Vegan Brooklyn Blackout Cake is multiple layers of chocolate brilliance! Rich, moist, fluffy, and extremely decadent. This is the cake of chocolate lover’s dreams.
Vegan Brooklyn Blackout Cake is quite possibly the chocolateyest thing we’ve ever made!
Yes, we made up that word.
There are eight different layers of chocolate for a unique experience that can only be described as perfection.
The three cake layers are soft, delicate, and fluffy, all while still being moist. Then two layers of frosting, a layer of ganache, a chocolate cookie crumbs on the outside and a layer on chocolate pudding in the middle. It is literally the cake of chocolate lover’s dream. And because we couldn’t stop there, we shaved chocolate on top as well.
And yes, it’s all vegan.
What is Brooklyn Blackout Cake?
This was a cake created by the Brooklyn, NY, USA bakery, Ebinger’s during World War II. It has nothing to do with the fact that you will blackout from all the decadent chocolate in one bite. Nor does it have to do with being a cake that you can bake during a blackout.
But rather, the cake was created by the bakery during a time when all lights were mandatory to be out to protect the Brooklyn Navy Yard during the war.
Unfortunately, when the bakery closed in the 70s, the official recipe was never released, so we can’t say it’s an authentic vegan version of the traditional; however, it has all the same elements and if you love chocolate you will be amazed at this creation.
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WHAT INGREDIENTS DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THE BEST VEGAN CHOCOLATE CAKE?
Below are notes about the main ingredients before we get into the full recipe located lower in this post on how to make vegan chocolate cake layers:
While this dairy free chocolate cake does need what seems to be a lot of ingredients, it’s still an easy chocolate cake recipe. In order to make this cake without eggs and without dairy, you need a bit of creativity and chemistry. The end result is so perfect. For this cake you’ll need:
- Dairy Free Milk – Using milk instead of water adds more flavor into the recipe. We have tried this with both oat and almond and there’s not much of a difference honestly. Use either unsweetened plain or unsweetened vanilla flavored milk, but you don’t want any sweetened milk in this already sweet recipe.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – Since there are no vegan buttermilks on the market, we use acid to mix with the dairy free milk to make a vegan buttermilk. Acid helps tenderize gluten and therefore making a softer cake.
- Flour – The star of the show, we only used all-purpose flour here because we wanted this recipe to be as accessible as possible for everyone.
- Vegan Cane Sugar – Cane sugar is what we are using. If you want to learn more about why your sugar may not be vegan, you can learn more by clicking on the link.
- Cocoa Powder – Obviously needed to make a delicious chocolate cake. You want to use an unsweetened cocoa powder here.
- Oil – You want to use a neutral oil – canola or vegetable. Oil helps the moisture in your cake but also helps by slowing down the formation of gluten that yields a very tender and fluffy cake – isn’t that what we all want!
SUBSTITUTIONS AND VARIATIONS:
- Dairy Free Milk – Any dairy free milk that you like can be used in this. The important thing is just not using a sweetened milk in this already sweet recipe.
- Acid – You can use white vinegar or lemon juice if that’s all you have
- Flour – Cake flour could be swapped for all or half of the all-purpose flour. Also an all-purpose or 1:1 gluten free flour could be used.
- Vegan Cane Sugar – While we haven’t tried, you could replace this with a coconut sugar or date sugar
- Oil – Melted coconut oil could also be used here and it is normal for it to resolidify when mixing. It will melt back down again when baking. Alternatively, you could use applesauce (same amount) of even half oil, half applesauce if you are trying to reduce your oil consumption.
Tips for how to make the best vegan chocolate cake:
See below tips and tricks for making this vegan chocolate cake perfect!
- Follow the instructions pretty please. Cake baking is a science, especially when making a dairy free/vegan cake. Every step has a purpose to ensure the perfect vegan chocolate cake.
- While we don’t do it in the video or the recipe, if you are not comfortable baking, we highly recommend sifting the ingredients into the bowl. This loosens the ingredients and make sure there are no clumps leading to a more airy cake.
- Make sure to line with parchment paper and grease your pans. No one likes a cake that can’t come out of the pan. It’s one of the most frustrating things and doing these two things will helps.
- Make sure that you evenly distribute the cake batter into the three cake pans. You can use a scale to make sure that they are all within a small range of each other.
- When the cakes are cooked, remove from oven and place on a cooling rack to allow the cakes to cool evenly.
- Let the cakes cool to touch. DO NOT RUSH. Let it cool completely.
- When ready to make the cake – use a cake leveling tool to make sure there’s no uneven tops.
- Place a small amount of frosting down first on a rotating cake stand, then your first layer. The frosting acts as a glue so the cake won’t slip.
- Use a piping bag and a large round tip and pipe frosting in a circular motion from the outer edge completely in to the middle.
- Use a cake spreader to gently even out layer of frosting. Place next layer and repeat. Step back and see if there is any gaps in between the layers. If there are, place enough frosting in those areas to get frosting to the edge.
