♫ Listening to: Out Of Touch by Lucinda Williams ♫
It’s that time of year again…Izzy’s birthday! This year, she requested a chocolate mint cake. I made her a chocolate mint cake for her birthday 3 years ago too, so I guess she thinks enough time has passed since then that she can request it again. She knows me so well. One time, Josipa asked for a flavor of cake that I had just made Jessica that same year, and I had to shut that down, haha. Check out the grasshopper cake I made Izzy 3 years ago.
I’m participating in a cake collab where all the cakes are decorated with buttercream transfers to look like they’re wrapped with wrapping paper. To check them all out, just visit the #wrappedcakecollabpart2 hashtag on instagram. Normally, you do this technique by tracing a wrapping paper you like, but since Izzy’s taste is more unique / goth, I had to design her wrapping paper myself. I went for a cute kawaii theme featuring her favorite animal: bats. The more stylish bats have bows, of course. Now that I think about it, this would be a good cake for Halloween too. If you like bats, you might also like my purple and black bat cake.
This recipe makes a 3-layer 6” cake (but you can also use this recipe to make a 2-layer 8” or 9” cake or 24 cupcakes).
Vegan Chocolate Cake Ingredients
- 1 ¼ cups nondairy milk (I used 365 brand soymilk because it's organic* and hella cheap)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or substitute white vinegar)
- 2 ⅔ cups unbleached flour
- ⅔ cup cocoa powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3-4 pinches of salt
- 6 ounces vegan yogurt (vanilla flavored or plain)
- ⅔ cup safflower oil
- 1 ½ cups organic sugar*
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Vegan Chocolate Cake Directions
prep time: 30 minutes; bake time: 35-40 minutes
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Coat three 6" round cake pans using a paper towel with safflower oil on it.
Cut three round pieces of parchment paper by tracing the cake pans.
Set each piece of parchment paper on the bottom of each cake pan and then coat again with safflower oil.
Combine a tablespoon of vinegar and 1 ¼ cups nondairy milk, stir, and let sit.
Sift the 2 ⅔ cups flour, ⅔ cup cocoa powder, 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder and a few pinches of salt into another bowl and whisk together.
Add 6 ounces vegan yogurt, ⅔ cup oil, 1 ½ cups sugar, and 2 teaspoons vanilla to the milk mixture and stir well.
Add the dry ingredients into the wet, half at a time, and mix on low speed until smooth.
Quickly divide the batter evenly into the three 6" round cake pans .
Bake for 35-40 minutes, until when you insert a toothpick into the center of one, it comes out clean. (If making cupcakes, bake for 18-20 minutes, and if making a 8-9” cake, bake for 40-45 minutes.) Set cake pans on cooling rack to cool for 30 minutes before flipping over. Then cool completely on cooling rack.
Vegan Vanilla Mint Buttercream Frosting Ingredients
To save time, you can use a vegan store-bought frosting instead of making it.
- 1 ⅓ cup organic whipped earth balance*
- 1 ⅓ cup organic palm shortening*
- ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ tablespoon mint extract
- 7 cups organic powdered sugar*
Vegan Vanilla Mint Buttercream Frosting Directions
Whisk the 1 ⅓ cup earth balance, 1 ⅓ cup organic palm shortening, ½ tablespoon vanilla extract, and ½ tablespoon mint extract for 1 minute using a stand mixer or a handheld electric mixer.
Sift and add the 7 cups of powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing for at least a minute on low speed between each addition.
Spread or pipe the frosting between the 3 cake layers. I piped mine using a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1A large round tip (the largest round one). If the cakes aren’t flat on top, use a bread knife to slice the hump off the tops before assembling.
Pipe 2 rings of frosting around the gap between cake layers if there is one.
Frost the entire outside of the cake, using an offset spatula to smooth out the crumb coat. This thin layer of frosting covers the entire outside of the cake and keeps the cake from leaving crumbs in your final product.
Freeze the entire cake while you make the buttercream transfer for your wrapped cake. If it’s going to be more than a day before you have time to get around to the next step, freeze it for a few hours and then wrap it well with plastic wrap before returning it to the freezer. This will ensure that no air can get to the cake. Sometimes I freeze cakes for up to 3 weeks so I can get a head start on cakes during weeks when I have more free time.
Vegan Buttercream Transfer and Decorations
- dutch cocoa powder
- black cocoa powder
- activated charcoal
- pink Color Garden natural food coloring
- vegan sprinkles (I used pink hearts from Fancy Sprinkles to match the bat’s bows)
- Up to 2 tablespoons nondairy milk (optional, to achieve a creamy consistency if needed for the black cocoa frosting)
- acetate or parchment paper
Here’s a video of how I did the buttercream transfer for the wrapped cake design.
Transfer around a two-thirds of a cup of the frosting to a bowl. Add 1-2 tablespoons of sifted dutch cocoa powder to get a darker color and mix well.
Add some sifted black cocoa powder and mix well.
Add some activated charcoal and mix well.
Add some nondairy milk (only if it gets too thick) and mix well.
Transfer the black chocolate mint frosting to a disposable piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1 small round tip . If you don’t have a piping bag, you can try using a ziplock bag with a small hole cut from the corner.
Transfer around a quarter cup of the white frosting to a bowl.
Add some Color Garden natural food coloring pink color and mix well. You can use any vegan food coloring you like. Color Garden is all-natural, which is nice, but it does alter the flavor of the frosting (the pink makes it taste fruity).
Transfer the pink vanilla mint frosting to a disposable piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1 small round tip . If you don’t have a piping bag, you can try using a ziplock bag with a small hole cut from the corner.
Print out pictures of the design you want to trace.
Tape it to the design so it doesn’t move and shift while you trace.
Trace the design, filling the entire area with frosting. You don’t want any gaps. Remember that whatever color you do first is what shows on the outside of the cake, so I started with the bat’s bows, and then moved onto the bats, and then did all the white last.
Wrap the completed design around the entire cake. Do not remove the parchment paper or acetate yet. Some people chill their design in the fridge for 10-15 minutes before doing this step. I didn’t. Maybe my lines would have been crisper if I had.
Prepare the remaining frosting for decorating the top of the cake later. I made sure each color of my leftover frosting was in its own disposable piping bag with no tips.
Pipe the remaining frosting around the top of the cake in any design you like.
Freeze the cake until 24 hours before you’re ready to serve it, and then move it to the fridge. Remove it from the fridge 30 minutes before you want to serve it.
* I use mostly organic ingredients when I cook, but I realize that not everyone has the disposable income to purchase all organic ingredients. Therefore, I only specify organic on the ingredients that really matter - when buying the organic version is the only way to ensure that the item is vegan.