I’ve been meaning to develop and share a chocolate cake recipe for a while – and here it is! I made this to celebrate my 10th ‘veganniversary’ and I must say, it’s the best chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted. I know I’m tooting my own horn, so hold me accountable by trying it out for yourself, and let me know what you think.
(Also: why do we love chocolate so much? This post offers some speculative answers…)
This cake is light and fluffy, decadently chocolatey, and it has a beautiful flavour profile. While the simplest chocolate cakes use just pretty much just flour, cocoa powder, sugar, oil, water and a leavener, I used some extras to make it more interesting. The coffee compliments the cocoa flavour, the soy ‘buttermilk’ adds a certain richness, and the apple sauce makes for a moist texture without the need for too much oil.
I also made a ganache to go over the cake, and topped it with crumbled Aero dark chocolate. However, you could also tone down the sweetness by simply sifting icing sugar for a snowy effect, or ramp up the decadence by making a vegan buttercream frosting.
I baked this in a loaf tin as my cake pan it a bit big, but definitely go for the traditional round cake if you like!
The Best Chocolate Cake Ever
For the cake:
- 1 cup soy milk (or other plant milk)
- 1 tbsp white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
- 2 cups cake flour
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp bicarb
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 ½ tsp instant coffee granules (good quality is better!)
- ½ cup hot water
- ⅔ cup apple sauce
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- ½ cup canola oil
For the ganache:
- ½ cup vegan dark chocolate (or vegan chocolate chips)
- 3 tbsp coconut cream
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar (I used caster sugar)
- ⅓ slab Aero dark chocolate (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Prepare a 20cm cake pan (or a loaf tin like I used) by greasing it with vegan butter, and then dusting it with cocoa powder (tap out the excess).
- In a medium bowl, mix the soy milk with the vinegar, and set aside to curdle.
- Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarb and salt into a large bowl and mix well.
- Dissolve the coffee granules in ½ cup hot water, then add it to the curdled soy milk. Add the apple sauce, sugar and oil, and mix well.
- Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, and mix until combined (don't overmix!).
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan, and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Check for doneness with a cake tester: if it comes out clean, it's done. If not, leave it for another 10 minutes.
- When done, cool the cake pan on a wire rack. Once it's at room temperature, carefully slide a butter knife around the edge, place a dinner plate on top, and tip the cake out.
- While the cake is cooling in the cake pan, prepare the ganache.
- Set up a bain-marie by placing a small saucepan, with 5cm of water, over medium-high heat on the stove, with a glass or stainless steel bowl on top (it should be a little bigger than the saucepan).
- Break or chop the chocolate up into small pieces, and place in the bowl. Keep an eye on the chocolate as it melts, stirring once in a while. DO NOT add even a single drop of water or other liquid!
- Once the chocolate is melted, remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the coconut cream, followed by the powdered sugar.
- Let it cool for 10-15 minutes, it'll thicken a bit, then drizzle it evenly over the cooled cake (which should be out of the pan and on the plate).
- Crumble the Aero dark chocolate over the cake (optional).