If you’re interested in a VERY rich chocolatey cake with gooey coconut pecan frosting then you have come to the right place. I’ve been working on my vegan German chocolate cake recipe for quite some time and here it finally is!
Thankfully, no, that does not mean I ate chocolate cake every day for a year and a half. But my various iterations on this cake were fed to family and coworkers and frozen and… okay yeah it’s been a lot of cake. This final, pictured version of the German chocolate cake has been approved of by many omnivores, so I hope you believe me that it’s just a damn good cake in its own right.
Promises I am NOT making about this dairy-free German chocolate cake: (1) it is NOT healthy, raw or gluten-free; (2) it is NOT reduced sugar or refined sugar free (3) it is NOT a one bowl/30 minute recipe. It IS soy-free and you could make it nut-free by using all coconut in the frosting instead of using pecans. I have not tried making this gluten-free. I believe all-purpose gluten-free flour would work but I have not tested it.
It’s my belief that an easy vegan German chocolate cake could taste about 85% as good as this sliiightly more complicated one. Still good, but I believe the extra steps and ingredients do add something. I’ve tried a few different ways to pare down the recipe over time and I really do like it the way that it’s written here.
To create this recipe I started from the somewhat traditional Joy of Baking classic recipe and retooled it to be made without eggs and without milk. Eggless sponge cakes totally do have the potential to be awesome. They can easily be made just as light and fluffy by boosting the leavening agents a little bit.
In the original German chocolate cake, the frosting itself also contains egg yolks, but I found that the vegan frosting came out just fine without needing to explicitly replace the egg. One of my coworkers said “this is good but I better not be eating congealed coconut oil right now”. Sorry, but that’s basically what the frosting is! 😀 Delicious, delicious coconut oil with toasted coconut and pecans, thickened with a little bit of cornstarch.
I used cocoa powder to dust the top of my vegan German chocolate cake because I thought I was going to be fancy that day. Turns out I don’t really like how it looks, but I couldn’t really do anything to change it and I didn’t feel like making an entire new cake layer to hide it. This admission brought to you by “food bloggers are people too”.
This vegan German chocolate is rich enough that it’s practically fudge, and makes about a million servings, so gather a chocolate-and-coconut-loving crowd and dig in! I highly recommend using a kitchen scale and following the ingredient weights for best results. It’s a small investment you won’t regret. My newer baking recipes almost always include weights and I’m in the process of re-testing old recipes to add them too! (Snickerdoodles anyone?)
Vegan German Chocolate Cake
A gourmet vegan German chocolate cake, made eggless and dairy-free thanks to coconut oil, vegetable oil, and aquafaba. Fudgy and just a little dense, and slathered with a toasted pecan coconut custard frosting. This cake might not be much to look at but it's delightful to eat!
- 4 oz semisweet chocolate (check ingredients for milk)
- 200 grams coconut oil (1 cup) room temperature
- 40 grams vegetable oil (1/4 cup) (I use grapeseed oil)
- 145 grams coconut sugar (1 cup)
- 250 grams cane sugar (1 and 1/4 cups)
- 3/4 cup aquafaba
- 1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup lukewarm brewed coffee
- 1/2 cup plain, unsweetened non-dairy milk (for best results, use soy milk) (or, use 3/4 cup plain non-dairy yogurt)
- 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar (or other vinegar)
To prepare the vegan German chocolate cake base:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease three 8-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
Over indirect heat, or in 15-second bursts in the microwave, melt the chocolate and set aside.
Sift together all of the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. In a second mixing bowl, add the oils and beat or mix until smooth and creamy. Add the sugars and continue to mix until fluffy. With an electric mixer this will take a couple of minutes; by hand it will take several. Add the aquafaba and vanilla and mix until combined. Then add the melted chocolate and also mix until combined.
Stir together the coffee, non-dairy milk, and apple cider vinegar in a bowl or measuring vessel. Add about one-third of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients bowl, mixing until just combined. Next add half of the coffee mixture, then another one-third of the dry ingredients, and mix. Finally, add the remaining coffee mixture and the remaining dry ingredients, and mix until just combined.
Divide the prepared batter evenly into the three cake pans and smooth the tops if needed. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If your oven has hot spots, rotate the pans after about 20 minutes. It's important not to open the oven door in the first half of baking if you can avoid it.
Remove the cake pans from the oven and cool on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. After that, the rack can be lightly greased and the cakes inverted onto the rack to cool completely.
To prepare the coconut pecan frosting:
If not already toasted, toast the pecans and coconut according to your preferred method: in the oven or on the stovetop.
In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut oil, sugar, non-dairy milk, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture starts to bubble slightly at the edges. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
Whisk together the cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of cold water, and then add it to the saucepan and stir. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture becomes glossy and thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pecans and coconut. Set aside the mixture to cool.
To assemble the vegan German chocolate cake:
Once the cake layers and frosting are both cooled, assemble the cake by placing the bottom layer on a cake stand, spreading 1/3 of the frosting onto it, then repeating with the remaining layers and frosting. Decorate the top of the cake as desired (I used cocoa powder, roasted pecans and chocolate chips). The cake is best enjoyed at room temperature. It can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or so, but I recommend letting it come to room temperature before eating for the best taste and texture.
Aquafaba is the cooking liquid from legumes. For recipes where I call for aquafaba, mine is drained from a can of chickpeas, white beans, or black beans.
Refined vs. virgin coconut oil doesn't make a big difference in this recipe since the cake is already topping with a coconut flavored frosting.
Feel free to use all coconut sugar or all cane sugar - please substitute by weight if possible.
Nutrition facts exclude the frosting. (And frankly, you might not wanna know)
Veganized from Joy of Baking.
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