Chocolate Mystery Cake


vegan chocolate cake

Chocolate Mystery Cake

Everyone should have a single layer cake recipe ready for times when you need a little something sweet quickly. This one is quick to make, vegan and has a secret, healthful ingredient--prune juice.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 6 slices


for the cake:

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 cup prune juice
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

for dusting:

  • confectioners sugar optional


  • Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour an 8-inch cake pan. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl or the bowl of the stand mixer, whisk the dry ingredients. Beat in the wet ingredients one at a time until a smooth, thick batter forms.
  • Scrape into prepared pan.
  • Bake 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool completely on wire rack, dust with confectioners sugar if desired prior to serving.


I did find that while the cake was very moist when I first served it, a slice I left out dried out very quickly. I would promptly wrap up any leftovers and if you aren't serving the cake right away, store it in an airtight container. It does not have a protective layer of icing to protect it and is fairly low in fat.
Keyword cake, pantry baking

I have been working on a project about baking with fruit that I would very much like to find a publisher for and as a result have spent more than my share of time down various baking rabbit holes. I found a trove of cakes called water cakes which reminded me of “wacky” cakes (I made a chocolate one and a marble one during the pre-vaccination days of the pandemic) but without the vinegar–simple, thrifty cakes that require no butter or eggs. These water cakes, unsurprisingly call for water as the main ingredient but I thought, why not use fruit juice? Prune juice, despite its reputation for being medicinal, is actually a pretty flavorful, rich juice that, much like beets (as seen in this recipe for chocolate beet cupcakes) pairs very well with chocolate. It added some real depth to a cake with only a handful of ingredients and no eggs or butter. I highly recommend it. This was a great little treat at the end of a surprisingly low, difficult day–it mixed together in seconds, cooled quickly, and only needed a dusting of sugar. I have some other baking to do this week so I froze the rest of it and look forward to seeing how it defrosts.



  1. interesting idea, with the prune juice!!!

    • Yes! I thought it was worth the risk since it was such a simple cake but I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. Luckily it really paid off! Very flavorful and I don’t think you’d guess it was prune juice!

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