Insane Chocolate Layer Cake

What would you do if you had cause to celebrate but you couldn’t just go out and buy any old cake? I mean I could have picked up a specialty vegan cake at City Cakes or Cake Walk, but I’ve tried their not-so-amazing cupcakes, so a 45 minute drive didn’t seem worthwhile for something I wouldn’t LOVE.

So instead, you make the awesomest plant-based cake. Ever.

Okay, well maybe it wasn’t really the best one ever, and this other cake probably wins the healthiest cake contest, but mine was pretty dang tasty.

Insane Chocolate Layer Cake:

This cake features a simple chocolate cake base, layered with chocolate cheezcake ganache, topped with coconut whipped creme and adorned with figs.

For the cakes: 3 C. whole wheat pastry flour (blend it again through your power blender to get it extra fine, I used extra finely ground kamut berries instead of wheat), 2 C. water, 1 C. unsweetened applesauce, 1 C. raw agave, 2/3 C. cocoa powder (I used raw cacao), 1 t. baking soda, 1 t. salt, 2 T. vanilla, 4 T. apple cider vinegar.

Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil two 9 inch cake rounds, dust with cocoa powder. Set aside. Combine flour, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt in a large bowl. Then combine water, vanilla and agave in another bowl. Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture and stir til just combined. Add the 4 T. apple cider vinegar and stir until swirls start to form in the batter. Immediately pour batter into the cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cakes rest for 10 minutes before turning out on a cooling rack. Let cakes cool completely. This cake IS NOT made with buckets of white flour, white sugar and loads of fat, so it’s not very sweet or rich, so the batter may not taste like you think it ought too, but the finished product is delicious.

For the Chocolate Cheezcake Ganache: 1 1/4 C. raw cashews, 1/3 C. agave 1/4 t. salt, 1/2  C. dairy free dark chocolate chips, 1 T. lemon juice, 2 T. Cocoa Powder (I used raw cacao), 1 box lite silken firm tofu, 2 T. dry pectin (the kind you use for jam making), 1 C. boiling water.

Method: Place cashews in power blender, grind to a fine powder (if you don’t have a powder blender, soak the cashews for a few hours and skip this step), add agave, cocoa powder, lemon juice, chocolate chips, pectin and salt. Pour the boiling water over the other ingredients and blend until fully combined. Add the box of tofu and blend again. This mixture will be hot and will need to cool in the fridge for a few hours before using.

For the Coconut Whipped Creme: 1 can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated for at least 3 hours.

Method: Open the can, pour off the liquid and save for use in a smoothie, scoop solidified coconut creme into a chilled bowl and whip with beaters or whisk until light and fluffy. See the Veggie Witch method here, I only used one can of coconut as opposed to her 2 cans and didn’t sweeten the creme.

Fresh Figs for decorating

Assembly: Slice the two cakes in half width-wise into layers using a long serrated knife. You will have 4 layers now. Put First layer on a plate or cake platter, spread 1/3 of the cheezcake ganache over the top of the cake. Carefully place the next cake layer on top of the ganache. Repeat until you reach the top cake layer, for the top of the cake, frost with the coconut whipped creme and adorn with sliced figs. This cake MUST be kept covered and refrigerated or the ganache will melt and start to slide everywhere (as it clearly did in my photo shoot).



    1. You’re welcome here anytime πŸ™‚ My daughter asked if she could have it for breakfast in a bowl with soymilk poured over the top, I told her that she could do that for an after school snack. A mom’s gotta draw the line somewhere πŸ˜‰

    1. Thanks! It didn’t photograph as well as I’d hoped because I was too impatient to let the filling set properly before putting it together. Oh well, it was a delicious gooey mess πŸ™‚ Once it set up, it tasted even better

    1. You might like this one, my husband isn’t a dessert fan either and he liked it. It wasn’t too sweet so the flavors of the cashews, figs and raw cacao really shone through.

    1. I use bragg’s raw apple cider vinegar.Is that similar to the unfiltered kind? I’ve always used braggs, but I bought the giant bottle this last round and it’s growing this big kombucha looking thing in the bottom and is starting to smell pretty fermented…. I’m still using it because it says it doesn’t need refrigeration and it doesn’t seem off or moldy… yet πŸ˜‰

      1. Lol…yeah. I am sure it is still OK – probably healthier for you πŸ˜€ What I am using is raw and unfiltered, so it looks cloudy when you shake it. It smells so good. I never refrigerate vinegar personally.

  1. The chocolate ganache was to die for. And the whipped cream. And figs. Really the whole thing. And it didn’t kill my pH! Such skills, you are my hero. πŸ˜‰

    1. Glad you got to enjoy some and take some home so I didn’t eat it all πŸ™‚ BONUS that it didn’t kill your PH! Must have been the kamut working there. Little AJ had a piece last night and she said, “It just keeps getting better!”

