Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake (Nega Maluca) (2024)

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Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake (a.k.a. Bolo Nega Maluca) is a popular Brazilian cake made without milk and butter. Instead, it calls for boiling water and oil respectively, making a moist cake that is topped with a velvety chocolate sauce.

Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake (Nega Maluca) (1)

Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake (a.k.a. Bolo Nega Maluca) is a popular Brazilian cake made without milk and butter. Instead, it calls for boiling water and oil respectively, making a moist cake that is topped with a velvety chocolate sauce.

How about some cake that is dairy-free and can also be gluten-free?

It is easy to prepare, moist, and rich, making a scrumptious treat that is still low-budget and you can have all year round.

You can even make it ahead!

It is super delish and a real crowd-pleaser!

Table of Contents

  • 1 Nega Maluca
  • 2 Ingredients and Substitutions
  • 3 How to Make Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake
  • 4 FAQs
  • 5 Tips for Making Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake
  • 6 Make-Ahead and Storage
  • 7 Other chocolate cake recipes
  • 8 Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake (Nega Maluca)

Nega Maluca

Bolo Nega Maluca is a very popular cake in Portugal and Brazil.

Among its ingredients are cocoa powder, all-purpose flour, sugar, and eggs. However, there is neither milk nor butter.

The cake batter is dairy-free!

But the traditional topping calls for cocoa powder, butter, and sweetened condensed milk, which results in a brigadeiro frosting -- although there are variations like ours that are dairy-free.

There are 2 versions about the origin of the nega maluca cake (or crazy black woman cake) which I preferred to translate as crazy gal.

One version says that the cake was created in Brazil around 1840, accidentally by a slave who dropped chocolate in another cake recipe that didn't call for it.

She couldn't speak Portuguese and as no one understood what she was saying, she was called a 'crazy n-word' (a very derogatory term for a black woman but it was acceptable at that time, unfortunately). Her nickname was passed to the cake though!

The second version also confirms the cake was created by a slave but explained the term comes from the fact she replaced milk with boiling water and butter with oil, which was not usual in ancient cake recipes. The crazy swapping of ingredients, then, inspired the name.

Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake (Nega Maluca) (2)

Ingredients and Substitutions

These are what you'll need to make this dairy-free chocolate cake:

For the chocolate cake:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1¼ cups 100% Dutch cocoa powder (do NOT use natural cocoa powder which is an acidic ingredient; otherwise you'd have a flat cake with a bitter flavor. But if you only have natural cocoa powder at home, you can replace the same amount of Dutch cocoa powder with natural cocoa powder or 100% unsweetened cocoa powder, and then replace 1 tablespoon baking powder with 1 teaspoon of baking soda).
  • 1½ cups white granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (or any other neutral-tasting oil such as canola)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon table salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (for a gluten-free chocolate cake, replace the flour with 2 cups of gluten-free all-purpose flour combined with 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum)
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder

For the chocolate sauce (topping):

  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter (dairy-free, or coconut oil)
  • 6 ounces dairy-free dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cup powdered sugar (or confectionery’s sugar)
  • 6 Tablespoons boiling water

To decorate:

Dairy-free chocolate sprinkles (NOT too much – Use just enough to partially cover the top of the cake and still see the chocolate sauce)

How to Make Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake

For the Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a 9x11-inch (20x30 cm) rectangular cake pan with nonstick cooking spray or butter and line with parchment paper, overlapping the edges. Reserve! NOTE: The butter or cooking spray will serve as glue for the parchment paper. Make sure to line the paper nicely and have it overlap the edges of the pan to make it easy to remove the cake after baking and cooling.

Boil the water! Then place the cocoa powder into a large bowl and pour the boiled water in, whisking until hom*ogeneous to 'bloom' the chocolate. PIC. 1

Then add the sugar and whisk well. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking just enough to combine. Do NOT overbeat! PIC. 2

Add the oil and vanilla. Stir well and then sift the dry ingredients (salt, flour, and baking powder) over the mixture, incorporating gently until forming a hom*ogeneous batter. PIC. 3

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, beating the pan gently over the counter to even the batter into the pan. PIC. 4 Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Transfer the pan to a rack and let the cake cool.

Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate sauce for the topping: Combine the butter and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat and stir until melted. (Be careful not to overheat the chocolate as it could seize.) Alternatively, put the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on medium for about 2 minutes. Stir and continue to heat for about 20 seconds at a time, stirring between intervals, until the chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. PIC. 5

Sift the confectioners' sugar into a small bowl.

