A simple white layer cake that oozes with vegan chocolate lava when cut open
Have you ever been so hot you feel like your insides are melting? I have, and this cake has too.
Hats off to the people who live where it hits 40 degrees Celsius in the summer. Wait, actually keep that hat on or your scalp might burn. Several years ago, my family went to Palm Springs in the middle of August for a vacation. We wondered why there wasn’t a soul on the street during the day but quickly got our answer when we tried to walk down the city center at 11am. We barely made it two blocks before we had to turn around and make a beeline back to the car. It was scorching hot and I felt like an freshly cracked egg bubbling on a skillet over high heat. Even when I jumped into the swimming pool at our hotel, the water was warm and I would periodically get out to cool off. My dad was the only one crazy enough to want to go into the hot tub. So, I’ve experienced extreme heat but have yet to experience extreme cold. My mom lived in Eastern Canada for a while and has told me how terrible -40 degree weather is. My brain cannot even imagine how cold that is because I feel like a snowman at -10 degrees.
I always say that I love being home in Vancouver during the summer months because the temperature is perfect. It’s hot enough to wear shorts and a tank top and feel like it’s actually summer, yet no where near as unbearable as Palm Springs. Thanks to Hawaii, my heat tolerance has been increased and I feel extra great this summer. All I want to do is climb mountains to see the world from above, feel the ocean breeze as I bike along its shore, sit in a floatie on a lake, enjoy the coolness of evening at the park, dine al fresco on the patio, and lap up ice cream as it melts over a waffle cone. The joys of summer!
So about this cake…
My brother requested a birthday cake with chocolate and lava. I took inspiration from those pinata cakes with a cavern of sprinkles or candy hidden at its core and constructed this family-sized lava cake. It looks like a normal layer cake on the outside, but pull a slice out and the molten chocolate core will come oozing out. Messy desserts are the best desserts!
I made a simple white vegan cake because ‘maple syrup’ was among my brother’s requests but if you are looking for a full on chocolate concoction, add 3 or 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the batter and/or substitute half of the almond milk for strongly brewed coffee. This cake is a fantastic recipe to have on hand because it can easily be adjusted into different flavour variations. I’ve got matcha on my mind for next time…
The cookie dough balls I topped the cake with were made following the recipe for these amazing snack balls, but I used almond butter instead of peanut butter and toasted walnuts instead of cereal. I also split the dough into 2 portions and added a tablespoon of cocoa powder to one to make brownie balls!
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- ¾ cup almond milk*
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1½ cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- ½ cup almond milk*
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp cocoa
- A pinch of sea salt
- ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips
- 1 tbsp instant coffee powder (optional but recommended)
- 1 (400mL) can coconut cream, chilled in the refrigerator overnight
- Preheat oven to 350°F and grease and line two 5.5" round cake pans. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients for the cake (vinegar to vanilla). In a small mixing bowl, briefly mix together the dry ingredients (flour to salt). Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and whisk until incorporated and smooth, but avoid over-mixing.
- Divide the cake batter evenly between the 2 prepared cake pans and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely before assembling.
- While cake is baking, prepare the pudding. In a small saucepan, whisk together all the pudding ingredients until combined. Bring it to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and cook until thickened, about a minute more. Transfer the pudding to a heat-safe bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour; overnight is okay.
- To make the frosting, melt the chocolate chips with the coffee powder in a double boiler. Meanwhile in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the coconut cream (only the hardened white stuff at the top of the can. Discard the liquid.) until light and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate and whisk until homogeneous. If the frosting is too soft to frost the cake, allow it to chill in the fridge for an hour or two before using.
- To assemble, level the tops of both cake layers (i.e. cut off the dome so both sides are flat). Using a glass cup (about 2 inches in diameter) as a stencil, cut a circle out of the middle of each cake layer. Remove the small circles of cake and slice each in half so that it is only half as thick as before (i.e. as if you are making a mini layer cake!)
- Place one cake layer on a serving platter and frost the top and inside (where the piece of cake was removed) with a thin layer of icing. Stuff one small circle of cake into the bottom of the hole. Stack the second cake layer on top and frost in the same manner. Pour the pudding until the hole is ¾ full and seal with another small circle of cake.
- Frost the surface and sides of the cake with frosting and decorate as desired. Store in a covered container and refrigerate if not serving immediately.
Cake recipe adapted from our Vegan Roasted Rhubarb Raspberry Crumble Cake