September 24, 2012

Vegan Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache

While we were in Pacific Grove over the summer, Tristan celebrated his 8th birthday in two amazing ways.  First was his scuba diving experience at the Monterey Bay Aquarium where he fearlessly braved 50 degree water and explored the great tide pool outfitted in his wetsuit and oxygen gear.  And second, he enjoyed his first taste of a chocolate cake with chocolate ganache, baked with love and customized by Stephanie Stein at Happy Girl Kitchen Company.

Stephanie Stein's egg, dairy, and nut-free masterpiece delighted the socks off the kids!

Tristan posing for his Scuba Diary photo--way cool, dude!

Putting on your fins in the water is no easy task!
I was hesitant to order a cake with chocolate ganache, as the kids (minus my little frosting-eating monster in pigtails) usually complain about too-sweet frosting.  But Stephanie, lovely as she is, said she could use less sugar in the ganache and promised the cake would be delicious.  More like sinful.  The kids loved it so much!  OK, I might have had my share of the cake as well.

In light of these events, I decided to try my hand at making chocolate ganache.  Heart-healthy Cathy over at what would cathy eat? had the perfect recipe for a first timer like me.  The cake is a variation on wacky cake, my go-to for party cakes and cupcakes.  She adds coffee instead of water or milk (Did someone say my chocolate cake?  Brilliant.)  With just a few ingredients in the ganache, and her almond milk easily replaced with soy milk (or any other allergy safe milk), let's just say I'll be making this cake again real soon.

I used a 9 x 13 pan instead of two 8" rounds, but you could surely do a round layer cake or cupcakes instead.  See Cathy's suggestions for greasing and inverting round cake pans.

Find any reason to celebrate and bake a cake for your little ones this week!

Vegan Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache (can be made free of the top 8*), adapted from what would cathy eat?

Cake ingredients

3 cups white wheat flour* (use gluten-free flour blend to make gluten-free)
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Ghiradelli)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup canola oil
1 cup cold brewed coffee
1 cup cold water (or more brewed coffee)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Ganache ingredients

3/4 cup unsweetened soy milk* (or other allergy-safe milk)
6 ounces 72% dark chocolate (I used Baker's Unsweetened Baking Chocolate Squares, 100% Cacao found at Fresh & Easy)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour your cake pan(s).  (If you're using rounds, Cathy suggests greasing, putting a round piece of parchment paper at the bottom of each round, and greasing again).

2. Sift all of the dry cake ingredients into a bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix together the oil, coffee, water, and vanilla extract.

3. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix to combine.  Don't overmix.  Stir in the vinegar, again just enough to combine.

4. Pour the batter into the pan(s) and bake for 30 minutes or until center springs back to the touch.  I baked mine a little longer (like 40 minutes) but I also have an oven with a questionable temp read.  Just be patient!

5. Pour ganache ingredients into a pot and warm slowly until the chocolate is melted and ingredients combined.  Spread evenly over the top and sides of the cooled cake.  If you're doing a layer cake, you can spread a thin layer between.

Go ahead, put a chocolate-toothed smile on your kids' faces this week with this decadent cake.


  1. That looks so delicious! Glad your boy had a wonderful birthday. A child's smile is so worth it all yeah?

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