Chocolate Cake

One of the hardest parts of being vegan, for me, is people giving you fruit salads for dessert. I’m not even joking, I get like 12 portions for fruit and veg a day, and when someone arrives with melon and grapes arranged on a plate, calling it pudding, it gets annoying.  I love  fruit and veg everyday, I eat fruit and put it in my mind’s ‘conceptual pudding department’, however, when I go to a restaurant and that’s all they can manage (even with notice), I think about burning the place to the ground.  When you see how easy and cheap this is, you will become a pyromaniac too.

I also get intense chocolate cravings and have to avert potential milk chocolate eating by keeping dark chocolate in. Not all dark chocolate is vegan (I’m looking at you, Swiss chocolatiers), but some dark chocolate is accidentally vegan – which is great.  You need to check before you buy though, as they probably won’t say vegan, you’ll just find there are no animal products in the ingredients. My recommendations are Aldi’s Moser Roth dark chocolate range (very reasonably priced), and ASDA’s Heidi range (particularly the pistachio one).

This is a simple recipe, all about the chocolate taste, and which was going to be light and soft like a cake and not a heavy and wholesome vegan loaf-cake.

Interestingly, and after a lot of googling, I found a recipe which was apparently developed during the war when people were on rations and couldn’t spare the eggs for something luxurious like cake. I altered a few bits to keep it vegan – this cake is fucking marvelous, I assure you.

IDEAS- use a flavoured chocolate (orange is good), add a little extract of flavour, add some booze… slice it open and put in a layer of cherry jam…

Here come’s the science, concentrate – *The vinegar reacts with the bicarb and causes the cake to rise. Your cake will not taste of vinegar if you use the quantities specified. The vinegar also hardens the gluten and gives the cake structure. This is essentially the egg-replacer*

Ingredients for the Vegan Chocolate Cake

450 g plain flour (for once, I am advocating white flour)
40 g cocoa powder ( really dark stuff, like green & blacks)
6 g baking powder (one heaped teaspoon)
6 g bicarbonate of soda (one not too heaped teaspoon)
300 g caster sugar
125 ml sunflower oil (or vegetable oil, rapeseed oil etc, just not olive oil), plus extra for greasing
300 ml water
20 ml white vinegar (just over a tablespoon I think)

Chocolate Icing

300g icing sugar
100g vegan marg, at room temperature (vegan marg, so that’s  Vitalite, Pure, Biona or Kokos)
40g cocoa powder
40ml milk (I used soy)
8 squares of dark chocolate, melted

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease a massive tin. You’ll need a deep tin, or split it in two smaller ones, but expect it to rise – a lot.

2. Mix flour, cocoa, baking powder, bicarb and caster sugar together (dry ingredients).

3. In a separate bowl, mix the oil, water and vinegar together (wet ingredients).

4. Add the wet mixture to the to the dry ingredients. Whisk.

4. Pour the mixture into the cake tin (or tins) and bake for ages. Like 35-40 mins or more. I don’t know. Cook it ’til it’s done ETC. Do the check with the cocktail stick – if it comes out clean, you’re good.

5. Leave it to cool 10 mins in tin, then transfer to a rack or some kind of device that allow air to flow underneath it.  I made one out of chopsticks, or you could use actual sticks.  Let it cool fully

6. Melt the dark chocolate either over a pan of water or in a microwave taking care not to fuck it all up.

7. Mix the marg, cocoa powder and icing sugar ’til you are fed up (as usual).

8. Add the ‘milk’ a little at a time, just enough to help the ingredients combine. Because you are using marg not butter, be aware that you will need a stiffer mixture as marg is so soft at room temp.

9. Add the melted chocolate to the icing and whisk.

10. Get the icing all over the cake.

Fini.

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