I made the cakes Tuesday and refrigerated them overnight to help them firm up a bit. Then I frosted it today when I was slacking off instead of studying for my safety exams – bad me! (I did make up for the studying later though!)
I wanted a cake with a softer icing than normal. Also, much as I love buttercream, it can be a bit sickly. Although it’s not the prettiest cake ever, I think it turned out absolutely freaking awesome. You could replace the vanilla extract (in the cake and the icing) with orange for a chocolate orange cake too.
The frosting is really runny when you make it and personally I like to frost it when it’s still pretty soft – I like the messy homemade look! If you don’t though, just refrigerate the frosting an hour or so and it will thicken up enough (not overnight though, it wouldn’t be very easy to spread if you did this). I kept the cake refrigerated once I assembled it. I’m not sure how the frosting would hold up out of the fridge.
A couple of things I learnt from watching the Barefoot Contessa: 1) that cornflour in combination with regular flour lightens the batter; and 2) that a bit of coffee added to chocolate cake intensifies the chocolateyness! I got love for Ina, even though her recipes are full of butter, cream and eggs, she does come up with some good stuff! I’ve printed off a couple of her cake recipes that I’m gonna try and veganise – I’ll post the results of any successes!
This cake is super chocolately and really REALLY messy to decorate; that is the joy of it. But the absolute best thing about this cake? You can feed it to un-suspecting omnis, wait for them to moan with pleasure then smugly inform them it contains tofu and wait for the nauseated look to appear on their face. Score!
My friends loved this cake, one had seconds and one took a piece home for her fiancé, as he gets upset if he doesn’t get cake too! She also told me last night that she wants me to make cupcakes for her wedding reception next year! I’m so thrilled, but a bit terrified too. I’m already doing the wedding make-up and I’m a bridesmaid – I think she wants to give me a nervous breakdown! Haha just kidding, I can’t wait.
Back to tonight’s dinner and I know the main course is not really that important when cake is on the cards but this is what we had; mushroom & sun-dried tomato pilaff and garlicky spring greens! Mmm mmm! Weird that you can hardly see any mushrooms in this pic considering it was chock-full of 'em!
OK onto the important part - the cake.
UK peeps, I weighed the frosting ingredients but not the actual cake so the cake ingredients are in cups - but if you don’t have American cups you just need a measuring jug. The 250ml / ¼ litre mark is one American cup! (But go buy some cup measures seriously, they are a couple of quid in the supermarket and are SO much easier than weighing!)
Sal’s superrad messy chocolate cake
185 ml / ¾ cup non dairy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
125ml / ½ cup light oil (I used sunflower)
½ a pack of firm silken tofu (I used Mori-Nu) – or you could use 125ml / ½ cup soya yoghurt
1½ tsp good vanilla extract
1 tsp instant coffee powder (I know that’s dry, but trust me!)
1 cup plain flour
¼ cup / 4 tbsp cornflour
⅓ cup cocoa powder
1½ tsp (level) baking powder
½ tsp (level) baking soda
½ tsp salt
¾ cup golden caster sugar
140g / ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
125ml / ½ cup soya cream (I used alpro)
4 tbsp / ¼ cup vegetable shortening
4 tbsp / ¼ cup vegan margarine
1 tsp good vanilla extract
80g / ½ cup icing/confectioners’ sugar
2-4 tbsp jam
Chocolate sprinkles or shavings to decorate
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
Combine the non-dairy milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle.
Whizz the tofu in a blender until smooth, then add the rest of the wet ingredients. Mix the coffee into the soymilk mixture, then add to the tofu mixture and blend well. I use a hand immersion blender and a pyrex jug, because I don’t have a stand blender yet.
Then sieve together the dry ingredients into a large bowl (except the sugar). Don’t skip this step, cocoa really needs to be sieved or you get mingin lumps in your cake! Blech. Stir together and add the sugar and mix well.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well until no large lumps remain, a few small ones are ok – just don’t over-mix or you’ll get tough chewy cake – ick.
Pour into 2 round sandwich tins and bake for around 25 mins or until a cocktail stick comes out clean. Cool for 5-10 minutes then carefully turn out and leave on a cooling rack until completely cold. I put them in the fridge overnight to firm up.
Then make the frosting. Melt together the chocolate and soy cream gently in a double boiler, mixing well until smooth and shiny.
Remove from the heat and leave to cool a bit while you mix the other ingredients.
Measure out the other frosting ingredients into a large bowl and cream them together with a fork until just combined. Pour in the chocolate/cream mixture (don’t add the other ingredients to the chocolate, the residual heat in the bowl will be too high!) and use an electric hand beater to mix it till smooth and creamy (a minute or so), scraping down the sides as necessary.
Put the frosting in the fridge and leave it for about 20-30 minutes before assembling the cake.
To assemble, upturn one cake onto a plate or cake tray so you have a nice flat surface. Spread a generous dollop of jam over the cake if using (it is easier if the jam is at room temp, if it’s cold it will be hard to spread). I like to add the jam because sometimes chocolate cake can be a bit too much without some fruit to break it up a bit. I used blueberry because blueberry & chocolate make sweet sweet love together!
Then spread a good blob of the frosting over the jam and sandwich the second cake on top.
Pour about half to ¾ of the remaining frosting into the middle of the top cake and using a spatula, spread it gently out and ‘encourage’ it to drop over the sides, then use the remainder to build up the top and cover any holes. (Alternatively, leave the frosting in the fridge for an hour or so and spread it on.)
Decorate with sprinkles or shavings and put back in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Inside shot of what was left this morning - it was excellent for breakfast by the way :-) :
Cooking while watching Semi-Pro (hence stupid post title)