Baking a vegan chocolate birthday cake

I baked a cake recently for the first time in years and it turned out surprisingly well.

Vegan Chocolate Birthday Cake with candles

My daughter turned five a few weeks ago and she decided that she wanted a birthday with all the trimmings – presents, a party, balloons and cake.

Who am I to refuse?

So we threw her a “crazy colours” birthday party with 150 rainbow-coloured balloons, five of her friends from school and a crazy colours vegan ice-cream cake.

But despite the fact that we had cake at her party, apparently we also needed a cake on her actual birthday.

And it would seem that I’m a big softie at heart (who knew?) because I decided to take on the challenge and bake her a vegan chocolate birthday cake.

Fortunately I had the guidance of my current favourite vegan cookbook, The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon, which includes a recipe for “Double Chocolate Fudge Cake”.

One of the many things I love about Angela’s style of cooking is that she uses whole foods as much as possible, and includes a good selection of raw recipes.

In other words, she’s a cook after my own heart.

And her chocolate cake recipe did not disappoint.

In fact, I’d have to say that it’s possibly the best vegan cake I’ve ever made, and I’ve made a few (back in my gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, allergy-ridden days of old).

And I learned a few really handy things along the way too.

1. Line just the bottom of the cake tin with paper

Now this might seem totally obvious to some, but for me it was a real eye-opener.

I’ve made cakes where I lined the entire tin with baking paper – bottom and sides – and cakes where I just greased the tin, but for some reason it had never occurred to me to line just the bottom of the tin.

Sure, I’ve done it with cheese cakes, and ice-cream cakes, but never with a baked cake.

Vegan Chocolate Birthday Cake with ice cream

And it worked really well, too. Go figure!

Isn’t it funny, the simple dots that we just don’t connect on our own sometimes?

It just makes the eventual discovery all the more enjoyable, I think.

2. Baking times can vary, a lot

I’ll be the first to admit that our oven is not fancy.

When we replaced it a few years back, we chose the most basic gas oven we could find, because we don’t really use our oven that much.

And also because it was a million times better than the oven that was here when we bought the house originally.

Our new oven is clean, white and shiny, and it’s possible to close the door properly. We’re in oven heaven, frankly.

But it just doesn’t cook things that evenly, which is normally fine, except when it comes to cakes.

Angela’s recipe called for 30-35 minutes at 180°C, and when we checked in on our baby at this point, there was still a serious wobble in the top of the cake batter.

So after another 5 minutes – no, 10 minutes – no, 15 minutes – no, 20 minutes – the cake was finally ready, according to our high-tech cake tester, and I couldn’t stand to leave it any longer.

Vegan Chocolate Birthday Cake in tin

Frankly it could probably have used another 5 minutes, but I was terrified that it would burn.

Because being the fabulously organised mother that I am, I was baking this on the evening of my daughter’s birthday, leaving myself absolutely no margin for error.

Thank heavens it turned out well, is all I can say.

3. Icing sugar makes an awesome instant decoration

I had planned on using my homemade natural rainbow sprinkles to decorate our newly created masterpiece, but apparently they’d been sitting on the shelf so long that the coconut oils had turned rancid.


Note to Self: Store rainbow sprinkles in the fridge next time.

And my daughter didn’t want the thick avocado chocolate frosting from the original recipe on her cake, so I quickly improvised.

I printed out a big number 5 onto a piece of paper, stuck it to an old cereal box, and cut it out to make a quick and dirty stencil.

Vegan Chocolate Birthday Cake stencil

I carefully laid this on top of the cake and dusted some raw icing sugar (that I’ve had lying around for years) over the top.

And I think it came up pretty well, even if I do say so myself.

Unfortunately, my daughter wasn’t nearly as impressed with the taste of the icing sugar, and refused to eat any part of the cake with white on it.


But we did get to sing happy birthday, blow out the candles, and eat slices of her vegan chocolate birthday cake along with slices of her leftover vegan coconut ice-cream birthday cake, so everyone was happy and honour was satisfied.

For another year at least.

And I might have just learned a thing or two as well.


Check out Angela’s amazing cookbook for yourself

If you want to try making this amazing chocolate vegan birthday cake recipe for yourself, grab yourself a copy of Angela’s amazing cookbook today.

The Oh She Glows Cookbook

Over 100 Vegan Recipes to Glow from the Inside Out

And have an awesome day!

