A fluffy, decadent Vegan White Chocolate Raspberry Cake with Buttercream Frosting is exactly what you need to treat yourself and your loved ones to this Valentine's Day--or anytime. It's way easier to make than you'd imagine, and it'll definitely make everyone who eats it fall in love with you. 😉
I have a Valentine for you, and he's so delicious you won't be able to stop gorging on him.
Get your mind out of the gutter! I am talking about this absolutely scrumptious Vegan White Chocolate Raspberry Cake, which, frankly, is just as good. Or maybe better.
This cake has been a labor of love for me. I've made it so many times in the past few weeks that Desi and Jay are stuffed with more cake than they could've dreamed of. And yet it's so good, they are not complaining. Not yet.
The reason I made it so many times is because I was trying to get this cake just right for you. It all started when Desi and Jay brought home a White Chocolate Raspberry Cake from a Nothing Bundt Cakes store that opened in our neighborhood a couple of years back. Their cakes aren't vegan and usually I'm not tempted, but the idea of white chocolate and raspberry--two of my favorite dessert flavors--was annoyingly tantalizing.
And then, to top it all, they ate it and they ranted and they raved, so I snuck a small, guilty taste, and god. Was it good.
So I set about trying out a vegan version of it, as I do with everything I love and can't eat anymore, because why should we vegans not have fun?
The first time I made it, I used fresh raspberries, and the cake was quite amazing. It was fluffy and tender, and exactly where I wanted it to be except that the raspberries discolored during baking and looked bluish-gray rather than a bright red. Not a biggie, the cake still tasted amazing, and I did find a solution for that, as you can tell from the pictures.
But the frosting--that was another story.
There's white chocolate, or rather cocoa butter, in the cake--and I wanted white chocolate in the frosting, but every time I folded the cocoa butter into the frosting it went grainy on me. It still was creamy and delicious, but not exactly great looking.
I tried the frosting recipe out with different proportions of cocoa butter, I tried beating it in early, folding it in at the end, and everything in between, but no luck.
So in the end, I decided that I'd stick with white chocolate and raspberry in the cake but go with raspberry and vanilla in the frosting, which results in a win-win. If you do decide to add cocoa butter though, I've learned a trick you can use, and I'll add it to the tips and tricks section below.
The cake is amazing, with lots of raspberry and white chocolate flavor, and the frosting is fluffy, creamy and decadent. It's not even a difficult cake to make, and pulling it together takes a maximum of 30 minutes, promise. Even better: I got tons of compliments from my two tasters, both proclaiming it was better than the original. They may be a bit biased, but I'll take it!
Tips and tricks to make the perfect vegan white chocolate raspberry cake:
- Sometimes the simplest steps can make a big difference, and in this case the first key step is to sift all of your dry ingredients. Sifting adds air to the flour, and helps your cake become fluffy, which is exactly what you are going for.
- In the same vein, whisk your wet ingredients thoroughly for at least a couple of minutes, even if it looks like everything's already mixed and nothing's happening. I do this for two minutes in the stand mixer, but a hand mixer or even a handheld whisk is fine.
- Once you add the dry ingredients to the wet, though, limit any and all whisking and mixing, because you don't want the gluten to develop in your batter. A good rule of thumb is no more than 15 seconds after each addition of flour (you'll add the flour in two batches). After each addition, use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl and mix in any dry bits until everything's incorporated.
- For the white chocolate flavor in the cake, I use cocoa butter. You will need to melt the cocoa butter in a double boiler, and that happens very quickly.
- I like using both raspberry and vanilla extracts in this cake, and they make this cake extra delicious. I tried making the cake the first time without raspberry extract, but I found that while the fresh raspberries added some good flavor, it simply wasn't enough. You can leave out the extract at a pinch, but use it if you can.
- I used both canned raspberries and fresh raspberries in different versions of this cake, and I didn't really find a great difference in taste. But I will say that the canned raspberries look grey-brown out of the can, so you certainly won't get that gorgeous red color with them. On the flip side, you can keep a can around for much longer in your pantry than fresh raspberries will last in your refrigerator, depending on how much time you spend between planning this cake and making it.
- Since the Nothing Bundt Cakes cake has little pockets of raspberries in it, I kept my raspberries whole and mixed them in at the end. Mixing them in earlier would have resulted in a pink batter, which would've been pretty too but is not what I wanted. All you need to do is fold them in at the end, after you've made the rest of the batter. Turn your spatula through the batter just three or four times to get the berries suspended throughout the batter. Don't overmix or you'll break them up.
- Now here's the trick I came up with to keep the berries bright red even after baking: lemon. Just before you fold the berries into the batter, squirt on a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice and just mix it through the berries with a light touch, taking care, again, not to break the berries. I can't swear to this, but I think that the lemon also has the unintended but welcome effect of making the cake lighter. I use unbleached all purpose flour--never bleached--but one of the problems with that is that your cakes never come out looking as white as those made with the bleached kind. But I saw a distinct difference in the color of cakes I tried without the lemon and cakes that I used lemon in. It makes sense because lemon does have a bleaching effect on things (in a good way, without the chemicals, and it's good for you).
- Make sure your oven is thoroughy preheated before you put the cakes in.
