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Healthy Cake that’s so easy to make

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When do you take down your holiday decorations?

We usually start on New Year’s Day. Heck, there’s nothing else to do on that day—no need to buy presents, no Christmas cookies to bake, and (unless you live in Hawaii), no one wants to venture out of the house! So it’s the perfect time to clean. Unfortunately for my family, I wasn’t the biggest help this year, because I was preoccupied… with cake!

vegan healthy vanilla cake

A friend, who saw my Spooky Vegan Carrot Cake, hired me to make her a New-Year-themed cake. Cake-decorating beats cleaning any day. :)

vegan vanilla cake

As always, it’s 100% edible (aside from the crown).

For the actual cake, I veganized a recipe from one of my mom’s cookbooks. (And then I subbed applesauce for some of the oil to make it even healthier.) The results looked gorgeous—perfectly shaped and soft. And my friend raved about the taste, saying none of her guests could tell it was healthy.


Healthier Vegan Vanilla Cake
(makes two 9” cakes)

  • 3 ¾ cups flour (I used whole-wheat pastry)
  • 2 t baking soda and 2 t baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 to 2 cups dry sweetener
  • ½ cup oil
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • ½ cup tofu
  • ½ t salt
  • Optional: 1 t coconut or almond extract

Preheat the oven to 355. Mix together all of the wet ingredients.
Blend the tofu with 1 ½ cups water, then add that to the wet.
Combine all of the dry ingredients, then add that to the wet.
Pour into two cake pans and bake for 40ish minutes.

It’s so amazingly simple!

vegan frosting

I frosted with my go-to Healthy “Cream Cheese” Icing.
(The cake was much prettier in real life than in my photos, thanks to an absence of natural light at the time I took them. Oh well; what’s most important is the taste!)

amy's sonoma burgers

New product News:
From Amy’s Organics and others: New Product Alerts :).

Question of the Day:
Do you have a favorite veggie burger?

I’d love to know your favorites, as there are so many brands out there now. I like Amy’s Bistro Burgers, but I’m working on creating a homemade veggie burger, as the bistros are expensive (and lacking in the protein dept, which I know is important to a lot of you). So far, all of the recipes I’ve been looking at are just way too involved/time-consuming. Also, am I the only one in the world who doesn’t like Sunshine Burgers?!

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 
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  1. I LOVE me some Sunshine Burgers!

    And I must make that cake!

  2. VeggieGirl says:

    Wait, what? Holiday decorations are supposed to come down? 😉

    1. Ah, to live in a world where it’s always Christmas… :)

  3. OH WOW that cake looks AWESOME! And such a simple and healthy ingredients list! I am SO bookmarking this! Your friend is a very lucky girl! 😀

  4. You are so cute! LOVE that cake!

  5. Albizia says:

    The cake is so beautiful! But isn’t there any sugar or another kind of sweetener in it?

    1. Um lol where is my head?! Girl, thank you so much for catching my mistake!!! I’m glad you let me know so I had a change to fix it before anyone made it and lambasted me for posting a cake recipe that tasted like a wet sponge! 😕

  6. it’s been difficult for me to find a veggie burger i like. however, i usually like ones made out of mushrooms instead of beans/soy :) i totally take down decorations by jan 1! i’m like parties over back to reality haha.

  7. Awwww, this cake is beautiful!!! I love that you can take any recipe and “health” it up!!

    Keep up the great work! I could sink my teeth into piece of this right about now I think 😉


  8. Katie, that cake recipe looks awesome! I’d love to try it out, since my New Year’s resolution is to eat MORE sweets. Hahaha! What kind of tofu do you use? Silken vs regular, soft vs firm?

    1. Hey Cat!
      Ok, so I think you have the coolest NY resolution in the history of the world. Can I copy it and say my resolution is to eat more chocolate? 😉
      For the tofu, use soft tofu, like this:

      1. Yes, Katie, you definitely can! Thanks for the clarification. I can’t wait to try out the recipe!

  9. Thanks for the cake recipe! It looks awesome!!!!

  10. Camille says:

    Oh man, how cute is that!?
    You are making me crave cake :)

  11. Eric Jaffa says:

    I like the Amy’s Organic California Burgers.

