This cake…is just too heavenly. I’m usually 99% for health and healthy eating, but yikes, some days I get a blast of the sadness or my brain just decides to plonk itself in the middle of my soul like a naughty child at the supermarket and will not budge until I feed it sugar and other destructive little treats. Well, this treat isn’t completely destructive, happens to be deliciously gluten-free, AND is a successful veganization of one of my favourite cakes ever! After just one bite of this I had a restoration of calm I haven’t felt in a while, and suddenly everything seemed manageable. There may be better ways to deal with stress, but this is my human approach. I’m not perfect, and this cake makes me happy that I’m a sucker for indulgence!
I love my in-laws, and it’s always fun visiting with them. They know how to relax, enjoy life, and, more importantly, they are some of the few guinea pigs I have for testing out recipes. All of them bake and cook fantastically, from rusks to potjie kos to eggplant stews (although I have yet to sample my sister in law’s future Man-thing’s cooking (Hint, hint, Foxtrot!)). They are so incredibly adventurous and have taken my whole vegan thing in stride, experimenting with vegan bobotie (which must have felt rather sacrilegious) and other goods. Just because I’m vegan, however, it doesn’t mean I don’t miss the food of theirs I indulged in as a vegetarian, and the one that has been tormenting my memory has been the family recipe for a chocolate pudding cake.
One of the first times I went over to Man-thing’s house when we had just met and become friends was to watch him play Warhammer (seriously), and my SIL, Rikke, made a wonderful veg lasagna, and then there was this utterly divine, mouth-watering, hold-me-back pudding cake that defied science and my self-control. It’s the sort of thing where you offer to clean up the dishes just so that you can scamper into the kitchen and quickly eat out the baking dish (if there’s anything left!). Is it any surprise I snapped him up?
I’ve wanted to veganize this family chocolate pudding cake for so long, because it is such a fun and easy cake to make, and looks all shiny and professional when you pour the cake layer over the pudding part and it somehow just becomes this beastly creation that demands to be feasted upon. I tried to bake it when my oven was broken and it came out flatter than a pancake, so this time round I made even more changes than simply just veganizing it, because I figured that if it didn’t work it wouldn’t be a train smash, and if it did work, we would be in heaven. I think I can call this successful enough to arrange a visit with my in-laws so I can test it on them (minus the ginger) – they are the real audience of this cake, after all. 🙂
I tested this cake out on my dad and co today, since every time I make a cake with actual sugar I feel the need to share just so that my dad doesn’t forever associate my baking with peanut butter frosting (which he loathes with passion!). I sent belated instructions on munching this cake a bit warm but by that time they’d apparently already had some and there were no qualms, which is always a relief.
I must admit I didn’t follow my own instructions at all and the cake came out fine (I pre-mixed my sugar into the dry ingredients by accident), but I’ll still give the official version below, because that’s technically what one should look at :p Before reading the recipe be warned the sauce should be made in advance! You are welcome to swop the date syrup for 1 cup of sugar, but I honestly try and cut out as much refined stuff as possible, so whilst I didn’t manage to cut out sugar altogether from the cake itself I was UBER chuffed that the syrup worked wonderfully in the sauce. Each to his own, however, especially if you’re low on time. Cakes like this aren’t for every day, so if you’re going to make it all with sugar then don’t wallow in guilt – eat and be merry, lick the plate and then soak up the joy! 🙂
Ingredients (serves 8 – 10):
- 2 vegan powdered eggs (NOT a flax or chia egg) – I use the Organ brand
- 1 TBSP canola oil
- 3/4 non-dairy milk
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup brown rice flour
- 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
- 1/2 cup sugar (I used brown vegan unrefined sugar)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp vanilla essence/1 dropper NuNaturals Vanilla NuStevia
- lots of cinnamon
- 1 cup dates, soaked
- 1.5 cups boiling water
- 1 TBSP cacao/carob
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- pinch salt
- generous heaping of ginger powder spice
Jazzy chocolate top:
- 2 TBSP carob chunks
- generous heaping of ginger powder spice
- You will first need to make the date syrup using the water and dates- I recommend even the day before if you’re low on time. The date syrup recipe comes from Wing it Vegan and is just awesomesauce! I soaked my dates for at least 8 hours beforehand to cut down on the cooking time, and upped the temperature of my stove. Be very vigilant when making any changes, however – you don’t want to end up with burnt up crispy date syrup!
