Tea and Chocolate Cake with Cocoa Crumble. Vegan.

Tea & Chocolate Cake by Unrefined Vegan

“No snacks, no seconds, no sweets – except on days that begin with the letter S.
– Michael Pollan, from Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual


My sweets/sugar philosophy summed up by Mr. Pollan.  And mostly I stick to it.  I find that if I indulge myself on Saturdays and Sundays then it’s easy getting through the weekdays without cravings.  Hence, the towering cake pictured above, created on a Saturday morning (in time for a post-lunch treat).

The process doesn’t always go smoothly (another word that begins with the letter S), however.  It sure seemed like an awful lot of batter to pour into an 11″ x 7″ baking pan – especially with that big one tablespoon of baking powder and the huge heaping pile of chocolatey crumble on top – but who was I to question?  Into the oven went the cake (with just one last look at the directions).  There it was in black and white: “grease an 11″ x 13″ baking pan…”  Oh dear.  Fingers crossed.  Oven door slammed shut.  Over the next 30 minutes I watched the cake rise and rise above the sides of the glass pan, hoping the contents wouldn’t spill down onto the oven floor and burn into cinders.  You can see from the photos that the cake is rather tall, but is no worse for the wear for being squeezed into a smaller pan.

Incidentally, also too late I realized that I had only one chai tea bag (the recipe called for 4-5).  Determined to go forward, I settled on using a black tea bag, the lone chai tea bag and two teabags spiced similarly to chai.  The result worked perfectly – a mildly spicy and fragrant cake.  The coconut milk yogurt makes for a very tender, moist crumb.  Even if you aren’t a “corner” person, you’ll want the corner pieces of this cake on account of their extra coating of crumble.

This is another recipe adapted from The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes, by Kris Holechek.  I used some whole wheat flour instead of 100% white flour and instead of a whopping 1 1/2 cups sugar, I used 1/4 cup maple sugar and powdered stevia; small tweaks to the topping included subbing whole wheat for white flour and reducing the sugar by half. BTW, these vegan, stevia-sweetened chocolate chips are the bomb.

Tea & Chocolate Cake by Unrefined Vegan

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Tea & Chocolate Cake by Unrefined Vegan

Tea & Chocolate Cake with Cocoa Crumb Topping

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  • Author: Annie


A mildly spiced and fragrant chocolate cake with a tender and moist crumb. Even if you aren’t a “corner” person, you’ll want the corner pieces of this cake on account of their extra coating of crumble.




  • 45 chai tea bags, such as Tazo Organic Chai
  • 1 3/4 cups almond milk, warmed
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour or whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 Tbsp. cocoa or cacao powder
  • 2 tsp. powdered stevia
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup maple sugar
  • 1/3 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 6-ounce carton unsweetened non-dairy yogurt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 6 Tbsp. maple sugar
  • 4 Tbsp. non-dairy butter
  • 1 cup vegan, stevia-sweetened chocolate chips, such as Lily’s Sweets bran


  1. Preheat oven to 350F and lightly oil an 11″ x 13″ pan.

Make the batter

  1. In a glass measuring cup, warm the milk, then steep the teabags for at least 5 minutes. Gently squeeze the bags and let the milk cool completely.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flours, stevia, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk together the sunflower oil and the maple sugar until smooth. Whisk in the yogurt, vanilla and cooled tea-milk mixture. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

Make the topping

  1. In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder, brown sugar and flour. Cut the butter into small pieces and work into the cocoa mixture until crumbly. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  2. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, top with the crumble mixture and bake for 35-40 minutes. The edges of the cake should be firm and the top springy. Allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack before cutting into generous pieces.


  • Serving Size: 15
  • Calories: 296
  • Sugar: 10
  • Sodium: 254
  • Fat: 14
  • Saturated Fat: 7
  • Unsaturated Fat: 6
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 37
  • Protein: 5
  • Cholesterol: 11

Tea & Chocolate Cake by Unrefined Vegan

Tea & Chocolate Cake by Unrefined Vegan

Tea & Chocolate Cake by Unrefined Vegan

Original photo from 2012, baked in a smaller pan.

42 thoughts on “Tea and Chocolate Cake with Cocoa Crumble. Vegan.

  1. bar

    Holy delicious. I love that you push through the errors and missing ingredients. I don’t think I’ve ever baked or cooked a recipe “correctly” this first time! Great quote, too. I might have to implement that in my life :P.

  2. tearoomdelights

    A cake that rises like a tower from the cake pan certainly gets my vote! Mind you, you had me with your title alone. Beautiful photos, the cake looks wonderful, and how you can restrict yourself to Saturdays and Sundays I don’t know but with treats like this waiting in the wings your weekends must be eagerly anticipated.

    1. An Unrefined Vegan

      I know – I kind of liked that the cake turned out tall – so there are happy mistakes, right? Lorna, I TRY to stick to the S-days…doesn’t always work when something delicious crosses my path.

  3. inkspeare

    Oh my God, that looks so delicious. I have to use gluten free flour and I find that when I switch it changes the flavor and it is not the same. It also changes the consistency 🙁

  4. meetyourtreat

    I love that book, it was one of the first vegan baking books I ever got. I have often thought about making this cake and now that I see how beautiful yours turned out I may need to do this very soon!

  5. Gabby @ the veggie nook

    I think your philosophy towards sweets is fantastic! Something I should totally adopt. It’s hard though because when i make a dessert, it’s only me, sometimes my parents at the moment, so it’s hard to get rid of the sweets by the end of the weekend! I guess I should start developing more single-serve recipes haha.

    Lovely cake by the way! I love the sound of that topping!

  6. Barb

    I’m sorry for laughing at your baking challenges, I’m just glad to know I’m not the only one who flubs up the directions 🙂 Cake looks WONDERFUL!

  7. Cakewhiz

    That’s excellent advice by michael pollan. Sadly, i dont think i can follow it. I eat dessert every night…i just watch my quantity and eat a small portion.
    But i am sure if i were to have this cake infront of me, i would end up eating avery big slice….lol

  8. Somer

    Oh wow, I’ve been deprived of treats for far too long. Then you and Amanda hit me with a one two punch, now you’re not playing fair 😉

    I adore that it turned out tall, and may very well be coming to raid your freezer for all the “leftovers” from your scrumptious love of baking when I’m finished with my holiday.

  9. Cauldrons and Cupcakes

    Oh my goodness, that looks so moist and delicious, and I’m sure it’s calling my name…
    I use tea in a lot of cakes to give extra flavour, and now I’m going to have to try this one. Thank you!
    And big, big hugs to you xoxo

  10. Rachel in Veganland

    What a beautiful cake, Annie! Thank you so much for the shout out also! I like that Pollan philosophy as well- perhaps I will try and limit myself to S-days… such a difficult feat for someone like me who has always loved dessert!

  11. Brittany

    Pleasseee tell me you still have some of this left (I wouldn’t be able to make it last more than two days) because I am coming over tonight to finish it if you do..YUMMM!!

  12. Lou Dwan

    I love MIchael Pollan….except I tend to indulge most days, not just the ones that start with an “S” whoopsie. This cake looks/sounds incredible….. I would struggle not to plow my way through the whole thing in ONE of the “S” days! Ha.


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