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Vegan Spelt Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Coconut Frosting

June 12, 2017
Sarah Hartman

When it comes to celebrations - be it birthdays, graduations, or anniversaries - there is only one dessert worth making, cake. Specifically, chocolate cake. Whether it’s smeared across our faces as toddlers or lovingly fed to us by our significant others, we’ve all had a slice (or two) of chocolate cake in our lifetime. So, when Harper Macaw employee, Amanda, had her birthday earlier this month we knew just what to do. But some of us (aka yours truly) love to dabble in the art of baking with certain dietary restrictions (I’m looking at you, dairy). Which meant, in the end, baking a cake that everyone could enjoy; and thus this Vegan Chocolate Cake was born.

Ingredients for Chocolate Cake:

  • Wet:

1 ½ cups unsweetened non-dairy milk, such as almond milk, room temperature

2 tsp white or apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice

1 ¼ cups unsweetened applesauce, room temperature

½ cup fresh, hot brewed coffee

⅔ cup melted coconut oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

  • Dry:

320 g spelt flour, we used Bob’s Red Mill brand

226 g cup organic cane sugar

96 g organic, high quality cocoa powder, unsweetened

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

Heavy pinch of fine sea salt            


  • Preheat oven to 350ºF. On a piece of parchment paper, trace the bottom of your 2 8-inch cake pans so that you have two circles drawn on the parchment paper. Cut out the circles. Grease the bottom of cake pans lightly with coconut oil, or canola oil, and place parchment circles on top, lining the bottom of the pans. Lightly grease the parchment covered bottom and sides of cake pan and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a standing mixer or large metal bowl combine vinegar/lemon juice and non-dairy milk to create a “buttermilk.” Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes so that the non-dairy milk can “curdle.”
  • Meanwhile, in another medium sized bowl, sift together the dry ingredients or combine using a whisk.
  • In the bowl of the standing mixer with the paddle head attached, add the rest of the wet ingredients to the buttermilk mixture and beat until combined. Or, if not using a standing mixer, beat with hand mixer. Stop mixer and scrape down the sides as needed.
  • With the mixer on its lowest setting, slowly add the dry mixture a ½ cup at a time until just combined and there are no streaks of flour visible.
  • Pour cake batter into cake pans as evenly as possible and place side by side in the preheated oven. Bake for 30 minutes without disturbing or opening up the oven. At 30 minutes check doneness by inserting a wooden skewer into the center of each cake. The skewer should come out clean. If not, place back in oven and bake for another 5-10 minutes before checking again.
  • Once cake is done, let rest in cake pans for 20 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, wrap tightly with cling/plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to frost. It is best to leave them in the fridge overnight so that they are completely cooled.

Ingredients for Chocolate Coconut Frosting:

  • 1 can coconut cream or 2 cans full fat coconut cream, refrigerated overnight
  • ¼ cup organic, high quality cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 6 oz melted Harper Macaw dark chocolate, we used 70% Brazilian Rainforest Blend Dark Chocolate, cooled to room temperature
  • 2 Tbs pure maple syrup


  • Scoop out the thick, solid cream at the top of the cans of coconut cream or milk and add to the bowl of a standing mixer with whisk attached, or a large metal bowl if you have a hand mixer. Either save the liquid left in the cans for smoothies or freeze into tasty coconut water ice cubes (also great for smoothies).
  • Beat coconut cream on high until smooth and whipped. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in cocoa powder, preferably shifted to get rid of lumps. Mix to combine.
  • Add melted chocolate and maple syrup and then whip on high speed until just combined, you don’t want to over mix.


  • Place two pieces of parchment paper on your cake stand or serving plate, having them overlap in the middle. This will make cleaning up a little easier after you frost the cake.
  • Remove cake from the refrigerator and place the first layer top side down onto the cake stand so that the bottom is facing up - this way the top of the cake will already be flat.
  • Using an offset spatula or a metal knife frost the sides of the cake, turning the cake stand as you go to make the frosting smooth on all sides. Frost the top of the cake before adding the second cake layer on top - also with the bottom facing up.
  • Continue to frost the sides and top of the cake, making sure to clean off the knife or spatula regularly to ensure a smooth surface.
  • Decorate the cake with flaked coconut by taking a handful and pressing it into the side of the cake. Top the cake with more flaked coconut. Gently remove the parchment paper from underneath the cake before serving.
  • Enjoy with a cup of hot coffee or a glass of (non-dairy) milk!


Bonus Recipe - Chocolate Cake Pops

If you have any of the cake and frosting leftover, whether it’s scraps or just uneaten slices, you don’t have to let those scrumptious (but slightly stale) crumbles of cake go to waste! There are many recipes for leftover cake but the easiest is to turn day-old leftovers into adorable little cake-pops.

The recipe couldn’t be easier - simply crumble leftover cake into a bowl and mash in any leftover frosting until you can form the mixture into firm balls, about the size of a golf ball, in your hands with relative ease. Place these balls on a plate and insert a wooden skewer, popsicle stick, or lollipop stick into the center of each. Cover with plastic wrap to the best of your ability and place in the freezer to set.

Once set, dunk into some melted Harper Macaw Dark Chocolate of choice and roll/sprinkle on your favorite toppings such as crushed hazelnuts, dessicated coconut, or chopped peanuts. Insert skewer/stick into styrofoam block to let dry and enjoy!




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Pure Brazilian Dark Blend, 80%



Pure Brazilian Dark Blend, 80%



Pure Brazilian Dark Blend, 80%