Radhi Devlukia-Shetty’s Triple-Chocolate Brownie Black Forest Celebration Cake

When you hear “vegan,” you may not think flavorful or indulgent. But Radhi Devlukia-Shetty and her new book Joyfull (Simon Element 2024) prove otherwise. Take this decadent recipe for instance! Here’s what the author has to say about it:

I love all my sister’s baking, but this recipe of hers is the one to beat. Black forest may just be my dream cake, with its mixture of juicy sweet cherries and rich dark chocolate plus an indulgent ganache that gets drizzled over the top. (It also just so happens to be gluten- and refined sugar–free, though you’d never guess from the look or taste of it.) To serve it is to celebrate, no matter how ordinary the occasion. And while it can be a labor of love to assemble, just remember my sister’s words: This cake is all about joy over perfection.

Makes one 8-inch triple-layer cake


Brownie Cake

  • Olive oil cooking spray or avocado oil
  • 10 Medjool dates, pitted
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons plain unsweetened vegan milk
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted vegan butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds
  • ½ cup sorghum flour
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon carob powder (or an extra tablespoon cacao powder)
  • 1 teaspoon maca root powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • ¼ cup finely chopped dark chocolate (about 1 ½ ounces)

Whipped Cream

  • 2 cups cold coconut whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon plain unsweetened vegan milk
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt

Dark Cherry Compote

  • 3 cups frozen pitted black cherries, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 cup raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup plain unsweetened oat milk
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cashew butter (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Dark chocolate shavings, for garnish


Make the Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Mist an 8-inch cake pan with cooking spray.
  1. In a high-powered blender, combine the dates and 1/2 cup water and blend until smooth. Transfer the date puree to a large bowl and whisk in the maple syrup, milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Stir in the chia seeds and let sit for 10 minutes to let the batter thicken.
  1. In another large bowl, whisk together the sorghum flour, cacao powder, sugar, carob powder, maca powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry mixture to the date-chia mixture and mix well to combine. Fold in the chopped chocolate. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan.
  1. Bake until the cake feels fairly firm when you press lightly on the top or a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes. Gently invert the cake onto a cooling rack to cool completely. The cake will firm up as it cools.
  1. Repeat the process, making two more batches of batter and baking two more layers for a total of three.

Make the Whipped Cream

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer or whisk), whip the coconut cream to soft, fluffy peaks.
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and milk until smooth. Whisk in the maple syrup, vanilla, and salt to combine. Add the mixture to the cream and whip to medium-firm peaks. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the whipped cream until you’re ready to assemble the cake.

Make the Dark Cherry Compote

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the cherries, maple syrup, 1/4 cup water, and the chia seeds. Stir and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cherries have softened and the liquid is slightly thickened, 10 to 12 minutes.
  1. Remove the pan from the heat and let the compote cool completely—it will thicken as it cools. Transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate until you’re ready to assemble the cake.

Make the Chocolate Ganache

  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cacao powder, maple syrup, oat milk, cashew butter (if using), and vanilla. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
  1. Transfer the ganache to a jar and let cool completely at room temperature, then refrigerate until you’re ready to assemble the cake.

Assemble the Cake

  1. Place a cake layer on a cake board or plate and top with 3 large dollops of the ganache. Spread the ganache outward from the center of the cake, bringing it all the way to the edge.
  1. Top the ganache with 3 large dollops of whipped cream. Spread it outward from the center of the cake, leaving a 1/4-inch border around the outside edge.
  1. Add a thin layer of compote on top of the whipped cream, again leaving a 1/4-inch border around the outside edge.
  1. Repeat with the remaining cake layers so you end up with 3 layers of cake finished with ganache, whipped cream, and cherry compote on top. Garnish the cake with any leftover ganache and some dark chocolate shavings.
  1. Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


The cake batter is enough for just one 8-inch cake, so to make a triple layer cake, you will need to repeat the process three times. I know this seems a little fussy, but it ensures that you don’t need to purchase more cake pans than you already have, as well as that the cake will turn out perfectly every time. To help the cake-building process go more quickly, you could make the compote and ganache ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.


Brownie Black Forest Sundae: For a fun twist, make all the components, then break up the cake pieces and layer on the ganache, whipped cream, and compote. Top with your favorite ice cream and dive in.

Excerpted from JOYFULL: Cook Effortlessly, Eat Freely, Live Radiantly. Copyright @ 2024 by Radhi Devlukia-Shetty. Photography Copyright © 2024 by Alanna Hale. Reproduced by permission of Simon Element, and imprint of Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved.


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