Dark Chocolate Vegan Cake
It took 4 trials to get this cake right and although I’m happy with it I found it a real challenge to make it as delicious as a cake with eggs. On the positive the base is very easy to get right as you don’t have to do any folding and its pretty much about throwing it all together. I am seriously into my chocolate so you can rest assured that you will get a proper chocolate hit with every mouthful. Many recipes suggest using vegan butter for the icing but I prefer the creamy texture that you get from soaked cashews and coconut cream. It does push the price up a little but this is a treat so you may as well enjoy it to the max. I highly recommend this for a birthday cake for vegans and non vegans.
300g sunflower spread (I used Pure Sunflower Spread)
300g unrefined caster sugar
260g almond flour/ground almonds
90g gluten-free flour (I used Doves Farm)
1 level tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda powder
80g raw cacao powder or any other dark coco powder
1/2 level tsp xanthan gum
200ml unsweetened soya yoghurt
6 tbsp almond milk or other plant based milk
1 tsp almond extract
3 tsp vanilla extract
small pinch of sea salt
For the chocolate icing
250g cashews, soaked overnight or in newly boiled water for 15 minutes
300ml canned coconut cream, stored in the fridge overnight or in the freezer for 30 minutes. (Make sure you weigh out the separated cream and discard the water.)
90g raw cacao powder or any other dark coco powder
250g unrefined icing sugar
3 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp amaretto, (I used Disaronno which is suitable for vegans)
50g freshly grated 100% cacao chocolate, plus extra from garnish (I used Willie’s Cacao)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees fan and grease two 10/11inch cake tins lining with baking parchment. If soaking cashews for 15 minutes in newly boiled water then do so now.
Start by making the cake and add the sunflower spread and sugar into a mixing bowl and use a handheld whisk to cream together for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Weigh the almond flour into a separate bowl and sieve in the gluten-free flour, baking powder, bicarbonate soda, cacao powder, xanthan gum and throw in a pinch of salt. Mix the dry ingredients all together and in a smaller bowl stir together the soya yogurt, almond milk, vanilla and almond extract. Carefully add a third of the dry mix to the whipped sunflower oil sugar until fully incorporated and continue adding a third at a time. Then pour in the yogurt mix and use a wooden spoon to hand mix this into the cake batter until just combined and you should have a smooth thick batter. Do not over mix! Divide between cake tins spreading the batter evenly over to the edges of the tin and bake in the middle of the oven for about 33-35 minutes. The cakes should have risen a little and should be coming away from the sides of the tin. A skewer inserted should come out nearly clean and they should be a little springy to touch. Leave to cool completely before turning out of the tins.
While the cakes cool you can begin with the icing. Drain the cashews from the water and place into a blender mixing until they have blended into a paste. This will take about 2-3 minutes and you might need to scrape down the side of the machine once. Scoop out only the coconut cream from the tin to weigh and discard the leftover water. Add the cream to the nut paste along with the rest of the ingredients and blend until just combined. Store icing covered in a cool dry place until needed but not in the fridge as it will go too hard.
Remove the baking parchment from the cakes and ice both tops before carefully laying one on top of the other. Generously grate over with more chocolate and I also ran a sharpe knife over the chocolate to create a few larger flakes. This cake will keep for 2 days.