Saturday, October 24, 2009

Vegan Chocolate Birthday Cake with Chocolate Ganache Icing

Vegan Chocolate Cake
Yesterday was my husband's birthday and I needed to whip up a birthday cake using the ingredients I had on hand.  Online I was able to find Mooswood Restaurant's recipe for vegan chocolate cake with a wonderfully simple chocolate ganache icing. 

I made a few minor changes to the icing, adding 1/4 teaspoon almond extract and a couple of splashes of cherry juice.  I also used soy milk instead of water. 

Since I wanted to be able to plate the cake, I sprayed the bottom and sides of my baking pan with canola oil and had no problem getting the cake out of the pan.

This was truly a breeze to put together.  The cake came out moist, full of flavor and beautiful.  I especially liked the chocolate ganache icing.  I have two opinionated sons who wanted the icing "naked", but in the future I would love to add some sliced almonds to the icing before refrigerating the cake. I can also picture a circle of fresh cherries in the center of the cake.  All said, this cake was a big hit!

From the Moosewood Restaurant Recipe Archive:

No one would ever suspect that this dark, elegant, scrumptious cake is both egg-less and dairy-less. It's economical and low-cholesterol, and what's more, it goes into the oven in 6 minutes with no mixing bowl to clean because the batter is mixed directly in the baking pan. You may be surprised to see vinegar in the ingredient list, but it's not a mistake. The combination of vinegar and baking soda helps the cake to rise. When cool, cut and serve the cake directly from the pan using small metal spatula or pie server; it cannot be easily turned out onto a serving plate.

However, if you have time for a 12-minute cake, you can mix the batter in a bowl, line the bottom of the cake pan with parchment paper, and generously oil the sides of the pan and dust with flour. Then the cake can be removed from the pan with no trouble at all, for a more elegant presentation or for a layer cake.

For the chocolate glaze, use a good-quality chocolate, such as Callebaut or Valrhona. Or try it with your favorite frosting or a dusting of confectioners' sugar or topped with whipped cream, ice cream, or sliced fruit.

Serves 8

Preparation time for cake: 6 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Preparation time for glaze: 15 minutes
Chilling time (if using glaze) 30 minutes

Equipment: 9-inch round or 8-inch square cake pan, 2-cup measuring cup, double boiler

Cake Ingredients
1 ½ cups unbleached white flour
⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup cold water or coffee
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Chocolate Glaze
½ pound semi-sweet chocolate
¾ cup hot water
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375º.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, soda, salt, and sugar directly into the cake pan. In the measuring cup, measure and mix together the oil, cold water or coffee, and vanilla. Pour the liquid ingredients into the baking pan and mix the batter with a fork or a small whisk. When the batter is smooth, add the vinegar and stir quickly. There will be pale swirls in the batter as the baking soda and vinegar react. Stir just until the vinegar is evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes and set aside to cool.
To make the optional glaze, melt the chocolate in a double boiler, microwave oven, or reset the oven to 300º and melt the chocolate in the oven for about 15 minutes in a small ovenproof bowl or heavy skillet. Stir the hot water and vanilla into the melted chocolate until smooth. Spoon the glaze over the cooled cake. Refrigerate the glazed cake for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Reprinted from Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts , Copyright © 1997 by Moosewood, Inc. Clarkson N. Potter, Inc. New York, publisher.


  1. That looks DELICIOUS! So moist and chocolatey!
    Book marking this recipe for future cake adventures.

  2. I am on the hunt for a new chocolate cake recipe, I may need to give this one a try!

  3. That cake looks so moist and sinful! Woo!

  4. Mmm that looks like a perfect simple chocolate cake recipe. The texture looks great in the picture. Thanks for the recipe :) I'm bookmarking it!

  5. This sounds great, Lori! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Looks absolutely delicious! Yummy!