As you may already know I am Coptic Orthodox — an Orthodox Christian from Egypt.  We have one of the more rigorous traditions of fasting especially during Lent.  We adopt a vegan diet during Lent and centuries of this tradition have led to a sort of uber-specialization of vegan recipes among Copts. Now whether or not it is truly a sacrifice to indulge in cakes such as this one during Lent may be debated for another several centuries but, for now at least, sugar is not forsaken during Lent!

Now, let me back up a bit and explain why I made this cake.  The cake itself is one I have made many times and is in my cookbook. My mother made it during Lent when I was younger and I loved the cake, whether I was fasting or not.  But I have never made it with ganache before.  I usually just drizzled it with icing .  Then we started a meal service at the Coptic-American Orthodox church we attend now.

Since we are a small congregation each week the members sign up for a potluck of sorts to provide the lunch after mass.  Well, of course, I was delighted because here was the perfect opportunity to practice baking and experiment with different recipes and also feel like I was contributing somehow.  But, the dilemma.  We are all modern educated mothers with definite ideas on what dessert should look like for our children.   In fact, one of our mothers suggested a “fruit cake” or, essentially, a tower of fruit as dessert.  This became the running joke for a while.  Well, I tried.

But I got carried away.  First I was going to make a naked cake with just a little ganache between layers.  But the edges of the cake were not perfect so it needed a little crumb coat.  And then the crumb coat wasn’t that attractive so it needed a final coat of ganache.  And then it was too plain with just a ganache frosting so it needed a ganache drizzle.

And then since I was using fresh orange juice inside the cake why waste the peel when I could candy it? And then it snowballed.  By the time the cake got to the church the “naked fruit cake” became a fully clothed chocolate cake with candied fruit. And the very children whose mother was most concerned about them having fruit for dessert ended up consuming the candied orange peel en masse.  But it was an amazing cake.

Keep in mind that the ganache drizzle will only retain its shine for about six hours after its poured.  If it starts to lose its shine you can bring it back by patiently running a blow dryer on its coolest warm setting over the cake.  Hold the blow dryer about two feet over the cake and wave it back and forth.  The cake does not need to be refrigerated and the ganache will go completely dull if you do  put it in the fridge.

Vegan Chocolate Orange Marble Cake with Ganache and Candied Orange Peel for Lent

Vegan Chocolate Orange Marble Cake with Ganache and Candied Orange Peel for Lent


  • I used 10"x3" heart shaped pan
  • Cake board trimmed to fit heart shape
  • Serving plate
  • 2 batches of Vegan Chocolate Orange Marble cake:
  • 1 c vegetable oil
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons vinegar
  • 3 cups fresh orange juice
  • 6 cups AP flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 Tablespoons grated orange rind
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 packages (4 oz) unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
  • Ganache filling and frosting:
  • 1 kg dark chocolate, chopped
  • 500 ml full-fat canned coconut milk (not coconut milk beverage)
  • Ganache drizzle:
  • 150 g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 150 ml full-fat canned coconut milk (not coconut milk beverage)
  • Homemade or ready-made candied orange peel or decoration of your choice
  1. Make ganache frosting several hours ahead of assembling cake to give it time to set. It should have the consistency of peanut butter.
  2. For ganache frosting:
  3. Place chopped chocolate in a glass or plastic bowl. Bring coconut milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan and then pour over chopped chocolate. Agitate the bowl to allow the chocolate to be fully covered by the milk and let sit for one minute. After one minute use a rubber spatula and begin to stir gently from the center of the mixture out until the ganache is smooth. If the chocolate is not completely melted you can put it in the microwave for another minute then let sit for another minute before you begin to stir. Set aside uncovered until set.
  4. For the cake:
  5. Preheat the oven to 325F. (If making just one batch in a bundt pan or standard 9"x2" pan, set it to 350F). Grease (with vegetable shortening) and flour the cake pan or, alternatively, use baking spray. Line the bottom and sides with parchment paper and grease the parchment paper. Also grease a heating rod and set it in the middle of the pan. If you are using a 3" deep pan you will need a heating rod to evenly distribute heat.
  6. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a medium mixing bowl. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat oil with sugar. Add vinegar and orange juice and beat until combined. Gradually add flour to oil mixture, beating well. Add orange rind and vanilla and mix until just combined. Divide the batter between two bowls. Add melted chocolate to one bowl and mix well.
  7. Pour white batter into the prepared pan. Pour chocolate batter on top of white batter. Run a dull knife back and forth through the chocolate mixture to create a marbleized pattern. I recommend using bake strips around the pan to ensure even baking. Bake at 325 for 1 hr to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes. Loosen edges with a dull knife and then invert onto a cooling rack. Cool completely. If the cake is domed then level the top. It is much easier to torte this cake if you freeze it for a few hours: tightly wrap the cake in 2-3 layers of plastic wrap then freeze for 3-4 hours or until firm.
  8. Assemble cake:
  9. Unwrap the cake and torte into three 1" layers. Spread a little of the ganache onto your heart shaped cake board. Set the first cake layer on top of the board and spread 1/2" ganache filling on top. Repeat with second layer. Set the third layer of cake on top of the filling. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes or until filling is firm. Crumb coat and then refrigerate again until crumb coat is firm. Apply final coat of ganache and make it as smooth as possible. Let sit at room temp for several hours or, ideally overnight, to completely set ganache.
  10. For the ganache drizzle:
  11. Chill the cake for one hour prior to drizzling with ganache. Prepare the ganache drizzle the same way that you made the ganache frosting but allow to sit until it reaches 90F. Set the cake on a rack and set the rack over a baking sheet to collect the excess ganache. Pour the ganache into a piping bag and snip off the tip. Slowly drizzle the ganache over the cake starting from the edges and working to the center of the cake. Drizzle as much or as little as you want. Try not to touch the ganache after you are finished to preserve the shine. Remove from the rack and set on the serving plate. The ganache will only stay shiny for about 6 hours after you pour it. Decorate the cake as desired.
  12. Notes: I used 2 batches of this recipe to fill the heart shaped pan. I normally use one batch for a 10" bundt pan
  13. If you are planning to use this cake in a bundt pan it is enough to grease and flour the pan. However, if you want to make the heart shaped tiered cake I advise that you also use parchment to line the bottom AND sides of the pan. This will give you cleaner edges and make it easier to frost the cake.

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