Vegan Black Forest Cherry Cake
Although a plant-based diet is often synonymous with “clean eating” and “healthy,” sometimes even vegans want to drown in a sinfully rich, chocolaty dessert. (Right, guys?) For all those times, vegan chef extraordinaire Chloe Coscarelli brings you this black forest cherry cake from her cookbook Chloe Flavor: Saucy, Crispy, Spicy, Vegan. We guarantee it’s just as decadent as the stuff from your childhood—if not more.
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups canned coconut milk, mixed well
1 cup vegetable oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
16 ounces frozen cherries
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons kirsch or brandy
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Almond milk, as needed
1 cup vegan chocolate chips
¼ cup coconut milk or almond milk
2 tablespoons vegetable or coconut oil
1. Make the Cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper cut to fit.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, vegetable oil, apple cider vinegar and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until just combined (do not overmix).
3. Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until toothpicks inserted into the centers come out clean with a few crumbs clinging to them, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the pans.
4. Make the Cherry Filling: In a small saucepan, combine the cherries, granulated sugar and kirsch. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thick and saucy, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl, stir in the vanilla extract, and let cool. Taste, and add another splash of liquor, if desired.
5. Make the Frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk or paddle attachment or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer, or beat the shortening until smooth. With the mixer running on low, add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract and beat to incorporate. Beat on high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. If needed, add a little almond milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, to thin the frosting until it's spreadable.
6. Make the Chocolate Ganache: In the top of a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips and coconut milk. (Alternatively, put the chocolate chips and coconut milk in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth.) Whisk in the vegetable oil until smooth.
7. When the cakes have cooled completely, run a knife around the inside edge of each pan to loosen the cakes and gently unmold them. Peel off the parchment paper. Place one cake on a serving plate, bottom side up. Spoon on half of the cherry filling, drizzling the liquid evenly over it. Dollop the frosting on top of the cherry filling. Carefully spread the frosting, but don’t worry if it’s not perfect—the weight of the second cake layer will even it out. Place the second cake layer on top of the first, bottom side up, and spread the chocolate ganache evenly over the top. Top with the remaining cherry filling.