Rich Dark Chocolate Cake with Water Ganache


  • 1 cup unsweetened almond, soy or oat milk, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1¾ cups raw caster sugar
  • ½ cup grape seed oil
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened apple puree
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Water ganache, to decorate 
  • Fresh fruit or freeze-dried berries, to decorate (optional)

Water Ganache

  • 200 g vegan-friendly dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 120 ml boiling water
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract



This is a rich, moist but not too sweet chocolate cake that will satisfy anyone’s chocolate cravings, plus it just happens to be vegan.
Preheat oven to 160°C on fan bake. Spray two 20 cm spring form cake tins with oil and line bases with baking paper.
Put milk into a small bowl, stir in the vinegar and set aside for 5-10 minutes to curdle - this creates a vegan buttermilk. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in the sugar and make a well in the centre. Add the oil, apple puree, vanilla and buttermilk to the well. Mix on low speed with an electric mixer until just combined (avoid over mixing).
Now, carefully pour in the boiling water, continuing to mix on low just until fully combined (expect the batter to be very runny at this stage). Divide the batter evenly between the cake tins.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out with just a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Remove to cool in the tins for 10 minutes then remove the tins and transfer cakes to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
Sandwich cakes together with half the water ganache (recipe follows) and spread the other half over the top cake layer. Decorate with fruit, if desired.
Makes 1 cake.

Water Ganache:

The taste of water ganache is deep and true because the water highlights the flavours in the chocolate which are usually masked by cream.
To make the water ganache, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Pour over the boiling water. Either microwave for 20-30 seconds on high, or place bowl over a pot filled with some simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water) for 1-2 minutes, to melt the chocolate.
Gently whisk together by hand until combined and smooth. Now stir in the maple syrup and vanilla. Set aside at room temperature for 20-30 minutes until ganache thickens to a spreadable consistency.
Note: if ganache sets fully, then gently reheat to soften it again, stirring until smooth. Any leftover ganache can be stored in the fridge then gently re-melted and used as a hot chocolate sauce, if desired.