet a blind taste test would fool you.
In order to make the cake a little interesting, I chose to fill the center layer with blackberry jam and add spices to the frosting – there is nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves added to the frosting to bring in a little texture and round out the cocoa flavors.
Give it a try – you’ll be pleasantly surprised. :)
For the cake :
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup natural cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 3/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
A few shakes of cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and line them with parchment paper. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk together the soy milk, vinegar, sugar, oil, and vanilla. I know, it looks a little odd – vinegar and olive oil usually connote salad dressing – but I promise it works out in the end !
Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a spoon until well combined.
Spoon or scrape the mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake for 40 to 55 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when you smell the cake and a fork comes out clean.
Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen before inverting the cake onto a wire rack (or if you are a lowly college student, on a plate dusted with confectioners’ sugar) to cool.
For the filling :
Blackberry jam – I used about 1/3 of a jar….but this part is entirely subjective – use as much or as little as you please. Also, I think that raspberry jams would be DELICIOUS in place of blackberry.
For the frosting :
1/2 stick vegan butter
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup cocoa powder (more or less depending on your love of bitterness)
1/4 cup soy milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
In a large bowl, whisk the vegan butter until it’s creamy. Add the cocoa powder first, blending slowly until well incorporated (start slow simply to avoid cocoa powder explosions…that fine dust tends to make me sneeze when it clouds the air). Add the vanilla and the powdered sugar, adding the soy milk when necessary to assure a good texture. Add the spices last.
Make sure to taste along the way to make sure everything is to your liking – I gave my ratios of spices BUT THEY ARE APPROXIMATE as I tend to make it up as I go, adding a dash of this and a dash of that until I find the taste I prefer. It’s good to be spontaneous. :)
First, center one layer of the cake on a plate that has been dusted with powdered sugar. This will be useful when the time come to cut the cake, as each slice will be easy to remove.
Using a flat metal spatula, (or a knife…again…I lack proper tools) spread a very thin layer of the frosting on the cake. As we are going to add jam, this thin coating of frosting will keep the cake from going soggy on the inside.
Once evenly distributed, add the jam, spreading with the back of a spoon. I love jam, so I was rather liberal with the amount I put on the inside…it is your call.
Prepare the second cake layer by spreading another thin layer of frosting on the side that will touch the jam. Once ready, flip this layer onto the jam layer. It’s a process but it isn’t that difficult – if you miss, just pick the cake up and put it back on. No harm done !
Cover the rest of the cake with the frosting. Dust the top with a combination of the spices used in the frosting – it looks classy and tastes good, too.
We obviously decorated ours with candles….
Happy Birthday, Bailey & Ambika and bon appétit !