Monday, June 19, 2006

Vegan Chocolate Cake

You knew I'd kick things off again with pics of the Father's Day cake, didn't you??!! :)

This is my Triple Layer Chocolate Cream Cake from The Everyday Vegan. You may think it 'sounds' difficult, but trust me guys - it's not!! And, I have to tell you that this cake is always a crowd pleaser, and I have non-veg people ask me for the recipe all the time - seriously!

It's actually quite easy, particularly if you do two things:
1) Make your frosting and cake on different days. This is what I normally do, it make for less mess and clean-up in one day. Make the frosting a day or two before making the cakes, and refrigerate in containers with tight fitting lids
2) Let the finished cake refrigerate overnight if possible before cutting into it. This helps the frosting 'set up' with the cake layers.

Set up your chocolate to melt. As you can see, I use a bowl fitted over a pot with water.

The water should be simmering, not boiling, so that no water/steam gets into the melting chocolate. This would seize up the chocolate, and that's not fun!

While melting the chocolate, blend the SILKEN tofu and other frosting ingredients in your food processor. DO NOT use regular tofu (I've had people use regular tofu instead of silken firm. This will result in a chocolate veggie burger!!) Also, use a food processor, NOT a mixer. You need the blade to cut through the tofu until very smooth. The beaters on a mixer will not do it for you.

When the chocolate is silky smooth, as it is in this picture, add it to the tofu mixture, while pureeing the tofu. You will need to scrape the bowl down several times and puree it through again.

Once it is all blended and smooth, you can transfer to containers and refrigerate (and just try not to dip into it with a spoon!!)

Then, the next day, make your cake. You just need a large bowl and a spoon, don't even need a mixer. Pour the batter fairly evenly into three round pans, as so.

After baking, and cooling, you can frost the cake. My daughter is helping here, and the whole time she was saying "can I lick the spatula now?". Put a good amount of the frosting between the cake layers... don't scrimp! After smoothing out the frosting, I decorated most simply by grating dark chocolate over the top...


Cooking Note: I used dutch-processed cocoa powder in the batter this time round, and I have to tell you that regular cocoa powder works better for this cake. Unless a recipe specifically calls for dutch-processed cocoa, use regular. They differ in how they react with baking soda/baking powder, and in this case the cake was not as springy and was more difficult to cut than usual. Still tasted amazing, just not as "clean" to remove from the pan and then cut.

Now, go make this cake, already!! :)


erica said...

Hi dreena-
Your baked goods look soooo good, but I recently found out I must give up sugar due to Fibromyalgia. What is your take on Stevia? Have you ever baked with it?

Tanya Kristine said...

dreena, you're a dreama...

that looks like the cakes my mom used to make. i have to try it!

Dr. Melissa West said...

Wow! What a cake! Absolutely fantastic.

Eat Peace Please said...

Dreena, I knew you'd start off with something decadent and sweet and amazing like this cake.

Well, you said go make this cake now but I can't! You're killin me here. It looks sooo good (and big!).

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

Believe it or not I'm not a big chocolate fan, but the frosting on this cake is so light looking and marvelous! And I'd want a slice anyway : )

KleoPatra said...

Dreena, fantastic cake. WOW! It's huge and looks like it would be complicated but of course the way you explain it, it sounds so simple!!!

YUM! Nice Father's Day cake, lucky guy!

Jennifer C. said...


You evil temptress! LOL! Looks super delicious as usual.

Catherine Weber said...

Dreena, you are the only person I've ever met who bakes her cakes in seperate pans, instead of trying to split layers. That is, the only person besides ME! I own five cake pans, just in case. :) And yes, I've used them all, but only once.

That's an awesome looking cake, by the way! Hope it was thoroughly enjoyed by all!

Milinda said...

Absolutely gorgeous. I can smell the chocolate through my PC.

Dreena said...

Thanks Erica! Well, regarding Stevia, I use it daily to sweeten my teas (green & rooibos teas). As for baking, I have dabbled with it, but it is VERY tricky, because too much tastes odd, and it is also difficult to substitute in terms of volume. I have learned a little about xylitol recently, which is a natural sugar substitute. Could be pricey, but you may want to look into it and see if it's something you can use. Also, can you tolerate maple syrup, brown rice syrup or agave nectar? I know that agave nectar has a low glycemic index compared to other natural sweeteners, and so maybe you would be able to use this sweetener...? If you can use maple syrup or agave, I have recipes that use those and no crystallized sugars. White sugar is VERY bad for our bodies, causes many troubles, discomforts and illnesses. Perhaps you can eat new foods using these natural sweeteners?

