Guest chef

Katy Beskow

Katy Beskow is an award-winning vegan cook, writer and cookery tutor with a passion for seasonal ingredients, vibrant meals and simple, fast home cooking

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Vegan chocolate and cherry layer cake with vanilla frosting

  • Serves 8-10
  • Prep 40 mins
  • Total time 1 hr 5 mins, plus cooling and chilling
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Vegan chocolate and cherry layer cake with vanilla frosting
Vegan chocolate and cherry layer cake with vanilla frosting

step by step

  • 1Preheat the oven to 190°C, fan 170°C, gas 5. Line 2 x 18cm round cake tins with baking paper.
  • 2In a small bowl, whisk together the soya milk and cider vinegar until the soya milk curdles slightly. Whisk in the sugar, sunflower oil and vanilla extract until foamy; set aside.
  • 3Sift the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and a pinch of salt into another bowl and mix until blended. Pour the soya milk mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined (over-mixing will cause the cake to become dense).
  • 4Pour the cake batter into the lined cake tins and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until risen and springy to the touch.
  • 5In the meantime, prepare the chocolate-dipped cherries. Put the chocolate pieces into a heatproof bowl and gently melt over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure that the bowl doesn't touch the water. Carefully remove the bowl from the heat. Dip half of each cherry into the melted chocolate, then set aside on a plate lined with baking paper to set at room temperature.
  • 6To make the vanilla frosting, mix together the vegan margarine, vanilla extract and half of the icing sugar. Use an electric whisk to beat for 2-3 minutes, then add the remaining half of the icing sugar and beat for a further 2 minutes, until the buttercream is light and fluffy. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
  • 7Remove the cakes from the oven and cool for 10 minutes in the tins before turning out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
  • 8Put one of the sponge layers on a cake stand or platter, and spread with half the frosting. Spread 3-4 tablespoons of cherry conserve on the underside of the second sponge then put this on top, jammy side down. Spread the rest of the frosting over the top, then slightly marble in 2 tablespoons of cherry conserve. Arrange the chocolate-dipped cherries on top to serve.
  • This cake is a real showstopper. The secret to its gorgeous silky texture is the addition of vegan buttermilk, made by mixing soya milk with a teaspoon of cider vinegar
  • Photograph by Kris Kirkham

Get ahead

Bake the sponges up to 2 days ahead, cool completely then store in an airtight container. The sponges can also be frozen for up to 2 months. The assembled cake will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Bring back to room temperature for 4 hours before serving.

You will need

For the cake

  • 240ml soya milk
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • 150g granulated sugar
  • 100ml sunflower oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g plain flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder

For the cherries

  • 50g dairy-free dark chocolate (about 70% cocoa solids), broken into even pieces
  • 10-15 fresh cherries with stalks

For the vanilla frosting

  • 100g vegan margarine, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 5-6 tbsp Morello cherry conserve

+ Nutritional Information