When Determination Pays Off

In the search for a birthday cake recipe that involved no wheat, no egg, and no dairy, I found a recipe for ‘rich chocolate cake’ that sounded interesting so I made it with the whole grain spelt and barley flours I had on hand. It had very good flavor but it was *crumbly*.


I decided I wanted to revisit that recipe again once I had either some Ener G egg replacer or some xanthan gum. Once I experienced the failure of the spice cake recipe, I became determined to give the chocolate cake another try.

I may not be the sharpest crayon in the box, but I do occasionally learn a lesson here and there and vowed to take preventive measures and line my pans for the making of the chocolate cake. I’m forever forgetting to do that! While I think that would have helped substantially with the spice cake, I’m not convinced it would have totally solved the problem since I had to run a knife around the edge of the pan and still had places where it tore. The chocolate cake recipe called for making it in a springform pan but, with the uncertain nature of these vegan cakes, I opted to make separate layers in two cake tins rather than try to slice one layer in half.

I was extremely pleased with the results of this cake. In fact, I would make this recipe again even if I weren’t trying to bake a cake without eggs. It is far superior to the Wacky Cake recipe and it tastes and has a mouth feel much like a good chocolate cake with plenty of eggs and sugar. I had never baked with xanthan gum before so I wasn’t sure how much to add. A quick google search showed recipes with amounts ranging from 1/2 to 1 1/2 teaspoons and, based on the texture of the first cake and my fear of the xanthan gum living up to its name and producing a gummy cake, I opted for 1/2 teaspoon. I don’t think I would add any more.


Since much of this birthday cake experience was about layers and Crystal had mentioned cherry and orange layers and I had already used cherry in the trifle, I opted for an orange flavoring in the frosting as well as a thin spreading of orange marmalade between the layers. The marmalade wasn’t very strong with the richness of the cake, but it gave a nice flavor. I briefly thought about pouring a little Cointreau on the cake to kick up the orange a notch but decided against it.


Allergy & Vegan Friendly Rich Chocolate Cake

1 3/4 c. white spelt flour (you could use regular flour if you weren’t avoiding wheat)
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. xanthan gum

1 c. plain soy milk
3/4 c. cocoa powder

1/2 c. canola oil
1 1/2 c. pure maple syrup
1 t. apple cider vinegar
2 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray 9-inch springform pan or lightly grease and flour two 8-inch tins.

Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and xanthan gum in a large bowl; set aside.

In a saucepan, heat the soy milk over medium low heat. When it is slightly bubbling, add the cocoa powder and whisk well until it is smooth. Remove from heat.

Combine the other liquid ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. Add the cocoa mixture and combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir.

Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and bake for 25 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool completely.

For frosting, I used a vegan margarine, rice milk, confectioner’s sugar, and orange extract.

3 Responses

  1. This cake really did have excellent texture. I still have some in my fridge and it hasn’t crumbled, dried out, or become any less tasty. I have a recipe similar to this where I use a blend of other flours to eliminate gluten (mostly brown rice) but it still doesn’t have this good of a texture. I use coconut milk instead of soy so I might give that a try next time. Thanks again!

  2. Spelt and Kamut are technically wheat and anyone with a true wheat allergy must avoid these ingredients. Also, spelt, barley, kamut, wheat, and rye all contain gluten so its not suitable for Celiac disease or gluten allergies. Soy is also among the most common food allergies next to milk, wheat(gluten), eggs, peanuts and corn. A really allergy-free recipe would not include any of these ingredients or allow for substitutions. As a celiac with multiple food allergies I know how complicated that may be!

  3. SS — Yes. When I mention allergy friendly recipes here, I mean specifically for my friends with their specific allergies, not for all possible or even the most common food allergies. This was made to be Crystal-friendly, not completely ‘allergy-free’. Hopefully you can find substitutions that will work for you b/c it was a good cake! 😉

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