Ah, you are punny Tanya! Bringing back memories of school years and all those nicknames! :) Please, do try the cake, it's so moist and the icing is creamy - not gritty sugar sweet!

Thanks Dragonslayer :)

Savanna, I honestly cannot tell you how many people dig into this cake and have NO idea it is tofu, and then don't even care after they find out it is! I have had non-veg people tell me it is their favorite choc cake and ask me for it at parties, etc. Do make it!! And as for hubby... well, it is his all-time favorite cake, so oh yes, he enjoyed it!!!

Yes, I'm bad tempting you all with the sweets, Leslie. :) The cake is pretty big - and it is soooo good!! I wish I could give you a piece!

What Jess?? Not a choc fan?? You are banned from the blog! ha! Actually, I have heard other people say they don't care for chocolate much. I don't get it myself, but it must be easier not to be tempted by so many chocolate goodies!

Kleopatra, it really is not a fussy cake to make. Hearing "triple-layer" makes it sound intricate, but it's not at all! And it's worth every uncomplicated step. :)

Hello Cherie... thanks! The icing is very creamy and chocolatey without being gritty, sugary sweet - you know what I mean? I can eat it on its own!

Thank you Jennifer... I do my best, ha!

Catherine, I cannot imagine the fuss trying to slice the layers - frustration++ - we have made our lives easier using extra baking pans! You are a wild woman, using all five at once - I've only done three! :)

Hey Maddy! Oh, just a little, hurry on over before it's all gone!

Hi Milinda, thanks! Wouldn't it be great if you really could smell the chocolate aroma?... ahhhh!

Anonymous said...

I love when you blog about recipes in your cookbooks.....once I see a picture of the recipe it makes me want to run to the cookbook and make it. But, for this one I'll have to wait for some company to help me finish it. Now, who can I invite over asap?

kaivegan said...

Oh, Dreena. You've inspired me again! Now I have to think of an occasion to bake this. Think, think...

Thanks for all the details. I've read through this recipe a few times, just didn't have the courage to make it yet.

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

dreena, this cake looks so amazing! i love chocolate & will be trying this soon. your process photos are so helpful. :)

erica said...

Dreena, thanks so much for your reply. The "no sugar" is similar to that for Candida, i.e., anything that bacteria and yeast love, although 90% of what I've read [for Fibromyalgia] just mentions white sugar specifically. Today I read that I should also give up all Chocolate (not to mention tomatos, potatos, wheat and caffiene)! Augh! What's a girl to do?!?

I think I'll cut out all sweets for awhile and then I can try one at a time (Agave, etc) to see what happens. Thanks again!

Harmonia said...

I'm going to make vegan chocolate pudding tonight with the help of tofumates that is.


We are up to 65 members on the board now! YAY!

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

I have taken another look at this cake, and I have to point out how fabulous the grated dark chocolate on top looks! So simple yet fancy.

Anonymous said...

That looks like chocolate heaven. I am so going to try that one for my birthday. Yum, yum.

Anonymous said...

Dreena, I can't wait to try this cake! I love all the little tips you included. I have a question about your fudgy brownies... I have made the recipe twice and it has not turned out. Everything I make from your cookbooks always turns out great so I don't know what I am doing wrong. My batter turns out super the instructions you say to 'pour' the batter into the pan and I laugh because I can pick up my batter and deposit it in the pan. A friend of mine makes the brownies and they turn out every time! I was hoping that you have handy tips for your brownies too. I'm so frustrated!

Dreena said...

Vicki, seriously, I wouldn't mind making this for you AT ALL, though as you can see it really is not difficult. It sound much more challenging than it is! In fact, I'd say it's one of the easiest cakes you can make - truly - esp if you do the icing and cake on different days. You can do it, I know you can, but of course if you are still 'freaking out', I'll do it for you!!!

Thanks Megan! invite a few friends and it won't last long... oh, can you imagine that coconut gelato with it... sigh!

