Vegan Chocolate Loaf Cake
This vegan chocolate loaf cake is light, fluffy and topped with a decadent chocolate ganache frosting. It’s easy to make and is a staple recipe that every vegan baker should have in their cookbook!
I’ve been slowly adding to my collection of chocolate cake recipes over the last year or so but I haven’t posted one in a while, so here you go!
This loaf cake is super simple and uses my chocolate fudge cake recipe as the basis. Instead of adding the chocolate fudge buttercream though, I added a silky chocolate ganache instead. I also used a mix of vegan treats to create the decorations on top.
I love how it turned out and I think it makes the cake look extra special. I’m thinking it would make a great, chocolatey alternative to a traditional birthday cake.
Things you’ll need for this recipe:
There are no flax seeds or other seeds needed for this recipe. Just some simple ingredients that you will probably already have lying around in the kitchen somewhere!
- Soy milk: Gives the cake a light but moist texture. The creaminess of soy milk produces the best cakes in my experience but if you’re allergic or don’t want to use soy, you can substitute it for an equal amount of oat or almond milk.
- Apple cider vinegar: This creates a chemical reaction with the raising agents which helps the cake to rise better. It can be substituted for an equal amount of white vinegar or lemon juice if desired.
- Vegan margarine: This provides fat in the recipe and keeps the cake nice and moist. I typically use the spreadable kind over the block “butters”.
- Coffee: This enhances the chocolate flavour and you won’t taste it in the cake at all!
- Self-raising flour: Many vegan cake recipes call for plain flour but I found they just weren’t as soft and fluffy, no matter how much baking soda or baking powder I used. Using self-raising flour has always given me the best results and produces a light and fluffy sponge cake without any weird aftertaste from the raising agents.
- Baking soda: We just need a tiny little bit of this to support the rising power of the flour!
- Cocoa powder: This adds the chocolatey flavour. I recommend using unsweetened cocoa powder for best results. I use this one in all of my baking recipes.
- Caster sugar: Provides just the right amount of sweetness without making the cake sickly-sweet.
- Chocolate ganache: The perfect topping for a light and fluffy chocolate cake! This can be made easily with just 2 ingredients, vegan chocolate and soy milk. Read on for instructions.
More chocolate cake recipes
If you like this one, check out these similar recipes or check out my vegan chocolate cake round-up post.
- Chocolate fudge cake
- Chocolate cake with chocolate mousse frosting
- Sheet cake with chocolate ganache
- Cupcakes with chocolate buttercream
- Chocolate fairy cakes
How to make a vegan chocolate loaf cake
Preheat your oven to 1800°C/350°F (or 160°C/325°F if you’re using a fan or convection oven). Line a 2lb loaf tin with baking paper.
First, you’ll need to prepare your dairy-free buttermilk. This can be done by mixing 250ml of soy milk with 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar. Give it a stir with a fork and let it sit for a few minutes. It will curdle and become a little thicker.
You can use oat or almond milk instead of soy if you prefer, and you can use lemon juice or white vinegar in place of apple cider vinegar. It may not curdle the same but will work fine for this recipe.
Next, measure out 150g of vegan margarine and melt it in a saucepan with 1/2 a teaspoon of instant coffee granules or espresso powder. Stir well so that the coffee dissolves as the margarine heats up.
Don’t worry! You will not taste the coffee flavour AT ALL. Promise. It just helps to deepen the chocolate flavour and it’s been a total game changer since I started adding it to my chocolate bakes. You can omit the coffee/espresso powder completely if you prefer though.
Now it’s time to mix together the dry ingredients. To a large bowl, add 250g of self-raising flour, 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda, 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder and 180g of caster sugar (I know that’s technically a wet ingredient but never mind).
Add your dairy-free buttermilk to the dry ingredients bowl, along with the melted margarine/coffee mixture. Mix it all together really well until you have a smooth chocolate cake batter. Make sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl so you don’t leave any dry bits behind.
