This easy chocolate cake recipe uses silken tofu and chocolate chips. No eggs, dairy, or animal products. It uses common baking ingredients (no weird ingredients from specialty shops), and you can add flavoring twists.
This silken tofu chocolate cake was inspired by a 3-minute video that my dad sent me. The video demonstrated a baker making a chocolate cake with 3 ingredients: tofu, flour, and chocolate. I had to try it.
Unfortunately, the cake came out like chocolate pudding with flour in it. It was disappointing.
But, I became obsessed with the idea of a silken tofu chocolate cake. Could it be done?
Using a French chocolate cake recipe from Marmiton as my starting point, I replaced the butter and eggs with silken tofu purée.
After multiple rounds of experimentation, I’m proud to share with you my silken tofu chocolate cake recipe. It tastes rich and chocolatey. Let’s learn how you can make this cake at home.
NOTE: This chocolate cake recipe produces a dense, fudge-like cake — think French cake and Austrian tortes — probably thanks to using melted chocolate instead of cocoa powder and less flour. Read more about the difference between decadent European vs. fluffy American chocolate cakes.
Can you put tofu in a cake?
For anybody concerned about mild soybean flavor in the tofu, there’s no need to worry. Chocolate covers up any flavors you might have detected. Besides, silken tofu is usually bland without much of a “bean” flavor.
What kind of silken tofu
NOTE: Here’s a breakdown of the levels of firmness you can find in silken tofu. Opt for the soft silken tofu.
What equipment do you need?
- A blender: You can use any standing blender that will purée the silken tofu. I have the older version of this Oster blender.
- Or a stick blender: If you only want to get 1 blender, I would recommend a stick blender because it’s more versatile. You can use it to make smoothies, mayonnaise, and soups. I have this Cuisinart Smart Stick hand blender. Use the tall glass that comes with the stick blender to purée the silken tofu because it’s sized to fit snugly around the stick blender which reduces the chances of splatter.
- Mixing bowls: You’ll need several mixing bowls to combine the dry ingredients as well as the tofu with the chocolate.
- Sieve/sifter: I find cakes have a fluffier texture when I run the flour through a mesh sieve or a flour sifter. It also mixes the baking powder and soda more evenly.
You can add flavorings to this recipe to spruce up this cake for special occasions. Here are some ideas:
- Coffee: Add about half of a cup/110 ml of very strong coffee or espresso to the blended tofu before adding the melted chocolate. Mix thoroughly. The coffee will bring out the chocolate flavors more strongly.
- Rum: Replace the vanilla extract with a tablespoon of rum. You could use brandy or bourbon. If you want a bourbon vanilla flavor, keeps the vanilla and add a tablespoon of bourbon. You could even use bourbon-extracted vanilla flavoring.
- Peppermint oil: I love the combo of mint and chocolate. You can replace the vanilla extract with peppermint oil or even orange oil.
- If you like your cakes much sweeter: Add 1 cup/100 g of powdered sugar to the dry ingredients. I prefer Asian-style low-sugar desserts so you’d probably want to add in the extra sugar if you expect American levels of sweetness.
- If you like your chocolate cake fudge-like: I tried this cake with 50 g less flour, and it turned out with a dense brownie-like texture. If you want to try a cake that’s denser like brownies, only use ½ cup/100 g of flour.
- Chocolate type: I used 70% cacao dark chocolate chips. If you prefer a sweeter cake, you could use semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of (or in addition to powdered sugar). If you’re not vegan, you could even use milk chocolate. Chocolate chips, chunks, or slabs of baking chocolate work. Just make sure you weigh in the chocolate if you’re not using chocolate chips because the volume of differently shaped chocolate will likely differ.
Personally, I don’t like frosting or icing. I’m OK with glazes because they’re not overly sweet. But I’d prefer to drink a glass of milk with my cake instead.
However, Alex felt that the cake was dry without icing. He considers all cakes dry if they don’t have icing, even if it’s a moist and tender cake.
To accommodate his American sensibility, here are frosting ideas for this chocolate cake. I’ll separate them into vegan and non-vegan choices.
- Non-vegan options
- Peanut butter frosting: I would use less powdered sugar than most frosting recipes but you should let your taste buds dictate how sweet you like it.
- Chocolate ganache: Melt 1 part chocolate and 1 part heavy whipping cream in the microwave. Zap it for 15 seconds and repeat until the chocolate is melted. Mix until well combined. It should be shiny and the consistency of custard. Spread over your cake. (These instructions for microwave hot chocolate describe how to make ganache, except you’ll want a 1:1 ratio of chocolate to cream.)
- Cream cheese frosting
- Chocolate buttercream frosting
- Vanilla buttercream frosting
- Vegan options
- Vegan chocolate frosting
- Vegan vanilla frosting
- Vegan coconut frosting
- Berry coulis: Purée 2 cups/250 g of berries (frozen strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries work), the juice of half a lemon, and ½ cup/50 g of powdered sugar in a blender. Optionally, you can strain the sauce if you don’t want seeds. If you like your coulis thicker, you can simmer it on low heat for 15-30 minutes. Pour the cooled coulis over your cake to serve.
