Saturday, March 16, 2013

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Cashew Frosting

Lately, I've been experimenting with frosting recipes that don't involve vegan butter or powdered sugar.  I know dessert is meant to be decadent and should only be eaten in moderation, but frosting in its traditional form is something that I both love and avoid.  Coconut oil is an alternative ingredient for frosting, but I can't seem to mask the coconut flavor, no matter how hard I try.  So, that leaves tofu or nut-based frosting or glazes.  I love the versatility of cashew butter.  From savory recipes to sweet, it gives you a fabulously rich and creamy base with which to work.  But for this cake, I really wanted the chocolate and peanut butter combo because it's probably one of the best flavor combinations known to man!  Agreed?  So, I added peanut butter to a standard sweet cashew cream recipe and taa-daa!  All natural peanut butter frosting!

You can use your favorite vegan chocolate cake recipe.  I went with the beloved vegan Wacky Cake recipe since it's quick, easy, and delicious.

Cake recipe from

Makes an 8 x 8-inch cake

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold water
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Lightly grease an 8 x 8-inch baking pan.
  2. Into a large bowl, sit together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. 
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until moistened. 
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips, if using.  Pour batter into pan.
  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it springs back when lightly touched.
  7. Place on a wire rack to cool before frosting.


1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least an hour (rinse well after soaking)
1/4 cup water
1 cup unsalted peanut butter
1/2 cup agave nectar or maple syrup (or you can start with less and then adjust the sweetness to your liking)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
A dash of salt
  1. Blend the cashews and water in a food processor or blender until smooth.
  2. Add the peanut butter, agave nectar, vanilla extract, and salt.  
  3. Continue to blend everything together until smooth.

Assembly-wise, it's up to you.  If you're taking this to a potluck, you can probably just leave the cake in the pan and frost the top.  Why use another dish?  :)  For the sake of having a fancy picture to post here, I cut out pieces of cake using a biscuit cutter (and inhaled the leftover cake pieces).  Then I frosted multiple layers and topped them with quinoa crispies that I got from the bulk bins at my favorite natural foods store, Rainbow Grocery.

I didn't find the frosting to be too sweet, which was my goal.  It's not as firm as a typical cake frosting, but it sure is tasty!  (that was the main goal)

Enjoy!  :)