    1. Melissa says:

      These are my absolute favorites.
      The reduced sodium are what I buy, they still taste lovely and don’t need the extra salt. Plus, I’m a ketchup and pickles on burgers gal and I add enough extra salt that way. LOL.

  12. That cake looks lovely! Favourite veggie burger – Mama Pea’s Mediterranean Lentil Burgers ( – hope a link is ok!)

  13. Miss Rachel says:

    I took one bite of a Sunshine Burger a number of years ago – and yuck!!! – I had to throw them out. They were so gross! I don’t know if they’ve changed their recipe since then, but I’ve been afraid to try them again. My hubby buys the Sunshine *Breakfast* Burgers and those look a little more like (yummy) vegan sausage, but I still haven’t tried them. I used to like Morningstar Farms vegan burgers, but I haven’t been able to find them in years. Bocas are OK, but I’m a big fan of Moophrey burgers these days. Moophreys are my favorites, but when I want to be soy-free I like Amy’s Bistro burgers too.

    1. Oh I love the Moophreys! I just wish they didn’t get all hard on the outsides. And I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t understand the appeal of the Sunshine burgers. I *wanted* to like them, but they tasted like grass!

  14. That is the cutest cake I have ever seen!!!!!

    1. Aw thanks so much, Nichole :).

  15. I like the Gardenburger Vegetable Medley and Black Bean Chipotle burgers. Amy’s Bistro and Texas burgers are really good, too. And I’ve made my own, it’s not that hard.

  16. I can’t wait to try the new amy’s products! the light and lean line looks tasty

    1. I saw those the other day at Super Target. Hopefully for me, they’ll start selling the sonoma burgers soon, too :).

  17. Liz says:

    The cake looks so cute! My favorite veggie burgers would have to be the original vegan bocca burgers. I buy them in big packs at sam’s club and it saves me loads of money.

    1. Man, I wish the bistros came in big packs! They’re like $6 each. But then again, one burger at a restaurant can be way more than that, so I guess it’s all relative.

  18. OMG, that Sonoma burger sounds crazygood! And I love your cake decorating skills!

  19. Disturbed says:

    I have actually never had a vegan burger. When I was vegetarian I had one made with milk in it-and I loved it, so I do want to eventually try one-but there is literally nothing at the Wal-Mart my school takes us to every week to buy groceries. That is the one things I hate about being a high school student with no car and at a boarding school. O well, when we go to Kroger I load up on Amy’s stuff. I love Amy everything. I also have a thing for those Kashi meals-the black bean mango one is vegan and taste amazing. I bet y could easily make a home version.

    1. I’ve been meaning to try those kashi meals for a long time!

  20. Jennifer JCD says:

    Wow, beautiful cake! I hope you had a wonderful New Year too.

    We celebrate Christmas season until the Epiphany on 06 January (12 days of Christmas), so our decorations stay up until then too. We’ll start taking things down this weekend. The outdoor lights will stay up until our long weekend in February (just after Valentine’s Day), or the soonest warm day after that.

    As for veggie burgers, I’ve never heard of most of the ones people are listing, but here in Canada, M&M Meats (yes, a meat shop) makes our favouite veggie burger. Most of our non-veg relatives and friends will eat them too because they are so yummy and fairly healthy too. We also love homemade black bean burgers because we can customise the seasonings to whatever our tastebuds are craving that day. We don’t have an outdoor barbeque though, so all our burgers are cooked on an indoor grill or the top ‘veggie’ rack on my dad’s barbeque at the cabin.

    1. Haha your favorite veggie burger is from a meat shop?!
      When I lived in China, I was once super-surprised to find Amy’s Cali burgers (a vegan burger) in my omni friend’s kitchen. When I asked her why she had veggie burgers in her freezer, she replied, “We don’t.” She didn’t even realize her favorite burgers were vegetarian! I had to show her the ingredient list before she believed me!