Hi Kai!! Well, you inspired ME after I read your recent bday cake post. I have been working on some gluten-free cookies, but haven't gotten into the cakes/muffins yet. After seeing your beautiful cake, I am eager to test some things out! So thank you!! (and I can't believe you would at all doubt your ability to make this - my gosh, with all your creative food posts???... what are you thinking?!)

Thanks Vicki! You look way cool in that new profile pic... and I'm wondering if you got married at about, uh, 11, because you don't look a day over 25, and I'm doin' the math that you've been married 14 years... so that makes 11!! :)

Hi again Erica, you're welcome. Yeah, I've heard similar things about potatoes, eggplants, tomatoes and bell peppers (night shade veggies) being aggravating for arthritis. But you know, I've also heard of certain food sensitivities that clear up after time, once you've removed them then later you can incorporate some things back in one at a time. This might be the case for you, once your system is stronger. Ditto for the sugars, though I have to say that we all should find ways to eliminate white sugar altogether. Not good to have too many sweets in general (and that's tough for me to say because I love 'em!), but white sugar is truly an enemy to our health!

Hi Harmonia!! I love mori-nu pudding mates, and I haven't been able to find them recently. They are my favorite non-dairy pudding. That's awesome with your board membership!! I try to pop in when I can, which is not as often as I'd like. :)

Jess, I can only do simple in this house really!! Though, even without the kidlets I've never been much for fancy-shmancy kind of preparation. Just don't have the patience for it, and I like the look of more rustic fare, prettied up just a little as easy as possible!!

Thanks, Cindy... I hope you do make it for you! :)

Hi Tina... well, I should ask you what about them is not working out? First, you are right about my description, in fact my wording is off there. I should have "transfer"... really I forgot how thick that batter is that you aren't really pouring it. I will make that edit, thanks for picking up on it (too bad I didn't myself earlier!). So, yes, it is a thick mixture that you transfer and press down into the pan. So, what's happening after it's baked? What kind of pan do you use - glass or the metal type? Are you making any subs? Is the final product falling apart or just not tasting good? Please let me know and I will do my darndest to help because you should have those brownies, girl!

Emily said...

I don't think I've ever made frosting with tofu (or anything sweet actually) and I'm really intrigued by it. I don't think I'd tell my husband though because he'd probably think it was really weird. Or at least I'd wait until he finished eating it first!

By the way, did you see that Baking Sheet did a variation on your chocolate chip cookie recipe?

Freedom said...

Hey Dreena, the cake looks absolutely amazing. Not really my thing but I bet I would have fun making it - I do love cooking. Just wondering which adress to e-mail you - I've seen comments in the past about on old e-mail adress that no longer works?

urban vegan said...

Oh my my. I think I'll celebrate 2 b'dayus this year, just so I have an excuse to make this.

Carrie™ said...

MMMMMMMMMMMM!!!! Chocolate!!!

Dreena, I'm so glad you posted this cake. I love it!! And it isn't difficult. So anyone who is nervous - don't be!
Thank you for the tip about the cocoa. I was always led to believe that Dutch processed was just better. Good to know it may not always be the right choice.
I'm not as ambitious as Catherine either. I have only ever done 3 layers and I don't know if I would want to attempt splitting layers. I've seen pictures showing how by using knives or thread, but baking each layer on it's own is so much easier.
One thing I love about this cake is that it's 3 layers. It makes it seem extra special, don't you think? Usually cakes are two and when you serve this one to people and they say "Oh, 3 layers!" in an excited voice it just seems more decadent.

Dreena said...

Emily, no, I didn't know about that variation on the baking sheet site... in fact, I wasn't even aware of this site until you mentioned it - very cool! Thanks for letting me know, and now I'm turned on to another great cooking spot! :) You should really try some non-savory tofu recipes. Most for desserts/puddings, etc will use silken tofu, or sometimes a very soft tofu. They make great 'creams', though you do need to manipulate the ingredients to get the right taste and not have it just taste like blended tofu!! I doubt your husband would even know this icing is tofu - most people that try it are shocked to find out they are eating tofu frosting... I say "yeah, it's icing that's high in protein"! ha!

Vegegrif, you are super sweet to leave all those notes!! Thank you... and never apologize for too long a comment - esp when it's that good. :) How wonderful that you are enjoying all those recipes!! I love those carob coconut pecan cookies too, and congrats on getting out to pick up new things like barley flour. That's the first step - just finding and buying the stuff! Then it becomes 'less scary', and very normal stufff. I really appreciate your kind words, pls let me know if you have any cooking q's along the way. :)

Hey freedom... I have since fixed my e-mail links so you can now use them - it's

Hi urbanvegan, any excuse works in my book... cake any time of the year, for any ol' reason!!

