Preheat the oven to 180° C/160° C fan/Gas mark 4 (350F). Lightly grease 2x20cm/8inch round baking pans.
Stir the lemon juice (or vinegar) into the milk and set aside to thicken and 'curdle' slightly into buttermilk.
In a pan over a medium heat, melt the margarine, syrup and coffee granules together. Set aside to cool slightly.
Sieve the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) into a large mixing bowl and whisk together.
Pour the milk and melted margarine mixture over the flour mixture and stir well until it becomes a smooth batter.
Divide the mixture between the two prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, to make the icing beat together all ingredients until smooth.
When the cakes are completely cold, sandwich together with half of the icing. Spread the remaining icing over the top of the cake.
Substitute self raising flour - use the same amount as the plain flour, but omit the 3 tsp of baking powder
When you add the lemon juice to the vegan milk it may slightly curdle – don’t worry, that’s what you want to happen! It’s turning the plant milk into thicker buttermilk.
You can use any liquid sweetener: golden syrup, corn syrup, agave or maple syrup. Maple makes for a slightly less sweet cake, but it’s still really nice.
Don’t overmix when you mix the wet and dry ingredients. You want it completely combined, but stir gently and don’t beat it.
Feel free to omit the coffee, it just enhances the flavour of the chocolate in this vegan cake.
Freezable: you can freeze the un-frosted cakes for up to 1 month
Increase the ingredients by an extra 50% for a three layer cake
Turn this into vegan cupcakes by filling the cups of a lined muffin pan and bake for 15-20 mins.
Note that in some countries (USA mainly) some sugar isn't vegan. In the USA organic sugar is usually vegan though. In most other countries sugar is usually vegan. Pretty much all of it is vegan in the UK. Check your labels.