Vegan Dark Chocolate Cake Recipe

Having switched to a primarily vegetarian/vegan diet in a conscious effort to live and promote a more environmentally friendly lifestyle, London-based chef and writer Nina Parker focused her third cookbook, Saucy, on fuss-free flexitarian recipes brought to life by sauces, marinades, dressings and pestos. Here she shares her plant-based, gluten-free chocolate cake recipe for the ultimate chocolate dessert.

This base is very easy to get right as you don’t have to do any folding. You just throw it all together!  I am seriously into my chocolate so you can rest assured that you will get a proper chocolate hit with every mouthful.  Many vegan recipes suggest using vegan butter for the icing, but I prefer the creamy texture that you get from soaked cashews and coconut cream.

Ingredients (Serves 12):

  • 300g sunflower spread
  • 300g unrefined caster sugar
  • 260g almond flour/ground almonds
  • 70g gluten-free flour
  • 1 level tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda powder
  • 80g raw cacao powder/dark coco powder
  • 200ml unsweetened soya yoghurt
  • 6 tbsp almond milk
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt

For the chocolate icing:

  • 210g cashews, soaked overnight or in newly boiled water for 15 minutes
  • 300ml tinned coconut cream, stored in the fridge for 1hr.  (Make sure you weigh out the separated cream and discard the water.)
  • 90g raw cacao powder or dark coco powder
  • 250g unrefined icing sugar
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp amaretto
  • 50g freshly grated dark chocolate for garnish


Preheat oven to 180 degrees fan and grease two 9 inch cake tins lining with baking parchment.

Start by making the cake and add the sunflower spread and sugar into a mixing bowl and use a handheld whisk to cream together for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.  Weigh the almond flour into a large bowl and add the salt.  Sieve in the gluten-free flour, baking powder, bicarbonate soda and cacao powder.  Mix together!  Then in a smaller bowl stir together the soya yogurt, almond milk, vanilla and almond extract.  Carefully add a third of the dry mix to the whipped sunflower oil sugar until fully incorporated and continue adding a third at a time.  Then pour in the yogurt mix and use a wooden spoon to hand mix this into the cake batter until just combined and you should have a smooth thick batter.  Do not over mix!  Divide between cake tins spreading the batter evenly over to the edges of the tin and bake in the middle of the oven for about 33-35 minutes.  The cakes should have risen a little and should be coming away from the sides of the tin.  A skewer inserted should come out nearly clean and they should be a little springy to touch.  Leave to cool completely before turning out of the tins.

While the cakes cool you can begin with the icing.  Drain the cashews from the water and weigh out to 250g.  Place nuts into a blender mixing until they have blended into a paste.  This will take about 2-3 minutes and you might need to scrape down the side of the machine once.  Scoop out only the coconut cream from the tin to weigh and discard the leftover water.  Add the cream to the nut paste along with the rest of the ingredients and blend until just combined.  Store icing covered in a cool dry place until needed but not in the fridge as it will go too hard.

Remove the baking parchment from the cakes and ice both tops before carefully laying one on top of the other.  Generously grate over with more chocolate and I also ran a sharpe knife over the chocolate to create a few larger flakes.  This cake will keep for 2 days.



Saucy is available to buy now. In keeping with her commitment to support the planet, Nina will donate 5% of the sale price of each copy of “SAUCY” sold towards Treecelet, an environmental enterprise whose mission is to plant trees, restore wildlife habitats, and raise awareness about deforestation.