Graham always gets a good birthday cake, since his birthday is in summer – this year it was this vegan, one-bowl, chocolate raspberry cake with a coconut milk ganache. It looks a bit fancy, but it’s really simple, I promise, even the icing. I just tossed it on there and made some swoops with a spoon.
It’s a basic vegan chocolate cake, made with light spelt flour, cocoa powder, non-dairy milk, olive oil, and a little coconut sugar. I adapted it from my pumpkin and chocolate layer cake and reduced the sugar a bit. Half a cup of coconut sugar for a whole cake is pretty all right, I think.
The cake has a nice light texture and deep chocolate flavour, with some raspberries tossed in halfway through filling the tin with the batter for a berry surprise in the centre. This lightens an otherwise rather rich cake, and makes it into a properly summery dessert.
It’s a single bowl method because dishes are the worst and cake shouldn’t involve more dishes than necessary, especially when hot water should be avoided at all costs during steamy summer weather. Mix, bake, cool, ice, done.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Spelt flour: this should be light or white spelt flour. All-purpose white flour can be substituted for spelt. I haven’t tried making this recipe gluten-free and recommend making these gluten-free chocolate cupcakes instead.
- Raspberries: fresh and frozen raspberries can both be used. Strawberries, cherries, and apricots all make good alternatives, though I don’t recommend frozen strawberries here as they’re too watery.
- Oil: olive oil can be replaced by any light-tasting liquid oil. Grape seed, avocado, and so on. I don’t recommend coconut oil for this cake, it makes it too heavy after cooling.
- Coconut sugar: cane sugar can be used instead of coconut sugar if you prefer.
For the ganache, it’s important to use a high-fat canned coconut milk, at least 65% coconut in the ingredients. A dark chocolate, above 70% cocoa solids, is also important. Either ingredient being less than that can cause the ganache not to set properly. Baking chocolate is ideal.
Don’t worry about raspberries sinking to the bottom of the cake. The batter is relatively thick, and since they’re going in the middle rather than being mixed throughout, they’ll float in a nice even layer.
Make sure you’re using cocoa powder, not cocoa drink powder, which is something quite different. There should only be one ingredient. If you see anything like sugar, milk powder, etc., then it’s not for baking.
How to Store
Storage: the cake can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to three days, but will of course have a slightly denser texture when chilled.
Freezing: place the fully cooled, unfrosted cake in an airtight container and freeze for up to three months.
- Make it ahead: since both the cake and the ganache need plenty of time to cool fully, you might want to make them the night before you plan on serving them to ensure plenty of time for that. Warm cake means melting ganache and you don’t want that.
- Don’t over mix: the cake will be rubbery and tough if over-mixed, so be sure to use a light hand for this recipe.
- Use the correct tin: a smaller baking tin will result in an under-baked centre and overdone outside of the cake for this recipe, so be sure you’re using a 20cm tin.
More Chocolate Desserts
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Vegan Chocolate Raspberry Cake
Vegan Chocolate Raspberry Cake
- 300 grams light spelt flour
- 100 grams coconut sugar
- 60 grams cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 375 ml non-dairy milk
- 125 ml olive oil*
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 large handful raspberries
Chocolate Coconut Milk Ganache
- 100 grams dark chocolate
- 400 ml canned full-fat coconut milk
- 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup to taste (optional)
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Raspberries for topping
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and grease a 20 cm (8 inch) springform pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk, olive oil, and vanilla. Use a wooden spoon to stir until just mixed and no streaks of flour remain.300 grams light spelt flour, 100 grams coconut sugar, 60 grams cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 375 ml non-dairy milk, 125 ml olive oil*, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pour half of the batter into the prepared spring form, sprinkle a layer of raspberries in, and top with the remaining batter. Transfer to the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.1 large handful raspberries
- Cool the cake on a rack for 15 minutes before removing the sides of the pan. Let the cake cool completely before icing.
Chocolate Coconut Milk Ganache
- Finely chop the chocolate and place it into a heatproof bowl.100 grams dark chocolate
- Pour the whole can of coconut milk into a small saucepan, and heat over low-medium until just simmering. Pour the hot milk over the chocolate and let it sit for 30 seconds before whisking to combine.400 ml canned full-fat coconut milk
- Add the maple syrup and vanilla, and sweeten to taste. Let the ganache cool fully in the refrigerator (at least four hours) before icing the cake.2-3 tablespoons maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- To ice, make swoops with the back of a spoon, and top with a couple generous handfuls of fresh raspberries. Store leftover cake in the refrigerator for up to three days.Raspberries
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.
This recipe was originally published in July 2018. It’s been updated with improvements to the text and recipe as of July 2020.