- Use a cake scraper to go around the cake and ensure evenness around the entire cake. This step is really important. Place frosting on the top of the cake and more on sides if needed and frost evenly. Using a spreader on the top and the scraper to even evenness.
- Get creative. If you can’t get as smooth as you want or even as you want – you can also add toppings like crushed nuts or chocolate shavings, or drizzle chocolate syrup along the edge so people focus on that. Plus it looks better either way.
- *Bonus Tip: If you want to frosting the cake but keep a clean cake stand, cut four 7″ pieces of wax paper and overlap them before placing the first layer on the cake stand. When you are completely done frosting the cake, carefully remove the four pieces of wax paper.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Absolutely! Did I just make your day? You can swap out the vegan all-purpose flour for Gluten Free Cup for Cup flour. You can also swap out the cake flour with a gluten free version. All the other ingredients that we use in this recipe are naturally gluten free and no swaps are needed.
Besides the flour, that you can use gluten free as recommended above, the only other ingredient is the vegan butter which typically contains soy.
Just choose a soy free vegan butter like Flora Plant Butter. Any dairy free milk can be used that is safe for your allergens.
This vegan chocolate cake is rich in chocolate while still remaining moist. The right amount of fat (oil) combined with making our own dairy free buttermilk (acid) and adding in leavening agents (baking soda and baking powder) all act together to insure this will not be a dry vegan chocolate cake.
Also, the importance of minimally processing the ingredients together. We only mix until combined. We do this because the longer you mix flour, the more gluten forms making for a not so great cake.
You can absolutely make this into dairy free chocolate cupcakes. Simply make the recipe as normal and then instead of greasing cake pans, spray a cupcake pan or liners. Fill each one up ¾ of the way. You’ll want to reduce the cooking time to 15-20 minutes.
By adding some acid to your batter, you are creating a vegan cake that is moist and delicious. It helps to break down the tough gluten strands, yielding in the most delicious vegan chocolate cake recipe. Don’t skip this step!
Yes. You can make this oil free. Replace the full amount of oil for applesauce. It is very important to know that using applesauce does lead to a more dense cake.
A vegan chocolate cake is better for animals and the environment; however, we still use flour, sugar, and oil in this recipe. We are not claiming that this is a healthier alternative to a cake that contains dairy based milk and traditional eggs.
We’ll let you in on a little secret. You can’t even tell the difference. In fact, we’ve served vegan cake to many non-vegans and they had no idea!
What does bloom the chocolate mean?
When you get to the step about boiling the water and adding, you may be tempted to skip that step, but don’t. It’s very critical to do so in order to make this perfect vegan chocolate cake.
You add the boiling water in order to help the cocoa power “bloom”. When cocoa powder is mixed with a hot liquid (you can do this with water, coffee, milks, etc) it allows the powder to dissolves and release flavor particles. Essentially, it brings out all the flavor in the cocoa powder, ensuring you have the best vegan chocolate cake ever.
What if I only want a 1 layer vegan chocolate cake?
We know that not everyone has the desire to make a layered cake. Fortunately, we have great news! You don’t have too and we have two options for you!
First – you can make the recipe as directed and then freeze one layer so you have a cake already ready the next time you want cake. We’d recommend eating within 3 months of freezing. To do this, when the cakes are cooled to touch but still slightly warm, remove from the pans and wrap them with plastic wrap. Wrapping them while warm allows the moisture to continue to stay inside the cake and not be dry. Place in a freezer safe container or bag after wrapping in foil.
Alternatively, you could just reduce all the ingredients by ⅓ to only make one layer.
Can I make this a sheet pan cake instead?
Yes! Follow the instructions and ingredient amounts for our vegan chocolate cake. You will cake need to add the ganache and pudding to this cake.
What other frosting ideas could I use on this vegan chocolate cake?
We highly recommend use our vegan chocolate frosting recipe below; however, we know that some people want other options than chocolate on chocolate. Other ideas for how to frosting a dairy free chocolate cake are:
- Using Dairy Free Whipped Topping (Homemade “Cool Whip”)
- Vegan Vanilla Frosting
- Vegan Strawberry Frosting
- Vegan Buttercream Frosting
What are other dairy free chocolate desserts I can make?
Whether you are having a chocolate bar of delicious at your next get together, or you just want to have even more amazing chocolate dairy free desserts, we recommend you trying out some of these delicious non-dairy desserts:
- Vegan Brownies
- No Bake Vegan Chocolate Fudge
- Vegan Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Vegan Chocolate Mug Cake
- No Bake Vegan Smores Bars with Dark Chocolate Mousse
- Vegan Chocolate Cookies and Cream Milkshake
- Easy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Pin this vegan chocolate cake for later!
