This vegan German chocolate cake is an ultra-moist chocolate cake with a gooey caramel coconut and pecan layer topped with vegan chocolate buttercream. A very decadent and indulgent vegan chocolate cake great to celebrate any occasion!
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease two 9-inch cake pans with oil and line the bottom with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk soy milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside for the milk to curdle.
In another large mixing bowl whisk, the flour, cornstarch, unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder (if used). Set aside.
Pour the soy milk mixture, oil, vanilla extract, and hot water into the dry ingredients and whisk or beat until the batter is combined.
Divide the batter evenly in each cake pan.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few crumbs on it. Two options: place both cakes in the oven simultaneously (only if your oven temperature is well-calibrated) and bake. I personally recommend baking one cake layer at a time, a bit time-consuming, but it gives the perfect cake moisture every time. You can leave the second cake pan on the kitchen benchtop while the first cake layer is baking.
Remove the cakes from the oven and cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then 15 more minutes on a cooling rack.
As the cakes cool, prepare the frostings below.
Make the coconut pecan frosting
In a small mixing bowl, whisk cornstarch and coconut milk to form a slurry mixture.
In a medium saucepan, add the cornstarch mixture, vegan butter, brown sugar. Bring over medium heat, occasionally whisk until the vegan butter is melted.
Bring to a light boil and keep whisking until it thickens - about 2-3 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, chopped pecans, and shredded coconut.
Allow complete cooling in a bowl before spreading over the cake. The mixture thickens as it cools down.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle or whisk attachment, beat the soft vegan butter on medium speed until creamy.
Add powdered sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and almond milk.
Beat on low speed for 30 seconds until fluffy.
Add more almond milk for a thinner frosting or more cocoa powder for a thicker frosting, adding each 1 tablespoon at a time.
Assemble the cake
First, level the cakes using a serrated knife. Slice the thin bumpy layer from the top of the cakes to create a flat surface. Discard or store this top part to crumble onto vegan yogurt or vegan ice creams later.
Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate or cake stand.
Evenly cover with half the coconut pecan frosting, then top with the second layer of cake.
To decorate the cake like in my picture, spread half the vegan chocolate buttercream on top of it. Then, spread the remaining coconut pecan frosting on top, but leaving a free space of half an inch on the side. Finally, pipe the remaining vegan chocolate buttercream around to decorate.
Decorate the top of the German cake with toasted pecan halves and extra shredded coconut.
Refrigerate for 1-3 hours before serving. This also prevents the cake from crumbling when cut.
Store leftover cake in the fridge in a sealed cake box for up to 5 days.
Flour: don't substitute all-purpose flour in this recipe. Gluten-free flours wouldn't work. The cake would be flat and wouldn't rise.Sugar: caster sugar works best, but you can use low-GI sugar for a healthier alternative. Soy milk works best. It adds more moisture to the cake crumb. It can be replaced with any non-dairy milk, but the cake texture would be impacted.Oil: this recipe hasn't be tested oil-free.