Fortunately, going vegan doesn’t mean you have to give up delicious cakes. This vegan chocolate sponge recipe is from Va Va Voom Vegan Cakes by Angela Romeo, published by Ryland Peters & Small.
Vegan chocolate sponge
Makes enough for one large cake
- 480 g/3 2/3 cups plain/all-purpose flour
- 5 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 280 g/scant 11/2 cups caster/superfine sugar
- 5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
- 480 g/2 1/4 cups soya/soy yogurt
- 180 ml/3/4 cup sunflower oil
- 2 tablespoons golden/light corn syrup
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.
- Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda/baking soda, and mix with a spoon to combine. Make a well in the middle.
- Put the yogurt into a bowl with the sunflower oil and golden/light corn syrup. Mix with a spoon until fully combined. Pour into the well of dry ingredients. Fold through with a spatula or wooden spoon until just combined and smooth.
Simple vegan vanilla buttercream
Makes 1.5 kg/ 3 1/4 lb
- 500 g/1 lb. 2 oz. vegan butter, cubed and softened
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 kg/5 cups icing/confectioners’ sugar
- Place the vegan butter in a bowl with the vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons of water and a few large spoonfuls of the icing/confectioners’ sugar.
- Whisk with a hand-held electric whisk until combined, then whisk in the remaining icing/confectioners’ sugar in manageable batches until smooth and spreadable. Add another 1 tablespoon of water, if necessary.
- Top tip: If scaling down this recipe, reduce the vanilla extract to taste and adjust the water accordingly. Very small quantities may not need any water.
Veganuary Va Va Voom cake
- 1 quantity of Vegan Chocolate Sponge mixture (see above), baked in 3 greased and lined 18-cm/7-inch cake pans for 30 minutes until an inserted cocktail stick/toothpick comes out clean, then cooled
- 1/2 quantity of Simple Vegan Vanilla Buttercream (see above)
- 200 g/1 cup caster/superfine sugar
- 1 orange, cut into 3 mm/1/8 inch thick slices, seeds removed (cut a couple of slices in half, keep the remainder whole)
- Vegan orange paste colouring
- 1 quantity of Vegan Meringue made using vegan aquafaba (chickpea water)
- 200 g/1 cup caster/superfine sugar
- 100 g/1 1/4 cups flaked almonds, toasted
FRESH FRUIT & HERBS
- A few cranberries or red currants
- 3 physallis
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 50 g/2 oz. apple crisp (see top tip)
- 3 baking sheets, lined
- 1 piping/pastry bag
- 1 baking sheet, oiled
- Preheat the oven to 100°C (200°F) Gas ¼.
- For the dehydrated candied orange, in a saucepan combine the sugar with 200 ml/scant 1 cup of water. Bring to the boil over a medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the orange slices and simmer for 5–6 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove. When cool enough to handle, place onto one of the lined baking sheets.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 2–4 hours, rotating every 2 hours. Allow to cool – they will crisp as they cool. Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.
- For the meringue kisses, prepare the piping/pastry bag before making the meringue. Turn the piping bag inside-out over a bottle. Paint stripes in the orange colouring down the sides of the bag. Make the meringue mixture and fill the bag with the meringue, ensuring there’s enough room to twist the top. Snip a 1.5-cm/1/2-inch hole at the tip and pipe small blobs onto two of the lined baking sheets.
- Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes –1 hour 30 minutes until the undersides are dry and can be lifted easily from the baking parchment. (This will make around 25 meringue kisses – you will not need all of these, but leftovers are lovely simply served with a coffee or crushed into whipped vegan cream with chopped strawberries for that classic British dessert, Eton Mess.)
- For the croccante, put the sugar in a saucepan. Cook over a medium heat, without stirring (swirl the pan a little, if necessary), until the sugar melts and turns a golden colour. Add the almonds and carry on cooking for 30 seconds–1 minute. Pour onto the oiled baking sheet and leave to cool and set. Roughly break up the croccante into shards. Set aside.
- If necessary, trim the tops of the cakes so they are level. Sandwich the cakes together using 300 g/10 1/2 oz. of the buttercream. The bottom side of the top cake should be facing up. Place the cake on a cake plate or cake board. Crumb coat the cake using the remaining buttercream. This will be your final coating giving it a semi-naked look; scrape off enough buttercream to reveal some of the sponge.
- Decorate with the croccante, candied orange, meringue kisses, cranberries or red currants, physallis, rosemary sprigs and apple crisp.
You can find ready-made versions of apple crisp fairly easily. For homemade, cut two eating apples across the core into 1–2 mm/1/16 inch slices. Lay on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Cook for 1 1/2–2 hours at 80°C (160°F) until dried out (turn over after 1 hour).
See also: Vegan Recipes for a Healthier January