A vegan chocolate and orange cake served with an orange glaze
Νηστίσιμο κέικ σοκολάτας με πορτοκάλι. Do you sometimes feel that baking is for weekends, when you have more time to scoop, measure, mix and bake? That’s probably true if you’re thinking about making a samali which has a significant resting time. It may also be true if you’re planning to make bougatsa, given the phyllo folding that’s involved. But if you’re craving something sweet mid-week (which is frankly when we need it most) then pull out your apron, because we’ve got the cake for you.
This chocolate and orange cake can easily be whipped up at a moment’s notice. If you have the ingredients handy, this cake can be in the oven in as little as 15 minutes. If your pantry is really organized, you can even have it ready to bake in less time than that! And remember, practice makes perfect. The more you make this recipe, the quicker you will get at making it! Trust us, you will practice happily.
As if the ease of preparation wasn’t enough, this cake also happens to be vegan. If a plant-based diet is important to you, or someone you are baking for, this chocolate and orange cake is perfect! It is also a lenten recipe, so anyone following the Orthodox fast can enjoy this cake too. Although it is not yet incorporated into our Great Lent Meal Plan for 2021 you can be sure that it will make an appearance in any upcoming meal plans.
Why does this vegan cake contain vinegar?
The only leavening agent in this cake is the baking soda, which is an alkali. Therefore, the baking soda needs an acidic substance added to it in order for it to be activated – that’s where the vinegar comes in. The added vinegar ensures that your cake will rise and be fluffy. If you don’t add it you will end up with an un-fluffy, dense cake. Although we use white vinegar in our recipe you can also use apple cider vinegar or even a white balsamic. The quantity is not enough to influence the taste of your cake.
Is all cocoa powder the same?
Nope. There are 2 types of unsweetened cocoa powders, Dutch processed and natural. Although both come from the cocoa bean they work a little differently in recipes. The way that Dutch processed cocoa powder is processed results in a cocoa powder that is neutral, meaning that it won’t react with the baking soda or baking powder in a recipe. Natural cocoa powder is un-processed and the result is a cocoa powder that is acidic, and somewhat bitter. Because it is acidic, natural cocoa powder is often used in baking, especially when the baking ingredients include baking soda as the only leavening agent. If you want to learn more about baking science, and the different types of cocoa powder and how they can be used, you can read this article by Sally from Sally’s Baking Addiction; it’s a great resource.
In this recipe we use natural cocoa powder, but in reality you can use Dutch processed cocoa powder as well if that is all you have. The reason is that your vinegar will provide the acidity that you need.
Can I turn this recipe into cupcakes?
Yes, for sure! You will probably get 15 medium sized cupcakes out of this recipe (but actually…that is a total guess as we have never done it!). The truth is, almost any cake recipe can be made into muffins. Just watch your cooking time; the cupcakes would probably take about 18 – 20 minutes to bake (again, we’re guessing).
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Looking for more vegan dessert ideas? We’ve got these great ones for you:
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Chocolate and orange cake
- Stand mixer or hand held mixer (preferable but not required)
- Loaf pan (9 x 5 inch)
- 1 1/2 cup (225 grams) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar
- 1/3 cup (40 grams) cocoa powder See Recipe note
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp vanilla powder * or 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup (80 mL) vegetable oil
- 1 cup (250 mL) orange juice
- 1/3 cup (80 mL) orange marmalade sugar-free
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 1 tbsp grated orange zest
For the glaze
- 1 cup (130 grams) icing sugar
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) freshly squeezed orange juice
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, or in another large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, vanilla and salt until well combined.
- Add the vegetable oil, orange juice, marmalade, vinegar and orange zest. Turn the mixture speed to medium and using the paddle attachment whisk until well combined.
- Prepare your loaf pan by lining it with parchment paper and then spraying any parts of the pan that are not lined with the parchment paper with cooking spray.
- Pour batter into pan and spread evenly.
- Bake in middle rack of your oven for 50 - 60 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven when baked and allow to cool in the loaf pan for 5 minutes and then transfer the cake to a cooking rack to cool completely.
For the glaze
- Whisk together the icing sugar and orange juice until smooth.
- When your cake is completely cooled use your whisk to drizzle the glaze over the middle top of the cake, allowing it to naturally fall to the sides.