Who doesn’t love chocolate cake? I know I do, but I’m sure not looking to eat a piece that’s full of sugar, eggs, butter or oil. Vegan chocolate cake can not only be made healthy, but also made delicious! It’s all about using ingredients that are healthy, full of flavor, and that lend a hearty texture. The best part about making vegan chocolate cake is that there are products and foods you can use that transform a boring, bland cake into one that replicates the typical chocolate cake most of you probably grew up eating.

Just remember that cake is a dessert, not something to be eaten several times throughout the day. Make chocolate cake something for a special occasion, such as  birthday, a promotion at work, or some other type of celebration. Or even consider taking it to the office to share with your co-workers or perhaps with your family, but leave out the tid-bit that it’s vegan. They’ll never know the difference and you can enjoy sharing something with them that’s indulgent and cruelty-free, without a bit of sacrifice in flavor.

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1. Use Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder

Most all cocoa powder is vegan (check labels to be sure milk powder isn’t added) but I prefer using Dutch-processed (dark) cocoa in recipes because it lends a richer, fudgy texture. It’s also a perfect way to add that traditional chocolate cake flavor you’re looking for in a cake recipe. Use fair-trade brands as much as possible.

2. Use Applesauce Instead of Eggs or Oil

You can use applesauce in chocolate cake and you’ll never know it’s there – I promise! It has this amazing sweetness and a lovely binding texture to it as well. I like to use it in place of oil to lower the fat content, along with using it to replace eggs. Use unsweetened applesauce in a one to one ration for oil and about 1/4 cup per egg. You can also learn to make your own to keep on hand at all times.

3. Use a Vegan Binder

Though applesauce makes a great vegan binder, I always like to use some additional binding support in cake recipes. Try using a flax or chia egg, or you can use a vegan egg replacement powder, too. This will help ensure your cake doesn’t fall apart and it will improve the overall texture.

4. Use Vegan “Butters”

Vegan butter products are fantastic to use in your icing recipe or in the cake itself. These are free of saturated fats and cholesterol, yet will lend that same buttery flavor you’re looking for, not to mention they’re free of GMO ingredients. However, if you really want to make things healthy, use avocado as the base in a chocolate frosting recipe or in the cake itself to replace the butter called for. You can also try using almond, cashew, or coconut butter as another option.

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5. Use Pureed Fruit Instead of Sugar

Here’s a really special tip that you’re going to love: use pureed prunes (dried plums) or pureed dates in place of sugar. It lends the sweetest, most amazing flavor when combined with chocolate that eliminates the need for sugar at all. I suggest actually buying pureed prunes from the baby food aisle (I’m not kidding) since it lends a marvelous moisture that dried prunes don’t. Or, you can soak either prunes or dates in boiling water to let them sit for fifteen minutes and then puree them to use as another option. Raisins or figs would also work. Just remember if you soak them, to drain off at least half the excess soaking water first.

If you’re looking for specific vegan cake recipes, check out these 10 vegan chocolate cake recipes to give you some great ideas to get started.

Image source: Chocolate Sweet Potato Spice Cake

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