Vegan Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache (but it doesn’t have to be vegan if you don’t want it to be)

Vegan Chocolate Cake - Beth the BakerI know you’re thinking that this can’t possibly be delicious, but it is… I’ve included this as part of my “posting things chocolate for Valentine’s Day”.  This cake works for vegans and non-vegans alike…

Here’s what happens in my family for birthday celebrations, etc..

I have two younger sisters and we’re all  good cooks.  So when we have a family dinner, we split the duties – my sisters, my mom and myself all contribute toward the meal (except Mother’s Day where we don’t have to do stuff… or at least not as much…). 

Someone takes care of salad and rolls, someone makes a main, someone makes sides and then one of us makes dessert.  You get the idea.

Most of the time – because I live the furthest away – I end up doing sides or something that’s not going to take a lot of fuss once I get to Hamilton (the hometown where my family still lives… about an hour away).  Just depends on what the occasion is and who feels like doing what…

To compound matters, one of my sisters is vegan and one of my nieces has become a vegetarian.  Therefore, we must take that into account and prepare accordingly.  For example, for my Dad’s birthday, I made regular and vegan Cabbage rolls.  (And potato pancakes… but I haven’t posted the recipe for those yet…soon, my pretties..).

For one family gathering a few months ago, I volunteered to make the dessert (I had a reason and I can’t remember exactly why… I think it was because my lactose intolerant daughter was also trying to not eat wheat so I thought “hey, I’ll make a gluten free, lactose free, vegan cake for dessert… I’m sure it will be delicious”…)

So I made this cake, not really expecting GREAT things… poured most of the batter in the large springform pan and then a small bit into a little foil pie tin so I could try it before serving … I made it early enough in the day so that if it truly sucked, I could hopefully either a) find another recipe or b) make a full fat dairy laden animal producty wheat filled extravaganza for the omnivores and let the herbivores eat the piece of cardboard with icing I was expecting to produce.

Cake was baked.. and it was pretty good for something lacking of all things dairy and deliciousness… The original recipe I based the cake on called for icing, but I elected to make a ganache that I had come up with for another dessert I make (that’s another post…)

Long story short… took the cake for dinner .. and although dinner was good, the cake was a hit.  When I made this I figured I’d make a vegan dessert and a “regular” dessert.. no need! The omnivores loved the vegan cake!

And when we left my sister’s and we were walking to the car I said to my family “…and if I had told you earlier today that the gluten free lactose free vegan cake would be the best thing you ate tonight, you wouldn’t have believed me..”

No, seriously, it’s good.

Note: if you don’t care to make it vegan,  you can use butter in place of the margarine, and whatever milk you prefer in place of the soy/coconut milk.

This recipe serves about 16… if you halve the recipe, bake in an 8×8 pan.

Cake Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour (I have made this with wheat flour, gluten free flour and rice flour and all turned out well – although I will say wheat flour yielded the best texture…but that’s me…)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups warm water or coffee (I actually use coconut milk or soy milk as I think it makes the cake a little richer – depends on what you prefer)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp distilled white or apple cider vinegar

Chocolate Ganache

  • 2 cups finely chopped bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate (re: chocolate – many chocolates contain milk solids and therefore are not vegan – but it’s actually fairly easy to find vegan chocolate – just check the labels)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 fluid ounces brandy (if you wish)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt with a fork or mixer, making sure it is well blended. Add the water or milk, vanilla, oil, and vinegar, and blend until smooth.

Pour into greased pan and bake at 350°F for about 30-40 minutes or until a skewer (I use a piece of uncooked spaghetti or a bamboo shiskabob stick) poked in the middle comes out clean.


Place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the milk in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, watching very carefully because if it boils for a few seconds, it will boil out of the pot. When the milk has come to a boil, pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Stir in the brandy (or whatever booze you prefer) if desired.

Allow the ganache to cool slightly before pouring over a cake. Start at the center of the cake and work outward. Let it drip over the edges of the cake for that devil may care look – cool a bit more and then decorate with white chocolate shavings if desired. (If the ganache isn’t cool enough the white chocolate will melt.. but it actually looks kinda cool…)



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