Dark & delightful

We’re celebrating our 10th birthday with the good stuff – starting with this decadent yet deceptively simple vegan chocolate cake.

Recipe, words, styling and photography Jane Lyons

Dark Chocolate and Toasted Sesame Birthday Cake

Flecks of toasted sesame seeds and sea salt combined with rich dark chocolate make this devilishly decadent cake hard to resist – but perhaps the real beauty of this recipe is that it is surprisingly simple to prepare and pop in the oven. You’ll be left with plenty of time to flick through the rest of Good magazine while the house fills with mouth-watering aromas.

Serves 10-12, vegan-friendly 


3 cups white flour
2 cups good-quality dark cocoa
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
3 cups raw sugar, whizzed until finely ground (white sugar is fine to use, too)
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 
2 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp vanilla bean paste
3 cups plunger or filter coffee, cooled 
zest of 1/2 an orange

Icing (This can be halved if you want to keep the sides of the cake bare)

4 cups roughly chopped 70% cocoa dark chocolate 
1 cup almond milk
1 cup coconut or olive oil
1 cup icing sugar
4-6 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
1 tbsp flaky sea salt

For the cake Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease and line either two 20cm cake tins or four 15cm cake tins (I did the latter). 

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl and stir to combine. Make a well in the centre and pour in olive oil, apple cider vinegar, vanilla bean paste, cooled coffee and orange zest. Use a fork or whisk to gradually combine ingredients until the mixture becomes a smooth batter.

Pour batter into pre-prepared tins and bake for 30-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. If you’re dividing the batter between smaller tins, the cake will bake more quickly.

Leave the cakes to cool in their tins. Meanwhile, prepare the icing by placing the chopped chocolate, almond milk and oil in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir until melted and combined. Remove from heat and whisk in icing sugar. Place bowl in the refrigerator to cool for 15-20 minutes or until icing is thick enough to spread onto cooled cake. Stir icing occasionally. 

To assemble Mix toasted sesame seeds together with sea salt in a small bowl. Spread a layer of icing between each cooled cake layer and sprinkle with toasted sesame seed and salt mix. Stack cake layers on top of each other, gently pressing down to secure. You might like to leave the cake naked or, as pictured, ice the top and sides and sprinkle the top with extra toasted sesame seeds. The cake will last for 3-4 days in an airtight container if stored in a cool, dark place. 

The final touch

This cake can be left naked or decorated as you like. We chose chocolate icing and sesame seeds, but you could add edible flowers for an extra-special touch. 

Share the love
Rate This Article:
Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.
Sign up to our email newsletters for your weekly dose of good