Anita Shepherd's Vegan Chocolate Birthday Cake With Super-Fluffy Frosting

By Genius Recipes
July 13, 2016
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Author Notes: Disappointed by vegan buttercreams, Anita Shepherd consulted the back of a Cool Whip container and spied a whole lot of corn syrup. She turned to its more wholesome equivalent: brown rice syrup. Added on its own, the syrup made the frosting sleek and glossy, but still heavier and stickier than she wanted. But she discovered that the syrup helped stabilize the base enough that adding almond milk (a whole cup!), made it poof into pillowy ripples in the mixer. Recipe from Anita Shepherd of Anita's Creamline Coconut Yogurt, cake recipe adapted via Joy the Baker.

We've partnered with Bosch, makers of modern appliances like the Benchmark Induction Slide-In Range, to showcase a few ways to keep your friends and family together at the stovetop all winter long. To read more about this cake, check out Kristen Miglore's post The Story—and Secret Ingredient—Behind Our Genius Vegan Chocolate Cake with Super-Fluffy Frosting.
Genius Recipes

Makes: a double-layer 8- or 9-inch cake

The cake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil like vegetable oil (or nut oil like almond oil)
  • 1 cup soft avocado, very well-mashed, about 2 medium avocados
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Heat the oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two 8 or 9-inch rounds.
  2. Sift together all of the dry ingredients except the sugar.
  3. Mix all the wet ingredients together in a bowl, including the super mashed avocado.
  4. Add sugar into the wet mix and stir.
  5. Mix the wet with the dry all at once, and beat with a whisk (by hand) until smooth.
  6. Pour batter into a greased cake tins. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  7. Let cakes cool in pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto cooling racks to cool completely before frosting with fluffy chocolate frosting below.

The frosting

  • 9 1/2 ounces good-quality baking chocolate (we used 100% Dagoba bars)
  • 1 1/2 cups non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup almond milk, divided
  • 1 cup brown rice syrup
  1. In a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt the chocolate, whisking as needed. Set chocolate aside to cool completely.
  2. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat shortening till smooth. Stop the mixer, add all the sugar and beat on low, but stop when it still looks ugly and not completely incorporated. Add half the almond milk, the vanilla, and the salt.
  3. With the mixer on medium-high, slowly pour in the brown rice syrup, then the rest of the milk. Continue beating as it smooths out and gets super-fluffy.
  4. Beat in the cooled chocolate. Taste and tweak the salt or sweetness if you like. Use to frost the cooled chocolate cakes.
  5. Notes: If you're in a rush, you can set the bowl of melted chocolate in a bath of cold water and whisk to cool it down faster, but don't let the chocolate get solid again! If at any point the frosting starts to look ugly and separated, don't worry—just keep beating on high until it smooths out. If your kitchen is hot and the frosting is still looking separated or flat, stick the bowl in the fridge to cool it down, then continue.

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