Vegan Chocolate Cake

This Vegan Chocolate Cake is a recipe from Nigella Lawson. I came across it on Twitter when she tweeted the link to the recipe and mentioned that it was from her new book. She had been sharing a number of photos during the period they were filming her new TV show for the book so I was immediately intrigued and wanted to try it out as I have not done any vegan baking before except for these Coconut Blueberry Muffins.

Vegan Chocolate Cake

The cake obviously contains no eggs (or butter or milk for that matter) and I really wanted to see what it tasted like. I was pleasantly surprised. The cake is rich, moist, chocolatey and really delicious. And I think it would be quite hard for someone to guess there is none of the usual ingredients in this chocolate cake. I did not adapt the recipe at all except for adding a teaspoon of vanilla extract which I think any chocolate cakes needs.

Vegan Chocolate Cake

The only issue I  had was with the icing. It looked like the chocolate seized when I added it to the coconut butter mix and I am not sure if the temperature of the butter mix was too high as she does state that you need to bring it to the boil. My instinct would be to give it a minute or so after boiling for the temperature to drop before adding the chopped chocolate and I amended the recipe to reflect that. It tasted great but was not as smooth as I would have liked it.

Vegan Chocolate Cake

Just a note that coconut oil and coconut butter is not the same thing. I found the butter at Wellness Warehouse. There seem to be a whole world of coconut products out there – I did not even know coconut butter is a thing! Also remember to take out the coconut oil and butter out of the fridge (if you store it there) for a good few hours before baking.

Vegan Chocolate Cake

Vegan Chocolate Cake


  • Icing:
  • 60ml cold water
  • 75g coconut butter (this is not the same as oil)
  • 50g soft dark sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 ½ tbsp cocoa
  • 150g 70% dark chocolate, finely chopped (check packaging to ensure it is vegan)
  • Cake:
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp instant espresso powder
  • 75g cocoa
  • 300g soft dark brown sugar
  • 375ml hot water from a recently boiled kettle
  • 75g coconut oil (90ml)
  • 1 ½ tsp cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 - 3 tbsp chopped pistachios (optional)


  1. Line a 20cm round springform cake tin with parchment paper (Make sure the tin is leak proof as it is a wet batter)
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  3. Start with the icing by putting all of the icing ingredients except the chopped chocolate into a heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil, making sure everything’s dissolved
  4. Then turn off the heat – but leave the pan on the hob for a minute or two – then add the finely chopped chocolate and swirl the pan so that the chocolate is covered
  5. Leave to stand for a minute, then whisk until you have a darkly glossy icing, and leave to cool, stirring every now again while preparing the cake
  6. Put the flour, bicarb, salt and instant espresso and cocoa in a bowl and fork to mix
  7. Mix together the sugar, water, coconut oil, vinegar and vanilla until the coconut oil has melted, and stir into the dry ingredients, then pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35 - 40 minutes Though do check at the 30-minute mark to see if it is already done
  8. When it's ready, the cake will be coming away from the edges of the tin and a cake tester will come out clean, apart from a few crumbs. This is a fudgy cake and you don't want to overdo it
  9. Once the cake is cooked, transfer the tin to a wire rack and let the cake cool in its tin
  10. Give the icing a good stir with a spatula to check it is at the right consistency. It needs to be runny enough to cover the cake, but thick enough to stay (mostly) on the top. Pour over the unmoulded cake, and use a spatula to ease the icing to the edges
  11. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios if using and leave to stand for 30 minutes for the icing to set before slicing into the cake
  12. FREEZING: The cake can be made ahead and frozen, without icing. When cool, carefully wrap cake in a double layer of clingfilm and a layer of foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. To defrost, unwrap and place on a serving plate at room temperature for 3–4 hours.
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