Friday, December 30, 2022


I believe celebrations are in order. New beginnings, new opportunities, new doors opening, and gatherings large or small. However you celebrate, a soft chocolate cake is always welcome.
With fudgy chocolate layers, luscious raspberry filling, and a generous layer of ganache, it guarantees joy on every bite. Such a marvellous, wholesome cake, fit for any celebration.
The raspberry filling is my favourite part of the cake. Envisioned as a wonderful combination of a tangy raspberry jelly and a silky custard cream, it contrasts the rich chocolate, making the whole dessert beyond delightful.
Speaking of raspberries, you will be left with some of the fruit, as well as the seeds in the sieve, but do not discard them. Either use them in another cake recipe, or blend them up in a smoothie; they will be delicious.
This lovely cake truly is best served in thin slices, with a hearty dessert wine or a liqueur of choice, and as always, in good company.

For the chocolate fudge cake layers
360 grams plain flour
350 grams granulated sugar
30 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
2 levelled teaspoons baking soda
300 millilitres hot water
200 grams applesauce
100 millilitres vegetable oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
For the fragrant raspberry filling
500 grams raspberries, fresh or defrosted
150 grams granulated sugar
100 millilitres cold water
80 grams cornflour
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
120 grams vegan block butter, cubed
For the decoration
200 grams cooking chocolate (around 50% cocoa solids)
200 millilitres plant double cream
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Start by making the raspberry filling, as it needs a bit of time to cool down. Pass the raspberries through a fine sieve, to create a completely smooth fruit purée, and then weigh it and pour 400 grams into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, along with the sugar. Place the saucepan over medium heat, and let it slowly heat up. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cornflour, cold water, and vanilla. Once the raspberry purée starts to simmer, add in the cornflour, and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2-3 minutes, until thickened and smooth. Do be careful, as it can splatter.
Remove the cooked pudding from the stove, let it cool down for a mere minute, and add in the cubed vegan butter, whisking well after each piece. If desired, it can be additionally blended with an immersion blender. Once smooth, cover with a piece of cling film or baking parchment, and let it cool down to room temperature.
While the filling is cooling, make the cake layers.

Take a large bowl and sift in the plain flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add in the sugar and mix it through very well. Take two small round cake pans (15 cm in diameter), and line them with baking parchment, bottom and sides; and then set them aside. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients; add in the warm water, oil, vanilla, applesauce, and fresh lemon juice, and whisk until just combined.
Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans, and bake immediately in a preheated oven, at 180°C, for about 30 minutes, or until done. Check them with a toothpick, making sure they stay fudgy, and not dry. Let the cakes cool in the pan for a few minutes, and then turn them out onto a wire rack, letting them cool to room temperature.
Once the filling and the cakes are ready, proceed to assemble the cake. Level the cooled cake layers if needed, and slice each of them in half, creating four thin layers. Mix the filling with an electric mixer on high for a few minutes, until smooth and glossy, and then divide it into three equal parts by weight.
Place the first cake layer on the desired cake platter, add a cake ring around it, line it with a sheet of acetate, and tighten the ring. Spread one-third of the filling over it, and top it with another cake layer. Continue stacking until all of the filling is used up, topping the cake with the remaining cake layer. Cover the top with cling film or a piece of baking parchment to prevent the cake from drying out, and place it into the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
Once the cake is chilled and ready, make the chocolate ganache. Chop up the chocolate finely, for easier melting, and place it in a large bowl. Heat up the plant cream over medium heat until it almost comes to a boil, remove it from the stove, and quickly pour it over the chocolate. Let it stand for a minute, and then blend, with either a whisk or a spatula. Let the ganache cool down to room temperature, so it is spreadable, but still shiny.
When ready, remove the cake from the refrigerator, remove the cake ring and the acetate sheet, and decorate it with the prepared ganache, top and sides. Be generous with the frosting, as there is plenty of it. Decorate the cake further, if desired, and place it back into the refrigerator for at least an hour, then serve in thin slices with a good dessert wine. Yields 20 servings.

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