My husband and I were recently invited to celebrate our friend’s birthday with a BBQ in the park. This friend and his family had recently adopted a vegan lifestyle, so I wanted to bring something that the birthday boy could enjoy. What better offering than a Vegan Chocolate Birthday Cake!
The sprinkles definitely help in the case of this vegan chocolate cake
Before this, I didn’t really know what vegan meant. It wasn’t until I started researching recipes did I understand the gravity of the situation. Vegans do not consume any animal products at all. No milk or cream (fine). No eggs (ok…). And no butter (sacre bleu!!). Not to be deterred, I pressed on and came across this blog with a recipe for the best ever Vegan Chocolate Cake. I was inspired by the blog’s author as she isn’t vegan herself, but enjoys the challenge of cooking vegan recipes so delicious, that even kids love her vegan alternatives.
I learned quite a lot in making this cake. Most dark chocolate is vegan (just check the ingredients don’t make any reference to milk). Rainbow sprinkles are also vegan. And you really don’t need butter or eggs to make a cake.
This recipe uses a ripe avocado, olive oil and coconut milk as the liquid binder. The result? It looks amazing enough. But the taste? I regretfully couldn’t even bring myself to eat it, because present at the birthday BBQ was a full animal fat black forest cake that I couldn’t take my eyes off. But those who were game enough to sample this vegan chocolate cake seemed to enjoy it. Especially the birthday boy. Fait accompli! I CAN bake without butter.
Vegan Chocolate Cake with Avocado & Coconut
- 90 grams good-quality vegan chocolate
- 2/3 cup freshly brewed coffee
- 190g cups all-purpose flour
- 50g sugar
- 90g packed dark brown sugar
- 60g unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil (don’t use virgin or light)
- 1/2 large very ripe avocado, mashed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup unsweetened soy, coconut, or almond milk (I used coconut milk in this recipe)
- 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips (or finely chopped vegan chocolate)
For the vegan ganache
- 220g vegan chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup coconut milk (lite or full-fat), plus more if necessary
- Butter a 12-cup bundt cake pan with whatever oil you have on hand (I used olive oil). Preheat oven to 180C.
- Place the 90g of vegan chocolate and freshly brewed coffee in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk until chocolate is completely melted, then remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, stir together flour, both sugars, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt until combined.
- In a separate large bowl, beat together mashed avocado, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth. Whisk in cooled chocolate and your milk of choice. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in the vegan chocolate chips. Your cake batter should be pretty thick. If it’s too thick, add in an extra tablespoon or two of your chosen milk.
- Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and smooth top. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until tester inserted into centre comes out almost clean, with just a few crumbs attached. Let cool in pan an hour on a wire rack before flipping over and transferring to wire rack to finish cooling completely.
To make vegan chocolate ganache
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add in coconut milk and chopped chocolate. Watch carefully and whisk until chocolate is completely melted. If you want a thinner ganache, add in more coconut milk. Let stand for a few minutes then immediately spoon ganache over cake. Top ganache with sprinkles and enjoy!
Forgotten Pudding is a wonderfully unusual dessert. For a start, it’s not quite the traditional pudding of the sticky date variety that you’re used to. Rather, the star and foundation is a meringue layer that’s been slow-cooked, resulting in a marshmallow-y texture that’s still moist and creamy. Topped with whipped cream, vibrant berries and smears of tart passionfruit, it’s a wonderful summer dessert that pays homage to the classic Pavlova, but without the fear of failure (slow-cooking surely guarantees success!).
Forgtten pudding in all its glory!
Like the name suggests, part of the cooking process includes conveniently “forgetting” about the meringue in the oven to allow it to cook overnight. There’s no prodding or inserting of skewers to check if it’s done. You literally leave it to cook while you catch up on the more exciting things in life like sleep or the next episode of My Kitchen Rules (please don’t judge me).
