“I think careful cooking is love, don’t you? The loveliest thing you can cook for someone who’s close to you is about as nice a Valentine as you can give.”

Julia Child

What could be better on a freezing February day than staying cozied up in the house baking a chocolate cake for Valentine’s weekend?

For all our tips on cooking with kids, check out Our 7 Tips for Kickin’ it with Kids in the Kitchen!

Why we LOVE this cake:

~super easy~

~dairy-free & vegan~

~no artificial . . . anything~

~made with raw cocoa powder~

~made with coconut whipped cream~

~sweetened with maple syrup instead of sugar~

~adapted from my Grandmother’s depression-era “wacky cake”~


Finally! A chocolate cake that we can love . . . and eat it, too!

Difficulty: EASY to MEDIUM

Active Time: 45 minutes (if baking with kids)

Cooking Time: 30-40 minutes

Inactive Cooling & Refrigeration Time: 1-2 hours

Yields: a family of 6+ with extra large sweet-tooths

Coconut Whipped Cream Ingredients:

  • 3 cans of full-fat coconut milk (must be canned, must be full fat or it WILL NOT WORK)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 4-5 tablespoons maple syrup (based on how sweet you like it)
  • *optional* 2-4 teaspoons beet juice (for color)

Cake Ingredients:

  • 3 cups whole wheat or white flour (we make ours whole wheat and we think it tastes just as great)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons apple sauce
  • 5 tablespoons grapeseed or almond oil
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water

Supplies needed:

  • 1 9×9 square cake pan
  • 1 9×9 round cake pan
  • parchment paper
  • measuring spoons & cup measure
  • wooden spoon
  • hand mixer or stand mixer
  • long, sharp kitchen knife
  • *optional* juicer for beet juice

~Coconut Whipped Cream Instructions~

1.) Refrigerate your cans of coconut milk for 6 hours or overnight.

(PLEASE NOTE: this varies from brand to brand of canned coconut milks. I have found that some cans of coconut milk are nearly solid upon opening at room temperature and do not need to be refrigerated at all prior to whipping. Other cans are pure liquid and need a full 8 hours in the refrigerator. I recommend buying a few more cans of coconut milk than you need and perhaps two different brands to be safe. You can open a can to start and if it is solid, then you can make the cream right away and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble your cake. If it is liquid, then pour that can out into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate all your cans of coconut milk until the covered bowl becomes cream-like. Thick. Not liquid. Once you find the right brand, then you are golden for making vegan whipped cream anytime you want.)

2.) Scoop off the collected cream from the top of the coconut milks and kind of “fish” for more clumps of cream that may be within the coconut water below. You do NOT want any of the coconut water. Reserve only the creamy white portions. Anything translucent has got to go! You can save it for something else or discard.

3.) Add vanilla and maple syrup and beat on high until the consistency of whipped cream

*If using a stand mixer: be sure to scrape the sides with a rubber spatula every minute or so and scrape the bottom of the bowl once to make sure all little lumps get smoothed out.

4.) Gradually add *optional* beet juice or food coloring for desired color and beat to combine

To juice your own beets: just wash, peel, and quarter your beets prior to juicing.

5,) Refrigerate until ready to assemble (up to 3 days)

~Vegan Chocolate Cake Instructions~

1.) Sift & Combine: flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder

2.) Make three “wells” for: apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract, and applesauce + oil

3.) Pour the maple syrup and cold water over the entire bowl of “welled” ingredients

4.) Beat well with wooden spoon or hand mixer on low

5.) Carefully divide the batter into two equal amounts using a baker’s scale, or carefully measuring it out cup by cup (which is what I still do)

6.) Grease & flour your pans:

We use a sheet of parchment paper cut to the size of the base of each pan which is an optional step. We have found that it helps the cakes come out easier sometimes. Either way, lightly grease your pans with any cooking oil and and dust with flour.

7.) Pour half of batter into square pan, and half of batter into round pan

8.) Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes

In our old convection oven, this cake always baked perfectly in just 30 minutes. Our current oven does not have a convection setting and I usually bake this cake for a full 40 minutes now . . . sometimes even flipping it over since our oven does not always bake evenly. Make sure a stick comes cleanly out of the center of each cake before leaving it to cool.

9.) Remove from pans by loosening with a butter knife, flipping over onto a cooling rack, and leave to cool completely

10.) Cut the square cake in half lengthwise into two layers.

Breathe. You can do it! Ok . . . being 100% honest I always have my hubby do this part. I struggle with knife skills. If you can’t cut it cleanly in half lengthwise, don’t sweat . . . you can always piece it together and cover it up with cream.

11.) Cut the round cake in half, crosswise, and then cut each half again lengthwise into two layers

12.) Assemble first layer of your heart shape and cover with less than half of cream

Please note: you may need to trim your round halves ever so slightly to make it fit your square pan.

13.) Assemble second layer of your heart shape and cover top and sides with remaining cream

14.) Sprinkle with *optional* coconut shreds and refrigerate until ready to serve

*If refrigerating for more than four hours or overnight, then cover with a giant stainless steel bowl or some kind of tent that will not disturb the cream.

Some day, when I’m awfully low,
When the world is cold,
I will feel a glow just thinking of you
And the way you look tonight.

Happy baking from our kitchen to yours! Happy Valentine’s Weekend!

Thanks for reading!

Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~


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