Vegan and Gluten-Free Forest Fruit Chocolate Cake

Love forest fruits? Love chocolate? I’m right with you. Combining these two great ingredients is something I’ve wanted to try for a while. There’s something very dark and earthy about it; a slight bitterness to the fruit that is deeply pleasant in combination with its indulgent chocolate surroundings. Harmonious, yet contrasting enough to arouse the pallet’s interest. This is a cake for the cooler seasons; something to cosy up to as the nights draw in and the air outside becomes crisp and damp. Due to the wet fruit content, this cake needs to be cooked a little longer than some others, and it is best to cover it so that the top doesn’t burn and dry out. For that I have used greaseproof paper and tin foil to act as a lid. This is done for the first hour, before removing for the last 15 or 20 minutes of cooking.


Prep time: 30 minutes. Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes, plus cooling time.

Makes 1 x 9 inch cake

Ingredients:

For the cake mix:

  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 4 tbsp cold water
  • 400g vegan margarine, softened
  • 400g unrefined castor sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 400g buckwheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 100g dark chocolate, melted
  • 250g frozen forest fruits, thawed and drained with as much moisture squeezed out as possible (reserve the liquid for the filling)
  • 50ml almond milk

For the compote filling:

  • 250g frozen forest fruits, thawed. Liquid reserved.
  • 150g sugar

For the cake topping:

  • 200g dark chocolate, melted
  • 50g vegan margarine
  • 150ml vegan cream
  • 50g grated dark chocolate
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar.

Preheat the oven the gas 4/180C/350F and grease two 9 inch, loose-bottomed cake tins. Line the bottom of the tins with greaseproof paper. Make a second circle of greaseproof paper for the top of each tin and do the same with tin foil. You should have 6 rounds in total, 4 greaseproof and 2 tin foil.

First make the cake mix. Put the chia seeds and the cold water together in a small bowl and leave for 10 minutes until it becomes a thick and gloopy mixture. Put the margarine and castor sugar into a mixing bowl and cream with an electric whisk until you have a light, fluffy mixture. Once this is done mix in the chia seeds and the vanilla extract. In a separate bowl sift the flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa powder together and then add to the wet cake mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until fully combined. Make sure your melted chocolate has cooled and then add it to the cake mixture along with the thawed fruit and almond milk. Mix thoroughly.

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Divide the mixture between the two cake tins, then put the greaseproof paper lids onto each, followed by the tin foil lids. Cook in the bottom of the oven for 1 hour, then remove the lids and cook for another 15 minutes or so, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

While the cakes are cooking make your compote. Put the 250g of forest fruit, plus any draining liquid you have left over from thawing. Add the sugar and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes until it has a thick, jam-like consistency. Set aside to cool.

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Once your cakes are cooked take them out of the oven and leave them in their tins for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack. Leave to cool for about an hour.

When you are ready to assemble the cake make the topping. Remember that it will set quickly so only make it when you are ready to put it on the cake. In a bowl, mix the melted chocolate with the vegan margarine and leave to cool for a few minutes. Once it is cool to the touch, whisk in your cream. It will start to thicken immediately.

To assemble the cake, spread your compote onto the top of one cake and then place the other cake on top of that. Spoon the chocolate topping on top of the assembled cake and use a pallet knife to spread it over the top and sides. Unless you’re a dab hand this will be tricky, but try to get it as even as you can. Leave to set for 10 minutes and then sprinkle the grated chocolate over the top. Dust with icing sugar when you are ready to serve. You can add some frozen fruit for decoration here if you like as well.


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