  21. i love that the burgers are soy free! i’ve been looking for a new veggie burger sans soy product! ill have to keep my eyes open

  22. Devan says:

    oh my gosh. such a cute cake!!!

    I have such a hard time finding a good veggie burger..
    same with salad dressings.. :(

    1. Ooh have you tried Newman’s sesame-ginger? I am obsessed!

  23. Namaste Gurl says:

    Wowza, that cake is amazing, girl! I wouldn’t be surprised if you opened your own famous vegan bakery and kitchen some day :-)
    Favorite packaged veggie burger would have to be sunshine or bistro burgers… You’re right though, they’re indeed expensive so I can’t indulge all the time.

  24. I think you ARE the only girl in the world who doesn’t like Sunshine burgers! Those are my fave! But Amy’s are a close second. Haven’t seen the Sonoma ones yet….how are they different from the California ones? Isn’t Sonoma County in California? I love homemade patties too, but storebought are my fave …. unless you’re talkin’ the homemade patty at Memphis’ Fuel Cafe. That’s the best veggie burger in the world…ever.

    1. Haha I agree about storebought being best sometimes. People sometimes ask me if I can re-create certain products and I think, “But why would you want to? It’s called ‘convenience’ for a reason!” :)

  25. We took it down this weekend, my boyfriend doesnt like staring at it for too long hahaha! I’d rather keep it alllll year long, sortof ;).

    That cake sounds so yummy! too bad you didnt make more pictures? I will try it anyway, dont worry 😉

    x sabine

    1. I took the photos at night, so there was no hope for better-quality photos! Oh well, I’ll just have to make another one ;).

  26. Jenn says:

    Hi Katie! Just a thought for the New Year – I was wondering if you would ever consider starting a Youtube channel as an extension of the blog where you video-taped yourself making the food or talking about your lifestyle? I’m just thinking that since your blog is SO easy to read and so positive that I bet a channel would be a huge hit. I could see it reaching people of all eating backgrounds and lifestyles and introducing a new perspective into their days! And then people who were more inclined to watch videos than search for blogs would find you that way. Just a thought!!! No pressure whatsoever of course. :) Take care!

    1. Oh gosh, Jenn, I have been meaning to do a video post for SOOOO long! But I just keep putting it off. One of the main reasons? I don’t know how, and I’m good at procrastinating when it comes to learning a new skill. I don’t have a digital video camera either, although I think my regular camera might have video capabilities. I really should get my butt in gear and do it!

  27. Katie…thanks for the burger talk. I used to love morningstar burgers, like 10 yrs ago. They taste nothing like burgers. Which is good. I am a vegan, I dont want things to taste like burgers, or I wouldnt be vegan or would just eat a burger :)

    But honestly, all veggie burgers are pricey! And many are (processed) soy-based. Not that that’s awful, but if you ate lots, I dunno, probably not the best. So many ppl make their own.

    I dont like burgers enough to do that. I’d rather make homemade desserts than burgers :)

    Btw thank you for the card. Beyond cute!!!!!! xoxoxo

    1. So true. It’s hard to find high-protein burgers without the processed soy. I really wanted to like the Sunshine burgers, but they just taste so strange to me. And lol about: “I’d rather make homemade desserts than burgers.” You are too funny!
      P.S. As I said, your card was way cuter. We just can’t compete with little Skylar!

    2. Melissa says:

      “I am a vegan, I dont want things to taste like burgers, or I wouldnt be vegan or would just eat a burger.”

      That seems weird? A lot of vegans aren’t vegan due to not liking how meat tastes but rather solely for animal rights or even health reasons. I like Gardein, even though it’s sort of creepily meaty, and I don’t mind things like the Morningstar riblets that are super beefy textured.

      I didn’t stop eating animals ’cause I hated meat, I stopped due to caring about animals. One of my (OMNI) coworkers has this really negative attitude about vegans/veggies eating meat replacers and uses the same (IMO, illogical) argument in a very annoying, in your face way. Telling us to “just eat meat” and ignoring that it’s not about TASTE but ethics. If I can make something that tastes like my mum’s pot roast but no animals are harmed doing so? I’m going to eat the heck out of it and enjoy every bite!

