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Chocolate Layer Cake

Makes 1 double-layer cake

Try this lightened-up cake as seen on The Doctors!


Chocolate Cake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 2/3 cup agave
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup white or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract


  • 1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips (dairy-free)
  • 1 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 to 5 tablespoons soy, almond, or rice milk


  • Fresh raspberries, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together water, agave, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk until just combined. Do not over mix.

Fill each prepared cake pan evenly with batter. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out dry with a few crumbs clinging to it. Be sure to rotate the cakes halfway through the baking time. Cool the cakes completely before assembly.

To make the Chocolate Frosting

Melt chocolate chips in a microwave or over a double boiler. Let the melted chocolate cool at room temperature for about 10 minutes so that it does not melt the shortening when you add it to the frosting.

In the meantime, using a handheld or stand mixer, beat the shortening until smooth. With the mixer running on low, add powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon nondairy milk at a time, as needed, until frosting reaches a spreadable consistency. Add the melted chocolate chips. Beat on medium speed until combined. Increase speed to high and beat for 2 more minutes until light and fluffy. Add more nondairy milk as needed.

To assemble the cake

Once the cakes are completely cooled, run a knife around the inside edge of each cake pan to loosen, and gently unmold the cake. Peel off the parchment paper and slice the dome off the top of each cake.  Place one cake on a cardboard cake circle or serving plate, and spread a generous layer of frosting on top of the cake. Place the second cake on top of the first and spread a generous layer of frosting on top. I like to leave the sides unfrosted. Garnish the top of the cake with fresh raspberries.

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