Here in Austria at MoaAlm Mountain Retreat we, like the rest of Europe, are on lockdown. It’s sad to end the winter season so abruptly, we had a wonderful time with our guests, but we decided not to dwell on the past too much and concentrate on what’s in front of us. That would mean in our remote location, lots of cooking inspiration, fresh air, sharing of recipes and enjoying the quietness of the mountains.
We will be adding more recipes this week, as it is so important to keep ourselves and beloved ones well fed. Today we decided to share our favourite plant based chocolate cake recipe. We all need a bit of nurturing these days and this is the time when we can have a chocolate treat. We also think that as the weeks develop there will be lots of first time bakers. This cake is without dairy or eggs which may be different from other chocolate cake recipes available. This recipe is perfect for everyone that likes a chocolate cake that is not too sweet and super moist. In fact the actual cake is not that sweet at all, it’s the chocolate ganache sauce that adds the extra sweetness.
Chocolate has traditionally been associated with magical, medicinal, and mythical properties. In fact, in Latin, cacao trees are called Theobroma Cacao, or “food of the gods.
Although cacao originated in Central and South America more than 4,000 years ago, now approximately 70% of the world’s cacao is grown in Africa. Cote D'Ivoire is the single largest producer of cocoa, providing roughly 40% of the world’s supply.
The bigger cacao content in the chocolate, the more beneficial it is for you. In fact, most commercial chocolates now have a bigger amount of sugar than cacao, which makes chocolate so addictive. When buying chocolate look for a bigger percentage of cacao in the chocolate.
Raw cacao powder contains more than 300 different chemical compounds and nearly four times the antioxidant power of your average dark chocolate - more than 20 times than that of blueberries. Protein, calcium, carotene, thiamin, riboflavin, magnesium, sulfur, flavonoids, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids are also present. The precise blend of all these elements combined serve to kick in naturally occurring phytochemicals that have incredible benefits throughout the body, such as lowered LDL cholesterol, improved heart function, and reduced cancer risk.
Studies have shown that chocolate affects your emotions and mood by raising serotonin levels, which explains why chocolate is often craved when gloominess looms. Also to the rescue is a neurotransmitter called theobromine, a mild stimulant sometimes used as a treatment for depression. It releases the compound anandamide, which produces uniquely euphoric feelings of relaxation and contentment.
So why not to try our delicious chocolate cake and share it with your beloved ones around!
• 4 Tbsp flaxseed meal + 10 Tbsp water
• 1 cup non-dairy milk
• 1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
• 3 tsp baking soda
• 1/3 cup syrup, we like to use agave
• 2/3 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 cup melted coconut oil or vegan butter
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 2 cups applesauce
• Pinch of salt
• 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 cup almond meal (finely ground from raw almonds)
• 2 cups of all-purpose flour (if making gluten free option, use 1 ½ cup of gluten free flour and ½ cup of ground oats)
For frosting and toppings:
• 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
• 1 1/4 cups dairy-free dark chocolate, chopped
• 1/4 cup vegan butter
• 1 1/4 - 2 cups powdered sugar
• 1 1/2 cups hazelnuts.
First, preheat your oven to 180 C degrees and roast your hazelnuts for 5-10 minutes. Keep on tossing them, making sure they are not burning. Once the skin starts to come off while rubbing then, it’s time to take them out from the oven. When hazelnuts are chilled rub them with your fingers, so the bitter skin comes off. They don’t have to be all without skin, as long as most of them lose the bitter skin, they won’t ruin your cake.
Keep your oven heated 180 C degrees and prepare your cake base.
Mix the milk with vinegar and keep it aside for a few minutes to allow it to curdle. Prepare your flax meal mixing it with water and keeping it aside for 5 minutes or so until it becomes gooey like an egg.
Add the baking soda to your milk mix, then sugar, syrup and your flax meal mix. Mix it all well. Then add applesauce, vanilla, melted coconut oil, salt and mix again.
In a separate bowl mix cacao powder (sift it if it’s clumpy), ground almonds and flour (for gluten free version, also ground oats). Then add it to your wet ingredient mix and combine it all.
Take two 8" round cake pans and divide the mix. Bake it for around 25-30 minutes until the skewer comes out clean. Let it cool.
Now you can prepare your ganache sauce by simply heating the milk, chocolate and butter in a metal bowl over the heating pot. Make sure to stir it and not let the chocolate get burnt. Add the icing sugar.
Once all the chocolate melts, cool it down and place it into the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
When both, the cakes and ganache cooled down, spread the chocolate sauce between the cake layers and on top of the cake too. Decorate it with roasted hazelnuts and some icing sugar sprinkles if you feel like.
The cake is perfect for birthdays and other celebrations. It's moist, decadent and we are sure you’ll love it! Why not spend some time the next few weeks cooking some new recipes. If you have never made a vegan cake before, then why don't you try our Banana Cake, super easy and an instant crowd pleaser!
Happy Baking ...