Four years ago this month, John and I were just kids planning our wedding. We decided to give up sweets during our engagement to feel our best on our wedding day, and to more fully enjoy our dessert bar and wedding cake.
The big day finally arrived. We had been so good, not even having an ounce of sweets aside from honey and the occasional after-dinner mint. And you better believe we pigged out at the reception. I was in sweet tooth heaven.
Like most, our honeymoon was a time of sheer indulgence so when we got settled back into “real life” we hit the reset button on our diet. Sweets were out the door again.
That was, until we attended the wedding of some close friends in Portland where I met the chocolate cake that perhaps changed my life.
Yes, big words for a cake.
I’d resigned to give desserts up indefinitely. But then we show up at this wedding and it’s absolutely charming and the food is delicious and the ambience is perfect and the music is a local bluegrass band…and all at once they bring out this giant chocolate cake.
I wrangled our entire table into a discussion over whether or not this cake was worth breaking my fast for.
Unanimously, we agreed yes. I took one bite into this luxurious, velvety, rich chocolate cake, and amidst so many layers of mousse, cake and ganache my mind couldn’t comprehend what my taste buds were experiencing.
Was it worth it? Without a doubt, yes.
These days my sweet tooth still wins once in a while, but I keep it to the occasional indulgence. A donut here, a cookie there, almost always something on the healthier side of the spectrum. But especially in the last 6 months, always dairy free. And so, it was a given that I had to make my dream chocolate cake vegan style.
Friends, I’ve done just that.
As the title suggests, this cake is made in 1 bowl in under 1 hour! You can even make your buttercream frosting in the same bowl you used for the cake. Simplicity at its finest.
The ingredients are fairly simple and considerably “healthier” than most chocolate cakes.
Coconut oil replaces vegetable or canola
Oil is reduced with the addition of applesauce
Cane sugar replaces granulated sugar
And the only (vegan) “butter” is in the (vegan) “buttercream” frosting
So, what does it taste like? Just like chocolate cake should! It’s:
& Perfect with a glass of almond milk
If you’re like me, chocolate cake (or any cake, for that matter) deserves a giant scoop of ice cream beside it. Melty ice cream and a thick slice of heavily-frosted cake – does it get any better than that?
But for the modest cake eater, a glass of almond milk is really all you need to wash down this vegan chocolate dream. Enjoy!
Speaking of almond milk, this recipe marks the first of several recipes we’ll be sharing over the next few months featuring Blue Diamond Almond Breeze! I’ve been using Almond Breeze for years and am thrilled to bring you guys some tasty recipes featuring a product I adore so much. For more information about the integrity of this brand, see their FAQ page.
Now bring on the cake!
- 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) original unsweetened Almond Breeze Almond Milk
- 2 tsp white or apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/4 cups (307 g) unsweetened applesauce*
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) strong brewed coffee (or sub more almond milk)
- 2/3 cup (160 ml) melted coconut oil, or sub grape seed or canola oil
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups + 2 Tbsp (320 g) whole-wheat pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/3 cups (266 g) organic cane sugar (or sub granulated sugar)
- 1 cup (96 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup (16 Tbsp or 224 g) vegan butter, softened
- 2 1/2 - 3 cups (280-336 g) powdered sugar
- 2/3 cup (63 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup (30 g) dairy-free semisweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ~1/4 cup unsweetened original Almond Breeze Almond Milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and lightly spray 2 8-inch round cake pans or 1 large rectangular pan with nonstick spray (see notes for cooking times for different size pans). Dust with cocoa powder, shake out the excess and set aside.
- Mix the almond milk and vinegar in a large mixing bowl, and let set for a few minutes to activate. Add the oil, coffee, vanilla extract, and applesauce and beat until foamy.
- Add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to a sifter and slowly sift over the wet ingredients while mixing with a hand-held or standing mixer. If you don’t have a sifter, simply mix dry ingredients in another bowl and add to the wet mixture while beating. Beat until no large lumps remain. It should be creamy and pourable. Taste and adjust sweetness as needed, adding more sugar if desired (I found it plenty sweet).
- Divide batter evenly between your 2 cake pans or rectangular pan.
- Bake 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.
- While cooling, prepare frosting by beating together all ingredients until light and fluffy, adding the powdered sugar in small amounts until you reach your desired consistency and sweetness. If it becomes too thick, add more almond milk. If it's too thin, add more cocoa powder or powdered sugar.
- Once the cake is cooled, frost generously with buttercream frosting, adding a thick layer between the top and bottom layers (if doing a 2-layer cake). Alternatively, omit the frosting and dust with cocoa powder.
- Serve with a scoop of dairy-free ice cream, a drizzle of chocolate, or caramel sauce, coconut whipped cream or a glass of almond milk!
*Double the recipe and use 4 pans for a 4-layer cake. Halve the recipe and use 1 pan for a 1-layer cake.
*Adapted from my Fudgy Vegan Beet Cupcakes
*Buttercream adapted from Martha Stewart
*Confused on how long to bake your cake when using different pans? Here's a helpful guide.