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This vegan chocolate cake with sour cherry jam is sweet, soft, moist, chocolatey, rich, indulgent, and yet it literally melts in your mouth. It's made with simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry, and it's very easy and quick to make in just over 30 minutes!
What is this chocolate cake?
Our sour cherry and chocolate cake is made with a base of super soft and moist vegan chocolate sponge cake, cut in half, and filled with sour cherry jam.
In Italy we do this kind of smaller, shorter, and easier-to-make cakes all the time, and most often we eat them for breakfast (we don't, my parents do) or as a mid-morning / mid-afternoon snack.
It's a very simple recipe that tastes delicious. You won't be able to tell that this cake is made without eggs, butter and milk.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Flour: we like to use bread flour for this cake, but all-purpose flour works too.
- Plant-milk: we use soy milk but you can substitute it with oat milk, almond milk, or any other plant-milk.
- Sugar: we just go for plain white sugar. You can replace it with your favourite granular sugar.
- Oil: we use refined sunflower oil for most of our cakes because it has a neutral flavour and it is relatively healthy. You can replace it with any vegetable oil, but make sure that the oil you use doesn't have a strong taste.
- Chocolate: we use two types of chocolate in this cake. First, cacao powder bloomed (melted) in hot, almost boiling water to enhance its flavour. Second, we add some dark chocolate chips, or chipped 70% + dark chocolate.
- Aromas: we add the grated zest of one orange. It's perfect with the chocolate. We also add vanilla extract and a generous pinch of salt to bring those flavours together.
- Baking powder: since we do not use eggs, we rely on baking powder to make the cake rise a little. It works perfectly!
- Sour cherry jam: this chocolate cake is delicious also without the sour cherry jam, but adding a layer of this jam in the middle of the cake it's an easy trick to take this vegan chocolate cake to the next level.
- Optional: you can add crushed walnuts to make the cake even richer. Also, you can sprinkle the cake with powdered sugar to make it look prettier.
You'll need a bowl, a wooden spoon or a silicon spatula and a zester to grate the orange zest. You'll also need a springform pan that is 9 inch or 23 to 24 cm in diameter.
How to scale this recipe?
This recipe is easy to scale. We calculated the scaling number for you. Pick the springform pan that you want to use for your cake, then multiply all the ingredients in our recipe box by the scaling number in this table.
|Springform pan size||Scaling Number|
|4 inch (10 cm)||0.22|
|5 inch (13 cm)||0.31|
|6 inch (15 cm)||0.44|
|7 inch (18 cm)||0.60|
|8 inch (20 cm)||0.79|
|9 inch (23 cm)||1|
|10 inch (25 cm)||1.23|
How to scale the cooking time
The cooking time suggested in this recipe is for a springform pan that is 9 inches (23 to 24 cm) in diameter. Depending on the size of your springform pan, you might need to adjust temperature and cooking time.
Smaller springform pan: if you use a smaller springform pan (less than 9 inches / 23 cm), keep the same temperature but bake for shorter time. About 5 minutes less per inch. Always check with a toothpick if the cake is fully baked inside.
Bigger springform pan: if you use a bigger springform pan (more than 9 inches / 23 cm), you need to reduce the temperature and increase the baking time. My advice is to bake at 170C / 338F for the first 20 minutes, then reduce temperature to 160C / 320F until your cake is fully baked inside. Always check with a toothpick if the cake is fully baked inside.
How do I know if my cake is fully baked?
Depending on the type of oven, type of milk, and type of flour, your cake will take more or less time to cook than our cake. For this reason, when baking ANY cake, you should always check the core of the cake with a clean toothpick or skewer before you take your cake out of the oven.
To do that, just insert the toothpick or the skewer in the centre of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean and dry it means that you cake is ready. If the toothpick comes out wet, then bake for a few minutes longer, then check again.
- Melt the cacao powder: the secret to a chocolate cake that is moist and full of chocolate flavour is to bloom, or melt, the cacao powder, in very hot water for a few minutes before adding it to the other ingredients.
