You’ve probably been inundated with the proverbial “new year new you” posts of cleansing foods filling your feeds and inboxes. I too was in that head space heading into the new year, thinking of light refreshing raw recipes to share on the blog. But then my man came to me and said, “You owe me a German chocolate cake, you know…” Referring to how he missed out on Thanksgiving desserts because he stayed behind when Iley and I visited family in Maine, and I didn’t make any sweets for our Christmas dinner. So here I was, conflicted, “January is for posting juices and salads,” a little voice spoke to me, and another voice said, “oh f*ck it, cake is always a good idea”. Cake wins.
I had only become acquainted with the deliciousness that is German chocolate cake in my late twenties. Maybe 6 or so years ago my sister-in-law made one when we were living together and my husband has requested it ever since. The sweet topping of coconut and pecan in a thick caramel-ly frosting will do that to anyone with a sweet tooth. German chocolate cake is not actually from the old country. The original recipe was first published in 1957 by a woman in Texas named Mrs. George Clay, who named it after the brand of baking chocolate she used in the cake, Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate.
German Chocolate Cake
Yield 1 two-layer 8" round cake
Now, I love the chocolate cake recipe I adapted from an old war-time recipe I found that I've shared on the blog before, so I stuck with that tried and true recipe for the actual cake layers. The frosting is made with coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla, arrowroot to thicken, chopped pecans and shredded coconut. The sweet frosting goes well with this not-too-sweet moist chocolate cake. All you'll need is a tall glass of ice-cold plant-based milk to go with it.
Vegan Chocolate Cake
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 cups rapadura or whole cane sugar
- 1/2 cup raw cacao powder + 1 Tbs. for dusting
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 cups hot brewed coffee
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
German Chocolate Cake Frosting
- 1 1/2 cups coconut milk (homemade method here)
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 1 heaping tablespoon arrowroot powder
- seeds scraped from a vanilla bean
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
Prepare the Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350ºF with rack in center.
- Cut 2 8" round circles of parchment paper. Grease two 8" round cake pans with 2 Tbs. of vegan shortening/butter or canola oil and place parchment circles in each pan. Dust side of each pan with the extra tablespoon of cacao powder by tapping the sides of the pan as you turn it with the other hand.
- Whisk together flour, sugar, cacao powder and baking soda in a large mixing bowl.
- Combine hot coffee, oil, vinegar and vanilla in a large mixing cup. Add to the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined-a few lumps are ok. Divide batter evenly between pans.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.
- Cool for 10 minutes on a rack and then invert them onto the rack. Lift pans off of cakes and remove parchment. Leave the cakes inverted as this will help flatten a domed top. Allow to cool completely before assembling the final cake. The cakes can sit at room temperature loosely covered with foil overnight as well.
Prepare the Frosting:
- In a saucepan (off -heat) whisk together coconut milk, maple syrup, arrowroot powder and vanilla bean seeds until arrowroot is dissolved and there are no lumps. Add pecans and shredded coconut.
- Stir constantly on medium-low heat until mixture has thickened, about 5-10 minutes. Should be thicker than a glaze and looser than a frosting.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- If necessary, trim domed tops off of cakes with a serrated knife so that they are level.
- Place one layer of cake on a cake stand or serving dish. Pour half of frosting on top of first layer of cake. Spread out evenly with an offset spatula. Place the second layer of cake on top of the frosting. Spread the remaining frosting across top of cake. Allow some to drip down the side if you wish.
- Sprinkle some more chopped pecans and shredded coconut over the top if you wish. Serve at room temperature and enjoy!
Cover any uneaten cake and refrigerate for up to a week.
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