A spectacular show-stopper chocolate layer cake! This cake has a deep cinnamon and chocolate flavor, and is free of dairy, gluten and even oil and yet holds shape beautifully! And has a special baking trick involving boiling water that you’ll want to learn!
Cinnamon Chocolate Layer Cake (dairy-free, vegan, gluten-free, oil-free)
When it comes to classic cakes, this chocolate layer cake is right up there at the top of the list. And there is nothing more fun than veganizing a classic recipe and giving it a spicy spin.
So welcome to my simplest chocolate layer cake recipe to date! All you need is a pot, a bowl and two pans, and can be whipped up in 20 minutes or less, excluding baking.
I think you’ll love in particular the flavor, texture and the interesting technique that achieves it.
Unusual Moisturizer in This Chocolate Layer Cake
I learned this trick from my mother, actually. She took a scientific approach to cooking.
Over the years, she has shared many tricks using temperature and moisture manipulation to, in unlikely ways, make ingredients do what she wanted. I myself went on to study biology and have graduate degrees in science, an interest I’m sure she ignited.
One of her useful tricks is featured in this recipe. The texture of the cake is quite moist, and is not due to the addition of oil, but in fact to a boiling water step you’ll see in the method below. I also share a no-stick-to-the-pan method I love.
Another aspect of this recipe that I was pleased with is the frosting. I typically make buttercream frosting using vegan butter. This time I replaced the butter with coconut cream to add nutrition and a shinier texture, and it worked beautifully.
No Coconut Flavor in Coconut Milk Frosting
PLUS, I promise there is no coconut flavor! Even using full-fat coconut milk.
I was surprised because, of course, even though I love the taste of coconut, I don’t want every recipe I make to taste like coconuts. This recipe is chocolate cinnamon in flavor, and this frosting is the perfect pairing.
I hope you enjoy this cake, for your holiday baking, your birthday baking, or your I-need-cake-today baking, haha!
If you want to keep this recipe, you can pin the image below!
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Simple Cinnamon Chocolate Layer Cake (dairy-free, vegan, gluten-free, oil-free)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Prep two 8 inch round cake pans by greasing with vegan butter, then dusting with flour. (I used 9 inch at first and then realized 8 or 8 1/2 would yield a taller layer)
- Line bottom with rounds of wax paper. You'll thank me later.
Make the Cake
- In the large bowl, stir flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt until well combined. Some people sift, I don't have the patience, haha.
- Make the flax eggs and set aside (stir together 2 tbsp ground flaxseed and 5 tbsp water)
- In the medium pot, boil the 1 cup of water, and stir in 1 cup of organic cane sugar until the sugar is melted and water is a bit reduced, maybe 2 minutes of boiling, but watch this pot!
After 2 minutes or less, turn off stove and add the chocolate and butter to this mixture and stir until melted. Then stir in vanilla and flax eggs.
- Pour this mixture into large bowl and blend until creamy with a hand mixer. The batter should be a normal cake-batter texture. If it is too dry, add in more water, 1 tbsp at a time, mixing inbetween.
- Pour the batter evenly into the pans, and bake 30 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.
- Cool, then run a knife around inside edge of each cake pan, flip clench cake out of pans, peel off the wax bottom, and let cool on a cake rack.
- Put the coconut cream and chocolate bar chunks into a 2-cup measuring cup and microwave 40 seconds or so. When you remove the cup, the coconut cream should be steaming and stirring a bit will make all the chocolate melt.
- Put the 3 cups of organic powdered sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Pour the coconut cream and melted chocolate into this, and use a hand mixer to blend it all into a creamy frosting texture.
At some point, you'll want to add a little milk to achieve that texture, but do so only a few tsps at at time as the frosting can very quickly become too liquidy. If it does, add a bit more sugar to achieve a spreadable frosting.
- If your frosting is ready before your layers are cool enough to frost, saturate a paper towel with water so it is drippy wet, squeeze it out a bit, and cover the bowl carefully with the damp cloth.
Don't let water drip into the frosting. This should keep the frosting's shiny texture for 1/2 hour or so.
- Once the cake is cool, frost the bottom layer, and put the second layer on top, then frost that...enjoy!
Dee Dine is founder of Green Smoothie Gourmet, a plant based recipe blog, and author of the recent cookbook, Crazy Healthy with 4 Ingredients . On this blog you’ll find incredibly easy recipes with hidden veggies for anyone wanting to eat healthier, regardless of diet. Dee has graduate degrees in biology, immunology and journalism. More about Dee Dine here.