Chocolate Fudge Cake (Vegan)

Chocolate

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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c. Grease and line two 8 inch cake tins.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Sea Salt, Dark Chocolate & Almond Butter Cookies (Vegan)

Biscuits

In the spirit of Veganuary, I thought I’d keep my recipes plant based this month. I’m not vegan myself, but am completely on board with reducing my consumption of animal products, so should probably reflect this in my baking. This week I tackled a home baking classic: the chocolate chip cookie. I’m pretty smug about the result; you would never guess they contained neither eggs nor dairy as the texture is buttery and chewy and the flavour rich, nutty and indulgent. Definitely give them a try, I’ve had great feedback from my (very willing) testers!

Ingredients

  • 150g coconut oil
  • 150g smooth almond butter
  • 75ml almond milk
  • 175g light brown soft sugar
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g rye flour
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2tsp baking powder
  • 300g 70% dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 75g almonds, roughly chopped
  • Sea salt

Method

  1. Place the coconut oil, almond butter, almond milk, both sugars and vanilla in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (ensuring that the water does not touch the base of the bowl). Heat, stirring occasionally, until all the ingredients have melted to form a smooth mixture. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the rye flour, plain flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Add in the wet ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until a soft dough has formed. Now evenly distribute 3/4 of the chocolate chunks and all the almonds through the dough. Chill for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 170c. Line 2 or 3 large baking trays with greaseproof paper. Using an ice cream scoop shape even balls of dough and arrange on the trays, allowing space for spreading ( I put up to 6 cookies on each tray). Take a couple of your reserved chocolate chunks and press into the top of each ball of dough, then sprinkle with some sea salt.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, then carefully take the trays out and bang them sharply on a worktop. Pop them back in the oven for 3 minutes then repeat the bang technique before returning them to the oven for the final 3 minutes of baking. Once their time is up, bang once more and leave to cool. This technique is favoured by lots of bakers as it stops the cookies from puffing up too much and creates that wrinkly finish (you’ll probably need to bake the cookies in batches as this recipe will make 20-24).
  5. Leave the cookies to cool on the trays for at least half an hour before serving (unless you want a particularly warm and gooey cookie!).

Enjoy!