This recipe is adapted from the Made-In-A-Pan Chocolate Cake recipe from Honest Pretzels by Mollie Katzen; a book that I highly recommend for little bitty chefs and significant others who don’t know the first thing about cooking.

A Note on Ingredients

This recipe is vegan — provided all the ingredients you use are listed as vegan. As I’m omnivorous I don’t know the ideal brands for my vegan friends to use. For example, I use Fry’s cocoa powder, which may contain milk traces. I also am not sure on where the line falls on such things as vinegar and refined white sugar. If you have the proper vegan alternatives in your house, definitely use them. This recipe is extremely flexible and you won’t suffer from changing things up a bit (for example, I used a mix of brown sugar and honey to compensate for the white sugar once when I had none, with no loss of quality).

Stuff to Do With It

I wanted to flavour the cake with chai spices for a bit of special kick. One way to flavour cakes is to add dry ingredients. A dry chai spice mix would include cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg and peppercorns. As the recipe calls for 1 cup water as part of the liquid, I decided to flavour the water instead of the dry ingredients.

I steeped 1/2 Litre of water with 2 tbsp African Redbush Masala Chai loose leaf tea in the fridge overnight. I made a simple syrup of equal parts water and sugar (1/2 cup and 1/2 cup), sweetened the tea with that, and used it in the recipe. I cut out 1/2 cup sugar in the dry mix to compensate.

It turned out great! Other things you can do with this cake would be adding your favourite trail mix or nuts, or flavour it with peppermint, or instant coffee, or kirsch. It’s a versatile cake!

Anyway, On to the Recipe:

  • 1 1/4 cups white flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cup sugar (ADAPTED: I used 1/2 cup sugar in the dry mix and the remaining 1/2 cup in the chai tea water blend. If you don’t want to do the tea blend, use the full cup of sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup water (ADAPTED: 1 cup steeped chai tea with 1/2 cup simple syrup added)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cider or white vinegar

This can totally be made in the pan you cook it in, or made in a mixing bowl and poured into mini cake ramekins or cupcake pans.

Preheat your oven to 325F.

Mix the dry ingredients first: 1 1/4 cups flour, 1/3 cup coca, 1/2 cup sugar for adapted recipe (1 cup for regular), 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda.
Stir together until everything’s blended.

Add in the wet stuff: 1 cup sweetend steeped chai tea blend for adapted recipe (or plain water), 1/3 cup oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon vinegar. Stir until smooth.

Add in your extras: chocolate chips? Nuts? Trail mix? Marshmallows?

Bake for approximately 30 minutes for an 8-inch glass cake dish, or an adapted time for mini cakes, cupcakes, what have you.


The final result is a not-too-sweet, not-too-dark chocolate cake with light chai flavour. The cake is so easily adapted to other flavours and ingredients that I’ve made it a staple in my kitchen. It also takes less than 10 minutes to whip up the batter, and as it doesn’t use any dairy, it’s probably the best one to make on short notice.

Dust with icing sugar, vegan frosting, or any number of toppings. I suppose you could also soak the cake in a chai syrup if you wanted to, though the cake is already really moist.

I used the leftover chai tea to make myself an iced chai latte to enjoy with the pleasant evening.