Vegan chocolate ice pops featured

Vegan Chocolate Ice Pops

These vegan chocolate ice pops are creamy, sweet and satisfying. They're also quick and easy to make, completely nut-free, totally kid-friendly and hide a wonderfully nutritious ingredient - beans! Read more
Local library - stack of books

My local library is awesome

I was pleasantly surprised and utterly thrilled to discover that there's actually a pretty good selection of vegan and raw food cookbooks at my local library, including my new favourite, called "Raw Living" by Kate Wood. Read more
Pepita butter jar

Exploring the wonders of pepita butter

Pepita butter, where have you been my entire life? Also known as pumpkin seed butter, this spread tastes a lot like peanut butter, is incredibly nutritious, wonderfully delicious and really, really green. Read more
Vegan burritos and tacos

Vegan burritos and tacos for dinner

Just look at the rainbow of colour and vitality that I got to eat for dinner last night, when we had vegan burritos and tacos. So fresh and delicious! Read more
Vegan cream of tomato soup featured

Vegan Cream of Tomato Soup

This easy vegan cream of tomato soup is the perfect way to use up an abundance of summer tomatoes. It's quick, super easy and so unbelievably delicious that I ate it for three months straight without getting sick of it. Read more
Banana raspberry smoothie - featured

Raw Vegan Banana Raspberry Smoothie

This raw vegan banana raspberry smoothie is a quick and delicious way to use up a summer bounty of fresh raspberries. With just four ingredients, this smoothie is super easy to make, and even easier to drink. Sweet, creamy and tangy. Mmmmmm. Read more
Raw kelp noodle chili salad

Raw Kelp Noodle Chili Salad

This raw kelp noodle chili salad is a quick, easy and delicious way to start using kelp noodles. It takes barely 10 minutes to pull together, it's amazingly low in fat and yet it's also incredibly tasty and satisfying. Yum. Read more
Raw chocolate hemp pudding

Raw Chocolate Hemp Pudding

Raw chocolate hemp pudding with only four ingredients - dates, hemp, cacao & vanilla - and the richness and creaminess you'd expect from chocolate mousse. But it's dairy-free and nut-free! So simple, so quick and SO delicious. You will thank me, I promise. Read more
Raw caramel sauce - featured

Raw Caramel Sauce

This raw caramel sauce is also vegan and paleo, takes barely 5 minutes to make and is a rich, creamy, sweet and decadent topping for just about anything. Like fruit salad, ice-cream, raw cake, or even just a spoon. Read more
Raw Mango Lassi (Vegan, Paleo)

Raw Mango Lassi

This raw vegan mango lassi is sweet, tangy and creamy - everything a perfect mango lassi needs to be. Full of flavour and fresh, whole ingredients - mango, banana, cashews and dates. So tasty and sweet, it's like dessert in a glass. Read more
Raw zucchini sandwich

Raw zucchini sandwich for lunch

I've finally discovered the perfect use for overgrown zucchinis - make them into a raw zucchini sandwich. Just chop them into slices of "bread" and add your favourite fillings. Too easy. Read more
Watermelon Christmas trees

Watermelon Christmas Trees

These watermelon Christmas trees are the perfect raw treat to take to any party. Frankly they're so impressive, so delicious and SO easy, I say take them everywhere! And I can tell you from experience, they're a great way to encourage kids to eat more fruit - my 4yo daughter loves them. Read more
Hemp coconut fruit salad

Crunchy Hemp Coconut Fruit Salad

I've eaten this crunchy hemp coconut fruit salad for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's light enough and yet filling enough to be eaten at any time of day, and you can make it in 5 minutes flat, with no special equipment necessary. Read more
Oil Free Popcorn

Healthy Oil Free Popcorn

This healthy, homemade, oil free popcorn is fast and easy to make on the stove-top, and also incredibly delicious. It's also vegan, wholefood and great fun to make with kids. I just love it. Read more
Raw pina colada smoothie

Raw Pina Colada Smoothie

This raw pina colada smoothie combines the rich and creamy taste of coconut milk with the tang of fresh pineapple, which is then perfectly melded together with banana, dates and vanilla. And did I mention that there's tiny paper umbrellas? Read more
Strawberries with coconut cream

Fresh strawberries with coconut cream

Who could resist such vibrant, seductive strawberries like these ones? Especially when they taste so darned good. And when you pair them with the sweet and tangy taste of raw coconut cream (yoghurt), it really doesn't get much better than this. Brilliant with bananas, moreish with mangoes and stunning with strawberries. Read more
Raw vegan chocolate samples

Making homemade raw vegan chocolate

I've wanted to try making my own homemade raw vegan chocolate for ages, and on the weekend I finally took the plunge. So far, so good. Sooooo good. This stuff is incredibly edible, totally addictive and wildly dangerous. Read more
Winter green smoothie

Any Green Winter Green Smoothie

This amazing delicious, incredibly versatile winter green smoothie recipe uses pears, apples and bananas, and works amazingly well with every leafy green I’ve thrown at it. So far I’ve tried spinach, chard/silverbeet, arugula/roquette, kale, bok choy, chicory, collards and chinese broccoli. Amazing. Read more
Green ploppie - a REALLY thick green smoothie

Anyone for some “green ploppie”?

My latest green smoothie is SO thick that it really deserves to be called a "Green Ploppie". I've developed this technique for making as many green smoothies as humanly possible in one go. Getting 2.5L of smoothie out of a 2L jug? That's efficient. Read more