In search of yet another perfect chocolate cake (see my story on how I met Taylor Swift), I sprinted (metaphorically, of course) towards another steadfast, trusty and oh-so-fabulous Brit: Nigella Lawson. She’s certainly the queen of food and entertaining, but I think in particular, she’s the queen of chocolate. The Chocolate Queen, if you will (though that does make it sound slightly as though she’s made of chocolate…).
I wasn’t disappointed. This cake is great, but particularly because it’s vegan, which makes it a super handy recipe to store in the back of your cupboard or wherever you store recipes.
Though I think perhaps I should re-emphasise this: it’s a vegan cake! Vegan. As in no dairy. Vegan, as in no animal by products. A vegan cake. It’s basically oxymoronic. See, a cake is essentially butter, sugar, eggs and flour, with some other stuff chucked in too. Two of the four key ingredients in cake are not vegan. Then add into the mix that this is a chocolate vegan cake – that means a cake without butter, eggs or chocolate. How is that possible?!
Well, thanks to amazingly creative and potentially scientifically-minded people, vegan cake is actually incredibly easy to make, and doesn’t require any crazy ingredients like xanthan gum (what even is that? It certainly doesn’t sound like something you want to ingest). Basically, you replace butter with oil and eggs with vinegar. Sounds ludicrously simple doesn’t it? Yep, well it is. And it’s effective too! It’s tasty. Really tasty. Like, it’s not even one of those vegan cakes where you feel the need to hover around the cake when it’s being served and just not-so-quietly remind everyone present that it’s a vegan cake, and therefore it should get some sort of special consideration in the ‘tastiness’ category, because it’s lacking. It completely speaks for itself and needs no handicap in the race for scrummy cakes.
So hopefully I’ve convinced you of two things: 1. That vegan cake is possible. And 2. That vegan cake can be really tasty! There’s really not much more to say. But if you don’t believe me, just look at it this way: it’s a chocolate cake, therefore it’s probably good. It’s vegan, so added bonus. It’s Nigella, so why wouldn’t you? So get baking!
225g plain flour
1½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons coffee powder
300g dark brown sugar
375ml hot water
90ml/75g coconut oil or vegetable oil
1½ teaspoons cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
- Line the bottom of a 20cm springform cake tin with baking paper. Preheat oven to 170C fan forced.
- Put the flour, bicarb, salt, coffee and cocoa in a bowl and whisk to combine.
- Mix together the sugar, water, oil and vinegar until combined and stir into the dry ingredients.
- Pour into the prepared tin and bake for around 35 minutes – you want it to be slightly undercooked, and there should still be a few crumbs on the skewer.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin.
- Smother with a simple cocoa and icing sugar icing if you like, or just dollop on the cream (vegan, of course).