Like with coffee, the chocolate flavour will come out stronger and richer if you bloom it first in hot water. Additionally, melting the chocolate first in hot water will make your cake very moist and soft.
- Do not stir the cake batter too much: you only need to stir the ingredients together for a few seconds to combine them. If you stir too much, the gluten network in the flour will be activated, and your cake will be heavy and too compact.
- Bake immediately: once you have added the baking powder into the batter you need to bake your cake as soon as possible. That's why it is important to preheat the oven and to pre-grease your cake pan.
Dark chocolate with cacao content of 70% and above is generally vegan. If you are in doubt, read the label. The same is true for cacao powder, cocoa powder and dark chocolate chips.
I do not add espresso powder to my cakes because it's not necessary. If anything, add a shot of espresso to the cake, but even without it, your cake is still going to be packed with chocolate flavour.
1) Melt the cacao powder in hot water for 5 minutes before adding it to the cake batter.
2) Do not use butter, not even vegan butter or coconut oil, but just a little vegetable oil.
3) Do not over-mix the batter. Just mix it together with a spatula for a few seconds. Don't worry about lumps.
4) Add the baking powder last.
5) Prep a springform pan and preheat the oven so you can bake your cake immediately after mixing the ingredients together.
This cake stores well for up to a week. You can keep it on your kitchen counter, covered and out of direct sunlight. If it's very hot where you live, then keep it in the refrigerator.
You can freeze this vegan chocolate cake, but it would be best to do it before you add the jam. Cut it in half, then put it in a freezer bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. When you take it out of the freezer, let it thaw in the refrigerator first, then add the jam, and keep at room temperature for an hour before eating it.
- Different jam: while we think that sour cherry jam is the best for this cake, feel free to experiment with different types of jams. For instance, orange jam would be great here. Also strawberry and apricot would work really well.
- Chocolate custard: have you seen our vegan chocolate custard? It's perfect to use as a filling for this cake. It's also a very easy recipe to make, and your cake will be even more chocolatey.
- Pistachio custard: if you are searching for a vegan chocolate cake with a twist, then look no further. Make our vegan pistachio custard, and use it to fill this delicious cake. To make it even more special you can sprinkle the top of the cake with crushed pistachios.
- Orange curd: if you love the combination of orange and chocolate, then you can fill this cake with a quick homemade orange curd. You can even make our whole orange curd cake. It's delicious!
- Vegan nutella: for the most intense chocolate experience you can follow the recipe for our vegan hazelnut spread that taste just like nutella and use it as filling for this cake. You won't regret it!
Vegan chocolate and sour cherry jam cake
- 250 g (2 cups) bread flour or all-purpose
- 200 g (0.8 cups) water
- 150 g (0.6 cups) soy milk or other plant milk
- 130 g (0.7 cups) sugar
- 50 g (3.5 tbsp) cacao powder
- 50 g (0.4 cups) sunflower seed oil or other vegetable oil
- 40 g (3 tbsp) dark chocolate chips
- 30 g (2 tbsp) walnuts
- 16 g (3.2 tsp) baking powder
- 1 orange zest
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tbsp powdered sugar
- 250 g (9 oz) sour-cherry jam or cherry jam
- Preheat the oven to 340F or 170C. Lightly grease your springform with oil, then dust it with flour. Set aside.
- In a small pot bring the water to boil. Turn the heat off, then add the cacao powder. Stir with a spoon till the cacao melts.
- In a bowl, add soy milk, sugar, sunflower oil, grated zest of 1 orange, vanilla extract, a generous pinch of salt, the melted cacao powder in water, and mix with a spatula.
- Sift in the flour and the baking powder and stir for just a few seconds until all the ingredients are combined.
- Finally, add the dark chocolate chips and the crushed walnuts and give it a stir. Transfer the cake batter in the springform pan and bake at 340F or 170C for about 30 minutes. TIP: insert a toothpick in the center of the cake. If it comes out dry, the cake is cooked. If it comes out wet, cook a few more minutes.
- Let the cake cool down completely, then with a serrated knife cut open in half, fill with jam, close, and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Enjoy!
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