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Nanaimo Bar Cake

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5 from 15 reviews

  • Author: Katie
  • Total Time: 2 Hrs 30 Min
  • Yield: 14 Slices 1x


The most amazing Nanaimo Bar cake recipe! Rich decadent chocolate cake layers baked on top of a Nanaimo Bar crust full of coconut and cashews. Covered in a whipped custard buttercream frosting and topped with even more Nanaimo Bars!




  • ⅔ cup dairy-free butter, melted

  • ⅓ cup sugar

  • 1 cup chopped cashews

  • 2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs

  • 1 ½ cups shredded sweetened coconut

  • ½ teaspoon salt


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup sugar

  • ½ cup cocoa powder

  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 1 ½ cups hot coffee

  • ⅔ cup vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon. vanilla extract

  • 2 tablespoons vinegar


  • 2 cups dairy-free salted butter, room temperature

  • 6 cups icing sugar

  • ½ tablespoon fine sea salt

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • ½ cup custard powder

  • optional: yellow food color


  • ½ cup dairy-free chocolate

  • 2 tablespoons dairy-free milk




  1. Spray and parchment line two 8-inch round cake pans.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the crust ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.

  3. Divide mixture into the 2 prepared cake pans and very firmly press down evenly.

  4. Set aside while mixing cake batter.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Add all the dry ingredients to the stand mixer and give a quick whisk together.

  3. Add the vegetable oil, hot coffee, and vanilla extract and whisk until fully incorporated.

  4. Add the vinegar and mix until fully incorporated being careful not to overmix.

  5. Divide and pour the batter evenly between the two cake pans and right on top of the prepared cake crust and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.

  6. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then invert on a cooling rack to fully cool. Remove the parchment paper.


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the butter on high speed with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. This should take approximately 5 minutes.

  2. Add the icing sugar, custard powder, salt, and vanilla extract and mix on low until combined.

  3. Add in the yellow food coloring if desired. I add a few drops to saturate the natural yellow color of the custard powder.

  4. Turn the mixer up to medium and let mix for 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl when necessary.


  1. In a microwave-safe bowl heat the chocolate and milk in 30-second intervals until fully melted and smooth. Stir between each interval.

  2. Depending on the kind of dairy-free milk, the ganache may require a touch more milk to thin or a few more pieces of chocolate to thicken. *I always test my chocolate ganache drips over the edge of the kitchen sink before applying it to a cake to check the consistency.


  1. Place one leveled layer of chocolate cake on a cake board or plate. Top with approximately 2 cups of custard buttercream.

  2. Repeat with the remaining layer and apply a thin coat of buttercream all over the cake. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

  3. I left the cake as is at this point for a semi-naked look but should you want to cover the cake completely with another layer of buttercream for a smoother more polished look do so now.

  4. On a well-chilled cake, with a spoon or a piping bag, drip the chocolate ganache over the edges of the cake and put it back in the refrigerator.

  5. Decorate as you please. I placed Nanaimo Bars around the top border and used a Wilton 1M tip to pipe buttercream swirls between each Nanaimo Bar. Enjoy.

  • Prep Time: 2 Hrs
  • Cook Time: 30 Min
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 Slice
  • Calories: 989
  • Sugar: 97 Grams
  • Sodium: 1117 Miligrams
  • Fat: 55 Grams
  • Saturated Fat: 30 Grams
  • Unsaturated Fat: 21 Grams
  • Trans Fat: 2 Grams
  • Carbohydrates: 124 Grams
  • Fiber: 3 Grams
  • Protein: 5 Grams
  • Cholesterol: 58 Miligrams