Vegan Brooklyn Blackout Cake
For the Pudding
- 2 cups vegan chocolate pudding (either make ahead this homemade recipe or prepare a box like this) (510g)
For the Cake
- 1 ¾ cup dairy free milk (420mL)
- 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups all purpose flour (480g)
- 2 ½ cups vegan cane sugar (500g)
- 1 ½ cup cocoa powder (130g)
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cup neutral oil (300mL)
- 3 cups boiling hot water (720mL)
For the Frosting
- 1 ½ cups dairy free butter, softened (340g)
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (85g)
- 5 cups powdered sugar (570g)
- ½ cup dairy free milk (120mL)
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Ganache
- 12 oz semisweet vegan chocolate, chopped or chips (340g)
- ¾ cup vegan butter (170g)
- ½ cup hot water (120mL)
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 30 chocolate sandwich cookies, crumbled (Oreos- about 1 package)
- shaved or curled chocolate for topping, optional
For the Pudding Layer
- Either make ahead this homemade vegan chcoolate pudding recipe or prepare a box pudding like this (substitute non-dairy milk). Follow directions to set up in fridge.
For the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350F and prep three 8″ cake pans with nonstick spray or vegan butter and parchment paper.
- Combine dairy free milk, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract to make vegan buttermilk. Set aside.
- Use a large bowl and hand whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Next add oil and vegan buttermilk (vinegar, vanilla and dairy free milk mixture). Mix with a spatula until just combined.
- Pour in boiling hot water into the batter and carefully stir to combine. Batter will be loose and thin but this is 100% supposed to be this way.
- Evenly split up the cake batter into the prepared pans and bake them together for about 33 – 37 minutes (start checking at 30 minutes) or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes in the pans, then remove and let cool to room temp before frosting.
For the Frosting
- In a large bowl cream together butter and cocoa powder for about 1 minute until well-combined.
- Add about half of the sugar, about half the of milk and all the vanilla extract. Turn mix on low to combine, then on high to whip the frosting together for about a minute. Repeat adding the rest of the ingredients.
- Now check the consistency of the frosting. If it’s too dry, add a tablespoon at a time more dairy free milk until it reaches your desired consistency. If it’s too wet and does not a shape, add a tablespoon more powered sugar at a time until it reaches the right consistency to hold its shape.
- Over a double boiler, melt chocolate, stirring often. When completely melted, add vegan butter a tablespoon at a time, stirring after each until completely melted. Remove from heat. *You can also do this in a microwave.
- Add in the hot water and stir until a uniform consistency. Add corn syrup and vanilla and stir again. Place inside fridge for 20 minutes or until set.
- Assemble cake in this order. Place one layer of cake down. Spread 1 cup of the chocolate pudding. *If pudding is too soft, spread a ring of frosting before adding pudding on the outside layer so it holds the pudding. Repeat with another layer of cake and more pudding. Place the third layer on top. Spread frosting over the entire outside of the cake. Spread until smooth. Pipe a small ring of frosting over the top outside edge and pour the ganache inside.
- Gently press cookie crumbs on the outside of the cake.
- Top with shaved or curled chocolate if desired.
Let’s see your creations!
Share to Instagram and tag us @makeitdairyfree so we can see and share it!
OMG! You have no idea how long I’ve been looking for this recipe. I had Brooklyn Blackout Cake once – I was in my mid-twenties, I think. And ever since then I haven’t been able to find a bakery in Oklahoma that even knows what it is. And now that I’m vegan, I’ve practically lost hope. Until now! I am absolutely saving this recipe and making it for my birthday (if not sooner – my birthday is in September). I love you guys for life for this!
yay! Happy early birthday, hope you love it
Made this for my boyfriend’s birthday and it was a hit! Really chocolately and decadent. My mother in law even said it was in the top two chocolate cakes she’s ever had. I almost bought the pudding to reduce the steps but ended up making the pudding following this recipe and it was SO easy.
So happy to hear that everyone enjoyed it! Happy birthday to your boyfriend!
If you’re looking to convert people to veganism… this cake is the way to go!! One of the best cake recipes I’ve tried so far – it’s chocolate-y, moist, fluffy, and absolutely delicious!! Thanks for sharing this great recipe!
So happy that you are enjoying it so much!
Thank you so much for this amazing cake recipe. Made it for my birthday and everyone loved it.
So happy to hear that it was a hit! Happy birthday!
Just made this cake for a group- probably the BEST cake I have EVER made, vegan or not. Moist, rich, not cloyingly sweet, made up easily and served beautifully. HUGE hit with everyone, they couldn’t believe it was vegan. I had purchased a very nice rich vanilla bean ice cream to serve with it and not one person even wanted it … They said it didn’t need it. Pairs well with morning coffee. Dole out leftovers to send home with guests because it’s addictive-like crack on a plate haha- and your scale will not thank you. 😉
Wow, I’m so happy to hear that it was such a hit! Thank you so much for sharing!
So glad to hear that!
Made the recipe into cupcakes and everyone loved them 😊
So glad to hear that it was a hit!