I couldn’t imagine a world without chocolate.
I go through phases, with certain foods becoming a favourite for short periods of time. Those favourites, and phases, pass though, and I soon move onto the next thing. The one constant however is chocolate. Right from the first time I tasted chocolate I feel in love with it. Smooth, creamy, sweet and yet bitter, my love affair with chocolate is one that I don’t think will ever end. My constants are my husband and chocolate, and with both, I am one very happy woman.
Growing up however I didn’t eat a whole lot of chocolate. In fact I didn’t eat a whole lot of sweets. Sweets were reserved for special occasions, and the most special and favourite special occasion, to me at least, was Easter. Easter was filled with delicious chocolatey treats in the form of bunnies and eggs (my favourite was the humpty dumpty filled with smarties), and fragrant and crusty hot cross buns slathered with butter.
While Christmas is a very recent memory, so imagine my surprise when I was at the supermarket yesterday when I came across a display for hot cross buns. Yes, that’s January 2!
At first I was shocked, then annoyed. One of the things that made Easter and Christmas special, when I was growing up at least, was that these events happened over a very short period of time, and it was that, that made them all the more special. Hot cross buns were only available at Easter, and candy canes and christmas cake only came out at Christmas time. Perhaps it’s due to demand that supermarkets are selling these things earlier and earlier every year, but it seems like as one holiday passes we immediately are marketed to for the next. Is it because we’re all supposedly impossibly busy and need to plan ahead, months and month ahead of time? I don’t know, but it feels like a little of the magic of these holidays is slowly being eroded away by marketing.
Christmas is the same. When I was asked recently what my husband and I gave each other for Christmas I mentioned the few small gifts we exchanged and received a look of almost sympathy that I didn’t get receive more gifts as they rattled off expensive gift after expensive gift that they’d received. But Christmas, as with Easter, to me, is never about gifts and what you receive. It’s about slowing down, switching off and spending meaningful time with those that you truly love.
And one of the things I truly love, apart from my wonderful husband, of course, is a good chocolate cake. This Vegan chocolate cake is deep, dark, rich and sexy. It’s so good you’d never ever know it was anything but a great chocolate cake. It’s moist, dense and has a beautifully tender crumb, and topped with a vegan chocolate ganache frosting, it’s absolutely to die for.
Make it now, make it at Easter, or make it for someone you love, just because.
- 2 cups (275g) plain (all purpose) flour
- ¾ cup (100g) cocoa powder
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of (baking) soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- a pinch of salt
- 1¾ cups (450ml) coconut milk
- 2 tsp red wine vinegar
- 1¾ cups (320g) brown sugar
- 1¼ cups (320ml) sunflower oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- VEGAN CHOCOLATE FROSTING:
- 250g vegan dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- ⅔ cup coconut milk (see note)
- fresh raspberries to decorate, optional
- Preheat the oven to 160 celsius (315 fahrenheit) and grease a 23cm (9 inch) cake tin and line the base with baking paper.
- Sift the flour, cocoa, bicarb, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Sift again.
- Combine the coconut milk, vinegar, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla extract in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 40 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out with almost no crumbs attached. The middle of the cake should also spring back when lightly pressed. Place on a wire cake rack and leave to cool in the tin.
- To make the frosting place the chocolate and coconut milk in a small heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Stir until melted and smooth. Set aside for an hour, or until slightly thickened (do not refrigerate), before frosting the cake.
- Pour the frosting over the cake and gently easy down the sides with an offset spatula. Top with raspberries, if using.