Welcome to my Vegan Chocolate Lasagna Recipe post. In the off chance you find the title offputting, please note that this isn’t really lasagna, and there are no noodles mixing with cocoa, but rather, the title of the dessert is a result of the cake’s multilayer chocolate cake, which is stuffed with almond buttercream and topped with chocolate chunks and syrup.
Before I get into the recipe, I’m going to go on and on about the inspiration for this post. If you have no interest in the story, scroll on down. But if you feel like a little nostalgia time would be fun, continue reading all about Chocolate Lasagna from Olive Garden, which has inspired this Vegan Chocolate Lasagna Version listed below.
I am a child of the 90s. I grew up in the days of colorful iMacs, Walkmen, PepperAnne, trips to Blockbuster video (with the movie bucket of popcorn, of course), and neon green ketchup. Life was good.
But one thing that wasn’t as great about the 90s was the restaurant scape, especially in suburbia. Olive Garden, which I now view as very meh and most certainly Americanized Italian-inspired junk food, was kind of a big deal. Our family would go occasionally, request a spot in the non-smoking section, and eagerly wait for our pager to buzz so we could feast on salad, breadsticks, mediocre pasta, and of course, the beloved Chocolate Lasagna.
Did you ever have the Chocolate Lasagna at the Olive Garden? It was incredible; it possibly their best creation of all times. Chocolate Lasagna did not and does not contain any actual lasagna noodles, but rather, is a multi-layer chocolate cake (the ‘noodle layers’) with almondy buttercream frosting serving as the filling/ricotta.
There was also a layer of chocolate chunks on top, which added a delightful crunch, and a drizzle of chocolate syrup to complete the plate.
My sister and I would order chocolate lasagna every time our parents would allow it (which was most times), and I’m pretty sure we devoured it quickly regardless of the volume of breadsticks and salad and pasta we’d just eaten. To me, chocolate lasagna is symbolic of childhood. Which is why I decided to recreate Vegan Chocolate Lasagna for this year’s family Christmas dinner.
I haven’t had Olive Garden’s Chocolate Lasagna in years. Partly because they took it off the menu in the early 2000s (I’ve heard they have recently reinstated a different brownie version with cream cheese frosting), partly because I’m not vegan, and partly because I never go to Olive Garden anymore. But, I can say, that based on what I remember, this version does the original justice.
In fact, I dare say it is slightly better, because it is a bit less junky, a tad less sweet, and has a richer darker chocolate flavor, all while maintaining the integrity, flavor profile, and mouthfeel of the original.
Anyways, that was a long story that you probably didn’t ask for. You are probably just here for the Vegan Chocolate Lasagna recipe. So here it is!
I hope you make this Vegan Chocolate Lasagna, and I hope you love it! If you do, send me a message on Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube, or leave a comment below! Millie and I love you lots, and wish you a happy New Year. 🙂
Vegan Chocolate Lasagna
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25-35 minutes
Servings: One 4 layer cake; serves 10-12 . depending on how much cake you like to eat at once
Ingredients – Cake:
- 2 cups plain unsweetened almond or soy milk
- 2 teaspoons vinegar
- 2/3 cup neutral plant oil (canola, grapeseed, melted coconut, etc)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated or raw sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 3 cups all purpose flower
- 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Ingredients – Frosting:
- 1 1/2 cups non-dairy butter (I recommend Earth Balance Baking Sticks)
- 6-8 cups powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
- 1-2 tablespoons non-dairy milk (you may or may not need this)
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups chopped dark chocolate chips or chunks
- vegan chocolate syrup (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 12 x 17 or 10 x 15inch rimmed cookie sheets (‘jellyroll pans’) with parchment paper and/or silicone baking sheets. Grease cookie sheets with oil or melted butter. If you do not have these cookie sheets, you can use a large baking sheet (9 x 13 inch or 10 x 14 inch) to bake a single large thicker cake and create layers by carefully cutting into layers after baking and cooling (see directions in steps 6,7 and 10). If you are preparing the frosting in the same day, set out non-dairy butter to come to room temperature for frosting assembly.
- In a small bowl, combine almond milk and vinegar. Allow to sit for 10-12 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together oil, sugars, vanilla and almond extract until well-combined and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add almond milk mixture and oil mixture to flour mixture and mix gently until just combined.
- Pour batter into prepared cookie sheets or pan.
- Place cake into the oven. If using cookie sheets, baking 12-14 minutes until fragrant and a fork or toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean upon insertion and removal. If baking one large pan cake, bake 25-35 minutes until fragrant and a fork or toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean upon insertion and removal.
- Allow cake(s) to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, assemble icing. In a large bowl or stand electric mixing bowl, combine room temperature non-dairy butter and almond and vanilla extracts. Beat with an electric mixer until well-combined, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl using a spatula and add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Beat with electric mixer for a minute or two after each addition until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again and add additional powdered sugar until desired thickness is achieved. If frosting becomes too thick, add a tablespoon or two of room-temperature non-dairy milk and beat frosting with electric mixer to thin.
- If you baked your cake(s) in 2 cookie sheets, carefully trim the edges with a serrated knife so that each edge is straight and even. Next, cut each of the 2 cookie sheet cakes in half the ‘short’ way (so have the longer side of the cake facing you, and cut own the middle parallel to the shorter sides so that you have two rectangles of the same size). If using a single cake, carefully invert cake from pan and cut into 3-4 layers by slowly and carefully cutting across lengthwise with a large serrated knife.
- Chop dark chocolate into bite-sized bits. Set aside.
- Assemble cake: in a clean pan or large serving platter, begin building lasagna by placing a layer of cake against the surface. Add a thin, even layer of almond buttercream and a layer of chopped dark chocolate. Add additional layer of cake on top of frosting and chocolate layer, and repeat until all 3-4 layers are stacked, frosted, and dusted with dark chocolate chunks.
- Cut into slices and serve with vegan chocolate syrup, ice cream, and/or vegan whipped cream. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.
You may also like:
- Vegan Levain Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies
- Vegan Italian Jam-Filled Cookies
- Vegan Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies