Julie Van Rosendaal knows cake.

The bestselling cookbook author recently launched her latest, You Are Human and You Need Cakeinspired by blackout poetry she wrote from some hate mail she received: a troll’s message was turned into the poignant title of the cookbook.

You’ve no doubt already obsessed over her IG-famous Nanaimo Bar cake, and now here’s another to start baking, immediately: a vegan, note-perfect take on the classic Deep n’ Delicious Cake that was the go-to birthday cake for children of the ’70s and ’80s.

(Vegan) Deep ‘n Delicious Chocolate Cake Recipe

Excerpted from You Are Human and You Need Cake by Julie Van Rosendaal

Though I generally use a mashed overripe banana from the freezer in this cake, it doesn’t taste like banana — just like a deliciously moist chocolate cake. (Feel free to swap other fruit purées though!)



1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 cup oat, coconut or other non-dairy milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 3/4 cups sugar

3/4 cup cocoa

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp fine salt

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil (or 1/4 cup melted plant-based margarine + 1/4 cup oil)

1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise (or regular)

1/2 cup mashed overripe banana, applesauce or pumpkin purée

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup hot coffee (decaf is fine! I keep instant on hand for baking)


1/2 cup plant-based butter or shortening

3 cups icing sugar

1/3 cup cocoa

1/4-1/3 cup oat, coconut or other non-dairy milk

1 tsp vanilla

pinch salt


Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir the lemon juice into the milk and let it sit while you mix the rest of the batter.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the oil, mayonnaise, mashed banana or applesauce and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients along with the milk, and stir just until combined. Add the hot coffee, and whisk until the batter is smooth.

Spray two 8 or 9-inch round or square cake pans or a 9×13-inch pan with nonstick spray and divide the batter between them (or pour into the single 9×13-inch pan). Bake for 35-40 minutes or until slightly domed, and the middle of the cakes are springy to the touch. Cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat the butter, icing sugar, cocoa, about half the milk or water, vanilla and salt until smooth and lighter in texture, adding more liquid as needed to make it fluffy and spreadable. (If you use unsalted margarine, add a pinch of salt.) Spoon into a piping bag with a star tip and pipe rows of frosting blossoms on top of the cake, or spread it over the top with a knife.

Makes two 9-inch round or square cakes or one 9×13-inch sheet cake.