Chocolate Cake for Great Lent

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Millions of Orthodox Christians are in the midst of Great Lent. Great Lent is a period of preparation for Holy Pascha, or Easter. It is a time of self-examination, spiritual growth, reflection, repentance, and a period of strict fast. For many Orthodox Christians a strict fast means refraining from eating meat and diary products for 40 days.


Even though I, as an Orthodox Christian, am in a period of fast I do foresee there will be times during the next 40 days when a small celebration may be in order. Or quite frankly I may simply be craving chocolate. Enter the Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake. This is my go-to cake for small celebrations during Great Lent or any other fast period.


During Great Lent my Yiayia (Grandmother) would prepare this Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake in a square pan. Before serving she would dust the top with powdered sugar. I’m updating Yiayia’s recipe by preparing it in a Bundt pan, drizzling it with citrus glaze then topping it with candied orange peels. This cake is so decadent it’s hard to believe there are no eggs involved.


Fasting Chocolate Cake

Καλή Δύναμη – Good Strength during the fast, friends!


(Don’t worry… I didn’t fix the hole with a flower pot like in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but rather with even more delicious candied orange peels!)  😉


Lenten Chocolate Cake



For the Cake:

3 cups flour

2 cups sugar

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons vanilla

2/3 cup vegetable oil

2 cups water


For the Candied Oranges:

2 large Oranges

4 cups of sugar, divided

3 cups of water


For the Citrus Glaze:

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

2-3 tablespoons orange juice


Prepare the Candied Oranges:

Cut and peel oranges into 4 vertical segments.

Remove each segments and as much of the white pith as you can.

Slice into ¼ inch wide strips.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and place the orange strips in the water.

Boil for 15 minutes.

Drain peels, rinse and drain again.

Bring 3 cups of water and 3 cups of sugar to a boil over medium high heat for 3-4 minutes.

Carefully add the drained orange peels.

Reduce to low and simmer for 40-45 minutes until the orange peels are soft.

Drain, but save this delicious orange simple syrup in a jar! (Refrigerate and we’ll make cocktails with it soon.) 😉

Pour one cup of sugar onto a small cookie sheet.

Toss the peels in the sugar.

Transfer the peels onto a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil.

Allow to dry for 1-2 days before decorating the cake.


Side of Chocolate cake


Prepare the Cake:

In a large bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients.

Add in all the wet ingredients and stir to combine, careful not to over mix.

Pour into a non-stick or prepared (with non-stick spray) Bundt cake pan.

Bake at 350° for 35-45 minutes until the cake bounces back to the touch.

Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes on a wire rack before removing from the pan.

Once removed from the pan allow to cool completely before drizzling with glaze and decorating with candied oranges.


Prepare the Citrus Glaze:

Combine confectioner’s sugar and enough orange juice to reach desired consistency.

Drizzle over cooled Bundt cake.

This makes a good amount because I like me some glaze.


The candied oranges can be prepared 1-2 days ahead of preparing the cake, and left out to harden. This cake also tastes delicious simply dusted with powdered sugar.


Chocolate Cake Lent

Alexandra is a third-generation Greek-American with years of on-the-job training in the kitchen with her grandmothers and parents as her greatest teachers. She is the founder and voice behind the successful Greek food Blog, Figs & Feta. Alexandra has spent many summers (and a few chilly winters) in Greece with family and friends soaking up the food culture. She resides in Northern California with her husband and three boys. Read more about Alexandra and on our About Us page and click on her social media accounts to follow her!

1 Comment

  1. Vassiliki

    March 14, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    Easy recipe and even better taste! This is a keeper!

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