This vegan no-bake fudge cake is made with a cocoa, espresso, and sunflower seed crust that’s filled with a rich, velvety chocolate and almond butter fudge. Perfect for Valentine’s day or anytime an intense chocolate craving hits.
Rich, velvety, and very, very smooth. That pretty much sums up our experience of this vegan no-bake fudge cake that makes magic from a short list of everyday ingredients and a very, very minimal amount of time. Espresso in the filling keeps things lively. And just wait until you try the ingenious crust. As one of our testers raved, this is a magnificent dessert when you need something quick and vegan—or just quick and delicious.–Brandi Doming
CAN I SUBSTITUTE DIFFERENT NUT BUTTERS IN MY VEGAN FUDGE CAKE?
A variety of nut butters will work in this recipe. Just make sure that you pick a sugar- and oil-free version. For a tree nut-free version, try sunflower seed butter, soy butter, or pea butter. Thanks to all the chocolate in the recipe, the flavor will be pretty much indiscernible.
☞ Table of Contents
Vegan No-Bake Fudge Cake
- 6- or7-inch (15- or 18-cm) springform pan. (To make a larger cake, double the recipe and use a 9-inch (23-cm) round springform pan.)
For the crust
- 1 cup raw unsalted shelled sunflower seeds
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground espresso
- 2 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
For the filling
- 1 1/2 cups dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon lite coconut milk or cashew milk shaken or stirred
- 3 tablespoons creamy roasted almond butter* or raw cashew butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 to 1 tablespoon ground espresso
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
For the shaved chocolate garnish (optional)
- One (4- to 6-ounce) dairy-free dark chocolate bar
Make the crust
- In a food processor fitted with the steel blade attachment, process the sunflower seed until they’re finely ground into a flour, about 30 seconds. Add the salt, cocoa powder, and espresso and blend until just combined. Drizzle in the maple syrup and pulse until the mixture forms large, sticky clumps and holds together when pressed between your fingers.
- Line the bottom of a 6- or 7-inch (15- or 18-cm) springform pan** (see NOTE below) with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit. Spray the sides of the pan with nonstick spray. Press the crust mixture into the pan, making a flat, even layer on the bottom but not up the sides.
Make the filling
- In a large, microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and milk. Microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds. Stir well and then heat in 15-second intervals until the chocolate is almost completely melted, about 30 seconds more. Stir until very smooth. (Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate and milk on the stovetop in a bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water.)
- Wipe the bowl of the food processor clean. Add the chocolate mixture, almond or cashew butter, vanilla, espresso, cocoa powder, and 1/8 teaspoon salt and blend for 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and process again until the mixture is completely smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the filling over the crust and smooth the top. Refrigerate until completely firm throughout, at least 2 hours and ideally overnight.
Make the shaved chocolate garnish (optional)
- If desired, place the dark chocolate bar on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on HIGH for just a few seconds to slightly soften it. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the edges of the chocolate bar into long curls, and scatter atop cake before slicing into wedges and serving.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This very chocolatey dessert is quite rich and a delight to the senses. The texture was velvety and smooth and delicious. The crust added an extra dimension of a different taste and was very nice. The recipe was easy to put together and turned out very well.
This is a great dessert to have in the repertoire when you have the need for something vegan and quick—or just quick and delicious! I was particularly impressed with the crust, which alone tastes quite good. (I tasted a little left in the food processor bowl). You would never guess it was made from sunflower seeds. The filling is very decadent and fudgy. I used the full tablespoon of espresso powder and that is the flavor that predominated (my husband and I couldn’t really taste the almond butter, which is fine).
The surface looks very nice and shiny too, so even if you don’t do the curls, it makes for an attractive dessert. I had to use a 7-inch springform and the depth of crust and filling were just fine even with the increased circumference. I tried the curls for garnish, and even after heating the bar for about 15 seconds, my curls came out more like shavings.
You could also change this up by doing some different alcohols or liqueurs in place of vanilla.
Originally published February 11, 2019