I wanted to start this month with a bang! And what’s more impactful than a gigantic, darkest of dark, perfect sliver of chocolate cake? I know I manage to post at least one chocolate cake recipe a month, well sometimes two but honestly, it doesn’t get boring.
Every time I bake a chocolate cake, it feels like butterflies are fluttering about my head and I’m in the midst of a green meadow and purple flower beds; in other words I’m in a happy place. I mean, think about the sheer variety – there’s chocolate mousse and fudge and truffle and black forest, and these are you know, the popular ones. There are about a hundred less popular ones!
Today is all about one of those relatively less popular chocolate cakes, at least in India. I’ve been in a mad baking book collecting spree and this month there is a new addition to my repertoire: It’s Vegan Chocolate by Fran Costigan. It’s hard enough to create vegan recipes and to create an exclusive vegan chocolate recipe book is nothing short of genius.
This book is a candy factory for vegans – it’s neatly divided into cakes, cookies, pies and tarts, puddings, ice creams and other confections. It talks about ingredients that play a major role in creating vegan-friendly desserts in great detail. And there are things in the book that you’d otherwise never imagine of making without butter or eggs!
The cover of the book is this bold, deep brown chocolate cake and the picture was incentive enough for me to make the cake. It’s an Austrian chocolate cake otherwise known as Sachertorte – a chocolate cake glazed with a thin layer of apricot jam, covered in a glossy chocolate ganache glaze.
The cake has no butter, no oil, no eggs and yet it cuts like a dream and tastes like the best chocolate cake in the world. I don’t know how it works but it just does. The original recipe calls for soy or almond milk to make the ganache but since I couldn’t get my hands on one, I used single cream to make the ganache. But I’ve given the vegan version as well, just in case you are a vegan who is looking to indulge in a good piece of chocolate cake.
For the chocolate torte
- 188 g all (2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 60 g (1/4 cup) wheat flour
- 18 g (3 tbsp) corn flour
- 62 g (1/2 +2tbsp) Dutch processed, cocoa powder
- 100 g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 1 cup water
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup apricot jam, to glaze
For ganache (Vegan)
- 227 g dark chocolate (40% or more), chopped
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 300 ml soy milk
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
For non-vegan ganache
- 227 g dark chocolate, chopped
- 175 ml heavy cream (Amul cream is fine)
- Preheat the oven to 180 C. Brush two 7” round cake tins with oil. Line the bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place a sifter over a large bowl. To the sifter, add all the flours, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Sift into the bowl. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine coconut milk, maple syrup, water, vanilla extract and cider vinegar.
- Combine dry and wet ingredients. Fold until the batter looks homogenous.
- Measure out batter in a spouted cup and pour equally among the prepared cake tins. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Once the cakes are done, immediately take them out of the pan, remove parchment paper and cool them on a wire rack.
- Once cooled, wrap them in cling film and refrigerate before using.
- For the vegan ganache, bring soy milk and vanilla extract to the boil. Pour the hot milk over the chopped chocolate. Close the bowl with a lid and allow to rest for 5 minutes without disturbing. After 5 minutes, using a rubber spatula, gently stir, starting from the center towards the edge of the bowl. Once the chocolate is blended into the milk, cover again and let it set.
- To check if the ganache has set, dip a spoon into the ganache, place the spoon over a plate and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes. If the ganache is firm yet creamy, then it is set. Otherwise, add a tablespoon of room temperature soy milk to the ganache and check again to see if the ganache has set by following the same process. You can go up to another tbsp of soy milk.
- Allow the ganache to sit at room temperature till using. If you are not going to use it the same day, cover it with cling film and refrigerate. The next day, leave the ganache at room temperature, 2 hours before using.
- For the non-vegan ganache, bring cream to boil. Pour hot cream over copped chocolate. Gently stir to incorporate. Cover with cling film and let it rest for it to thicken.
- To assemble, on a cake board place the cake layer 1. Spread ¼ cup of chocolate ganache using an offset spatula over the layer. Let it set. Meanwhile, spread ¼ cup of chocolate ganache on the next layer. Place the cake layer 2 in the refrigerator to set.
- Spread 1/3 cup of apricot jam over the ganache glaze on cake layer 1. After about 15 minutes, remove the cake layer 2 from the refrigerator and place it on top of cake layer 1, ganache side down.
- Gently spread the remaining ganache on top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate. Make a small parchment cone and fill it some melted chocolate. Write “Sacher” on top of the cake. But this is entirely optional.
- Leave at room temperature for an hour before serving.
Recipe Source: Vegan Chocolate by Fran Costigan