Vegan Chocolate Sponge

Epic Black Forest Cake

Chocolate and cherry in all its glory! Brush each sponge layer with a little Kirsch to take this cake to even dizzier heights.



Ingredients

Epic Black Forest Cake

  • 170g (6 oz) dark vegan chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 1 quantity of Vegan Chocolate Sponge mixture (see recipe), baked in three greased and lined 18-cm/7-inch cake pans for 30 minutes until an inserted cocktail stick comes out clean, then cooled
  • 1 quantity of Simple Vegan Vanilla Buttercream (see recipe)
  • 50g (2 oz) vegan black cherry conserve
  • 150g (5.5 oz) fresh cherries

Vegan Chocolate Sponge

  • 480g (16.9 oz) plain (all purpose) flour
  • 5½ tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 280g (9.8 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 5 tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 480g (16.9 oz) soya yoghurt
  • 180ml (6 fl oz) sunflower oil
  • 2 tbsp golden/light corn syrup

Simple Vegan Vanilla Buttercream

  • 500g (1.1 lb) vegan butter, cubed and softened
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1kg (2.2 lb) icing sugar

Method

Epic Black Forest Cake

  1. Lay two pieces of baking parchment, approximately 60 x 15 cm/24 x 6 inches, on the work surface in front of you.
  2. Melt 140g (5 oz) of the chocolate in a bain marie or in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between each burst. Pour half the chocolate onto one piece of parchment in an elongated puddle and spread to approximately 50 x 12 cm/20 x 5 inches with a palette knife or metal spatula. Roll the parchment up from one of the shorter ends, so the chocolate only touches parchment. Place it seam-side down on a chopping board. Repeat with the rest of the chocolate and the second piece of parchment. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes, or until needed (it will keep for up to 2 days in the fridge like this).
  3. Trim the tops of the cakes to make level if necessary. Sandwich together using 350g (12.5 oz) of the simple vegan vanilla buttercream and the cherry conserve — the bottom side of the top cake should be facing up. Place the cake on a cake board.
  4. Crumb coat the cake using 450g (1lb) of the remaining buttercream. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes, then use the remaining buttercream to coat the cake in a second layer.
  5. Unravel the chocolate parchment roll and stick the curled shards vertically to the sides of the cake.
  6. Melt the remaining chocolate in a bain marie or in the microwave in 20-second bursts. Spread out the melted chocolate in the centre of the cake and use it to stick on the fresh cherries.

Vegan Chocolate Sponge

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.
  2. Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, and mix with a spoon to combine. Make a well in the middle.
  3. Put the yoghurt into a bowl with the sunflower oil and golden/light corn syrup. Mix with a spoon until fully combined. Pour into the well of dry ingredients. Fold through with a spatula or wooden spoon until just combined or smooth.

Simple Vegan Vanilla Buttercream

  1. Place the vegan butter in a bowl with the vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons of water and a few large spoonfuls of the icing sugar.
  2. Whisk with a hand-held electric whisk until combined, then whisk in the remaining icing sugar in manageable batches until smooth and spreadable. Add another 1 tablespoon of water, if necessary.

Recipe from Va Va Voom Vegan Cakes by Angela Romeo (Ryland Peters & Small, £16.99). Photography by Clare Winfield© Ryland Peters & Small