From Sweet Laurel Bakery’s cookbook: “This was the cake that changed everything. Our whole company, and point of view, is founded on this cake. Decadent, rich, beautiful, and intensely chocolaty, it flies in the face of people who don’t think you can have your cake and be grain-free, too. This cake is a showstopper, so get ready—people will freak out over it.”
almond milk or full-fat coconut milk, or as needed
For the Vegan Caramel:
Makes 1/2 cup:
almond or cashew butter or puree, store-bought or homemade
coconut oil, melted
1 or 2
fresh dates, pitted
Himalayan pink salt
In This Recipe
Make the Chocolate Cake: Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two 6-inch cake pans or one 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper rounds, then grease the sides of the pans with coconut oil.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cacao powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla. A little at a time, add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring until a batter forms.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Invert the cakes onto racks and allow to cool completely.
Place one layer on a cake plate and top with 1⁄2 cup of the fudge frosting, smoothing it evenly over the entire surface. Drizzle 1⁄2 cup of the caramel on top, if using. Add the second cake layer and top with the remaining 1⁄2 cup frosting, then drizzle the remaining caramel over the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
Make the Dark Chocolate Fudge Frosting: In a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the chocolate and coconut oil, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat. Slowly add the maple syrup and stir to incorporate. Allow to cool completely.
Transfer the chocolate mixture to a medium bowl and, using an electric mixer, beat in the almond butter until a thick frosting forms. Add the almond milk and stir with a spatula until smooth.
For a creamy, almost pourable frosting, use immediately; for a fluffy frosting, refrigerate for at least 8 hours, then bring to room temperature and beat with an electric mixer until spreadable. Refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.
Make the Vegan Caramel: Place all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
Transfer the caramel to a glass jar and place in the refrigerator to chill. The caramel will stiffen up in the refrigerator, so if your recipe calls for it to be spreadable, let the caramel sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour, and give it a good stir before using. The caramel will keep for about 1 month, refrigerated.
Notes: If you want a thinner sauce to drizzle on top of a dessert, just add another 2 tablespoons maple syrup. For a denser, caramel candy texture, add 2 more dates. For spreading on cake layers, add 2 tablespoons almond or cashew butter. Because this recipe contains fresh dates—which will ferment over time—it’s important to keep the caramel refrigerated.