Not so long ago, I was invited to the house of some dear friends for dinner. They happen to be vegetarian and with my dairy issues, they very kindly served me this amazing vegan cake. I don’t think I can honestly convey how lovely this cake is. We greedily ate our servings, despite being served another amazing dessert, a vegan chocolate mousse using aquafaba, just before this one. Then we were sent home gleefully with half of the remaining cake. I think we may have giggled with joy at our fortuitous haul, helped by the espresso martinis no doubt!
The next evening we didn’t even attempt dinner and opted for a rather large serving of this cake instead. And again the following evening! You would never know this cake had any alterations to it – unlike so many other cakes I have tried over the years. In fact, this was by far the best chocolate cake I could recall having. So much so, I literally begged for the recipe shortly after our visit. I have since made it three times in two months!
I have adapted the recipe below from my dear friend Nigel. (Thank you!!)
- 1 1/2 cups Unsweetened Almond Milk
- 2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 1/4 cups Apple Sauce (made from 4 medium apples)
- 1/2 cup Strong Brew Coffee (or replace with more Almond Milk)
- 2/3 cup melted Coconut Oil (or replace with canola oil)
- 2 tsp Vanilla Essence
- 2 cups + 2tsp Plain Flour
- 1 1/3 cups Caster Sugar
- 1 cup Cocoa Powder
- 2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/4 tsp Salt
Oven 180 C
Prepare two 8 inch round cake tins with non-stick spray, dust with cocoa powder. Shake out the excess and set aside.
Measure out the almond milk and mix in the vinegar. Set this aside. In a bowl, add the melted coconut oil, coffee, vanilla and applesauce. Mix well, then add in the almond-vinegar mixture and beat until frothy.
In another bowl, mix together the remaining dry ingredients. Add this to a sieve and slowly sift this over the liquid ingredients whilst mixing with a hand-held or standing mixer. Continue to beat the mixture until it is smooth and no lumps appear.
Divide the batter between the two tins and bake for 25-30 minutes. A cake tester should come out clean. Allow to cool for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
Once cooled decorate the cake with butter-cream icing.
I have long used Nigella’s icing recipe from her buttermilk birthday cake recipe, as I found the ratio of butter to icing sugar worked well for me. Having experimented with a lot of recipes over the years I was happy with this. Obviously my dairy issues make this not so great for me, so I adapted this for me and use a mix of Pure Sunflower and Trex. This is more like the American style ‘frosting’ and the Trex helps it keep its shape a bit better, as I have found the Pure on its own seems to go a bit soupy if it gets a bit too warm. Most commercial icing is made using vegetable shortening which is how they are able to get the intensely white colour and true colours for their icing. Obviously you are welcome to serve this up with real butter as intended.
- 150g Non-dairy Spread (Pure Sunflower or similar)
- 150g Vegetable shortening (I use Trex)
- 700g Icing Sugar, sieved
- 1 tsp of Vanilla Paste/extract
- 2 Tbsp of Almond Milk
Allow the shortening to come to room temperature and then gently cream it in a large bowl before adding the icing sugar a cup at a time. Once all the icing sugar has been incorporated, add the vanilla and the almond milk. The icing should be light and fluffy.
Generally an iced cake will last you three days out on the counter. You can freeze them (in fact that is what the famous Magnolia Bakery does for all their shipped cakes!) which is a great way to deal with any leftovers you are trying not to eat in place of dinner!