Here’s a confession: I could never be vegan. Butter and ice cream are just far too alluring, and you’ll never see me writing home about nut-based cheese. But consuming fewer animal products is always a good thing and occasionally vegan desserts can be better than their dairy-based renditions. This cake is an example. It’s stark, rich, and hits all the notes of a traditional chocolate cake; you wouldn’t immediately guess that it’s vegan. Slather on a generous amount of fluffy mocha buttercream and you have a perfect November snack. Pairs well with an espresso or almond milk latte.
Makes 1 13×9″ sheetcake
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/4 cups unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup brewed coffee
- 2/3 cup canola oil
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups + 2 tbsp pastry flour (can substitute regular all-purpose flour)
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Vegan mocha buttercream
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 cup vegan butter (Earth Balance)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon instant espresso
- 2 tablespoons boiling water
For the cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, lightly spray a 13×9″ sheetpan, dust with flour, and set aside.
- Combine the almond milk and cider vinegar in a large mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Wait two minutes, and then add the oil, coffee, vanilla and applesauce. Beat until foamy.
- Sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda and stir until combined. Add slowly to the wet mixture as it continues to beat on medium. The batter should have no lumps and be creamy.
- Pour the batter into the sheetpan and bake for 25–30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Cool, preferably overnight.
For the buttercream
Add the espresso powder to 2 tablespoons of boiling water and stir until dissolved. Using a stand mixer, mix the confectioners’ sugar with the Earth Balance and vanilla, until well blended add the coffee and blend briefly until incorporated.
Spread the buttercream over the sheetcake and top with chocolate chips or jimmies. Chill the cake at least 30-60 minutes before cutting and serving…enjoy!