The Easiest Chocolate Cake Ever (and it’s Vegan)

I have a “thing” for chocolate. I love everything about it.  It’s smell, it’s taste and–most especially (at the risk of sounding like some sort of chocolate obsessed crazy lady who is in clear need of psychological assistance)–it’s ability to “pick me up” when I’m feeling down.

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Dressed up with Dark Chocolate Ganache, Rasberries and Pistachios

The only thing I might love more than chocolate is cake; and if it’s a chocolate cake, then I can promise you that I’m a happy lady!

This cake is magic, and will definitely lift anyone’s mood.  The recipe is fool proof, and the cake comes together quickly and without much effort.  It is also a vegan!  That’s right, there are no eggs or butter–and yet the cake is still deliciously decadent!  Who would have thought?!

With the exclusion of eggs and butter also comes peace of mind.  You don’t need to be a great baker or possess any magical skills or fancy baking techniques to whip up this chocolate masterpiece.  If you can measure, stir and whisk…you can make this cake.  And it will turn out incredible. 

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I found this recipe in a magazine called Cuisine at Home.  It showed up in my mailbox one day, unannounced.  It’s no secret that I love magazines (probably almost as much as chocolate…), so I was excited and eager to try a couple recipes.  I was doubly excited when I noticed it didn’t have any annoying advertisements!

First, I’ve got to say that the magazine itself impressed me.  And no, they’re not paying me to say that.  In fact, I’m certain they don’t even know My Fancy Pantry exists.  The magazine is a cross between Cook’s Illustrated (which I no longer subscribe to) and Taste of Home circa the 1990’s–when it was a decent down-home cooking magazine without advertising (which I also no longer subscribe to).

Whisking dry ingredients

Whisking dry ingredients

Cuisine at Home featured their “Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake” at the end of the magazine in a section appropriately titled, “Grand Finale.”  They boldly state that “it’s the kind of cake Grandma used to make…” That’s a pretty big statement.  I don’t know about your Grandma, but my Grandma is one bad-ass baker.  She always has her famous chocolate brownies (technically, a giant chocolate sheet cake) on hand, just in case someone happens to stop by.  They’re perfect, so this recipe has a lot to measure up to!

Whisking the liquid ingredients into the dry

Whisking the liquid ingredients into the dry

Lucky for Cuisine at Home, their statement rings true.  The recipe is a keeper. Not only is the taste similar to my Grandma’s brownies–which call for eggs, sour milk and butter, but it’s also a much easier recipe to follow, especially if you are new to baking.

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Chocolate Cake with Raspberries and Pistachios

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake

(Adapted from Cuisine at Home Magazine)

Makes One 8-inch, 2-layer cake (I baked one 8-inch cake, so baking time was increased)


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon instant coffee granules (I used Bosnian coffee, so the flavor was a little strong)
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 350o F with rack in the center.  Spray two 8″ round cake pans with nonstick spray, add a round of parchment paper to the bottoms to help prevent sticking. 
  • Sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt in a mixing bowl.  Whisk to combine.
  • Combine water, oil, vinegar, instant coffee and vanilla in a large measuring cup or bowl.  Add to the dry ingredients and whisk just until combined – a few lumps are okay.
  • Divide batter among pans (3 cups in each), then bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
  • Cool cakes for 20 minutes on a rack, then invert them onto the rack.  Leave cakes upside down to cool completely (this flattens domed cakes), then frost.

The magazine offered a “Glossy Chocolate Icing” to accompany the cake, but I didn’t want to fuss around with heavy whipping cream or sour cream.  Instead, I made a simple chocolate ganache-like glaze which I found online (using Guittard dark chocolate).  I then decorated the cake with fresh raspberries and chopped pistachios.  Beautiful!

Unfortunately, the frosting is not vegan.  There are plenty of alternatives out there, so if you are vegan, simply use your favorite.  This one looks promising.

Made for my co-worker's earlier in the week

Made for my co-worker’s earlier in the week

Now, I really am all chocolate’d out.  For tonight, anyway! 🙂






31 thoughts on “The Easiest Chocolate Cake Ever (and it’s Vegan)


    For some reason, the text for your last two posts hasn’t been showing up on my feed.:( I really want to see this recipe! I think I might use the same one, but I’ve never stacked up the cakes like this and added the berries/nuts. I LOVE it! Can’t wait to give it a try! I’m wondering how you did this exactly.

    1. Shari Post author

      Hmm…I’m not sure what’s wrong with the RSS feed, but I’ll check into it! I’m sorry you can’t see the recipe. Hopefully it will work soon.

  2. bec {daisy and the fox}

    yum yum yum!! this cake looks amazing!! 🙂
    and i couldn’t agree more – what’s better than chocolate AND cake?! is there anything better??? haha
    lovely photos too 🙂

    1. Shari Post author

      Haha…it is large, yes! The big one was actually made for someone celebrating their wedding. I just hope they liked it!

  3. Melissa

    Ok, so I totally want to try this. But I don’t have instant coffee. Can I use two cups of brewed coffee instead of hot water, do you think?

  4. Manju @ Manju's Eating Delights

    I bet I saw a similar recipe on Pinterest, where it was stated it was grandmas old fashioned cake or something…I’m glad u tried it out and gave such a good explanation. I also want to try this sometime soon…and we could be chocolate buddies as I too LOVE chocolate 🙂

  5. Rachel

    I do a chocolate cherry upside down cake with nearly the same ingredient list and it is always well received!

  6. michaelawanders

    I am SO glad I found your blog! I love cooking Indian food but sometimes the flavors just don’t have the same intensity and depth that they do from my favorite restaurants. Hopefully with your help that will change 🙂 And that cake . . . . Ohemgee.

    1. Shari Post author

      I’m so glad you found my blog, as well! I totally understand what you mean about the intensity and depth of the food at the Indian restaurants—I’ve tried to match some of those flavors the best I could.

      The cake was to-die-for!

  7. Pingback: Baking: Another Birthday Cake and Packing and Moving – nycbonviveur

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