- Oil your cake pans and preferably line them with parchment paper to make unmolding easy. I used two 9-inch cake pans for this cake but you can also make it in a bundt pan (skip the parchment in that case). The first time I made the cake I did make it a bundt cake, like the one from the store, but my frosting skills are simply not good enough and I couldn't get those perfect lines the way they do them at Nothing Bundt Cakes. So I abandoned that approach and went with a more classic "cake look" that's more forgiving.
- Now for the frosting: you will need two sticks of vegan butter, any brand is fine, and you need to bring it to room temperature before you can use it.
- I add a mix of powdered sugar or confectioners' sugar and maple syrup to my frosting, because I like some of the depth maple syrup adds, but go with just the powdered sugar if you'd rather. I don't add a ton of sugar to the frosting, I don't think it needs it--two cups does the trick for me. You can use more or less based on your sweet tooth. Add half a cup of sugar at a time, mix, taste, then add more if needed, and so on.
- When I used cocoa butter in the frosting, I found that two tablespoons is all I need to add perfect white chocolate flavor. If you decide to add the cocoa butter to the frosting, and your frosting turns grainy, refrigerate it for some time and then beat it again to make it creamy.
Now that you're armed with all that white-chocolate-raspberry-cake-making-knowledge, let's get down to brass tacks.
I may be a little late for your Valentine plans, but I didn't want to share a recipe with you that didn't meet my standards. This one definitely does. I hope you'll try it, for yourself and for the ones you love.
Ingredients for the vegan White Chocolate Raspberry Cake:
- Unbleached all purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Tapioca starch (or corn starch)
- Vegan yogurt (I use my homemade cashew yogurt, but if you want the cake to be nut-free you can use a homemade or storebought coconut yogurt or any other vegan yogurt)
- Nondairy milk (I use almond but any is fine)
- Cocoa butter
- Vegetable oil
- Pure vanilla extract
- Raspberry extract
- Raspberries (fresh or canned is fine. If using canned, make sure you drain the berries)
- Vegan butter (any brand is fine)
- Confectioners' sugar (can use a mix of this and maple syrup)
Looking for more vegan cake recipes?
- Vegan Orange Cake with Orange Marmalade Buttercream
- Vegan Chocolate Orange Bundt Cake (whole wheat)
- Vegan Lemon Yogurt Bundt Cake
- Vegan Cinnamon Cake
- Vegan Mango Cheesecake
Vegan White Chocolate Raspberry Cake Recipe
Vegan White Chocolate Raspberry Cake
- 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp tapioca starch (or corn starch)
- ½ cup cacao butter (or cocoa butter, it's the same thing)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tsp raspberry extract
- ½ cup vegetable oil (use any flavorless oil, like almond or avocado)
- 1 ½ cups vegan yogurt (I used my homemade cultured cashew yogurt, but use any unsweetened storebought yogurt.)
- 1 ½ cups nondairy milk (I used almond, but any nondairy milk will work)
- 1 ½ cups raspberries (fresh are ideal for the gorgeous color, but you can use canned. If using canned, drain thoroughly)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a double boiler, which is fancy speak for a bowl placed on top of a saucepan of water, melt the cocoa butter. Let it stand, warm, until you mix it into the batter because it will start to harden again as it cools.
- In a bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, tapioca starch or cornstarch, and salt. Mix with a whisk.
- In a larger bowl, mix the oil, sugar, yogurt, melted cocoa butter, nondairy milk and vanilla and raspberry extracts until combined.
- Add the flour to the wet mixture in two batches, mixing thoroughly with a spatula after each addition. If doing this in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, don't beat for more than 15 minutes after each flour addition. Make sure you scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl after each addition.
- Place the raspberries in a bowl and add the lemon juice and mix lightly with your fingers without crushing the berries. Mix gently into the batter, using just three or four strokes of the spatula until the berries are evenly suspended through the batter.
- Prepare two 9-inch or 8-inch cake pans--or a bundt pan--by oiling or spraying with cooking spray. If using cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment and oil. Pour the batter into the pans or pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
- Place in the oven and bake 30 minutes if using 2 cake pans, and 50 minutes if using one bundt cake pan. Insert a toothpick in the center and if it comes out dry, pull your cake/cakes out of the oven.
- Place the cakes on a rack and unmold after 30 minutes by placing a plate on top and turning it over quickly. Be careful, and take care not to break the cake since it's quite tender, and especially so when still warm. The cake should come out very easily, but if you need help, run a knife gently along the edges of the pan.
- The cakes will dome a little, and I don't mind that, but if you want your layers to be absolutely straight, use a serrated knife and carefully slide it just under the portion you want to trim off.
Make the frosting:
- If using the cocoa butter, melt it in the double boiler.
- Place the vegan butter in a bowl and add a cup of the powdered sugar and the nondairy milk as well as the raspberry and vanilla extracts. Beat until smooth and combined, then continue adding sugar, half a cup at a time, until you reach the desired sweetness.
- If using cocoa butter, fold it into the frosting at the end. If the frosting looks a bit grainy, let it stand for a little bit to rest and beat it again until creamy.
- Frost the cake after it has cooled thoroughly. For a two-layer cake, place one layer on a plate or cake stand, scoop our half the frosting over it, spread it evenly with a knife or an offset spatula. Carefully place the second cake on top and spread the remaining icing on top. Pile on some raspberries for a pretty look.