I hosted my book group this week. We talked about Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Heart Goes Last’ which divided opinion and prompted a good debate. I thought it was rubbish.
I have only recently entered the Book Group World and always imagined it to be just an excuse to drink white wine on a school night. Whilst this may be true of some, ours is more a decaff tea and cake affair. This makes a nice change as most of my other social groups only seem to function when accompanied by copious amounts of alcohol.
One of our members is vegan which set me a welcome challenge to find an edible cake recipe that used neither eggs or dairy. A quick google search bought up thousands of options but I had to search hard to find one that used regular (albeit dairy free) store cupboard ingredients (no agave syrup, medjool dates, coconut butter or flax eggs here please!).
My supplies of vinegar and bicarbonate of soda have dramatically decreased since the children started using them in their ‘Kitchen Science’ experiments. But it’s the same reaction between the vinegar and bicarb that propels plastic rockets and creates mini volcanoes that makes this cake rise in the absence of eggs.
The cake is disappointingly bland until you add the silky, sticky glaze which transforms it into something rather delicious. I would serve it quite happily to non-vegans who I don’t think would complain. It’s not a looker though (as the photo above demonstrates). You could work the presentation if you like with rose petals. Nigella does this in her version.
Vegan Chocolate Cake Recipe
For the cake
- 180g of plain flour
- 200g of caster sugar
- 40g of cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
- ½ a teaspoon of salt
- 215ml of warm water or coffee (I used decaff coffee)
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 70ml of vegetable or sunflower oil
- 1 teaspoon of white or apple cider vinegar
For the glaze
- 100g of caster sugar
- 60g of vegan/dairy free margarine
- 2 tablespoons of soya milk
- 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 180oC.
Line a 20cm x 20cm (8 x 8 inch) square baking tin with parchment and grease with vegetable oil or vegan margarine.
Into a mixing bowl add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and stir with a fork until there are no lumps.
Measure the warm water/coffee, vanilla extract, vegetable oil and vinegar into a jug and pour into the dry ingredients.
Mix the ingredients together with a metal spoon until incorporated.
Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes.
Cool on a cooling rack while you make the glaze.
For the glaze, in a small saucepan melt the sugar, margarine, soya milk and cocoa powder and bring to a boil stirring all the time. Simmer for 2 minutes then remove from the heat and stir for an additional 5 minutes until the mixture is cooled and thickened. Stir in the vanilla extract.
Pour the glaze onto cake and put in the fridge to set.