A Search for Great Vegan Food in San Diego

Coconut and Chocolate Cake from My Vegan Baking Class!

I love vegan cooking classes.  I always come away with recipes and a renewed enthusiasm for vegan food.   To say that my baby has been occupying my time recently would be an understatement, because I realized I had not attended a cooking class in over  year!  Then last week, I was on Facebook and saw a post about an upcoming vegan cake class with Liz Gary (she teaches wonderful vegan cooking classes!).  My husband said he would be on baby duty, so I giddily drove myself over to the Art Institute for the class a few days later.


The kitchen was spacious and stocked with anything a baker might need — bowls, pans, trays, ovens, sinks etc…  Liz also had set up four cake stations (we would be making coconut, chocolate, carrot, and vanilla cakes) with recipes, mixers, spoons, whisks, and ingredients.  In short, it was a baker’s paradise.


[caption id="attachment_3148" align="alignnone" width="536"]Art Institute Kitchen Art Institute Kitchen[/caption]


Vegan Coconut Cake:


I decided to help make the coconut cake.  This coconut cake is serious about coconut.  It’s base is made from coconut batter batter that then has shredded coconut mixed into it.  The cake is topped with coconut icing and sprinkled with toasted coconut!!

First we added the dry ingredients to a bowl.


[caption id="attachment_3130" align="alignnone" width="640"]Dry Ingredients Dry Ingredients[/caption]


In a separate bowl, we mixed the soy milk and the apple cider vinegar.  The apple cider vinegar curdles the soy milk, making a sort of vegan buttermilk!


[caption id="attachment_3131" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Buttermilk Vegan Buttermilk[/caption]


We then slowly added the dry ingredients to the buttermilk mixture and mixed in the shredded coconut.


[caption id="attachment_3132" align="alignnone" width="640"]Mixing in Shredded Coconut Mixing in Shredded Coconut[/caption]


Pour the batter (half and half) into the two pans.  Please note that the recipe below for this cake is for one 8 inch round cake.  If you want to make a double layer cake like we did in class, you will need to double the recipe.

While the cakes begin to bake in the oven, it’s time to start on the icing!


[caption id="attachment_3133" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Cake Batter in Pans Vegan Cake Batter in Pans[/caption]


Vegan Coconut Icing:


Place the powdered sugar, non-hydrogenated shortening, and vegan butter together in a bowl.


[caption id="attachment_3134" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Icing Ingredients Vegan Icing Ingredients[/caption]


After we mixed our icing together and added in the coconut extract, we decided to add a few tablespoons of almond milk to thin it out a little.  And because the kitchen was getting hot with cakes baking, we stored the icing in the fridge!


[caption id="attachment_3136" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Icing Vegan Icing[/caption]


Coconut Topping:


Up next, was the toasted coconut topping — a simple mix of shredded coconut and powdered sugar.  After a few minutes in the oven, the coconut was toasted and smelled delicious.  It’s definitely worth sneaking a taste of this on its own!


[caption id="attachment_3138" align="alignnone" width="640"]Toasted Shredded Coconut Toasted Shredded Coconut[/caption]


Preparing the Cake:


Once the cake cooked and cooled (well it had sort of cooled…more on that later), it’s important to make the tops of the cakes level, so you can stack them.


[caption id="attachment_3139" align="alignnone" width="640"]Leveling the Cake Leveling the Cake[/caption]


It was then icing time.  Liz had an excellent tip: put some icing on the cake stand before placing the cake on the surface.  The icing will act as an anchor, so the cakes won’t move while they are being iced.


[caption id="attachment_3140" align="alignnone" width="640"]Icing the Cake Icing the Cake[/caption]


As you can probably tell from the below picture, we did not have time to let our cake fully cool before icing it.  The coconut cake (I think because of the shredded coconut), is a fairly dense cake.  So if you are making this cake, remember to allow plenty of time for it to cool!


[caption id="attachment_3141" align="alignnone" width="640"]Fully Iced Cake Fully Iced Cake[/caption]


We then added the toasted coconut to the sides of the cake.  We also borrowed some raspberry topping (from another cake recipe) to play around with marbling.  And although we did not achieve professional results, that’s why classes are fun.  There are new techniques to try and no pressure to master them!


[caption id="attachment_3142" align="alignnone" width="640"]Final Vegan Coconut Cake Final Vegan Coconut Cake[/caption]


Another bonus of the class?  Everyone got to take a piece of each cake home!

More Information About the Class:


If you think the cake class sounds fun, Liz is teaching it again on August 15.  The class is held at the Art Institute in Mission Valley and put on by their GetCreative program (the section that offers fun one time classes.)  Check out the Art Institute’s website for more information.  There are also a few other vegan offerings — think cacao as a superfood — on the list that look interesting.  Finally, there is currently a Groupon you can use for the baking class!!


Vegan Coconut Cake
  • CAKE (for ONE 8 inch round cake):
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups soy milk
  • 2 teaspoons apple-cider vinegar
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1.75 cups shredded coconut

  • ICING:
  • 1 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • 4 cups organic powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon coconut extract
  • 3-5 tablespoons almond or rice milk
  • pinch of sea salt
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  3. Lightly grease and flour baking pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  4. Combine soy milk and vinegar in a mixing bowl. Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes until curdled.
  5. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a separate mixing bowl and stir until blended.
  6. Add the vanilla extract and the coconut oil to the milk mixture.
  7. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the milk mixture until blended.
  8. Stir in the shredded coconut.
  9. Transfer batter to baking pans.
  10. Bake for 30-35 minutes
  11. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to three days.

  12. ICING:
  13. Place vegetable shortening in a medium bowl and beat until smooth.
  14. Slowly add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and coconut extract.
  15. Add the milk substitute one tablespoon at a time until the frosting becomes thick and stiff peaks form. Beat on high for two minutes or until light and fluffy.


Vegan Chocolate Cake and Icing:


And because I love vegan desserts, I wanted to share a second vegan cake recipe from the class — the chocolate cake with chocolate icing.  Truly decadent.


[caption id="attachment_3143" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Chocolate Cake Vegan Chocolate Cake[/caption]


Bonus Vegan Chocolate Cake Recipe
  • CAKE (for ONE 8 inch round cake):
  • 2.5 cups pastry flour
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1.5 cup warm milk (soy, almond, or coconut are all fine!)
  • 1.5 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ⅔ cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • ICING:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup vegan butter
  • ½ cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-3 tablespoons soy, almond, or coconut milk
  1. CAKE:
  2. Preheat over to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour two 8 inch baking pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  3. Combine warm milk and apple cider vinegar in bowl and let sit until curdled.
  4. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt in separate bowl, and stir until blended.
  5. Add the melted coconut oil and vanilla to the milk mixture.
  6. Slowly add dry ingredients to the milk mixture and blend for 1-2 minutes or until well blended.
  7. Pour batter into prepared cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  8. Store in airtight container for up to three days in a cool, dry place.

  9. ICING:
  10. Combine sugar, cocoa powder, butter substitute, shortening, and vanilla in mixing bowl.
  11. Mix ingredients gradually, adding in 1 tablespoon of vegan milk at a time until icing begins to hold stiff peaks with a smooth consistency.



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