With picnic season around the corner, craveable desserts are in order, like Vegan Black Joe Cake with Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting. During a garden party I catered, a gal mentioned her secret recipe for Black Joe Cake. I’d never heard of this cake, but the unique name stuck with me. After a bit of research I discovered it’s not such a secret, but can be found in many a church cookbook – and Hershey’s Chocolate even has a version!
My recipe makes a dark, moist cake that my friends fancy year-round (I don’t tell them it’s vegan until the swooning begins). In addition to using no eggs or dairy, less-refined whole wheat white flour substitutes for traditional white flour.
Swapping flour is a simple step toward cleaner eating. And unrefined coconut oil is an easy substitution in most recipes that call for vegetable oil or butter – plus, what doesn’t make it into the pan can be used to moisturize your hands.
The cake can stand alone with a sprinkle of confectioners sugar but the Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting and the Chocolate Syrup … well, these just can’t be helped; this rich, dark cake begs for the sweet additions.
- Dry ingredients
- 3 cups (13 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1¾ cups sugar
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup vegetable oil or melted coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup strong coffee
- Sift the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl; set aside. In a small mixing bowl, whisk the wet ingredients.
- Add the wet to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. The batter will be thin.
- Pour into a 9” x 13” baking pan prepared with cooking spray. Bake in a preheated 350ºF oven for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
- Using a straw, poke 12 holes in the cake. Pour the cooled Chocolate Syrup over the cake. When the syrup has been absorbed, spread with Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting.
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 5 tablespoons butter substitute, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1-1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened non-dairy milk
- Mix the peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt with a spoon or electric mixer on low speed until smooth.
- Add the confectioners’ sugar and combine.
- Gradually add the milk, mixing until smooth and spreadable.