2 Variations on Vegan Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

Who doesn’t love chocolate cake? If you know someone, please reach out to them and force-feed them this recipe until they admit they love it. This recipe has a 86% success rate in converting non-believers. Vegans are often cheated of the fluffy, eggy texture of many baked goods, but this chocolate cake recipe is moist, fluffy, richly chocolatey and delicious. It is another recipe I have adapted from my Vegan friend Miyuki, but these are two versions with my own nerdy foodie twist on them. I made a blackberry chocolate cake and a salted caramel chocolate cake. I’ll include the recipes for the blackberry and caramel sauces for those interested.

The basic chocolate cake recipe is as follows:

3 cups white flour
2 cups sugar (I used half white sugar half raw brown sugar)
6 tbs cocoa (Hershey’s is fine)
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups water
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tbs vinegar
2 tsp vanilla
(What I added was)
1 tsp cayenne pepper (for a subtle kick, most people won’t even notice)
1/2 tsp cinnamon

For the vegan chocolate ganache:
1/3 cup “milk” of your choice (I used vanilla almond milk and it was a taste success!)
2 tbs Earth Balance
1 cup vegan chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees FARENHEIT cause this is an AMERICAN cake

First off, mix your dry ingredients together and make sure your baking soda doesn’t clump. Make a crevas in the middle and slowly mix in the wet ingredients. Make sure you mix this thoroughly, there should be no clumps! Pour the mix into two well-greased circular cake pans and bake for about 40 minutes.

While this is baking you can make the ganache (icing) which is totally my favorite part. You can get creative with this stuff, if I was making it for myself I would have added more cayenne and cinnamon so the outside packed a bit more heat than the sweeter cake inside. Or I might have added Frangelico or Grand Marnier for a boozier sauce, but since I was making this for a birthday, I kept it classic. Use a “double boiler” method to melt the Earth Balance and mix with the almond milk and chocolate chips. For those of you unfamiliar with double boiling this is where you heat water in a bigger sauce pan and put your ingredients into a smaller saucepan immersed in the hot water. This keeps your ingredients from burning and just melts them nicely together. Mix these up until they are smooth and let the ganache cool a bit before icing the cakes (they will have to cool as well.) Make sure it stays smooth by stirring it if it begins to solidify.

The caramel sauce I made was done with a double boiling method as well. That combined 1 cup brown sugar, 2 tbs Earth Balance, a tsp of salt, 3 tbs flour and 2 tbs almond milk. Mix the flour, salt and sugar together first so they don’t clump in the liquid. Then add the milk and Earth Balance and melt everything together. It should be smooth and taste almost butterscotchy. You can totally add whisky or Frangelico if you’re feeling saucy, it’s up to you. Caramel sauce should be monitored just like the chocolate sauce, let cool, mix if it gets stagnant.

The blackberry sauce is just regular blackberry preserves, heated until they turn into a thinner syrup and poured warm onto the cake once it has cooled. This sauce should be poured right after heating as it coagulates pretty easily.

After you pull the cakes out, let them cool somewhere other than the hot stove top. Once they are relatively room-temperature-ish, you can slice the tops off so they’re both flat. Put a plate over top of each one to flip them over. Give it a couple of good taps and slowly lift the cake tin off. If you greased them with furious abandon, as directed, they should slide out no problem and have a super elegant shape to them. Let each cake cool for about another minute before icing.

If you’re just making the basic vegan chocolate cake, you’re going to use the chocolate ganache on top of one of the cakes and then put the other cake on top and coat both of them. Or you can always just make two and pour ganache on each separately. Your ganache is your business, that’s what I always say.

If you’re choosing to make a cake with the caramel or blackberry sauce, pour that sauce onto the cake and spread evenly before you put on the chocolate ganache. The ganache covers everything with a super smooth finish, so it goes on last. For the caramel sauce, you’ll have a lot of it, so save about half to drizzle over the slices themselves later. After saucing your cake up, you can pour the chocolate ganache over, as evenly as possible. It should spread over smoothly and drip down the sides, so you shouldn’t have to spread it much (you should avoid spreading it as it could disturb the cake underneath.) It will look amazing, shiny, velvety and enticing; but it will taste even better. For the caramel cake, feel free to drizzle a bit on top for looks, and then coat the whole top with semi-fine rock salt. This concludes the most delicious vegan chocolate cake recipe you will ever experience. You’re welcome.