Yay, Carrie!! I'm so glad you posted a comment about actually making the cake. Real proof that it really isn't that hard, just as you say!! Yes, dutch-processed cocoa does not react the same as reg cocoa powder, and I have found it troublesome in certain recipes for the texture, even though the taste is good. I agree, too, the three layers seems very elegant - when really it's no more difficult - well, this way baking in an extra pan anyhow... I would definitely muck up trying to slice those layers! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Dreena,

Ok, the brownies.. I followed the recipe exactly and I use a glass pan. The brownies are super dry and dense and taste weird. I can't explain the taste- they were not the chocolatey goodness I was hoping for. My friend and I are having a Fudgey Brownie bake off tomorrow so we can taste test... usually I have no problems with baking.

Anonymous said...

I do love it when you explain recipes with pictures and such. I've made layer cakes before, but probably had a much more difficult time. ;) I love all the suggestions.

Now I wish I had something to make this cake for. It looks scrumptious!!

SDGvegan said...

Ahhh, that frosting looks delicious. But, being tofu it's a no go for me. But still, it is tempting. So what's a few hives eh...kidding!

Dreena said...

That's good info, Tina. Okay, for the texture, it could be because of the glass pan. If you don't have a shiny non-stick type pan, then bake them next time at a little lower temperature. Some experts say that glass pans will cook the batter quicker and brown them faster, so try reducing the heat to 325 with that pan. Don't overbake them either. Even at the 25 min mark they may look a little soft in the center. But they continue to cook after you remove them from the oven, and also, you want some soft, gooey texture in there! As for the taste, I need to ask you what oil you are using. If it's safflower, take out the bottle and smell the oil. Ditto for canola oil. I have used safflower oil that has no noticeable scent, and other times it has an aroma that I can then taste in my baked goods and I just don't like. Also, with canola, there was one brand that I bought years ago that was in a plastic bottle and I couldn't see the color. When I opened it, it was yellowish. And, it smelled very 'rubbery'. Couldn't use it at all. I usually use Spectrum oils now - either organic canola or safflower. Though I usually buy the canola, because sometimes the safflower is iffy for me, and I can't get past it. Check that out - and are you doing any substitutions? Also, check your flours. Give them a sniff, because if the oils are gone rancid in the flours, they may taste off too. Ok, Tina, let me know about the oils/flours, and hopefully we can figure out this brownie mystery!!! :)

Thank you Tara... hey, make the cake for yourself. Declare it "I deserve chocolate cake" day. That's enough of a reason to celebrate! Well, it is in my house anyhow!!

Darn, sdgvegan, I shouldn't have told you it's tofu!! I have a friend that has that 'tofu aversion' thing (that's what it is, right... or is it an allergy, I don't recall). She can't get past the texture of tofu, but she does love this cake!!

Amy O'Neill Houck said...

What a great post! I love seeing all the process photos.

Dreena said...

Cherie, my favorite too. I don't need the cake, just the frosting!! :)

Thanks Amy! I struggled with blogger trying to get those pics up - some days it's wonky!

Anonymous said...

this is my "go-to" chocolate cake recipe. it's so similar to the taste and texture of the german chocolate cake that my grandmother used to make, so my non-vegan family members really love it too. :)

Anna said...

Hello - I am searching everywhere for cakes with stevia instead of sugar. I don't really care what else is in them if it is common ingredients and easy to make. Is it hopeless? It could be chocolate cake, yellow cake, banana cake, apple cake ... just stevia instead of sugar!

If anyone can help it would be great.

city said...

I FINALLY got off my butt and made this recipe after buying the book months ago. OMG it is THE best chocolate cake I've ever had, it beats all the non-vegan ones hands down :-)

Mikki said...

This cake is amazing! I needed to make something to take for my kids to a birthday party so they could have cake too. I whipped this up and it was completely eaten up by the time we left! No one knew what was in it until after they ate it! I immediately bought your cookbook after making this! I look forward to getting it. I also stole your pic and talked your book and site up on my blog. My cake looked just like the one you made. Very easy! Thanks again! I will definitely be talking all about it and making it again!

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