Sunday, October 5, 2014

Vegan chocolate layer cake with chili and coconut

vegan chocolate layer cake with chili and coconut

I remember the first time I ever tried chili in chocolate.

A couple years ago, I attended a soccer tournament all the way up in Vermont with my club team, in a cute little town right on Lake Champlain. The games were about a half hour away, yes, with stretches of farmland and plenty of cows for me to shout “MOOO!” at out the car window along the way (don’t ask), but we spent our nights at a hotel near a small downtown area with lots of cute little shops and restaurants.

As it happened, the Lake Champlain Chocolates headquarters was only about a mile away from the hotel. So of course we made time to visit the factory in between soccer games and stops at the sock shop (yes, there was a sock shop, and yes, it was every bit as awesome as it sounds).

picture of a glass display case in lake champlain chocolates showing lots of delicious-looking truffles
HNNNNGG source

The factory itself was not in operation when we went for a tour, but we still were able to snatch up some free chocolate samples, sort through the factory seconds, and buy a nice chocolaty drink for the way out, which was pretty much the reason we decided to go there anyway. My mother, being the lover of mint that she is, chose the mint hot chocolate. But I wanted to try something new. Something bold. Like—like Aztec chocolate.

Metal as fuck. source

When I took my first sip of the liquid heaven that is spicy hot chocolate, I was not prepared for the full-blown sensation of culinary bliss that would wash over my body. I melted into the ground, evaporated, and was reincarnated as an evil, chili ‘n’ chocolate-obsessed minion of el diablo. My mother was very confused, to say the least.

Since that fateful day, I have been driven to stuff every chocolate dessert I encounter with red pepper flakes and ground cayenne and warm spices like cinnamon, all in a seemingly futile effort to replicate that incredible flavor once again. My family may shun this idea of chili? with chocolate? but I have not let their doubts cloud my pursuit of truth. Today, we shall seek the light.

Through cake.

vegan chocolate layer cake with chili and coconut

In the latest installment in my epic quest for spicy chocolate-fueled enlightenment, I have combined the powers of cayenne pepper and chocolate cake as well as the cool sweetness of coconut for a majestic dessert that shall stand the tests of time! Your eyes shall be opened! Thine hatred shall be eviscerated from the depths of your bitter hearts and ye shall bow down to the powers of spicy chocolate! Amen!

vegan chocolate layer cake with chili and coconut
Yes yes of course, June, of course.

Um. Yeah. I mean, if you aren’t into religious devotion to inanimate desserts, I can totally respect that. We don’t discriminate around here. This is ‘Murica, the land of the free and the home of half-hearted religious acceptance! Fuck yeah!

Unless you're not 'Murican, which is also cool. source

So yeah. That’s it, basically.

You want this recipe? Because here it is.


Vegan chocolate layer cake with chili and coconut

Makes one nice, big two-layer 8-inch round cake


Chocolate cake

Adapted from Chef Dennis


188 grams • all-purpose flour • 1 ½ cups

200 grams • granulated sugar • 1 cup

15 grams • cocoa powder • 3 tablespoons

4 grams • baking soda • 1 teaspoon

2 grams • salt • ¼ teaspoon

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

4 grams • cayenne pepper • 1 teaspoon

2 grams • cinnamon • ½ teaspoon

85 grams • coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons

14 grams • apple cider vinegar • 1 tablespoon

6 grams • vanilla extract • 1 ½ teaspoons

244 grams • cold water • 1 cup

30 grams • sweetened, flaked coconut • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8-inch baking pans and line with parchment paper.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, salt, pepper flakes, cayenne, and cinnamon. Make a well in the middle and add coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, vanilla, and cold water. Beat on medium-low speed until smooth. Fold in shredded coconut.

Divide batter evenly between baking pans and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 20 minutes before removing cakes from pans to cool completely.


Coconut filling

Adapted from these pumpkin muffins


85 grams ● cashews, soaked in water overnight and drained ● ½ cup

20 grams ● maple syrup ● 1 tablespoon

4 grams ● vanilla extract ● 1 teaspoon

8 grams ● lemon juice ● ½ tablespoon

45 grams ● coconut milk ● 3 tablespoons

15 grams ● shredded sweetened coconut ● 3 tablespoons

1 gram ● coconut extract (optional) ● ¼ teaspoon

Place cashews in a food processor and blend until as smooth as possible. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.




113 grams ● nondairy margarine, softened ● ½ cup

300 grams ● powdered sugar, softened ● 2 ½ cups

30 grams ● full-fat coconut milk ● 2 tablespoons

2 grams ● coconut extract (optional) ● ½ teaspoon

4 grams ● vanilla extract ● 1 teaspoon

Salt to taste


Place margarine in the bowl of an electric stand mixer and beat until smooth. With mixer on low, add powdered sugar in small amounts until thoroughly combined. Add remaining ingredients and beat until light and fluffy. Let sit at room temperature until ready to frost.




1 recipe chocolate cake

1 recipe coconut filling

1 recipe frosting

Sweetened, flaked coconut to taste


Place one layer of chocolate cake on a cutting board. Spread coconut filling over the top, then plunk that other layer of cake on top of that one. Carefully, of course. Shmear that frosting over the rest of the cake. Drizzle chocolate sauce over frosting and sprinkle with as much flaked coconut as your heart desires. Slice it up and try not to die of cake-gasm.


Okay. That was a long recipe, I know. But be not afraid. It’s actually quite easy, so long as you take it one step at a time, baby. I made the frosting, the cake, the chocolate sauce, and the cream filling within about two hours on a Friday night. If I, Baby June, the world’s slowest baker, can do that, you can do it too.

vegan chocolate layer cake with chili and coconut
Hypno-cake is watching you.

And even if you do end up slaving away for hours on end over this cake, I promise from the bottom of my heart that it is worthwhile. The fudgy, slightly spicy cake...the nutty cream filling...the buttery buttercream...the smooth, rich, ever-so-chocolaty syrup...all of it, pure and utter perfection. You will not find a cake more delicious and rewarding than this, and yes I’m aware that statement may come back to bite me in the ass should I ever make a cake better than this one (though I doubt it).

Just trust me on this one. It’s a combination that you will never regret trying.

vegan chocolate layer cake with chili and coconut
Don't resist.


  1. Whoa, chili and coconut! That's wild in a great way! Vegan layer cakes are always a win :)

  2. This cake is so pretty June. I love the unique flavors!


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