  2. I absolutely love your stunning & filled vegan festive cake!
    I especially love the chocolate cashew layer! Yummy Yum! I am a big fan of cashews. They are my favourite nuts! Georgous pics too, Somer! Yummy Yummmm,..;!!!

    1. I don’t know how I’d do without cashews, they are such a staple in my diet now for creamy things! I’ve seen you use them lots on your blog too πŸ˜‰ Glad you love this cake and the photos! I’m still learning to use my crazy fancy camera :/

  3. Uhhhh . . . yes please!! This look amazing!! I tried making the coconut whipped cream after I saw it on ohsheglows but it totally failed on me! I bought full fat coconut milk and turned it upside down in the fridge like Ange said to do. But the cream never separated for me. What brand did you use? I’ll have to try it again.

    1. Oh Laurie, super bummer! I used Thai Kitchen regular coconut milk (not the lite).

      I’ve noticed that some brands have a lower fat content than others, so I made sure to purchase the one with the highest fat content (which is a good thing in this case) in my regular cooking I use light.

      I put the can it in the back of the fridge for a few hours, opened the can up, poured the liquid out, then opened the other end of the can up and pushed the creamy deliciousness out the other end with the lid so that no bits were left behind. I think freezing the beaters and bowl would probably help since mine didn’t get nearly as fluffy as hers.

      Hope that helps! Good luck!

    2. Btw, I saw at Trader Joe’s this week cans of coconut cream – all the fat, none of the milk πŸ˜‰ I did grab one to check it out. It lists dessert making on the can!

        1. Apparently they are coming soon, but they had some serious issues with Utah’s liquor laws which is why it’s taken them so long to open a store here.

          Can’t wait, but the nearest store will still be 45 minutes from me. 😦

  4. this cake is insanely gorgeous! love all the layers and the fresh figs on the cream! i’d probably go pick up something from the bakery:) unless i had hubbs help in the kitchen πŸ™‚

    1. Richa! This comment went into spam?!? I just rescued it. I’m going to have to find you and follow you, all my lovely blog ladies rave about you and your awesomeness πŸ˜‰

      Oh, and thanks for the compliments on the cake, believe me, I wouldn’t have baked my own birthday cake if there was a superb vegan bakery around. When I tried the vegan places mentioned in this post, all I could taste was sugar and fat, there wasn’t any depth to the cupcakes. Blast!

            1. For reals πŸ˜‰ It’s a big job, I’ve been lucky enough to figure it out so helping others figure it out is the least I can do.

              And thanks, I really appreciate your support!

  5. That cake looks SO incredibly delicious!! And I love that it has such natural ingredients–not the nasty chemicals and preservatives that are put into so many other baked goods.

  6. I swear I was just looking for a vegan choc cake – even got some raw cacao (and Pomona’s Pectin!!) today at Whole Foods in anticipation. This, my friend, will become someone’s birthday cake next week…wish me luck. It’ll be my first one ever. *biting lip*

    1. Oh wow Shannon! I guess this was perfect timing! If you’re family likes sweeter sweets, I would double the agave. Good luck and let me know how it turns out!

    1. Hehe, Yes, Thom, it was really delicious, it’s not a very sweet cake as far as cakes go though, so if you have a really sweet tooth, I would double the agave in the chocolate cake layers. Awesome on the bookmark status.
      p.s. watch for a new testimonial on the Forks Over Knives page in the near future πŸ˜‰

  7. Now that is what I call a birthday cake! I love all the layers (the more layers, the more decadent the cake seems, right?). I’m very intimidated by making my own layer cake because I’m such a perfectionist and in the past, when I’ve tried, it looks like a 5 year old made it. Nowhere near as gorgeous as yours!

    I’m glad to see that you celebrated your special day in style. πŸ™‚ xoxo

    1. Fun, eh? It was way more sloppy than I hoped in the beginning because I was too impatient to let everything set properly, but I kid you not, the next day it was like 20 times more delicious (and stable). All that goodness from the layers had to soak into each other. Mmmm!

      Um, by the way, your PPK layer cake is the AWESOMEST freaking cake I have ever seen. Mine truly pales in comparison. I show that thing to everyone I can get to look at it πŸ˜‰

  8. Oh Somer – This looks incredible. Our oven has been out-of-commission for a week, and we are waiting on a part. As soon as it’s repaired, I am going to try making this chocolate-dream cake… YUM!

    1. Oh yes, you must! Especially if there’s a special occasion involved. The trickiest part of this recipe was slicing the cakes crosswise! Everything else is simple. πŸ™‚ !

  9. The totally lazy version (no layers – sheet cake pan, no chocolate, no cream – just some vegan mint ice “cream.” Fantastic. Thanks, you saved my fanny. The birthday man enjoyed it as well.

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