      Apologies if I sound like a witch, I might be more knee jerky about the subject due to him being such an @ss! It’s just… ugh. So aggravating(!) to deal with him! 😉

  28. Rach says:

    Super cute cake! I just got a cake decorating kit for Christmas and I’m excited to try it out for the first time! :)

  29. Hey Katie!! I just found out today that I have access to blogs at work and this makes me SO happy because now I can comment on all of the blogs I read (but don’t worry, I do get work done too, ha!) I just wanted to let you know that I’ve been following your blog for some time, and LOVE all of your creative recipes! In fact, your blog has inspired me to create one of my own (! I myself don’t really do new years resolutions, but I made a post about some for this year ( I call them goals, rather). Thanks for all that you do!

    1. Aw thanks, Allison! Haha I remember in high school we couldn’t access blogs or facebook or anything like that. Well, it turns out NOW they’re allowed to. Sure, five years after I leave! LOL.

  30. Picky Nicky says:

    I love making homemade vegan veggie burgers but never go by a recipe, I’m curious to see what you come up with!

  31. Kelly says:

    I’ve never heard of a sunshine burger. We usually start on New Years Day too unless our tree is super dry and then we take it down earlier.

  32. Glad to see that all is well! As for veggie burgers, I like trader joes’ masala burgers & dr. praeger’s…Love that cake- too CUTE!!

    1. Oh my gosh, VKO, I’m so excited you’re blogging again. I used to read your blog before I even had one :).

  33. That cake looks gorgeous!! Any suggestions on how to make it chocolate? I don’t know why, but chocolate cake is really the only kind of cake I like (well, I guess the fact that chocolate is involved explains that 😉 ).

    Favorite veggie burger? The mango chutney tofu burgers from one of my mom’s Hawaii cookbooks (seriously, they are to die for!).

    1. I’m sure you could add cocoa powder… but unfortunately I’ve never done so, which means I can’t tell you how much. But you can always experiment… (and eat any less-than-perfect results hehe). Foodie experiments are the best kinds! Let me know if you do succeed in making it chocolate; I’ll want to know about that ;).

  34. bitt says:

    Cute cake, Katie! I wish my friends had enough $ to hire me for stuff like that. :-) They just want freebies.

    My fave burgers are the ones I make myself. Some day I will post the recipe on my blog I just keep reinventing it and forgetting to write it down. Homemade bean burgers are the best.

    1. Ugh, I have that problem too… not liking to measure everything. But then I go to post a recipe and I can’t because I don’t know how much of something I’ve used. It happens so much! Ah, your burgers sound tres delicious!

  35. You should be a professional cake decorator :)

  36. Umm coolest cake EVER! Love that we both posted about veggie burgers… I love Amy’s and Sunshine burgers!

  37. Ash says:

    Hey Katie!

    I was wondering, what exactly are the purpose of extracts? For example, the almond and coconut extracts…do they lend coconut and almond flavors or only a scent of them?

    1. Hmmm… they definitely add to the flavor of the cake. But in such a small amount, it doesn’t really make the cake taste like coconut or almond. I used almond extract. All it does is impart a stronger flavor.

  38. BroccoliHut says:

    We take ours down on New Years Day too. It was tough, but I took down my Christmas tree on Saturday. It felt like a little part of my soul died that day…

  39. Ash says:

    Oh…also, I know this is not used in this recipe, but does coconut flour give a coconutty taste to baked goods? Or is it very subtle?

    1. I’ve actually never worked with coconut flour, although I just bought some, so I should try it soon!! :)

  40. Love the cake!!!

    I never got a chance to put up holiday decorations : (

    1. Well, at least you get to relax now and not have to worry about taking them down! 😉

  41. Awesome cake, Katie!! Very lovely. :)

    My favorite veggie burger is Boca Burger’s Original Vegan. It’s nothing special..but it has some pretty outstanding nutritionals. 😛 I also love Morningstar’s mushroom burger but that brand’s usually gairly greasy.

