Vegans and non-vegans alike will love this vegan Christmas cake. Flavored with orange and some fancy chocolate bitters, this festive cake will be the hit of your holiday dessert table!
For another, non-vegan version of this cake, see my Chocolate Creamsicle Ombre Halloween Cake, pictured at the bottom of this post.
Same Cake. Two Holidays
A couple of weeks after I made the Halloween cake, it was time for Kathy and Cheryl’s Gothic Dinner Party. Kathy put me in charge of dessert, so I veganized that cake to much acclaim.
Kathy and the other guests all said it was the best vegan cake they’d ever had. High praise, indeed.
Since it turned out so well, I wanted to share it on the blog, but in true Blogger Fashion, I decided I needed to wait for another holiday, so now here we are at Christmas, and the vegan holiday cake has exchanged its orange ombre and spiderweb finery for snowy white frosting and festive vegan sprinkles.
I also decided to give the naked cake another go figuring that the dark chocolate cake peeking through the white would make the cake look like a stylized birch stump.
Chocolate Vegan Christmas Cake
This cake is delicious. It is moist but not dense–it has just a bit of spring to it when you bite it.
It’s deeply chocolatey and also orangey, because I really cannot get enough of the chocolate orange combination.
I flavored both the cake and the frosting with a touch of orange oil, although you could certainly use freshly grated orange zest if you’d rather. I also added a couple of dashes of chocolate bitters to the frosting. It sounds fancy, but it’s just like adding a dash of vanilla to something.
Once you buy some, you’ll have it and will find a bunch of ways to use it. (I’m pretty sure it needs to go in chocolate chip cookies). Plus, the bitters give a slight chocolate flavor and aroma to the frosting without turning it brown. Sneaky!
How to Make a Chocolate Cake Vegan
The cake base is just Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake, a recipe I turn to again and again when I need chocolate cake because it’s incredibly moist and very easy to make. It’s one of the few cakes I don’t use my mixer to make.
All I need is two bowls and a whisk. Veganizing this cake was really easy, too:
- I just swapped out chicken eggs for flax eggs
- melted Earth Balance for my usual butter
- used full fat coconut milk for the milk. You could certainly use any nut milk you prefer, or you could leave out the milk altogether in favor of coffee. The original recipe calls for vegetable oil, so that’s always an option for the fat as well.
- The butter in the frosting is Earth Balance (the tub kind because that’s all I had), vegan powdered sugar, orange oil and chocolate bitters. That’s it!
Since the tub Earth Balance is soft, you shouldn’t add any extra liquid to the frosting to thin it out to spreading consistency. It’s already at spreading consistency.
I made ermine frosting the first time I made this cake, and I made vegan ermine frosting for the Gothic dinner party.
This time around, I just made standard (vegan) American buttercream because the less messing about at Christmas, the better.
Let’s stop talking about this tasty vegan Christmas Cake and just make it already, okay?
For the Cake
- 8 oz (about 1 3/4 cups) all purpose flour
- 14 oz (2 cups) granulated organic sugar
- 2.25 oz (3/4 cup) cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 Tablespoon espresso powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 8 oz full fat coconut milk, , shaken well
- 4 oz melted and cooled Earth Balance, (stick or tub)
- 2 Tablespoons flax meal, (whiz it up in a blender or food processor to make it as fine as you can) mixed with 5 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3-4 drops orange oil or the zest of an orange and/or 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
- 8 oz (1 cup) boiling water
For the Frosting
- 8 oz Earth Balance, (I used the tub kind)
- 16 oz (1 pound or 4 cups) vegan powdered sugar
- 3-4 drops orange oil, (or zest of 1/2 orange and/or 1/4-1/2 teaspoon orange extract)
- 2-3 shakes chocolate bitters, (totally optional but really lovely)
For the Cake
- Line 3 6" (or 2 8" or 9") pans with parchment, spray sides with pan spray and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, Earth Balance, flax meal/water mixture, vanilla and orange oil.
- Pour the wet into the dry and mix well for about 3 minutes using either a whisk or a large wooden spoon. The batter should be fairly thick and smooth.
- Pour in the boiling water and stir carefully to combine--it will take a minute for the water to want to mix with the thick batter, so go slowly and don't splash yourself. Scrape the bowl and stir a bit more.
- Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake on the center rack for about 30 minutes for the 6" cakes and maybe 35-40 for 8" or 9" cakes or until the cakes read 200F on an instant read thermometer and have just started to shrink from the sides of the pans.
- Cool on racks for 15 minutes before turning out to cool completely.
- Frost and decorate as desired.
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Whether or not you’re vegan, this vegan chocolate Christmas cake will make a striking centerpiece on your table, and you can dress him up however you want.
While I am fond of the naked look for this cake, I can also see it topped with sugared cranberries and some rosemary. Maybe stick a Tasteful Woodland Creature or two on top as well. Or not. Your call. However you decorate yours, I’d love to see it. Email me or post it to the Pastry Chef Online facebook page.
The Non-Vegan Halloween Version
Here’s the ombre Halloween cake I mentioned above. I think it’s pretty cool looking! Now you can make a vegan or non-vegan version of this cake. Hooray!
Thank you so much for spending some time with me today. Have a lovely day.