Our Favorite Chocolate Cake

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This recipe is one of those that has been passed around from person to person, its origin unknown. I’ve tinkered with it, replacing margarine with oil and adding whole wheat pastry flour. I also concocted the simple frosting, which makes this moist cake totally delectable. Our extended family’s favorite cake for birthdays and other special occasions, this demands just minutes of hands-on time.

Cooking Methodbaking



Total Timeunder 2 hours

Kid FriendlyYes

Recipe Coursedessert

Dietary Considerationvegan

Mealdinner, tea

Taste and Texturechocolatey, sweet

Type of Dishchocolate cake


  • Oil for the pan
  • ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¾ cup unbleached white flour
  • 1 cup natural granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup safflower oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 heaping tablespoon peanut, cashew, or other nut butter
  • 3 tablespoons rice milk


  1. 1 Preheat the oven to 300°F. Lightly oil a 9-inch round cake pan.

  2. 2 Combine the flours, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir until well combined.

  3. 3 Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in 1 cup warm water, the oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Stir with a wooden spoon until the dry ingredients are moistened, then beat vigorously with a whisk until the batter is smooth.

  4. 4 Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes, just until a knife inserted into the center tests clean.

  5. 5 Let the cake stand until just warm. At this point, make the frosting. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and microwave for 45 seconds, then stir together until smooth. Or, combine in the top of a double boiler, heating over boiling water until the chocolate is melted. Stir together until velvety smooth.

  6. 6 Immediately spread the frosting over the top of the cake, then let stand for 30 minutes or so. Cut into wedges to serve.


  8. If you have more time, for a festive touch, make this a raspberry layer cake. Double the recipe (for both the cake and the frosting) and bake in two separate round pans. To remove the baked cakes intact, it helps to line the pans with circles of baking parchment. Let the two cakes cool thoroughly before removing from the pans. Place one round on a plate and spread with raspberry jam. Carefully place the next round over it, then frost the top and sides. In season, garnish with fresh raspberries.


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