  42. L. says:

    Hey Katie,

    I had my first veggie burger (black bean) in college before any serious change in dietary preferences (flexitarian with a focus on veggies), and since then I’ve loved them even more than regular burgers.

    When I started my job, one of the women made black-bean burgers for lunch, but I was sick that day. She gave out handouts of the recipe, and I used it to come up with my own. I’ve never had the veggie burgers that you buy at the store, so I don’t know how they compare

    They turned out pretty good (to me at least), and were simple (which is necessary since I have literally NO counter space in my kitchen, don’t know how to use the extremely vintage oven, and have only 2 working burners on my stove… *sigh*). One caveat, I used an egg to bind the ingredients (I tried going without, but they wouldn’t stay together), but probably using flax eggs or some other vegan binder would work pretty great. Other than that, feel free to glean some ideas.
    1 can black beans (I forgot how many ounces were in the can I used, but it was just a regular-sized can of beans)
    brown rice (I used 1/2 cup dry rice, so however much that is cooked; could probably just use bread crumbs, or maybe quinoa for more protein)
    1 large egg (again, use some other vegan binder)
    1 small jalapeno, diced
    about 1/2 t minced garlic
    about 1 T favorite salsa (I couldn’t taste it, so probably use more)
    seasonings to taste (salt, pepper, etc…)

    Drain and rinse the can of beans, and mush them into a puree with chunks of beans (could put in a bag and mash, or use a food processor; I pulsed in a blender). Put in bowl and with other ingredients, adding the egg (binder) last. Mix thoroughly, and form into patties. If frying in a skillet, make patties the size of breakfast sausages (this is what I did). You could also try baking them, and may be able to make larger burgers this way.

    P.s.- On my way to work this morning, I was thinking of making black bean and pumpkin burgers (caned black beans and canned pumpkin) with chipotle sweet potato fries. Mmmmm!

  43. L. says:

    Sorry for the long comment! And for the comment apologizing for the long comment!

    1. Ooh don’t apologize AT ALL for the long comment! I looove long comments, especially when they’re as yummy as yours was. The black bean burgers sound delicious. I tried making black bean burgers once with a similar recipe, but mine didn’t have jalapeno nor salsa, and they ended up tasting bland. I might just have to try your additions. :)

      1. L. says:

        Great, I hope you like them! And I’m glad you looove long comments, since I looove leaving them!

  44. Aylin says:

    Delicious looking cake! I love your blog and find it inspirational. Keep up the great work Katie!

    1. Aw thanks, Aylin! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave such sweet words :).

  45. Claire says:

    I really like these veggie burgers (or they do them in finger slices if you just want a snack) that I buy from a farmers market. My family doesn’t eat any sort of burger very often as we can find them too bready so lentil, chickpea, or veggie burgers are a welcome change every now and again. I just discovered cauliflower fritters. They were so incredibly good!

    1. Woah, cauliflower fritters? Don’t think I’ve ever met those… but I want to!

  46. Kat says:

    I love every veggie burger
    That’s a beautiful cake

  47. Teresa says:

    For reasons I don’t need to go into, I refuse to eat a boxed veggie burger (just trust me on this and don’t think I’m snobby- it’s personal). For the same reason I don’t really even care to make any sort of burger, BUT I absolutely LOVE Ani Phyo’s Sun Burger, which of course I call a patty, since I don’t do burgers. Anyways, although I do eat it raw, it can very, very easily be eaten cooked too.

    The recipe:
    1 cup celery, chopped
    1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
    1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
    1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    2 teaspoons oregano, fresh or dried
    1 cup sunflower seeds, ground
    1/2 cup flax seeds, ground
    1/4 cup hemp seeds
    1/2 cup filtered water

    I’ve changed and subbed the veggies or seasoning (fennel works awesome for onion or celery haters) based on what I had on hand, and I also almost always add a bit of nooch too! They are incredibly versatile and super yummy!

    1. Thanks a ton, for sharing, Teresa! They sound amazing. But then again, Ani Phyo’s recipes all seem to sound amazing to me :).

  48. Maryann says:

    My favorite are Dr Praegers that I buy from Trader Joes…but then again I havent tried many brands so there may be some out there that I would like more!

