Lauren Toyota's Black Forest Loaf Cake: A vegan version that's especially scrumptious in cherry season

A simpler, no-layer chocolatey cake from her cookbook, hot for food all day.

A simpler, no-layer chocolatey cake from her cookbook, hot for food all day

(Photography by Lauren Toyota)

This chocolate cake is chock-full of cherries as you'd expect a Black Forest cake to be — but this one's vegan. The recipe comes from Lauren Toyota’s hot for food all day: easy recipes to level up your vegan meals [A Cookbook]. And not only does her version do away with dairy and eggs, there are no tiers to make seperately and stack either. It’s a simple loaf cake that would be a delightful bake any time — and especially when cherries are in season.

Black Forest Loaf Cake

By Lauren Toyota

I’m pretty sure the Black Forest cake I ate as a kid from the grocery store bakery was full of artificial cherry flavor as well as nasty maraschino cherries. No kirsch liqueur in sight! So I figured I’d try my hand at a real one. Seeing as I lived without kirsch all those years, I didn’t think it was totally necessary to make you buy a liqueur you’ll only use a few times, so I opted out. This is still rich and chocolatey and I’ve stuffed it with lots of actual cherries, which I think is REALLY what Black Forest is going for. If you’re making this in cherry season, definitely go for fresh cherries all the way, and if you have kirsch in your cupboard, by all means soak your cherry garnish in a splash. If opting for frozen cherries, try finding sour cherries because they’d be even better than the dark sweet ones. Thaw frozen cherries completely, saving the juice for the finished loaf.



  • 1 tbsp golden flax meal
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ⅓ cup vegan butter
  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips or coarsely chopped dairy-free semisweet baking chocolate
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup nondairy milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups fresh or thawed frozen pitted whole cherries, cut in half


  • 1 cup store-bought coconut whipped topping
  • ½ cup fresh or thawed frozen pitted whole cherries
  • Shaved or grated chocolate, for garnish (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350°F. 

Use an 8 by 4-inch metal loaf pan. Cut a strip of parchment paper as wide as the length of the loaf pan so you can line it and have some overhang to lift the finished loaf out. 

To make the batter, in a small bowl, combine the flax meal and water and set aside to thicken.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sea salt, and baking soda and set aside.

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Turn the heat to low, add the chocolate, and stir constantly until melted and smooth. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the sugar, nondairy milk, vanilla, and thickened flax mixture. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and add the cherries. Fold with a spatula until just combined and the batter has come away from the sides of the bowl.

Portion into the loaf pan and even out with a spatula on top and out to the edges, filling the pan. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes, until the edges have come away from the sides, the top looks set and is slightly cracked, and a toothpick comes out clean from the center.

Place the pan on a wire rack to cool for 15 to 20 minutes. Lift the parchment paper to remove the cake, and place on the rack. Let the cake cool completely before icing.

Take a skewer or toothpick and poke lots of holes all over the top about halfway down into the loaf. Spoon the reserved cherry juice, if you have it, over top. If you used fresh cherries, skip this step. It won’t make or break the cake!

Top with coconut whipped topping, cherries, and shaved chocolate. Or you can serve the toppings with each slice of the cake.

Yield: Makes 1 loaf (8 slices)

Excerpted from hot for food all day by Lauren Toyota. Copyright © 2021 by Lauren Toyota. Published by Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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