Chocolate Molasses Layer Cake with Candied Fennel Frosting [Vegan]

A decadent chocolate layer cake made from rich molasses and raw cacao, sweetened with coconut sugar and topped with candied fennel seeds for an extra crunch. This cake is a labor love that’s well worth it!

Chocolate Molasses Layer Cake with Candied Fennel Frosting [Vegan]


For the Cake

  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup chilled coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  •  2 flax “eggs”
  • 5 cups sprouted spelt flour (or gluten-free flour baking blend)
  • 1 cup cacao powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon pink salt
  • 3 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1 cup hot water

For the Candied Fennel Seeds

  • 3 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water

For the Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup organic unsalted cultured butter, softened
  • 4 cups sifted organic powdered sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice


For the Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the molasses and maple syrup, then mix in the vegan eggs.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cacao powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Mix in the sifted dry ingredients into the wet. Add the hot water and orange zest, mix until fully combined.
  2. Grease two baking pans (if you have two, or bake one after the other as needed). Divide the batter in half and pour evenly between the two pans. Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until done. Remove from oven and allow to fully cool before removing from the pans.

For the Seeds:

  • Heat a skillet on medium heat. Add the sugar and water, bring to a simmer. Stir continuously until the mixture becomes syrupy, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the fennel seeds. Continue to stir until the mixture crystalizes, it’s a quick process so don’t walk away.
  • Quickly remove from heat and continue to stir a few more seconds until the fennel seeds are dry and separated. Allow to cool before storing in airtight container.

For the Frosting:

  1. Sift the powder sugar through a sifter or fine mesh strainer until you have 4 measured cups of powdered sugar. In a mixer, beat the butter for 3-5 minutes until softened and light. Slowly add the sugar into the mixer.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, add  the vanilla and lemon juice, then turn up the mixer and beat on high for a further 3-5 minutes until fluffy, well mixed and smooth.
  3. Store in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes to set before spreading.


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