I didn’t plan to share this recipe, as it was made totally on the fly. It was Putin’s birthday on the weekend – his first as a vegan – but I’d been so busy with work, buying presents and setting up my first photography exhibition that I didn’t have chance to make him a cake until the day after his birthday. Even then, I had to make do with what we had in the sparse kitchen…and yet it turned out wonderfully!
I originally made double this recipe and made 1 cake and 10 supporting cupcakes; I always think this is a cute thing to do for birthdays, which probably stems from the fact that as a chubby pre-teen I demanded that we have one cake for birthday parties that would get shared out and one cake for me, for after the party. This childish gluttony has led to Putin endlessly mocking me and always getting me a “personal cake” on my birthday.
Anyway, the important this for this cake is to get it to rise and to let it cook through. I find that vegan cakes can sometimes take longer to cook, as the batter tends to be that much more moist. If you have a less-than-awesome oven and have to leave the cake in much longer than you expect, don’t worry – the main thing is that it should have cooked through completely.
(Makes 1 cake)
2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup cocoa (make sure it’s vegan)
1 1/2 cups Earth Balance / vegan margarine
3 cups icing sugar + extra
1/2 cup coconut cream
Preheat oven to 175 degrees C (350 degrees F)
Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda and cocoa together in a bowl
Pour the vinegar into a bowl and gently pour the almond milk into it
Leave this mixture to curdle for about 5 minutes
Add the vanilla essence and the vegetable oil to the vinegar mix and stir until combined
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until combined
Grease a cake tin well, then pour the cake batter into it
Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the top is a little spongey
(The cake should be in a dome shape)
Set aside to cool
Cream together the Earth Balance / vegan margarine and icing sugar in a bowl, or whip together in a blender
Add in the coconut cream, and mix until well combined
Add any more icing sugar if necessary, until the frosting is the perfect consistency; it should be just like buttercream but slightly more smooth
Add more coconut cream if you like your coconut flavour to smack you right in the face
Take the cooled cake and, with a very sharp, large knife, cut it in half horizontally, giving you two layers
Set the top layer aside and spread 2/5 of the frosting on top of it, covering the layer totally
Put the top layer back on, then spread the remaining frosting on top of the cake and all around the sides, so every bit of the cake is covered
It should look like a large snowball!
Keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks…but it won’t last that long
The coconut flavouring in this buttercream is quite subtle, but plays off gorgeously against the deep chocolately flavour of the cake. I’m not even a huge fan of chocolate cake but this is so good that I’ve eaten about half of it.
These amounts will also make 12 large cupcakes, and these are slightly easier to make than the whole cake. Plus, they’re easier to share!