My dear friend Matt’s birthday was last Sunday and I wanted to celebrate the occasion with a chocolate cake (this was admittedly as much for him as it was for me). My usual go-to recipe is the Guinness chocolate cake that my mom introduced me to years ago. However, being 9 months pregnant, I didn’t relish the idea of going to the liquor store and facing down the glares I’d inevitably get as I purchased a 4-pack of Guinness cans. Plus the recipe is pretty high in fat and since I intended to eat a lot of this cake, I wanted something a bit more “nutritious”. Once again, I turned to the fabulous Isa Chandra over at the Post Punk Kitchen for some ideas. I was not disappointed! I made her “Just Chocolate Cake” recipe, doubled it to make a layer cake, and voila: chocolate cake perfection, in my humble opinion. This is exactly the cake I wanted to make: rich without being fattening or greasy; a slightly spongy texture; and very, very chocolatey. However, I wasn’t too enamoured with Isa’s suggested icing: a chocolate ganache. In my experience, ganaches tend to be rather rich and more like a glaze than an icing. I wanted a nice thick fudgy icing – the texture that you’d get from a tub of Duncan Hines icing without all the unpronounceable ingredients. I did a google search for vegan icing recipes and decided to combine two that I found from a site called Short & Sweets: Chocolate Buttercream Frosting and Raspberry Buttercream Frosting. The result? A very chocolatey icing with the unmistakable taste (and bite) of raspberry. Awesome.
Here’s the recipe for the cake. Like I said, I copied Isa’s recipe exactly so you can go straight to the source for it. However, I’ll put it here in case *heaven forbid* the Post Punk Kitchen ever went defunct:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8 or 9 inch cake tins and line with parchment paper if you’re pretty paranoid about the cake sticking. I did this extra step and was glad I did.
In a large bowl, whisk together:
- 2 cups almond milk (soy or other non-dairy milk would work here too)
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Allow to curdle for a few minutes. In the meantime, combine in another bowl:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup cocoa powder – try to use Dutch processed if possible!
- 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Now that the milk has curdled, add to it:
- 1.5 cups granulated sugar
- 2/3 cups canola oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
Add the dry ingredients to the wet, in two batches. Use an electric mixer to combine until there are no large lumps left.
Bake for 32 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted through the centre comes out clean.
Melt 140g/5oz bittersweet chocolate either in the microwave or in a double boiler and allow to return to room temperature. Beat in 1/2 cup of softened Earth Balance vegan butter (1 stick) for about a minute. Add about a cup of fresh raspberries and beat. Next, add a cup of icing sugar and beat until combined. Add another cup and beat again. Add 1 tbsp of cocoa and a couple splashes of almond milk and taste your icing at this point. I’m not a fan of icing that tastes like icing sugar or that is gritty so I tend to use less icing sugar than most recipes call for. However if you feel it’s not sweet enough or icing-y enough, add up to another cup of icing sugar.
This yielded plenty of icing to do a thick layer between the two cakes and to ice the entire outside surface area. After icing the cake I noticed that the icing was a bit droopy so I decided to put the whole thing in the fridge to stiffen up. This was a very good decision and did not affect the taste of the cake.