Ok, I have to say that I have an affection for chocolate cake. It has always been my favorite. As a child I would help my mother whip up her famous old fashioned chocolate cake with thick creamy chocolate frosting. There was nothing better than a big slice with a ice cold glass of milk. Trying to veganize that recipe, which of course had copious amounts of white sugar, eggs and butter, has been quite tricky I must say. When I came across a reprint of an old War-era recipe for chocolate cake I was intrigued that the ingredient list contained none of the above usual ingredients. The recipe was already vegan! I had to give it a try and was simply amazed by the fluffy texture and moist crumb that was produced. During wars, things like butter and eggs were rationed, so some ingenious person (wish I knew who) discovered that chemical reaction of baking soda and vinegar leavened the cake as well as eggs would have. Voilà! You can now check the perfect vegan chocolate cake off your list!
What really makes this cake extra-amazing though are the fillings and frosting. Creamy coconut-dark chocolate ganache and maple-raspberry jam are layered between the light fluffy cake and then topped with vanilla coconut cream frosting. Are you drooling yet? I am.
Valentine's Day is just around the corner and I think you should treat yourself and your loved ones (but more so yourself ) to this quadruple-decker of decadent heavenly goodness. Trust me on this one.
Makes one 4 layer cake
Cake-adapted from an old wartime recipe-unknown source
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 cups rapadura or whole cane sugar
- 1/2 cup raw cacao powder + 1 Tbs. for dusting
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 cups hot brewed coffee
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
Dark Chocolate Ganache
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 2 cups 70% dark chocolate chips or coarsely chopped
- 10 oz package of frozen raspberries
- 1 cup maple syrup
Vanilla Coconut Cream Frosting
- 2 cups coconut cream (refrigerate coconut milk overnight so that the cream separates from the water and rises to the top, then scoop of the thick cream-you'll need 2 coconuts to make enough milk or 2 cans of coconut milk)
- 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch (use organic non GMO)
- Seeds from 1 vanilla bean
- 2 Tbs. maple syrup
Shredded dried coconut and fresh raspberries for decorating
Preheat oven to 350ºF with rack in center. Cut 2 8" round circles of parchment paper. Grease two 8" round cake pans with 2 Tbs. of earth balance or canola oil and place parchment circles in each pan. Dust side of each pan with the extra Tbs. of cacao powder by tapping the sides of the pan as turn turn it with the other hand.
Whisk together flour, sugar, cacao powder and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Combine hot coffee, oil, vinegar and vanilla in a large mixing cup. Add to the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined- a few lumps are ok. Divide batter evenly between pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes on a rack and then invert them onto the rack. Lift pans off of cakes and remove parchment. Leave the cakes inverted as this will help flatten a domed top. Allow to cool completely before assembling the final cake. The cakes can sit at room temperature or refrigerated overnight as well.
Heat coconut milk in a saucepan over medium heat until it starts steaming but do not allow it boil. Turn off heat and add chocolate. Whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth and glossy. Transfer ganache to a bowl and refrigerate until firm-about hour. Can be kept refrigerated overnight. Once firm transfer ganache to a mixer and whip to a thick airy consistency.
Make Raspberry Filling
In a saucepan heat raspberries and maple syrup together until the mixture starts to boil. Turn down to simmer and reduce to a jam-like consistency, about 20-30 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature or chill in refrigerator over night.
Make Vanilla Coconut Cream Frosting
Dissolve cornstarch into a few tablespoons of coconut cream so that it doesn't clump when added to the rest of cream. In a mixer whip coconut cream, cornstarch mixture, maple syrup and vanilla bean seeds until the mixture thickens and becomes airy. Keep the frosting refrigerated until ready to use.
Using a long serrated knife carefully slice through the center of each cake to divide each into two layers, totaling 4 layers of cake. Arrange 4 pieces of wax paper around the edge of your cake plate to catch any messes during assembly. Once cake is done, remove the wax paper pieces to reveal a clean plate. Place the first layer of cake down cut side up. Spoon half of the whipped ganache onto the first layer and spread evenly to the edge. Place the next layer of cake cut side up on top of the ganache. Spoon all of the raspberry filling onto the layer and spread evenly to the edges. Place the 3rd layer of cake cut side up on top of the raspberry filling. Spoon the remaining ganache onto the layer and spread evenly to the edge. Place the last layer cut side down on top of the ganache. Starting with the sides of the cake use a cake spatula to spread half of the vanilla coconut cream frosting evenly. Then spread the remainder over the top of the cake. Stick the shredded coconut to the sides of the cake. Arrange fresh raspberries in the center of cake. Cut and serve right away or refrigerate for later. This cake will last for up to a week refrigerated.