Vegan German Chocolate Cake
Today my Gorgeous-Drill-Sergeant-Pefect-Mommy-Older-Sister-Best-Friend turned 35 years young! As we age our relationship keeps getting better and better like quality pickled beets! She was visiting us with her two babies this past week while her hubby was a conference. They left yesterday but we were able to celebrate with cake, ice cream, and candles before they left! Every year when I was growing up I asked for the same birthday cake. I wanted the German Chocolate Cake Frosting (and pecan glaze) on a yellow cake instead of chocolate! My mom faithfully made a Betty Crocker yellow cake mix and layered it with rich chocolate butter cream frosting and made that infamous coconut pecan dream to coat the top. Sweetened condensed milk, gobs of sugar, and a few very hyperactive children later... you get a birthday coma of happiness (and I loved my mom MORE for it). Flash forward a few years my sister said I should make a German Chocolate Cake that she could feel good about giving to her kids (times are different now). One day while killing time at Costco (as my husband went up and down each aisle excitedly searching for a specific extension cord he decide we needed <3 I absolutely love my nerd) I started looking at the cooking magazines and after seeing a recipe for caramel chocolate cake I got an idea to use date paste as the binder and sweetener for the coconut pecan frosting (which means zero risk of burning the frosting because you don't have to heat it. Yes, I've done that before)! I was ready to rumble. Luckily my sister was visiting us close enough to her birthday so that she could sample the creation that started with her perfect suggestion! Happy Birthday Sister! I miss you already and I love you so very very much! Please come back!!!!
Recipe adapted from: Chocolate (Maple Syrup) Cupcakes
Chocolate Maple Syrup Cake
- 2 c unsweetened Almond Milk
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 c almond butter
- 1 c maple syrup
- 2 ½ c + 2 tbsp white whole wheat flour
- 1 c unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
Coconut Pecan Frosting
- 1 1/2 c dates
- 1/4 c almond milk
- 1/4 c toasted pecans
- 1/4 c toasted coconut flakes
- 1 small ripe avocado
- 1/3 c cocoa powder
- 1/3 c honey
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Lightly grease two 8″ cake pans (or three 6″ cake pans-but you will only use 2 of the them and the other you can save for something else) or glass pyrex dishes.
- Stir almond milk and vinegar together and let sit for two minutes.
- Add apple sauce, almond butter, and maple syrup to the almond milk. Stir to combine.
- In a separate bowl mix whole wheat flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together and add to the liquid ingredients.
- Mix until no large clumps remain. It should be creamy and pourable
- Fill cake pans to the halfway mark with cake batter (you might have a bit of batter leftover for making a few chocolate doughnuts or cupcakes).
- Place in the oven and bake for 25-35 minutes.
- Cooking time will vary depending on your oven or the size of cake pans. If cakes aren’t done after 25 minutes then check every 5 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean (if you added the extra 1/4 cup maple syrup to make the cake sweeter then it will take about 10-15 minutes longer to bake).
- Remove cakes from the oven and let them sit in the pans for about 5 minutes. Gently take the cakes out of the pans and set them on a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
- Cool your cake layers upside down to help flatten the tops out. This will help to make your final cake more symmetrical, balanced, and easier to assemble.
- Let cakes cool completely before icing with frosting (They can be placed in the freezer for a about 15 minute for speedier cooling).
- Slice each layer in half lengthways to give extra layers to coat with frosting, set aside.
- Prepare Chocolate Avocado Frosting.
- Peel avocado and remove pit.
- Place in a food processor and processor for a few seconds before adding honey, vanilla, salt, and cocoa powder.
- Process until smooth. Add more cocoa powder or honey if desired.
Coconut Pecan Frosting:
- Preheat oven to 450F
- Pour pecans and coconut flakes onto separate baking sheets. Place separate baking sheets on the top rack of your oven (or alternate pans between the oven racks). Toast for 5-10 minutes. Watch carefully. They will burn very fast if you don’t keep an eye on them. (TIP: set a timer for 60 seconds and keep restarting it and rechecking every minute until they are done.)
- Cooking time varies, but when you smell the toasty pecans and coconut then you know that they are done. Pull them out before they burn!
- Set aside to cool.
- Remove pits and stems from dates.
- Soak 1 1/2 cups of dates with 1/4 almond milk and let sit for several hours (or over night). If your dates are very moist you can skip this process.
- In a food processor combine 1 1/2 cups dates with 1/4 cups almond milk and process until smooth.
- Mix date paste with toasted pecans and coconut.
- Set aside
- Slice the 2 cakes in half lengthways so that instead of making a 2 layer cake you have frosting between 4 layers.
- Spread a tablespoon of Chocolate Avocado Frosting onto the plate or cake stand before putting down the first half of a cake layer. This will prevent the cake from sliding.
- Using a spatula put a big dollop of coconut pecan frosting on the top of the layer and smooth across the top of the first layer.
- Add the second half of the first cake layer and press gently to make sure it sticks. Take a step back and check that it is level and centered.
- Put a big dollop of frosting in the center of the cake and, using the offset spatula, spread it to the edges.
- Place the next cake layer half on top and press gently to make sure it sticks. Take a step back and check that it is level and centered. Repeat the steps until you’ve added each layer and frosted in between.
- Once the cake layers are frosted, you can choose whether you will frost the entire cake with chocolate avocado frosting or leave the sides bare (you will need more frosting to frost the entire outside).
- Top the cake with chocolate avocado frosting and then carefully add the top coat of coconut pecan frosting. Decorate with extra coconut and/or pecans.
- Enjoy with a tall glass of cold almond milk or with cashew-coconut ice cream.