Friday, March 03, 2023

VEGAN CARAMEL NOUGAT CHOCOLATE CAKE

Traditional tall cakes, especially chocolate cakes, will always have my heart. I grew up wanting to know how to make them, and every one I make now takes me back to my childhood, where my love for all cakes began.
I love good, hearty cakes that are simple to prepare any day of the year, but when it comes to celebrations and birthdays, those are my go-to desserts. Just like this seven-layer beauty – full of chocolate, nougat, and whipped plant-based cream.
Thin and soft chocolate layers soaked in vegan caramel liqueur, creamy nougat, and rich dark chocolate, all layered up in a wholesome, tall cake, perfect for gatherings. Especially if served well chilled, with a cup of freshly brewed coffee and in good company.


Ingredients
For the chocolate cake
300 grams plain flour
10 grams cornflour
35 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
350 grams granulated sugar
450 millilitres boiling water
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
120 millilitres sunflower oil
30 millilitres apple cider vinegar
For the caramel nougat chocolate filling
450 millilitres soy milk
50 grams cornflour
50 grams plain flour
100 grams brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
150 grams vegan block butter
100 grams dark chocolate (75%)
60 grams soft vegan nougat
20 millilitres vegan caramel liqueur
For the decoration
100 millilitres plant double cream
2 tablespoons icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Preparation
Start by making the nougat chocolate filling. Pour the soy milk into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, sift in the cornflour and the plain flour, and tip in the sugar. Whisk well, place the pan over medium-high heat, and let it slowly heat up. As soon as it starts to steam, start whisking. Let it come to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2-3 minutes, until it starts resembling a chocolate custard. Remove from the heat and let it cool for a minute or so. Add in the butter, one piece at a time, whisking constantly, until incorporated. Blend in vanilla and salt, cover the top with cling film, and let it cool down to room temperature.
While the filling is cooling down, make the cake layers. Take a large bowl, and sift in the plain flour, cornflour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in the sugar and mix very well. Bring the water to a rolling boil, remove from heat, and set it aside for just a few moments. Line four small round baking pans (15 cm) with baking parchment, and set them aside.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients; add in the oil, vanilla, and the vinegar, and then the hot water. Whisk until incorporated and divide the batter between the prepared pans. Immediately bake the cakes in a preheated oven, at 180°C, for about 15-20 minutes, or until done. Check the cakes with a toothpick, making sure they do not overbake. Let the cakes cool in the pans for about 5 minutes, then turn them onto a large wire rack and let them cool down to room temperature.
When the filling is cool to the touch, melt the dark chocolate over a double boiler, and set it aside to cool. Whip the filling with an electric mixer on high, until smooth and creamy, about 2-3 minutes, until it becomes lighter. Divide the filling into two equal parts.
Add in the softened nougat and the caramel liqueur, to one half, and blend until smooth. Add the melted and cooled chocolate to the other, and mix everything together. Place the fillings into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, or until they firm up slightly. When everything is ready, start assembling the cake.
Level the cake layers if needed, and place the first one on the cake platter. Be careful, because they will be quite soft and lightly sticky. Place a cake ring around the first layer, line it with a tall sheet of acetate, and tighten the ring so it stays in place. Divide the chocolate filling into two equal parts. Spread one-half of the chocolate filling on the first cake layer, and place another cake layer on top. Spread the entire caramel nougat filling, and top it with another cake layer. Spread the remaining chocolate filling on top, and place the final cake layer, pressing down very lightly with your palms. Cover the top with cling film, and place it in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
When the cake is ready, whip the plant cream with the icing sugar to taste, and proceed with the decoration. Take the cake out of the refrigerator, remove the cake ring and the acetate, decorate as desired, and serve. Yields 16 servings.

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