Friday, January 14, 2022


As much as I adore cakes that come together very quickly, sometimes I do take great pleasure in planning and making a cake. Like a little indulging ritual, almost.
This little coffee cake is a beautiful miniature version of a standard coffee cake, generously soaked with double chocolate syrup, and abundantly topped with dark chocolate shavings. A lovely way to end any meal, or start any brunch.
Whenever there is a mousse filling or a topping, there has to be some planning involved. It is only natural, as mousses, particularly the ones I make, rely on being very well chilled and very nicely whipped.
This cake is ready to serve as soon as the mousse sets, really; however, I find it the best and the most delicious, the next day. All of the flavours get a chance to develop, and the syrup is completely absorbed. Pure bliss.
At this point, it does go without saying, but this cake is fantastic when slightly frozen, especially with a small cup of espresso.

For the vegan chocolate cake
120 grams plain flour
30 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
small pinch of salt
200 grams light brown sugar
50 grams dark chocolate (60% cocoa solids), grated
250 millilitres boiling water
50 millilitres vegetable oil
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste
For the chocolate syrup
120 ml cold water
60 grams granulated sugar
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
50 grams extra dark chocolate (80% cocoa solids), grated
For the chocolate coffee mousse
100 grams dark chocolate (60% cocoa solids), divided
120 millilitres plant double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

Start by making the chocolate coffee mousse filling, as it will require quite a bit of chilling. Grate 50 grams of the chocolate for the decoration, and set it aside. Melt the remaining chocolate in a double boiler, add the espresso powder and the vanilla, mix well, and gradually add the cream, mixing with a spatula constantly. It will take a bit of time to, but be patient. Once combined, remove it from the heat, let it cool down slightly, and then place it in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Next, make the chocolate syrup. Pour the water into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add in the sugar, vanilla, and the cocoa powder, and whisk to combine. Place the saucepan over high heat, bring to a rolling boil, and cook for exactly three minutes, then remove from the heat. Add in the grated chocolate, mix well, and set aside.
To make the chocolate cake, star by sifting the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, espresso powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add in the sugar and the grated chocolate, and whisk very well. Take a medium bowl, pour in the boiling hot water, vegetable oil, vinegar, and vanilla, and whisk really well. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry, and whisk until incorporated.

Line a small loaf pan (10x20cm) with baking parchment, bottom and sides, pour in the batter, and bake immediately in a preheated oven, at 180°C, for about 15-20 minutes. As every oven is different, check it for doneness with a toothpick, making sure it is not overbaked. Carefully poke tiny holes in the baked cake, with either a fork or a toothpick, and pour the syrup all over it. Shake the pan gently, and let the cake cool down to room temperature, and the place it into the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
Once the chocolate coffee mousse is ready to be whipped, take it out of the refrigerator, and start mixing with an electric mixer on medium, for about 30 seconds, then turn the speed up to high, and whip until firm peaks form. Once firm peaks form, the mousse is ready.
Carefully turn the cake out onto a serving platter, remove the baking parchment, and top with the whipped mousse, either with a spoon, or by piping it on. Generously top with the reserved dark chocolate, and serve immediately. Yields 6 servings.