Makes 2 (9-inch) round layers
To make your cake look like Chef Chloe's, double this recipe to make 4 (9-inch) round layers. When you assemble, use 3 or 4 layers as desired. 3 layers are easier to stack.
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups cold coffee or water
1 cup canola oil
¼ cup white or apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons instant espresso powder dissolved in ¼ cup water
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (dairy-free)
¼ cup canned coconut milk, mixed well before measuring
2 tablespoons canola oil
½ cup almonds, toasted and roughly chopped, for garnish
To make the Chocolate Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two 9-inch round cake pans or one 9- x 13-inch pan and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together coffee, 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 about 30 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 Mocha Frosting: Using a handheld or stand mixer, beat the shortening until smooth. With the mixer running on low, add powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat to incorporate. Add 1 tablespoon of espresso liquid at a time, as needed, until it reaches desired frosting consistency and espresso flavor. Beat on high for 2 more minutes until light and fluffy.
To make the Chocolate Fudge Sauce: Melt chocolate chips and coconut milk in a double boiler or microwave. Whisk in oil until smooth. Transfer to a squeeze bottle.
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. Drizzle the Chocolate Fudge Sauce over the top of the cake vertically and horizontally to make a lattice-like pattern. Garnish the top of the cake with toasted almond pieces.