Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Who Doesn't Love Chocolate Cake - Vegan but Dirty!

Good morning my spicy little poppadoms....

Now I have to hold my hands up and admit that I watched Simply Nigella last night and was inspired by her decadent vegan chocolate cake.  I like the idea of the cake itself but there were a couple of things that I wanted to change to make it all the more indulgent.

Nigella’s recipe does form the basis of this cake, which in itself is pretty standard for a good vegan cake, and if you want to have one large sponge (i.e. no layer of vegan cream in the middle) then just make one big sponge using one cake tin.

For me, using one tin and serving the cake warm really feels more like a warm chocolate fudge pudding rather than a cake – which of course there is absolutely nothing wrong with and should be an after dinner staple, however if you want the elegance of afternoon tea with an amazing cake then I always feel that there needs to be two sponges with lashings of thick cream sandwiched in between.

No, I do know the calories.  No, I don’t want to know the calories.  No, I doubt your Weight Watchers or Slimming World teacher would want to know that you have eaten this but at least be smug that your sin was indeed dairy free.  That alone makes you virtuous, so feel free to indulge, guilt free!

Vegan Chocolate Cake

FOR THE CAKE (Serves: 10-12 slices)
225 grams plain flour (or try your favourite gluten-free alternative!)
1½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1½ teaspoons instant espresso powder
75 grams cocoa
300 grams soft dark brown sugar
375 millilitres hot water from a recently boiled kettle
90ml of flavourless oil (sunflower, vegetable or even light olive – NOT EXTRA VIRGIN)
1½ teaspoons cider vinegar or white wine vinegar


60 millilitres cold water
75 grams of your favourite vegan margarine
50 grams soft dark sugar
1½ teaspoons instant espresso powder
1½ tablespoons cocoa
150 grams dark chocolate (minimum. 70% cocoa solids, this is an adult cake!), finely chopped


See Recipes Page for recipe


You will need two 20cm/8in round cake tins both of which have been lightly oiled and lined with a circle of baking parchment/greaseproof paper.  This is a really runny batter mixture so if you are using springform cake tins then make sure that they have no leaks, you don’t want your mixture running all over your oven before it gets the chance to bake!

Start with the icing, though first preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 and pop in a baking sheet at the same time. Put all of the icing ingredients except the chopped chocolate into a heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil, making sure everything’s dissolved. Then turn off the heat – but leave the pan on the hob – then quickly add the finely chopped chocolate and swirl the pan so that it is all underwater, so to speak. Leave for a minute, then whisk until you have a darkly glossy icing, and leave to cool. I find this takes exactly the amount of time the cake takes to make, cook and cool. Make sure you give the icing a stir with a spatula every now and again.

In a separate bowl put the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and instant espresso and cocoa in a bowl and fork together to mix.
Mix together the sugar, water, margarine and vinegar until the margarine has melted.
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, then pour into the prepared tins and bake for around 20 -25 minutes. Though do check at the 20-minute mark to see if it is already done.  You can do the skewer test in the middle to see if they are done.  This should be a very moist and fudgy cake so make sure that it’s not over done!
Once the cakes are cooked, transfer the tins to a wire rack and let the cakes cool in their tins.

Once the cakes are sufficiently cool, take one of the cakes and turn it over so that the side of the cake that was next to the bottom of the cake tin (next to the baking parchment) is facing up on your favourite plate or cake stand.  By having the smooth side up it just makes a flatter surface to receive the unctuous thick white fluffy clouds of velvety cream.  Smother the stuff on until your heart is content.  At this stage you could add some raspberries (or indeed your favourite berry) to add a little zing.  If you are doing this make sure you top the berries with some more cream just to make sure the top of the cake sticks!

Then turn out your other cake and like the first cake, turn it around so that the smooth bottom is at the top so that the surface is flat in preparation for the chocolatey ooze of icing....

Turn to your icing, and give it a good stir with a spatula to check it is at the right consistency. It needs to be runny enough to cover the cake, but thick enough to stay (mostly) on the top. So pour over the cake surface and use a spatula to ease the icing to the edges, if needed.

If you are feeling patient (and artistic) you can decorate this cake in any way you want however if, like me, you are neither patient nor artistic and are somewhat motivated by greed then you’ll want to dive right in.

It does take about 30 minutes for the icing to set however, but this could be done in the fridge while you get your pyjamas on, boil the kettle and select your favourite show from Netflix ....

In my next blog I'm going to discuss chocolate... nut free nightmare!

Until the next time, hugs


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