For quite a few years I have been making my own version of this chocolate cake from the BBC Good Food website, which has been my go-to chocolate cake recipe ever since I first tried it and a big hit with everyone who ate it. In fact last summer I made it for the Calentita food festival in Gibraltar and I was told it went down like a storm. Lately I have tried to make a dairy free version of it several times (4 to be exact!) and failed miserably. However I am persistent when it comes to these things and now that I have achieved a dairy free and vegan version of my favourite chocolate cake recipe (5th time lucky) I won’t be reverting to the original since this one is just as good and probably easier to make.
This isn’t a big rising cake, being a bit denser than regular cake but not as dense as a brownie. This isn’t down to the fact that it is dairy free, the original recipe is the same in this respect. I think the reason is that it uses melted chocolate in the batter instead of just cocoa powder, and it is super chocolatey, fudgey, rich, moist and gooey. There are so many chocolate cake recipes that really don’t taste of much but this is a chocolate cake that actually tastes of chocolate, intensely. I have a habit of making my cakes square or rectangular, but that is my personal choice. You can make this in a round springform tin and it will be just as good.
I love the combination of chocolate and raspberries so I decided to use them in this cake. You can however do without them and simply fill with the ganache, I like to leave creative freedom to suit individual tastes. If you do like the chocolate and raspberry combination however then you will love this recipe for sure. Strawberries will work amazingly well too. The ganache is made using soya cream which can be bought at most supermarkets and health stores. I use the Promavel brand which is 18% fat, like regular single cream. I use corn starch as a thickener, but if you are using a dairy free cream that has less fat content you may want to add a tablespoon of dairy free butter or coconut oil for richness as well as the cornflour as a thickening agent.
For the cake
- 200g self raising flour
- 125g dairy free butter
- 150g dark brown sugar
- 150g granulated sugar
- 50g cocoa powder
- 125ml freshly made espresso
- 200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
- 125ml unsweetened soya milk
- 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flax + 5 tbsp water)
- 0.5 tsp vanilla extract
- 300g fresh raspberries
For the chocolate ganache
- 250ml soya cream
- 150g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- 2 tbsp unsweetened soya milk
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- Cut the dairy free butter into cubes (doesn’t have to be exact, enough so that it doesn’t take too long to melt) and break up the chocolate into pieces. Add to a pan on a medium heat and allow to slowly melt.
- Prepare some espresso and add this to the pan stirring it into the melting chocolate. Once most of it has melted take the pan off the heat and stir until it all melts with the residual heat. Leave to one side.
- In a small bowl add the ground flax and the water, mix and leave to one side. The flax will soak up the water and become thick and gel-like which will be the egg replacement in the cake.
- In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar and cocoa powder. I don’t tend to sieve the flour or cocoa powder but you can do if you wish. The brown sugar many times does come in clumps so it is always a good idea to break these up with your hands which will in turn mix the ingredients evenly.
- Add the melted chocolate, flax eggs and unsweetened soya milk and vanilla extract to the flour mixture (adding the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients). Mix well with a spatula until an even batter is formed and there are no dry clumps.
- Grease and line with greaseproof paper a 20cm x 20cm cake tin, or 20cm springform round tin.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 160C for about 50 minutes to 1 hour.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack until ready to make the filling.
For the topping and filling
- While the cake is baking cut the chocolate into pieces and melt gently in a pan with the soya cream.
- Add sugar to the chocolate and cream.
- When the mixture is starting to simmer, dissolve the cornflour in a glass with some soya milk and add this to the pan. Stir until it thickens and take off the heat.
- Once it has cooled down to room temperature, slice the cake into two parts and add some of the ganache to the bottom layer. Cover this with fresh raspberries and place the other half of the cake on top.
- Add the rest of the ganache to the top of the cake and garnish with some freeze dried raspberries or any other fruit of your choice.