This delicious vegan recipe comes from Juliet Sear's latest cookbook Botanical Baking.

"This recipe came about because of my daughter, Ruby. Since becoming vegan a couple of years ago she has really missed a good gooey chocolate fudge cake. We started experimenting and after several attempts, we think we nailed it with a cake that is delicious, whether you are vegan or not." - Juliet Sear

Yield: Serves 10-12

Ingredients

For the vegan ganache frosting:

  • 250g (9oz) good-quality dark (bittersweet) chocolate chopped in small pieces (dairy free of course, I love Guittard)
  • 100g (31/2oz) dairy-free alternative cream of your choice
  • 250g (9oz) non-dairy spread of your choice
  • 600g (1lb 5oz) unrefined icing (confectioner’s) sugar, Billington’s do a good one
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

For the vegan chocolate fudge cake:

  • 350ml (12fl oz) soy or almond milk, or coconut milk if you love it a bit coconutty like I do
  • 200g (7oz) coconut yoghurt
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 400g (14oz) light muscovado sugar
  • 250ml (9fl oz) sunflower oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 350g (12oz) self-raising (-rising) flour
  • 130g (43/4oz) cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Crystallised flowers of your choice, I’ve used violas, snapdragons, rose petals, cornflowers and fuchsias and crystallised them in a vegan-friendly way without egg white (see Vegan-friendly Crystallising, page 17)

Equipment:

  • 3 round cake tins, 18cm (7in) diameter
  • Stand mixer, electric whisk or bowl and wooden spoon
  • Cling film (plastic wrap)
  • Cake lifter or thin cake board
  • Palette knife

Method

  1. Make the vegan ganache first by boiling the cream and pouring it over the chocolate. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to sit for 2 minutes.
  2. Remove the cling film and stir with a wooden spoon in the centre until you have a smooth creamy ganache. Set aside to cool.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F). Grease three 18cm (7in) round tins and line the bases with baking parchment (or use two 20cm/8in tins instead).
  4. Whisk together the almond/soy/coconut milk and vinegar in a large jug; the milk should curdle slightly.
  5. Whisk in the sugar, oil and vanilla extract.
  6. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
  7. Gradually whisk the wet ingredients into the dry until smooth. Be careful not to over-mix. Divide the batter evenly between the tins and bake for about 30 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out a little paste-y, but not wet/glistening. Slightly underbaked makes for a fudgy cake! You can make the frosting (see step 9) while the cakes are baking.
  8. Leave the cakes to cool in their tins for 30 minutes then carefully turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely (they are soft and delicate so be gentle, it is helpful to use a cake lifter if you have one or a thin cake board to avoid cracking).
  9. To make the frosting, beat the non-dairy spread, vanilla and icing sugar until pale, light and fluffy. Then add the cooled ganache and beat again until smooth and creamy.
  10. To assemble the cake, place one of the layers on a serving plate or cake stand. Layer up and sandwich the layers with the frosting, then crumb coat all over the cake (see Crumb Coating, page 26), and chill for 30 minutes to an hour.
  11. Add a second covering of frosting – I like to cover the cake in luscious flicks of frosting, then top off with sugary crystallised flowers.

TIP: If you can’t get hold of unrefined icing sugar for the frosting, the regular sort works but it doesn’t have that rich caramel taste.

Recipe extracted from: BOTANICAL BAKING: Contemporary baking and cake decorating with edible flowers and herbs by Juliet Sear. Published by SewandSo. RRP £16.99/€19.00. Photography by Jason Jenkins.