Transfer the batter into your lined loaf tin and bake for around 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick through the centre comes out clean.
Let the cake cool in the tin for around 10-15 minutes, then flip it out onto a wire rack and leave it to cool completely.
For the ganache topping:
To make your ganache, you’ll need to use a semi-sweet chocolate such as Lovett’s, or any other kind that has a cocoa content of around 40%. Chocolate with a higher cocoa content won’t work well as the soy milk has a high water content.
You can use full-fat coconut milk (the tinned kind) in place of soy milk at a ratio of 2:1 but I haven’t tested it out with any other plant-based milks yet.
Add 150g of finely chopped chocolate to a heatproof bowl with 60ml of soy milk. Place the bowl over a saucepan of boiling water, so that it just sits on the rim and doesn’t touch the water.
Turn the heat to medium-low and stir the chocolate/soy milk in the bowl until it has completely melted and becomes smooth.
Remove it from the heat and leave the bowl to sit at room temperature for 1 hour. By this point, it should be quick thick and spreadable. If it’s not, just pop it into the fridge for a while until it reaches your desired consistency.
Spread the ganache over your cooled chocolate loaf cake. Top with chocolate chips or chunks if desired. I used chopped up vegan white chocolate, free-from chocolate buttons and jumbo dark chocolate chips. Check out my extensive chocolate guide for more decoration options.
Store it in an airtight container. The texture is best stored at room temperature but it can also be stored in the fridge. The ganache will hold up outside of the fridge as long as the room is not super humid.
If stored appropriately, it’ll last for around 4-5 days.
Yes! I recommend freezing it in slices (once the ganache has set fully), in an airtight container. It can be frozen for up to 2 months.
When you’re ready to eat it, simply transfer the frozen slices to a wire rack or plate and let it sit at room temperature until thawed. I do not recommend refreezing once it has been defrosted.
Vegan Chocolate Loaf Cake
Light and fluffy chocolate loaf topped with dairy-free ganache.
- 250 ml Soy milk (1 cup)
- 2 Teaspoons Apple cider vinegar (sub for white vinegar or lemon juice)
- 150 g Vegan margarine (~½ cup + 2 tablespoons)
- ½ Teaspoon Instant coffee granules or espresso powder (optional, this works to intensify the chocolate flavour and you won't taste the coffee at all)
- 250 g Self-raising flour (~2 cups)
- ½ Teaspoon Baking soda
- 3 Tablespoons Cocoa powder
- 180 g Caster sugar (¾ cup)
For the ganache:
- 150 g Semi-sweet chocolate* (5oz)
- 60 ml Soy milk (¼ cup)
- Handful of Vegan chocolate chips or buttons
Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F (or 160°C/325°F if you're using a fan or convection oven). Line a 2lb loaf tin with baking paper.
Mix the soy milk and apple cider vinegar together and set aside. This will be your vegan buttermilk.
Melt the margarine in a saucepan with the coffee, stirring to make sure it dissolves. Leave to cool for a few minutes.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder and sugar.
Add the vegan buttermilk and melted margarine/coffee mixture to the bowl. Mix well until you have a smooth chocolate cake batter, making sure to scrape any dry bits from the bottom of the bowl.
Transfer the batter to your lined loaf tin and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick through the centre comes out clean. Let it cool in the tin for 10 minutes then flip it out onto a wire rack and leave it to cool completely.
For the ganache:
While the cake is baking, prepare the ganache. Very finely chop the chocolate and add it to a heatproof bowl with the soy milk.
Place the heatproof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water, so that it sits on the rim and doesn't touch the water.
Turn the heat to medium-low and gently stir until the chocolate has completely melted.
Remove the bowl from the saucepan and leave the ganache to sit at room temperature for 1 hour. It should be thick and spreadable by then but if not, pop it in the fridge for a while until it is.
Spread a thick layer of chocolate ganache over your cooled chocolate loaf. Top with vegan chocolate chips or buttons.
Let the cake sit at room temperature until the ganache has fully set, then cut into slices and enjoy!