- Thinned fruit jam: The easiest glaze is to take your favorite fruit jam and thin it with some boiling water. Once it is thinned to the consistency of yogurt, you can cover the cake with this glaze.
Tips for success
- If you don’t have a microwave: You can melt the chocolate in a water bath by placing a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is dissolved.
- Baking at high altitude: I baked this silken tofu cake at approximately 5,328 feet/1,624 m so this cake should work if you live at high altitude. I haven’t tested it at sea level but I expect it should work. If you’re baking it at sea level, you can add an extra ½ teaspoon of baking powder if you’re worried the cake won’t rise enough.
- When baking in a cooler kitchen: In my snowy climate, I was baking in a kitchen at 62˚ F/16˚ C. This ended up being a bit too cool for me to smooth out the top of the cake before baking it in the oven. I placed the raw batter in the cake pan and left it in the oven for 2 minutes. That melted the chocolate enough to make it easy to spread flat, which gave the cake a much nicer appearance.
- Scaling the recipe: With baking being so sensitive, I haven’t tested scaling up this cake recipe so I wouldn’t recommend doubling or tripling the recipe unless you’re prepared for a potential baking failure.
French-style vegan silken tofu chocolate cake
- kitchen scale
- measuring spoons
- Mixing Bowl
- cake pan
- 5.3 oz. (150 g) Flour, I used all-purpose flour, about 1 cup
- 1 teaspoon (5 g) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (2 g) baking soda
- 1 pinch (2 g) salt, about ¼ teaspoon
- ¼ cup canola oil, Use a neutral oil (unless you want the oil to flavor the cake, e.g. olive oil)
- 1 lb. (454 g) silken tofu, use soft silken tofu
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
- 8.8 oz. (250 g) chocolate chips, 70% cacao chocolate chunks or baking chocolate work, about 1.5 cups
- Gather the ingredients.
- Preheat your oven to 350° F/175° C.
Mix the dry ingredients
- Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a mixing bowl.
- Mix the dry ingredients thoroughly to combine.
Prepare the silken tofu
- Slice the tofu into large cubes.
- Purée the silken tofu in the blender until the tofu is a creamy consistency with the texture of custard. You may need to use a spatula to push down the sides of the blender for an even purée.
- Pour the tofu purée into a mixing bowl.
- Add the vanilla extract and oil to the tofu.
- Mix well to combine the tofu, vanilla, and oil.
Prepare the chocolate
- Zap the chocolate chips in a microwave for 30 seconds.
- Stir the chocolate chips to melt them. Zap in the microwave for another 30 seconds if necessary. Repeat until the chocolate chips are fully melted. You should have a shiny, smooth consistency.
Prepare the cake batter
- Add the melted chocolate into the tofu-vanilla mixture.
- Mix until the melted chocolate is thoroughly combined into the tofu.
- Sift the flour mixture into the bowl with the chocolate-tofu mixture.
- Fold the flour into the chocolate-tofu mixture until just combined. Avoid over mixing because you don't want the cake to end up tough.
- Prepare your cake pan. Grease the pan or line it with parchment paper.
- Add the cake batter into the pan. The batter will be very thick.
- Smooth the surface of the batter to make it as flat as possible. If you're struggling to smooth out the batter because the mixture is too stiff and cold, place the cake pan in the oven for 2 minutes. Remove after 2 minutes and the chocolate should have softened enough to allow you to smooth down the surface.
- Bake the cake for 25 minutes. Test the doneness after 25 minutes by inserting a cake tester (butter knife, paring knife, toothpick all work). The cake is done when the knife comes out mostly clean with a few crumbs sticking to it.
- Enjoy your chocolate cake!
What if you hate frosting?
As mentioned, I’m the person who scrapes the frosting off my cake as if it’s got radioactive contamination. But I recognize cakes need something to add moisture.
Instead of frosting, here are my favorite ways to eat cake:
- With a glass of milk, soy milk, almond milk, or oat milk.
- With a mug of steaming sugar-free chai.
- Serve the cake with yogurt, whipped cream, or crème fraîche.
- Serve the cake with a fruit salad.
TIP: Check out more ideas for adding moisture to cakes.
Can it be made in advance?
Yes, I make this cake and store it in the fridge to eat for breakfast. It’s best to seal it well to avoid drying it out. After about 3 days, the edges become dry, so I recommend you finish the cake in less than 5 days if possible.
How to reheat it?
You can eat it cold or at room temperature. My favorite way is to zap a slice in the microwave for 15 seconds to soften it.
Can you freeze it?
Yes, but you’ll need to seal it well to prevent freezer burn. Wrap it in plastic wrap. Then, store it in a sealable plastic bag if it will fit. If not, wrap foil around the cake over the plastic wrap.
Consume within 3 months to avoid freezer burner. You can defrost it by leaving it on the kitchen counter until the whole cake is warmed to room temperature. Or cut off a frozen slice and zap it in the microwave for 30 seconds.