Vegan chocolate nut brittle cake

A triple layer vegan chocolate cake with nut brittle.
This is the first time that I am officially delving into the world of vegan cooking and if you are feeling the chocolate cravings on this post long weekend Wednesday-that-feels-like-a-Monday then this is just for you.

Close up of vegan chocolate cake.

This is an insanely delicious chocolate cake recipe, and one that I have baked countless times over the years. It also happens to be vegan! Today this faithful old recipe gets glammed up a little… ok, quite a lot. You do not have to go the whole hog (for want of a better word) with the chocolate drizzle and nut brittle, but they do make the cake rather special.

Chocolate nut brittle cake.

So I knew the cake recipe itself would be great, but this was the first time that I had attempted making a vegan buttercream-style icing. (Is it ok to use vegan and buttercream in the same sentence?) I was not keen to use margarine as a butter substitute and decided, apprehensively, to give coconut oil a try in the icing. It does not hurt to experiment after all… and what do you know, it worked! (I even tested it a second time to make sure it was not some lucky coincidence.) The texture was perfect and the icing tasted fab, (most people would not know the difference) – same same but dairy free. Is there anything you cannot do with coconut oil?

Vegan chocolate cake with vegan buttercream icing. Chocolate cake with chocolate icing and nut brittle.

Cake is a weakness of mine and I try not to have it too often, but when I do this is most certainly one of my favourites. I hope you will try it too!

Cook’s notes:

  • use the largest mixing bowl you have, this recipe makes a lot of cake batter!
  • I only had two 20cm cake tins so I baked the cakes in batches, no problemo.
  • I used coconut oil with a neutral flavour for the icing. Regular coconut oil is also fine as long as you do not mind a hint of coconut in your icing.
  • This cake mixture works very well for cupcakes too, or as a tray bake.
Delicious vegan chocolate cake with vegan buttercream icing.



For the cake:

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups castor sugar
  • 1 tsp bicarb
  • ⅓ cup cocoa
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar

For the chocolate icing:

  • 1 cup coconut oil (must be solid)
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • ⅓ cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup coconut milk

For the chocolate sauce:

  • 2 tbsp castor sugar
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cocoa
  • 1 tsp flour
  • few drops of vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • 2 tsp golden syrup

For the nut brittle:

  • 100g castor sugar
  • few drops of vanilla extract
  • 50g pecan nuts
  • 50g blanched almonds

1.) Preheat your oven to 180°C. Grease 3 x 8inch/20cm round cake tins and line the base of each with baking paper.

2.) Sift the flour, baking powder, castor sugar, bicarb, cocoa and salt into a very large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Combine the water, sunflower oil, vanilla extract and vinegar in a large jug.

3.) Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well until everything is combined. Divide the mixture between the 3 cake tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool completely.

4.) Prepare the icing: use an electric beater or freestanding mixer to whip up the coconut oil until completely smooth. Sift in the icing sugar and cocoa and add the vanilla extract. Beat until you have a crumbly mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5.) Add two tablespoons of coconut milk to the icing and beat until the mixture comes together. Continue to add the remaining coconut milk gradually until the icing has a soft, spreading consistency. (You may need to use slightly less / more coconut milk.) Set aside.

6.) Prepare the chocolate sauce: combine all of the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and allow to boil gently for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Set aside to cool completely.

7.) Prepare the nut brittle: Grease a small baking tray very well. Place the castor sugar in a small non-stick frying pan. Shake the pan gently so that the sugar is in an even layer and place over a medium heat. When the sugar starts to melt gently pull it in from the edges. Keep stirring regularly until the sugar has completely melted and there are no lumps remaining. Stir in a few drops of vanilla extract. Add the pecans and almonds to the pan. Working quickly, stir the nuts into the caramel until they are evenly coated. Tip the nuts onto the greased tray, press into an even layer and leave to cool before chopping into chunks.

8.) To assemble the cake: top each of the three cakes with a layer of chocolate icing. Place the iced cakes on top of each other. Pour the cooled chocolate sauce over the top of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. Decorate the cake with chopped nut brittle.


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