- Preheat the oven to 180 and spray a rectangular 25cm x 15cm pyrex dish or a round 25cm dish.
- Whisk/mix up your vegan eggs in a small cup then transfer to a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
- Add your apple cider vinegar to the non-dairy milk, stir, and set aside to curdle.
- Back to your mixing bowl, add the sugar slowly to the vegan eggs whilst mixing with an electric hand mixer.
- Add the oil and mix.
- Mix in your non-dairy milk and then your dry ingredients, a quarter of the dry mix at the time, continually blending with the mixer. The end result should be drippy (not wet/sloshy), and should flow down from your mixer in thick ribbons). The moment it’s mixed stop! Don’t over-mix. If you feel it needs more liquid add non-dairy milk one TBSP at a time – GF flours can suck the dough dry, but don’t let it get too sloppy.
- Spoon/pour out your date syrup into the pyrex dish and add the rest of your sauce ingredients. Use the back of a tablespoon to make sure the syrup is dissolved by the boiling water.
- Pour the cake dough on top of the chocolate liquid – move yourself around it so that it pours evenly all round. It will sink below the chocolate liquid and then rise up again. Rawr!
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden on top. The middle of the cake may be a bit squishier than the sides – just let it bake a little more under supervision to the point where you can sort of give a firmish pat on top.
- If you want to test whether it’s ready put a toothpick in just a little – obviously once you hit the chocolate sensation it is naturally gooey – the delight of the cake!
- Once the cake is out melt the carob and mix it with the ginger – drizzle it over the cake. This is optional but more chocolate never hurts! 😀
- Let the cake cool slightly but not completely – this is best served warm!
I just wanted to share the following two snaps to show you the cake is NOT pretty when assembling, but this is perfectly normal. As you pour the cake batter over the liquid it will bob up and down. When it bakes the sauce and cake will stay separate, so don’t stress.
It may look horrifying but I am SO glad I managed to make this gluten-free. If you use 1 cup of normal cake wheat or all-purpose flour instead then it will come out a bit differently (but still delicious!).
Fork and spoon? I never know how to eat this cake, because there’s the proper vibes on top and then this saucy goodness underneath. My immediate reaction is to simply go large and stuff my face into the serving bowl, but since that is not conducive to sharing I guess having all implements at hand means you won’t have to waste a crumb or drop of pudding!
The trick is to scoop up as much of the bottom gorgeousness as possible – as suggested, adding more boiling water (up to 2 cups, if you so desire) will great a much more of a liquid goo, as opposed to this almost sticky goo, but either way it’s delicious and there’s no arguing with the power of NOM (especially when it happens to help you feel better!).
Squishy, squashy, indulgent, flavourful…mmmm! I really love the ginger in this – it gives the whole dish a kick, and if you really wanted to you could add some blackstrap molasses to the mix as well and really transform this into a gingerbread chocolate pudding cake (which is my kind of gloriousness).
I’m afraid these photos don’t do the cake justice at all – I was getting so frustrated moving around trying to chase light in the small cramped spaces where it exists in our house. I’m SO looking forward to moving so that I can have a whole room to move around in and be able to plate much better. At present I have less than 1x1m of actual space to take snaps of my photos, which is why you always get these intense close-ups with just a smattering of background. Still, it’s amazing to think of what one can do in such a small space and to be grateful for it, especially on the cusp of bigger things! The same applies to one’s general life, I guess – to take moments to appreciate small aspects of life that make the crazy bearable. I can’t wait to share this with the in-laws – they definitely make all things worthwhile…and a little cake doesn’t hurt either! 😉
What is your favourite family recipe? Is it vegan or do you think it could be veganized?