Vegan Chocolate Ganache Cake

Contributed by: Pastry Chef Fran Costigan

Vegan Chocolate Ganache Cake

Recipe type: Yield: 8-12 Prep time: Cook time: Total time:

This rich and moist chocolate cake is a sure winner! No one will know that it also happens to be vegan-friendly.


For the cake:

2 1/2 C All-purpose flour

2 C        Sugar

1 t         Salt

2/3 C    Cocoa powder

2 t         Baking soda

2 C        Coffee (or water)

2/3 C    Vegetable oil

2 t         Vanilla extract

2 t         Vinegar (apple cider or distilled white vinegar)

For the ganache:

3/4 lb  Bittersweet chocolate (12 OZ or approx. 2 C) min. 54% cocoa mass

1 C        Full-fat coconut milk


  1. Making the Cake:
  2. Preheat the oven to 350° F (175°C).
  3. Prepare two 9″ × 2″ -inch non-stick cake pans by spraying them with non-stick spray and then lightly coating them with cocoa powder.
  5. *Note: This cake can easily be halved, if desired.
  7. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  8. Whisk until evenly combined.
  9. Combine the coffee, oil and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl.
  10. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk vigorously to evenly combine.
  11. Add the vinegar and stir to blend well.
  12. Spoon an equal portion of the batter into each of the prepared baking pans.
  13. Immediately transfer to the preheated oven.
  14. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs attached.
  15. Remove from the oven and place onto a wire cooling rack for about 10 to 15 minutes or until cooled slightly.
  16. Invert the cakes out onto the cooling rack, remove the pans and let cool completely before icing.
  18. Making the Ganache:
  19. While the cake layers are cooling, make the ganache.
  20. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place it into a heat-proof bowl.
  21. Place the coconut milk in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil.
  22. Immediately pour the hot milk over the chocolate, making sure that the it fully covers the chocolate.
  23. If necessary, shake the bowl a bit to distribute the milk over the chocolate.
  24. Allow to sit for a few minutes and then whisk for a couple of minutes or until very smooth.
  25. Set aside while the cakes finish cooling.
  27. Decorating the Cake:
  28. To assemble the cake, whisk the ganache.
  30. *Note: It is best to ice the cake while the ganache is still soft and somewhat runny. Alternatively, the ganache can be cooled a bit longer, for about 30 minutes or so, and then it can be whipped to incorporate air into it. It can then be piped onto the cake using a pastry bag. This is good to do when using this ganache as a frosting for baked goods such as cupcakes.
  32. If the ganache has firmed up a bit too much for icing, you can either vigorously whisk it or briefly place over simmering water to make it a bit more pliable.
  33. If your cakes have baked into a dome shape, slice a bit off of the dome to make an even top.
  34. Using an offset spatula, begin icing the cake by placing a large dollop of ganache in the center and spread it around evenly.
  35. Carefully place the second cake on top, crumb-side down.
  36. If desired, you can do a crumb coat, but it’s not absolutely necessary for this cake.
  37. To finish decorating, ice the top and sides of the cake with the remaining ganache and serve.
  39. Chef’s Notes

  40. If doing a crumb coat, be sure you don’t refrigerate the bottom layer for more than a minute or two before putting on the second layer; otherwise, it will be too cold and the ganache might solidify. This cake is great even when made a day in advance; just be sure to let it come to room temperature before serving. Cake boards are sold in specialty baking shops, but you can easily make your own. Just cut out a sturdy piece of cardboard in the size you need and neatly cover it completely with foil.
  42. For a step-by-step instructional video on how to decorate the cake, watch the last step of this Chocolate Cake recipe. Note that the video recipe shown is not a vegan-friendly recipe, so just go to the last step.

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