Making risotto can seem a little intimidating. With the constant stirring, the gradual addition of piping hot stock and knowing when it’s hit that al dente spot – just one slight glitch and all your wonderfully orchestrated efforts could easily lead to disaster.
Creamy Chicken Risotto
However, I find it’s in this methodical approach that makes it one of the most rewarding meals you could whip up for dinner. Who knew a bit of rice could be so fancy, and not to mention utterly delicious. As long as you prepare all your ingreients in advance, you’ve got the stock gently simmering and you’re happy to rhythmically give the rice a stir; it’s dare I say it, quite easy.
Happy Chinese New Year! Over the weekend, I had the privilege of hosting a small dinner with family and friends, giving me a great excuse to whip up something Chinese.
Though I have significant Chinese heritage, I’m not very experienced in traditional Asian cooking techniques. Don’t get me wrong: I love eating Chinese… for me it’s right up there with sleep-ins, massages and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. But I must admit I’ve always found cooking Chinese cuisine a little intimidating. Yes, that’s right… (an Australian bred) Chinese-Filipino woman scared of Chinese cooking.
Jam and Cream Lamington Sandwiches
Happy Australia Day! Whether you’re appreciating the great outdoors or just doing nothing at all, I hope your Australia Day is bonza.
To help you and your mates get into the Aussie spirit, try making these irresistible lamingtons. My husband absolutely adores these little butter cake bricks that have been soaked in dark chocolate, rolled in coconut flakes, and slathered with generous lashings of jam and cream.
Vanilla cake, covered in dark chocolate ganache, filled with fluffy whipped cream and raspberry pomegranate jam
I’ve used a vanilla butter cake as the basis of this lamington recipe. This denser and more textured variation provides stronger structural integrity that won’t easily crumble when dipped in the rich chocolate ganache.
Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Mountains
Cupcakes for Benjamin
My godson, Benjamin, turned the big FOUR a few weeks ago. As we all know, kids grow up far too quickly. I met my godson for the first time just a few days after he was born, I remember it like it was only yesterday.
Crème brûlée is a classic dessert. Don’t be fooled by its apparent simplicity (isn’t it just custard and a bit of toffee?). Each mouthful is a revelation of contrast: smooth custard against crispy toffee, delicate vanilla spiked with the heady scent of caramelised sugar. Divine.
Crème brûlée - French vanilla custard served in individual ramekins, hidden under a crunchy layer of caramelised toffee
This recipe is unapologetically rich, full of cream, sugar and egg yolks. But tell you what… it was oh so easy! The few ingredients I blended then divided into individual ramekins, which gently baked in a hot water bath, until just set.
with Onion and Apple velouté
Vivid Sydney made its brief annual appearance recently. Celebrating light, music and ideas; the free festival encourages thousands of visitors to brave the crisp evening air around Sydney’s foreshore as famous landmarks and sideshow attractions light up the city in a spectacular choreographed display of lights and music.
Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea is a great opportunity for the Cancer Council to raise money for cancer research, prevention, education and support services. My workplace got involved last week and we were encouraged to not only contribute a plate of morning tea, but a competition was initiated with prizes for the best team and individual baking efforts.
Strawberry tart, filled with creme angalise and topped with strawberries, milk chocolate and candied almonds
This threw my team into lengthy discussion. We wanted to win, but what would we make? I convinced my team to make a Tim Tam cake, riding on the success of my Mother’s Day dessert
. So in true team-work spirit, the tasks were split into manageable steps – my manager baked the cake, I made the icing, and my other workmate assembled it all together beautifully.
I wasn’t really involved in the cooking process for the Tim Tam cake, so in the name of cancer research I decided to also make a short crust pastry tart, topped with fresh strawberries and oozed crème anglaise.
A Baby Shower for Peanut
My good friends Monina & Glenn are expecting a little boy in June. In the early weeks of their pregnancy they nicknamed him Peanut, and though he’s certainly much bigger now than his namesake, the name stuck. So Peanut it is… for now