Although I enjoy experimenting with different flavour combinations and ingredients, a wedge of proper classic chocolate fudge cake is always a winner. With that in mind and in the spirit of hashtag Veganuary I thought I should probably develop a plant based alternative. The resulting cake is made up of moist well risen sponges (with espresso and salt used to bring out the chocolate flavour), salted bitter chocolate ganache and sweet cocoa buttercream. I defy anyone to do anything but ask for another slice.
- 120ml aquafaba (the starchy water from a can of chickpeas- one 400g tin supplies around 120ml)
- 375g plain flour
- 275g caster sugar
- 85g cocoa powder
- 2tsp baking powder
- 2tsp bicarbonate of soda
- large pinch sea salt, plus extra for the top
- 40g ground flaxseed mixed with 60ml water
- 325ml oat milk
- 175ml vegetable oil
- 3 heaped tsp instant coffee dissolved into 300ml boiled water
- 100g dark chocolate, melted and cooled
For the ganache
- 200g dark chocolate
- 200ml vegan cream (I used Oatly)
- 1tbsp caster sugar
- pinch sea salt
For the buttercream
- 200g vegan butter (I used STORK)
- 300g icing sugar
- 4 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
- pinch sea salt
- 3-4tbsp oat milk
- Preheat the oven to 180c. Grease and line two 8 inch cake tins.
- You’ll need two bowls and some electric beaters (or, even better, a stand mixer with whisk attachment). Place the aquafaba in one bowl (or the bowl of the stand mixer) and whisk until stiff peaks form (about 10 minutes). In the other bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
- Once the aquafaba has reached stiff peaks, whisk in the soaked flaxseed. Make a well in the dry ingredients bowl and add the oat milk and vegetable oil. Mix together using a balloon whisk until just combined, then very slowly mix in the boiling water and coffee, followed by the melted chocolate. The mix will look very loose but that’s fine.
- Finally, fold in the aquafaba mixture. Distribute the batter between the two prepared tins and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Leave the cakes to cool completely in the tins.
- While the sponges are cooling, roughly chop the dark chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl. Pour the cream into a small saucepan along with the salt and caster sugar and heat to scalding point to dissolve the sugar. Pour the cream over the dark chocolate and leave to sit for a couple of minutes before stirring together to form a smooth glossy ganache. Set aside to cool completely.
- For the buttercream, simply place the vegan butter in a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment) and beat until fluffy. Add the icing sugar, cocoa powder and salt and cover the bowl with a clean tea towel, then beat until well combined (this will avoid a sugar cloud- if you’re using electric beaters, just mix in most of the icing sugar with a wooden spoon before whisking at a high speed to avoid a face full of icing sugar!). Add in the milk and beat again until very light and fluffy.
- Once all the components are cool, slice the sponges in half horizontally, leaving you with four even layers. Top the first layer with 1/3 of the buttercream, followed by the next sponge. Repeat until you’ve used up the sponges, then cover the whole cake in the ganache (which will have thickened as it cooled). Finish with sea salt or nut brittle, if you like.