    1. Thanks, Michelle! I’ll definitely check out your link when I get a chance!

  49. Katie says:

    Mmmm, yes, I want THAT cake! Looks beautiful, and sounds delicious! You are so talented. :-)

  50. Emily K. says:

    I just took this out of the oven, Katie! It looks incredible. I’ve had so much trouble with whole wheat cakes before, but this one looks lightyears better than any other I’ve made in the past. I’ll update you later after I try it :).

    1. Emily K. says:

      Ahh! It was even BETTER than I thought it’d be from the looks of it. Thank you so much for this recipe, Katie :).

  51. Gaby says:

    That’s adorable Katie! I need to go visit soon because we have a lot in common. I’m always asked to be the cake maker for parties and events like that! (and I always relish in the idea that I’m sneaking something healthy into their diets :X)
    I’m not big on the fake meats either since I was never a fan, though once in a while I’ll get a craving. But ironically enough I LOVE good veggie burgers and am always on the lookout for restaurants that have them. So if I see one on a menu I absolutely have to get it. If you come to Houston there’s some really good ones I could take you to. We have one place called the Hobbit Cafe that does an amazing burger the size of your head with black beans and rice and a hint of curry flavor. there’s another place here that does a chickpea and pecan version too. I’m much more into the beans than the soy protein. I’ve been intrigued by the Sunshine burgers but am always turned off by the price for just 3 patties :\.

  52. I really like the “Le Sol” brand of veggie burgers. And Garden Patch also make Portobella Veggie burgers. But I can never find them now…:(. And I’m a meat eater – so if they satisfy my buds…;)

    I agree – they are TOO expensive!

  53. Anita says:

    Quorn makes decent meat free products, meatballs, They just came out with a hamburger like product and one with cheese. I already bot them, haven’t made them as yet. I think Quorn is made with a mushroom, fungus like product. You have to read up on it. I love their un chicken patties, meatless meat balls. All good. Love that funetti cake. A childhood favorite.

  54. Belinda says:

    It is official. I can turn to your blog for practically ANYTHING! You rock, CCK!

    1. Awwww sweetest comment ever!

  55. Jen says:

    What do you mean by dry sweetener? white sugar?

    1. Sugar or sucanat or another similar alternative :)

  56. Elise says:

    Nom nom. I was feeling depressed today, and when I’m depressed I like to bake, so I decided to try this recipe out! I’ve been wanting to for a long time. It’s the first time I’ve made/eaten a vanilla/white cake I think. I quartered the recipe and made 6 cupcakes. I used white whole wheat flour, the lower amount of sweetener, and the optional almond extract (I only have imitation almond extract; it’s kinda weird but in a pleasant way; I’ve never had pure almond extract so I can’t compare). I had to add quite a bit of extra water because the batter was sooo dry. But in the end the cupcakes rose really nicely and they were SO spongey. Yum! 😛 I’m thinking of making this cake for my birthday in a week, actually. Do you have any suggestions for what kind of filling and frosting would go well with this, Katie? 😀

    1. Hmmm… maybe my cashew butter frosting? Or my cheesecake mousse? Or… what about the chickpea cookie dough dip? Too weird? lol!

      1. Elise says:

        Haha not weird at all, I love it! 😀 Thanks!

  57. Marika says:

    Katie – I just found your blog and can’t wait to try all these delicious sounding recipes. This may be a dumb questions but what kind of dry sweetener did you use in this cake?

    1. Hi Marika!

      I actually haven’t made this in a while, but I think I used plain white sugar. I just recently discovered Sucanat, though, so maybe that would work too?

  58. Jessica says:

    Gardenburger Veggie Medley, you can SEE the veggies :)

  59. Rox says:

    hi katie. do you know how many calories one cake has? or one slice?

    1. Sorry, I don’t have nutritional info for this.

  60. Tanja says:

    Wow, Katie!
    Is all the dye and decoration vegan, too?

  61. lydia says:

    Dr. Praeger’s California Veggie Burgers are the bomb dot com. They really are very good. That cake is beautiful!