Chocolate cake, layered with chocolate mousse, topped with chocolate ganache and white chocolate curls, yes, all vegan!
Phew, this might just be my most mammoth blog post ever! It was my son's 8th birthday yesterday and I've been thinking what kind of cake to do him for awhile now. Ever since his epic vegan burger cake from last year it's been kinda hard to think of things that can top it! I had intended to do something else 'fun' with fondant, like the burger cake, but first couldn't find the coloured fondant I used last year; then when I did find it noticed that they changed companies and that it was not only no longer vegan friendly but not even vegetarian!! This didn't make it impossible, I would have to buy ready made plain fondant and colour it myself with vegan colours, but I really wasn't into doing that! So......I decided to just make him a regular cake but make it rather extravagant, all chocolate, uber-rich and over the top. After all, if anyone can have no problem eating so much sugar, it's an 8 year old ;)
This is basically a combination of two types of cakes I've already done. The cake itself is really just the 'wacky cake' that's out there and the one I used in my quadruple layer chocolate cake, and the mousse filling and ganache topping taken from my chocolate mousse dome cake . I then decided to have a go and making some white chocolate curls to decorate the top. It was my first time making curls, and I love that I had to buy a cheese slice to make them! They turned out ok, some looked better than others as it was so dependent on the chocolate being just soft enough, but looked the part in the end :) This took me 2 days to make but I really could have done with 3!! So if you fancy having a go here are the step by step instructions:
375g plain flour
300g caster sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
60g unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tsp vanilla extract
160ml vegetable oil
2 Tbsp vinegar
480ml cold water
Preheat oven to 180C / 350F and line the bottom of a high sided 7 or 8" non stick cake pan with a removable bottom or springform sides. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix together all the liquid ingredients separately. Make a well into the dry and add the liquid and whisk until it all just comes together. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour 10 minutes. This cake normally just takes half an hour to cook, but as this recipe is doubled and being cooked in 1 pan, not 2, it takes a lot longer to cook. I had to cover it with foil after 1/2 hour to ensure it didn't over cook on top and had to keep checking it with a toothpick. Remove from the oven, place on a wire rack and let fully cool in the pan. Best to leave it overnight.
Next day, remove it from the pan and if you have to, slice the top off so that you have an even cake. Although my top wasn't even I chose not too slice it off, with that crevice I ended up with I would have had to cut too much off, and it was sitting even enough so I didn't worry about it.
Chocolate Mousse Layers:
300g dark vegan chocolate
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp icing sugar
300ml soya whipping cream, in a carton, chilled
3 Tbsp Kahlua, yup, in my child's cake....oh the shame!
Melt the chocolate and set aside to get to room temperature. Whisk up the whipping cream with the icing sugar until light and airy. When the chocolate is still melted but no longer hot and more or less similar in temperature to the cream, whisk it in quickly. It's important to do this fast so that the chocolate doesn't seize up, it will also seize up if the temperature difference between the two is too great. Next whisk in the vanilla and Kahlua.
Take the pan that you baked the cake in and fully line it in cling film.
Spoon over half the mousse and level it out. Place the middle slice of cake over top the mousse, then add the other half of the mousse.
Now place the bottom slice of cake on top, or whatever slice has the smoothest top for you as this will be the top which you want as flat as possible. Wrap the excess cling film over the top, gently press down to get out any bubbles in the mousse, and add more cling film if necessary to fully cover the cake.
When set, remove from the fridge and gently pull it out of the cake pan by the cling film.
You may notice some of the mousse sticks out a bit more than the cake. If it does take a palette knife and smooth the mousse all around so that it's nice and even.
200g dark vegan chocolate
170 ml soy or oat cream
20g extra virgin coconut oil, in the solid state, or a vegetable fat like trex
2 tsp kahlua (again!)
Finely chop the chocolate and place in a large bowl. In a small saucepan heat up the cream and fat until it melts and it all just comes to the boil. Quickly pour over the chocolate, leave it a few seconds then whisk it up until smooth and glossy. Whisk in the kahlua. Leave it out at room temperature, stirring now and again until it thickens up slightly. It will be too runny to pour over the cake right away, you want it pourable but thick enough that it will coat the cake nicely.
When it's ready, place the cake on a wire rack with some baking paper underneath to catch any drips. Now simply pour the ganache all over the top and using a palette knife push it over the sides and around the cake. When it is all covered check for any missing bits, or lumps and smooth it out. The ganache does start to set quite quickly, if it gets a bit too thick on the cake you can dip your finger in some warm water to smooth out any lumps or bumps.
White Chocolate Curls:
You will only use about 100g of white chocolate for the cake, but you will need to melt about 300g in order to make the curls.
300g vegan white chocolate buttons
Melt the buttons in the microwave until smooth. Pour into a flat pan with small sides in a rectangular shape that you will be able to run a cheese slice over to get curls. I used a jelly roll pan but made it smaller with some foil, otherwise it would have needed even more chocolate to fill up!
Pop this into the fridge to harden. To make the curls you will need to bring this back up to room temperature, if the chocolate is too hard you won't get curls, just shavings, and if it's too soft your curls will be too thick. You can see in my pictures that I ended up with both those and some just right - it's all experimental!! You simply run the cheese slice over the surface with good, even pressure, try a few and you'll soon realize how much pressure to use and how soft the chocolate will need to be.
Once your curls are made simply place on top of your cake in whatever design you like. I opted for a circular fashion but I'm sure they would have looked good just piled on on top :) It's also best to place these on while the ganache is still soft so that they have something to stick too.
Then, that's it! Two or three days later, your done! Now, servings, we first cut this into 12ths but found as it's so rich and sweet that they were too big, so 16th's or more would be best - the smaller the better really ;) Keep in the fridge and bring slices to room temperature before serving.
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