This Chocolate Kefir Cake is moist and delicious. It’s lighter than regular chocolate cake but still has intense flavour and is perfect to end any meal. Great for Valentine’s Day dessert. It is also egg-free.
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This Chocolate Kefir Cake is perfect for a casual weeknight dessert or for an intimate and cozy get-together. It’s lighter on calories and sugar so you can have a slice or two after a nice dinner. Perfect way to end a family celebration or a romantic Valentine’s Day meal.
I make this Chocolate Kefir Cake with a few variations. I like my desserts less sweet and I often reduce sugar in recipes. This cake has 3/4 cup of sugar which I find works perfect with the glaze.
However, when I make this cake to bring to a dinner party, I soak the cake in simple syrup made with 1/4 cup of sugar as most people prefer sweeter desserts. You can also increase the amount of sugar in the batter if you have a sweet tooth.
Kefir is a Russian version of buttermilk and can be found in almost any grocery store, however, if you can’t find Kefir you can use Buttermilk instead.
Ingredients to make Chocolate Kefir Cake
For the chocolate cake batter:
- Cocoa powder
- Baking powder
- Unsweetened applesauce
- Kefir (or Buttermilk)
- Orange juice
- Orange oil (optional, but highly recommended)
For the chocolate glaze:
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Icing sugar
- Orange oil (optional, but highly recommended)
How to make Chocolate Kefir Cake
This is a a super easy recipe that requires only one bowl and one spatula to make.
- Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl until well mixed.
- Add the wet ingredients and lightly mix just until all the flour disappears. Make sure to not over-mix the batter.
- While the cake is baking, make the glaze which is super easy, just mix icing sugar with water and add melted chocolate.
- Once the cake is cooled, pour the glaze over it.
Optional step 1: If you prefer sweeter cakes, either increase the amount of sugar in the batter or make simple syrup by dissolving sugar in water and then brush it over the cake while it is still hot a few times. The syrup will absorb into the cake and not only make it sweeter but also moister.
Optional step 2: The cake will come out domed after baking. If you have time, energy, and desire, then slice the domed part off, so that the cake is flat. Then pulse the sliced off cake in a food processor with a little bit of glaze to make a soft dough. Roll the dough into little cake pops and decorate the cake with them.
What is Kefir
Kefir is a fermented milk drink and it is a little bit similar to drinkable yogurt however it tastes a bit more tangy. Some brands of Kefir are very thick and some are actually fizzy, almost carbonated. It is also very thirst-quenching, healthy, and delicious.
Kefir is very popular in Russia, other Slavic countries, as well as Balkan countries. Lately, it’s been pretty widely available in most supermarkets in North America and is usually sold next to yogurts.
For baking and cooking Kefir can easily be substituted with Buttermilk, however if Kefir is used as a raw ingredient (like in this Cold Beet Soup), it is better to use actual kefir as opposed to buttermilk as the flavour is different.
More info about kefir and buttermilk:
- Difference between kefir and buttermilk
- What is Kefir (wikipedia)
- How to make kefir
- And a completely different beast but with similar name: How to make Water Kefir
Ingredients and variations for Chocolate Kefir Cake
- I often use applesauce when I make cakes. I use it to replace oil and reduce calories.
- If you don’t have applesauce, use the equivalent amount of extra oil.
- You could also use an egg instead of applesauce if desired.
- As I mentioned above, I use only 3/4 cup sugar in the recipe which may be not enough for some people, although I feel it’s perfect, especially with the glaze.
- You can either use more sugar, up to 1-1.5 cups or you can soak the cake in simple syrup after it’s baked.
- To make simple syrup: mix 1/4 cup water with 1/4 cup white sugar in a small pot and heat up until the sugar dissolves.
- If you don’t have kefir, you can use buttermilk instead.
- Orange oil
- Orange oil is optional but it is my absolutely favourite secret ingredient!
- It elevates the cakes from good to amazing. It adds an extra dimension to the desserts and everyone asks what it is. I highly recommend not skipping it.
- If you don’t use orange oil, you can use some orange zest. Or just traditional vanilla extract.
More easy one-bowl cake recipes:
Chocolate Kefir Cake
- 60 g chocolate chips (semi-sweet)
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 teaspoon orange oil
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Butter an 8-inch cake springform pan and dust it with a bit of cocoa powder (not listed in the ingredients).
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder.
- Add oil, apple sauce, kefir, orange juice and orange oil.
- Mix together just until smooth batter forms and all flour disappears. Do not overmix!
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Once cake has cooled, make the glaze:
- Melt the chocolate over a water bath or in a microwave in a small bowl.
- In a separate bowl mix together icing sugar, water and orange oil until smooth.
- Add the melted chocolate to the icing sugar bowl and mix well.
- Pour the glaze over the cooled cake and enjoy.
- Slice the top off the cake since it'll be domed anyway. Finely crumble the sliced top of the cake (you can do it in a food processor or in a bowl with a fork) and add 1 or 2 spoonfuls of the glaze to the crumbled cake. Add 1 spoon of rum (or to taste). Form balls and decorate the cake as in the pictures.
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This recipe was first posted on Imagelicious on January 31, 2017 and is now updated with more information.
Sometimes I feel sad removing my thoughts and words from old blog posts, so here’s what I wrote back 3 years ago:
If I had to choose between cooking and baking I’d choose baking. Since I was little I always had a soft spot for magic (yes, I am obsessed with Harry Potter) and baking is a way to bring magic into our everyday mundane lives.
Flour, water, yeast – first it’s just a clump, then minutes later it transforms into silky dough and in a few hours it magically rises and gets all soft and pillowy.
Chocolate, sugar, butter, eggs melted and mixed together make the most luscious chocolate cake without even a tablespoon of flour – isn’t that magical?
Flour, sugar, eggs, butter – mix these four and you get so may delicious goodies – pancakes, waffles, biscuits, scones, cakes, muffins, cupcakes!
I love baking! I love the science and magic behind folding and creaming and mixing and rolling all the ingredients. If I had lots of time and three times as many bowls and whisks and spatulas as I currently have and if I wasn’t worried about all the sugar and oil and butter and cream and million of delicious calories, I’d be baking elaborate layer cakes with whipped buttercream concoctions.
But unfortunately my waist can’t afford all the eclairs and donuts and cupcakes my heart desires and my daughter wants me to play with her instead of making napoleons, frostings, and pralines. So, I stick with lighter and easier cakes.
Cakes that are still delicious but take almost no time to make. Cakes that satisfy the sweet tooth and late night cravings but don’t leave you feeling too guilty.