Whisk the sifted confectioners' sugar into the melted butter and chocolate. Beat the mixture, adding small amounts of boiling water until thinned as desired. If you happen to find it too thin, add a little more powdered sugar. If too thick, add more hot water. TIP: I like mine thick enough to hold onto the cake top and just pour a little on the sides.

Slowly drizzle the chocolate glaze over your cooled nega maluca cake. If desired, use a spatula to evenly distribute. PIC. 6 How long the glaze will take to harden will depend on both the temperature of the glaze and the room. Once the sauce cools, it will harden. Slice the cake evenly (about 18 slices), making clean cuts. TIP: For slicing the cake nicely, make sure to wipe your knife with hot water and a clean towel right before every cut. Sprinkle the chocolate sprinkles on top and enjoy!

Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake (Nega Maluca) (3)

NOTE: If the chocolate sauce stands too long before use, it will thicken. Keep it covered with plastic wrap if you are not using it right away. If it thickens, put it over the heat to thin it out again.

To be on the safe side, you can melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl using a double boiler setup. Once melted, proceed with adding the sugar and then the boiling water to the bowl to make the chocolate sauce.

FAQs

Can I make this bolo nega maluca as cupcakes?

Yes! This recipe will make about 18-24 cupcakes. It will take about 18-23 minutes to bake them!

Can I make this in a round cake pan?

Yes! Depending on the size of your round cake pans and also whether your layer of batter is shorter or taller, you'll need to reduce or increase the baking time.

Also, you may need to divide the batter into 2 round pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. It may take around 30-40 minutes to bake.

What is this dairy-free cake made of?

Our dairy-free chocolate cake is made of most of the same ingredients a dairy cake recipe calls for but without milk and butter.

Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake (Nega Maluca) (4)

Can I make this as a 3-layer cake?

Yes, you can! Divide the batter between three round cake pans, resulting in thinner cake layers that bake faster. Also, multiply the ingredients in the recipe by 1.5.

Can I make this chocolate cake gluten-free?

Sure! But to make a gluten free dairy free chocolate cake, replace the flour with 2 cups of gluten-free all-purpose flour combined with 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum.

What does bloom the chocolate mean?

Adding boiling water to the cocoa power helps it to “bloom”, allowing it to dissolve and release flavor particles.

Can I use butter instead of oil in the batter?

You could but be aware this non dairy chocolate cake won't be as moist because butter is 80-82% fat and oil is 100% fat.

Can I reduce the sugar?

If you reduce the sugar you will be also reducing the moisture, resulting in a dry cake.

Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake (Nega Maluca) (5)

Tips for Making Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake

  • Measure all the ingredients correctly! Gently level them off.
  • Don't overmix the batter; otherwise, it will make the cake dry!
  • Use room temperature eggs, allowing the cake to bake evenly.
  • Measure liquid in liquid cups and dry ingredients in dry cups!
  • Do not be tempted to skip the boiling water step.

Make-Ahead and Storage

Wrap the unfrosted dairy-free chocolate cake in parchment paper and then tightly in plastic and store for 2 or 3 days at cool room temperature or in the fridge.

You can also freeze it for up to 2 months.

Other chocolate cake recipes

  • Death by Chocolate Cake Recipe
  • 16-Layer Brazilian Chocolate Cake Roll (Bolo de Rolo de Chocolate)
  • Easter Chocolate Cake
  • No-Bake Chocolate Cheesecake (Keto)
  • Chocolate Lava Mug Cake (1-Minute)
  • Flourless Chocolate Cake
  • Brigadeiro Cake Recipe
  • Refined Sugar-Free Chocolate Cake

PIN & ENJOY!

Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake (Nega Maluca) (6)

Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake (Nega Maluca) (7)

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5 from 3 votes

Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake (Nega Maluca)

Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake (a.k.a. Bolo Nega Maluca) is a popular Brazilian cake made without milk and butter. Instead, it calls for boiling water and oil respectively, making a moist cake that is topped with a velvety chocolate sauce.

