arrow-b arrow-l-sm arrow-l cart close cup date decor-bee download envelope facebook faq google_plus handset instagram location lock logo-sm mail packet people phone pinterest play plus printer search shop spoon target time tsp twitter user wheelbarrow youtube

Brooklyn Blackout Cake

Native New Yorker, Fran Costigan is internationally recognized the innovative pioneering pastry chef who marries healthy eating with sumptuous tastes. The Fran Factor is her unique ability to transform traditional desserts into modern, healthful, and luscious vegan desserts that satisfy vegans and omnivores alike. In Frans recipes, nothing is missing except the dairy, eggs, white sugar, and cholesterol.

Frans desserts are suitable for people who are ethical vegans, lactose intolerant or allergic to eggs, reducing dietary cholesterol, following kosher and other religious diets, or living an eco lifestyle. Frans recipes use organic, fair trade, and wholesome ingredients to make rich, moist cakes, flaky piecrusts, delicious cookies and bars, creamy puddings, and much more.

A graduate of the New York Restaurant School and the Natural Gourmet Institute, Fran worked as a pastry chef in both traditional and vegan kitchens before moving into the teaching kitchen over 20 years ago. Home cooks and professionals enjoy Frans lively classes, which include her Vegan Baking Boot Camp Intensive in New York City, and she presents demonstrations and workshops at events throughout North America and Europe.

Frans innovative recipes, from retro fun desserts to elegant vegan versions of the classics, are clear and concise, producing excellent results every time. Frans cookbook, More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally (Book Publishing Company, 2006), is designed as a complete course in vegan baking. Look for Frans highly anticipated new cookbook, Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy Free Desserts, (Running Press) fall 2013.

Fran has made her celebrated Chocolate Cake to Live For on Fit TV and her Organic Vegan Twinkies have been featured on BetterTV and ABCs Nightline. Her work has been profiled in numerous print and online publications including VegNews, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Veg Family, Vegetarian Journal, Vegetarian Voice, Flavor & The Menu, Desserts Professional, Caf Sweets Japan and Organic Spa Magazine.

An advisory board member of the New York Coalition for Healthy School Food, Fran is also a member of the New York Womens Culinary Alliance (NYWCA), the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs (WCR), the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), and the Authors Guild.

Dietary Restrictions

  • naturally_vegan


  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350° F. Oil the sides and bottoms of two 9 x 3-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment circles. Do not oil the paper.
  2. Place a wire mesh strainer over a large bowl. Add the sugar, whole wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt to the strainer and stir with a wire whisk to sift the ingredients into the bowl. (If any small bits remain in the strainer, add them to the mixture in the bowl.) Whisk to aerate the mixture.
  3. Whisk the water, oil, maple syrup, vinegar, vanilla, and chocolate extract (if using) in a separate medium bowl until completely combined. Immediately pour into the dry mixture and whisk until the batter is smooth.
  4. Divide the batter between the 2 pans. Rotate the pans to level the batter and tap them lightly on the counter to eliminate air bubbles.
  5. Bake on the middle rack for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the tops of the cakes are set, the sides have started to pull away from the pan, and a wooden toothpick or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.
  6. Set the cakes on wire racks. After 5 minutes, run a thin knife around the sides of each cake to release the sides of the cake from the pan. Invert each cake onto a rack. Remove the pans and carefully peel off the parchment paper. It is fine to cool the cakes bottom side up.
  7. When the cakes are completely cool, slide a 9-inch cardboard cake circle under each one. Wrap the layers with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour, or until cold.

Assemble The Cake

  1. Use a long serrated knife to slice each cake layer in half horizontally to form four layers. Crumble one of the layers into a food processor. Pulse the processor a few times to make medium-size crumbs, but stop before they get too fine. Pour the crumbs into a bowl.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place one of the remaining three layers, still on the cake circle, on the baking sheet. Spread with a scant cup of the pudding. Place a second cake layer on the pudding, board side up. Remove the board and spread the layer with another scant cup of pudding. Slip the board under the last layer and invert it onto the cake. Spread with another scant cup of the pudding. Refrigerate the cake and remaining pudding for 20 minutes. (It is easier to finish a cold cake.)
  3. Cover the sides of the cake with the remaining pudding. Sprinkle the top and sides of the cake liberally with the cake crumbs, completely covering the pudding. Pat the crumbs lightly to make sure they adhere. Use all the crumbs, even the ones that fall onto the paper.
  4. Keeping: It’s best to serve this cake within 24 hours, but it will hold up for a day longer in the refrigerator. It is not necessary to wrap the cake.

Yield: Makes One (9-Inch) Three-Layer Cake, 12 to 14 servings

Recipe reprinted with permission from Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts, © 2013 by Fran Costigan, Running Press.


  • 2 recipes Almost-Instant Chocolate Pudding, cooled
  • 2 cups Wholesome! Organic Cane Sugar
    Organic Cane Sugar
    Buy Now Find In Store
  • 1 1/2 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 cups organic all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup natural cocoa powder (non-alkalized; see note)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 cups water, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup mild tasting extra-virgin olive oil or organic neutral vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup, Grade B or dark amber
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp / 5 ml chocolate extract (optional)