Vegan German Chocolate Cake or Cupcakes

Although I am not vegan, I find myself often looking for ideas when making food for friends with either a food intolerance or allergies.

Vegan German Chocolate Cake

When baking for friends who can’t have gluten, eggs and dairy, my go-to dessert is the German Chocolate Cake. By the way, German chocolate cake is not German but gets its name from a man called Samuel German, an American chocolate maker who worked for Baker’s chocolate company. The original recipe was developed by an American homemaker who used “Baker’s German’s Sweet chocolate”. The recipe was distributed by the company and apparently increased sales of their chocolate significantly!

Generally, I find it easier to work around eggs and dairy than adding gluten to that list. The German chocolate cake has such a dense, crunchy filling that it distracts from the gluten-free cake, which – let’s face it – often feels slightly gritty. Soaking the rice flour in water and letting it sit covered in the fridge overnight or longer softens the rice flour and makes it a bit less gritty. You can also substitute almond flour for up to a third of the needed flour, which gives it a nicer texture. Gluten-free flour should always be a mixture, never just one kind of flour. When making cupcakes, it is also helpful to use Xanthan Gum in order to hold the batter together. For the cake, you can get away without it, since the filling helps with “gluing” everything together, and your final product will not fall apart.
The important thing to remember when using Xanthan Gum is that overworking it wil make your cake gummy. So always add it at the very end of your mixing process.

The coconut based filling lends itself to using coconut milk instead of milk or cream. Is is just as decadent as the original version.

You can make this recipe in either cake or cupcake form. For the filling, I used the Vegan Caramel Sauce, which worked well.

Vegan German Chocolate Cupcakes 3

 

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cup water

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

If using all-purpose flour, boil the water and add it to the cocoa. Mix well and let cool. Add all the other ingredients and mix with paddle attachment until just well mixed.

If using gluten-free flour, you might want to start the day before to get your flour ready. I mix the flour (without Xanthan gum!) with the water and let it sit covered in the fridge overnight. Actually, once I forgot about it and let it sit for a few days, and the outcome was even better! This softens the rice flour and makes it a bit less gritty. You can also substitute almond flour for up to a third of the needed flour, which gives it a nicer texture. Gluten-free flour should always be a mixture, never just one kind of flour. When making cupcakes, it is also helpful to use Xanthan Gum in order to hold the batter together. For the cake, you can get away without it, since the filling helps with “gluing” everything together, and your final product will not fall apart.
The important thing to remember when using Xanthan Gum is that overworking it will make your cake gummy. So always add it at the very end of your mixing process.

For the cake:
Divide the batter between two prepared 8″ round pans (I like to line the bottom with parchment paper to ensure an easy release) and bake for about 15 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.

For the cupcakes:
Divide the batter between 12 prepared muffin cups and bake for about 12 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
Remember: nothing dries out as fast as over-baked cupcakes, so don’t leave them in too long!

Ingredients for the filling:

For 12 cupcakes, I used about 1/3 to 1/2 cup each of walnuts, caramel sauce, and shredded unsweetened coconut. Just mix the three ingredients together and spread them over the cupcakes.

For the cake, use about double the amount, because you will spread the filling on each layer and stack them.

Frosting:

Frost and decorate with whipped coconut cocoa cream:
Just put your can of full-fat coconut milk in the fridge for 18-24 hours. The milk will separate into liquid at the bottom and solid at the top. Scoop out the solid part and whip with 2 tbsp of icing sugar and 2 tbsp of cocoa powder and 1/2 tsp of espresso powder until fluffy.

You will notice that the frosting on my cupcakes is a lot darker than on the cake. This is when I learned that sometimes the coconut milk fails to separate properly! It had never happened to me before and I didn’t have time to try a new one. So I kept adding cocoa until I had a cream that was stiff enough for piping. The mixture became a lot shinier but tasted more like dark chocolate, which was nice, too.

Vegan German Chocolate Cupcakes 4

 

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