Course:Dessert

Cuisine:Brazilian

Prep Time 30 minutes minutes

Cook Time 45 minutes minutes

Cooling time 45 minutes minutes

Total Time 2 hours hours

Servings 18 slices

Calories412.3 kcal

Author Denise Browning

Cost $ 0.50 per slice

Equipment

  • 1 rectangular cake pan

  • 1 whisker

  • 2 bowls

  • 1 oven

Ingredients

For the chocolate cake:

  • 1 cup water
  • cups 100% Dutch cocoa powder do NOT use natural cocoa powder which is an acidic ingredient; otherwise you'd have a flat cake with a bitter flavor. But if you only have natural cocoa powder at home, you can replace the same amount of Dutch cocoa powder with natural cocoa powder or 100% unsweetened cocoa powder, and then replace 1 tablespoon baking powder with 1 teaspoon of baking soda.
  • cups white granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 cup vegetable oil or any other neutral-tasting oil such as canola
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • teaspoon table salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour for a gluten-free chocolate cake, replace the flour with 2 cups of gluten-free all-purpose flour combined with 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder

For the chocolate sauce (topping):

  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter dairy-free, or coconut oil
  • 6 ounces dairy-free dark chocolate coarsely chopped
  • 3 cup powdered sugar or confectionery’s sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons boiling water

To decorate:

  • Dairy-free chocolate sprinkles NOT too much – Use just enough to partially cover the top of the cake and still see the chocolate sauce

Instructions

  • For the Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a 9x11-inch (20x30 cm) rectangular cake pan with nonstick cooking spray or butter and line with parchment paper, overlapping the edges. Reserve!

  • NOTE: The butter or cooking spray will serve as glue for the parchment paper. Make sure to line the paper nicely and have it overlap the edges of the pan to make it easy to remove the cake after baking and cooling.

  • Boil the water! Then place the cocoa powder into a large bowl and pour the boiled water in, whisking until hom*ogeneous to 'bloom' the chocolate.

  • Then add the sugar and whisk well. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking just enough to combine. Do NOT overbeat!

  • Add the oil and vanilla. Stir well and then sift the dry ingredients (salt, flour, and baking powder) over the mixture, incorporating gently until forming a hom*ogeneous batter.

  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, beating the pan gently over the counter to even the batter into the pan. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  • Transfer the pan to a rack and let the cake cool.

  • Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate sauce for the topping: Combine the butter and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat and stir until melted. (Be careful not to overheat the chocolate as it could seize.) Alternatively, put the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on medium for about 2 minutes. Stir and continue to heat for about 20 seconds at a time, stirring between intervals, until the chocolate and butter are melted and smooth.

  • Sift the confectioners' sugar into a small bowl.

  • Whisk the sifted confectioners' sugar into the melted butter and chocolate. Beat the mixture, adding small amounts of boiling water until thinned as desired. If you happen to find it too thin, add a little more powdered sugar. If too thick, add more hot water. TIP: I like mine thick enough to hold onto the cake top and just pour a little on the sides.

  • Slowly drizzle the chocolate glaze over your cooled cake. If desired, use a spatula to evenly distribute. How long the glaze will take to harden will depend on both the temperature of the glaze and the room.

  • Once the sauce cools, it will harden. Slice the cake evenly (about 18 slices), making clean cuts. TIP: For slicing the cake nicely, make sure to wipe your knife with hot water and a clean towel right before every cut. Sprinkle the chocolate sprinkles on top and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • If the chocolate sauce stands too long before use, it will thicken. Keep it covered with plastic wrap if you are not using it right away. If it thickens, put it over the heat to thin it out again.
  • To be on the safe side, you can melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl using a double boiler setup. Once melted, proceed with adding the sugar and then the boiling water to the bowl to make the chocolate sauce.

Make-Ahead and Storage

Wrap the unfrosted cake in parchment paper and then tightly in plastic and store for 2 or 3 days at cool room temperature or in the fridge. You can also freeze it for up to 2 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 412.3kcal | Carbohydrates: 55.7g | Protein: 4.5g | Fat: 21.7g | Saturated Fat: 7.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11.7g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 46.4mg | Sodium: 18.6mg | Potassium: 189.5mg | Fiber: 3.5g | Sugar: 39.6g | Vitamin A: 169.4IU | Calcium: 46.2mg | Iron: 1.8mg

** Nutrition labels on easyanddelish.com are for educational purposes only. This info is provided as a courtesy and is only an estimate, since the nutrition content of recipes can vary based on ingredient brand or source, portion sizes, recipe changes/variations, and other factors. We suggest making your own calculations using your preferred calculator, based on which ingredients you use, or consulting with a registered dietitian to determine nutritional values more precisely.

Please note that health-focused and diet information provided on easyanddelish.com is for educational purposes and does not constitute medical advice, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. Consult with your doctor or other qualified health professional prior to initiating any significant change in your diet or exercise regimen, or for any other issue necessitating medical advice.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?Comment and rate the recipe. Also follow us on Pinterest at @easyanddelish for more delish recipes.

POST FIRST PUBLISHED ON JANUARY 30, 2013.

Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake (Nega Maluca) (2024)

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