Try this cake that will surprise everyone with its yumminess! It was first made for a post-climbing traditional calçots barbecue here in Catalunya (will tell you about calçots later) as one of the climbers going was vegan. Funnily enough she couldn’t make it in the end but all we non-vegans loved it! lol. People were scraping the tupperware to get the last of the frosting made with pure unsweetened cocoa, vegan olive oil margarine and icing sugar (you could find your own healthier version). The cake is moist, gooey and rich yet healthier with fine white spelt flour and coconut palm sugar though you can use standard flour and caster sugar. And it’s one of those easy recipes where you just mix everything together in a bowl. Hurray! I’m not actually vegan but love it. For an absolutely delicious experiment do give this vegan chocolate layer cake a go!
The first prototype was a 2-layer cake made with plain flour and caster sugar. It was easy to assemble and very popular at the calçots barbecue – gone in a flash!
The second was a 4-layer cake made with unrefined sugar and fine white spelt. It was a little more difficult to assemble as the crumb was lighter (there was less flour) and more crumbly. It leaned a little. But my main cake tester who’d tried both cakes preferred this version and my vegetarian climbing friend also adored it. Yipee! 🙂
Just sprinkled a few dried rose petals on it for colour…
Choose the version you prefer depending on your preference and cake tins.
Vegan chocolate sponge
- Dry ingredients
- 125g/1 scant cup fine white spelt flour (also works with cake or plain/all-purpose flour)
- 5g/1 teaspoon baking soda
- 6g/1 teaspoon baking powder
- 18g/3 tablespoons pure unsweetened cocoa powder
- pinch of salt
- wet ingredients (and sugar)
- 80g/1/2 cup ground coconut palm sugar (or caster/superfine sugar)
- 60g/ml or 1/4 cup pure organic coconut oil (melted then allowed to cool, but still liquid)
- 60g/ml or 4 tbsp/1/4 cup aquafaba (the liquid drained from a can or jar of chickpeas, low salt at around 0,1g for every 100g) – if you’re not vegan you can replace with 1 and 1/3 medium-large eggs (80g/ml)
- 60g/ml or 1/4 cup pure unsweetened apple purée or sauce
- 26g/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, to taste
- preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F (static, non-convection oven) or 160°C/320°F (fan-assisted, convection oven)
- butter one 16cm/6in diametre round loose-bottomed cake tin or two mini 12cm/4.75in diametre tins. Place circles of greaseproof paper at the bottom and flour the sides.
- Whisk the dry ingredients in a medium bowl to combine.
- Whisk the wet ingredients and sugar together in a separate big bowl until the sugar dissolves.
- Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with the whisk until just combined. Don’t overwork. If the batter looks a bit thick you can slowly whisk in a tablespoon or so of almond milk.
- Pour into tins to fill to just under 3/4 full.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 18 to 22 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean, and when you press gently with the tip of your finger the top springs back a little.
- Let the sponge(s) cool in the tin for 5 mins then use a butter knife to go around the sides and loosen them from the tin.
- Unmould and leave to cool completely on a wire rack before cutting and filling.
- 112g/4oz or 1/2 cup vegan olive oil margarine (or butter)
- 140g/1 and 1/4 cups (or a little less) icing/powdered sugar
- 40g/1/3 cup pure unsweetened cocoa powder
- 30g/ml or 1/8 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
With your finger mark a thin vertical line of flour or icing sugar up the side of the cake.
Find 2 books (or DVDs) of equal thickness that come up to half-way up your cake and place on each side of the cake. Rest a long serrated bread knife on the two books and see-saw up and down carefully to cut the cake in half (keep the knife resting on the 2 books as you move across). Below is an example with my coffee and walnut sponge.
Put the sponges back together so the vertical line of flour or icing sugar joins as it did originally.
Use a piping bag and small/medium plain nozzle to make even concentric circles with the frosting to fill the cake.
- For a 16cm/8in cake the middle layer of frosting is quite thick then you cover the cake in the remaining frosting.
- For two 12cm/4.75in cakes, make the frosting in between the layers quite thin so you have enough left to cover the cake.
You can smooth the frosting on the outside of the cake with an offset palet knife.
Eating and storing
If you want nice smooth slices, refrigerate your cake for 1 or 2 hours before cutting. If you can’t wait then just eat some less smooth slices! 🙂 It keeps in the fridge and is best the first two days but still nice after up to 4 or 5 days. When you take it out of the fridge let the cut slices come back to room temperature for 20-30 minutes before eating.
A calçotada is an annual gastronomic celebration here in Catalunya that takes place between November and April. It’s a barbecue where you eat calçots, young green onions or scallions that have been cooked over the fire in newspaper until they’re black on the outside. Everyone puts on a bib and starts peeling the calçots with their bare hands then eating them dipped in the traditional romesco sauce made of ground nuts, olive oil, roasted garlic, peppers and other stuff.
Apparently calçots have only existed since the end of the 19th century, when a farmer burned some on a fire by accident then found they were yummy! The calçotada season is now hugely popular and many people in Catalunya are crazy about them. I’m not a keen onion person but find calçots very tender, yummy and easy to digest. Plus it’s so much fun getting dirty, with totally blackened hands and a pretty messy face. I’m so sorry I didn’t take photos to show you because I was too busy eating. Lol. I’ll try to get some next time but here are some I found on google images.
Anyway, our après-climbing calçotada was lovely and we had delicious meat and butifarra local white sausage too. When it was time for dessert it was a bit disappointing no vegan had turned up to the barbecue. But it was kind of funny too and an even sweeter compliment when this vegan chocolate cake was popular and disappeared so fast. It just goes to show you don’t have to be vegan to appreciate this cake! 🙂
Do please have a slice and test it out. Um, make it? It’s so fast and easy! And maybe you’re vegan or could find a vegan friend to make happy…
So I’ll just wish you a fond chocolaty farewell sweet reader! Hope you have a lovely week ahead with some happy baking and eating! 🙂 Lili x
P.S. Easter is coming soon… more chocolate!!! 🙂