Make Ahead

Vegan Chocolate Cake with Creamy Chocolate Filling

October  1, 2013
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 10 to 12
Author Notes

Think vegan desserts are out of your reach? Think again. While this recipe is a little time intensive, it feels much easier if you make the creamy chocolate filling a day or two ahead of time. You can also make the cake a day ahead of time, and then simply assemble it and make the ganache the day you'll be serving. —Gena Hamshaw

What You'll Need
  • Vegan chocolate layer cake
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups almond, rice, or soy milk (I used soy)
  • 2/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups organic sugar
  • Creamy Chocolate Filling and Ganache
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons almond or cashew butter
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  1. Vegan chocolate layer cake
  2. Preheat your oven to 350° F.
  3. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Place these dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add the apple cider vinegar to the milk and beat until it's frothy. Whisk in the oil, vanilla, and sugar.
  5. Add about a third of the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix them together (you can use a spatula, whisk, or a hand mixer on the lowest setting). Add another third, keep mixing for a few moments, and then add the final third. When ingredients are just fully incorporated, stop mixing.
  6. Pour the cake batter into two round, 8 or 9-inch springform cake pans that have been greased with coconut oil. Bake for twenty-five minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake is clean. Allow the cakes to cook completely.
  1. Creamy Chocolate Filling and Ganache
  2. To make the creamy chocolate filling: Use a food processor to process the pumpkin, cocoa, maple syrup, and almond or cashew butter till smooth. Set aside.
  3. To make the ganache: Stir the milk and syrup together in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Pour this mixture over the chocolate and stir until all of the chocolate is melted. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  4. To assemble the cake: remove the cakes from their pans. Place one onto your cake stand and gently shave the rounded top off of it with a sharp knife. Spread the creamy filling over this layer. Gently place the other cake over it. Pour the ganache over the cake. Transfer to a refrigerator to set for an hour. Serve.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Änneken
  • Vili Dobreva-Tankas
    Vili Dobreva-Tankas
  • Mark Perino
    Mark Perino
  • Sera Seo Jin Jeong
    Sera Seo Jin Jeong
  • April Bautista
    April Bautista

33 Reviews

susan November 10, 2019
I'm an experienced baker and this was one of the worst cakes I have ever made. There was very minimal chocolate flavor to it. granted it was moist, but I need chocolate too.
diana F. January 4, 2018
How many days in advance can this cake be made?
Änneken September 1, 2017
Awesome!! This is the chocolate cake I was waiting for all my life: Rich, moist, chocolatey to the max and comes with a great texture. I am making this for the office next week. Gena rocks!
ghainskom July 21, 2017
A hit. For adults and kids, vegan or not. I'd say this is the vegan pendant to David Lebovitz's cenk’s devil’s food cake ( I switched the pumpkin with a sweet potatoe and only worked the filling with a fork, leaving small pieces in for some texture. Used coco/cashew butter in place of almond butter. Half AP flour and half spelt. Used almond milk. Baked two cakes but next one would make only one and divide it in the middle. The cake was rich, filling, tasty. *drops mike*
jd December 13, 2015
This cake absolutely rocks, moist, light & fluffy! Non vegan visitor couldn't tell the difference! It's a keeper at our house!
Malka March 21, 2015
I made this cake last night. Couldn't believe how easy it was yet so delicious. Best chocolate cake ever. However, since pumpkin puree is more of a seasonal thing, i substitute it with the fig butter from Trader Joe's. I think it worked perfectly.
Vili D. August 8, 2014
Can I replace the pumpkin puree with something else? Thanks!
Mark P. August 5, 2014
This is a variation on the classic Moosewoods Chocolate Cake. I prefer the original Moosewoods Vegan Chocolate cake. The flavor of Coffee is a better choice than almond/soy milk.
Ami May 1, 2014
Has anyone tried to bake this as one cake, then slice it into two pieces after baking? I have many cake pans, and none of them are the same size. I wanted to bake in one cake pan so that each layer comes out the same size to not waste the edges.
Jodie April 22, 2014
With a tad of tweaking this cake is one the the BEST homemade chocolate cakes I have EVER had. Bonus that it is vegan!!! I used Almond Milk and Olive Oil. I found the cake to be Super moist and yummy. To the filling I added 1/2 tsp vanilla, pinch salt, and 1/2 c. of the chocolate ganache. I start by doubling the filling, put it in the fridge in the processor bowl until the ganache (which I also double)is ready, then I add a total of 1c. of the ganache to the filling and process until smooth. I use a 10 inch spring form pan and I put almost all of the filling in the middle (I end up with about a 1/2 c left over for yummy dipping later). The filling tastes better after it has had a chance to sit and the cocoa absorb into the pumpkin. Adding the ganache to the filling gives it a true chocolate taste. I have made this twice now, most recently for the Easter Holiday, and my mom - the hardest sweet tooth to please - loved it! It is THE chocolate cake I will be making for now on.
rachel February 12, 2014
I thought this cake was ok. The cake part turned out a little dry for me--maybe I didn't measure my flour carefully enough. I thought the ganache was perfect! But the pumpkin flavor in the filling didn't work for me. I added a little extra syrup and vanilla to try to make it less pumpkin-y, but if I were to make this again I would look for a different filling recipe.
German February 11, 2014
I have tested several similar recipes with cococa butter. For me, it's less expensive, and easier to get by than coconut oil. The flavor is amazing.
Sera S. February 3, 2014
i served it tonight to my college hall mates! i made extra ganache and added about 1/2 cup of the ganache, salt, and vanilla to the pumpkin filling to completely mask the metallic taste of canned pumpkin. it was a huge hit!
Ku A. November 11, 2014
Haha, you made this cake?! I did too. Bout to make it again tmrw for my mom's b day. Hope you are well.

-Akure from Swat
Sera S. November 11, 2014
Oh hey there Akure! Funny to meet you virtually on a recipe thread! Happy birthday to your mom. I hope you guys have a great celebration and enjoy some delicious cake! Thanks and I hope you are doing well too! :-)
Cindy L. December 30, 2013
I made it for a vegan friend and non-vegan friends. They loved it! At first, I was skeptical about pumpkin puree for the filling but to my amazement it was delicious. Very decadent.
tulip549 December 6, 2013
This was quite a tasty cake! I didn't have time to make the ganache so only made the cake itself. I just halved the recipe and poured it into a 9 inch round baking pan. I also added a tablespoon of ground coffee and used regular milk instead of the "vegan" milks. Also added a touch more cocoa (I like my cakes super chocolatey!). Baked it for 25 minutes and it came out very moist. It was quite delicious and I definitely will be making it again!
April B. November 28, 2013
My daughter has a nut allergy so I used Sunflower Seed butter instead of the nut butter and it still tastes delectable!
April B. November 28, 2013
I made your cake it is WONDERFUL! thank you so much for sharing - I wish i could send you pics I took!
Juliann October 30, 2013
An extra bonus was the ganache "frosting". I don't usually frost cakes, and my family loved the chocolate bar topping!
Juliann October 30, 2013
I made the cake with whole wheat pastry flour, almond milk, dutched cocoa and baked it in a 9x13 pan for ease. My family declared it a winner. The cake was moist and rich. It might replace my usual birthday celebration cake, Susan Purdy's Chocolate Buttermilk cake. I have not made the filling. Any further comments on it?
Krista L. October 25, 2013
For the ganache is it 1/4 cup of maple syrup or 2 Tbsp? It's listed twice.
bdholtzman November 5, 2013
The 1/4 cup goes in the pumpkin/chocolate mix, and the 2 tbsp goes in with the coconut milk. Then it all gets mixed together.