Friday, December 10, 2021


Mint and chocolate are one of those classic pairings that are fantastic no matter the type of dessert they embellish. I especially love it as a cake flavour, with soft, fudgy layers, smooth filling, and a slightly crunchy chocolate topping.
Because this cake is meant to be very moist and tender, do be careful when baking, so it does not dry out. Bake the layers only until the centre stops wobbling, and the toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. That will ensure the layers are perfect for the velvety mint filling.
If you can find a good vegan mint liqueur, or even mint vodka, feel free to add a splash to the filling once it is cool. However, if you are serving the cake to the little ones, do omit it, of course.
On another note, the mint extract. I find the cake delightful just with the pleasant mint flavour from the tea. If you wish, you can most certainly add a few drops of mint flavouring, but make sure you add them in gradually. My seasoned advice is to add a drop or two, blend it well, taste, and adjust. There is a very thin line between a pleasant mint aftertaste and bitterness from too much extract.
The decoration can be as lavish or as modest as you like. I have kept it quite humble, as I find that a bit of whipped cream and a generous drizzle of dark chocolate is all this cake needs to shine. Do decorate it, however, in a way that makes you happy, serve it with a cup of coffee, and enjoy.

For the fudgy chocolate cake
350 grams plain flour
2 tablespoons cornflour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
30 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
250 grams brown sugar
500 millilitres warm water
100 millilitres vegetable oil
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
For the creamy mint filling
400 millilitres water
20 fresh mint leaves
150 grams brown sugar
40 grams cornflour
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
75 grams vegan block butter, unsalted
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
vegan mint extract, to taste
green vegan food colouring, optional
For the decoration
100 millilitres plant double cream
50 grams cooking chocolate (50% cocoa solids)
½ teaspoon vegan mint extract, optional

To make the chocolate fudge cake layers, take a large bowl and sift in the plain flour, cornflour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add in the sugar and mix very well. Line two small (15 cm) round baking pans with baking parchment, and set them aside. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, pour in the warm water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla, and whisk until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans, and bake immediately, in a nicely preheated oven, at 180°C, for about 12-15 minutes, or until done. Check them with a toothpick, making sure they are fudgy, and not dry. Let them cool in the pans for a few minutes, and then turn them out onto a wire rack and let them cool to room temperature.
While the cakes are cooling, make the fresh mint filling. Bring the water to a rapid boil, remove from the heat, and add the fresh mint leaves. Cover with a lid or a larger saucer and let it steep for about 5-7 minutes. Pour the brewed tea into a larger saucepan or a pot, add in the sugar, cornflour, and vanilla, and mix well.
Place the saucepan over medium heat, and let it come to a simmer. As soon as it does start simmering, start whisking, and cook for about 2 minutes, until it starts resembling a glossy pudding. Remove from the heat and let it cool for a minute or two. Add in the butter, one piece at a time, whisking constantly, until incorporated. This can be done by either a whisk or a hand-held mixer. Cover the top with cling film or a piece of baking parchment, and let it cool down to room temperature.
When the filling is cool to the touch, mix it with an electric mixer on high, until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add in the lemon juice, and blend again. At this point, taste the filling and decide if you would like to add the mint flavouring and perhaps a drop of food colouring, as well. Once everything is ready, start assembling the cake.
Level the cake layers if needed, and place the first one on the cake platter. Be additionally careful with them, because they will be quite soft and perhaps lightly sticky. Place a cake ring around the first layer, line it with a sheet of acetate, and tighten the ring so it stays in place. Add the filling and level it gently, and place the other cake layer on top. Cover the top with cling film, and place it in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
Just before serving, whip melt the chocolate, either over very low heat or in the microwave, and let it cool down slightly. Whip up the double cream, with or without the mint extract, and decorate the cake as desired. Finally, pour the melted and cooled chocolate over the cake, and place it back into the refrigerator. Serve well chilled. Yields 16 servings. © Tina Vesić 2021