Friday, April 07, 2023


If there is one thing that I will always enjoy to the fullest, that is making caramel. Whether it’s caramel milk, caramel custard, or a wholesome caramel sauce, I absolutely love making it.
And even though caramel can be cooked using a thermometer, I usually go by colour and fragrance. As soon as it becomes that wonderfully glistening shade of deep amber, it is ready.
This lovely no-bake delight is a prime example of a dessert that is quite simple to make, yet absolutely delicious. It is one of my cakes that is the first one to disappear from the serving platter. Essentially, it is a custard cake, layered with plenty of cream and biscuits. Something I have always enjoyed preparing and sampling, to be completely honest.
And although I usually recommend placing desserts briefly in the freezer before serving, this one truly benefits a lot from simply being refrigerated, as the biscuits can get too dry when frozen. Simply chill it very well, overnight is best, and serve with a strong coffee of your choice.

For the caramel filling
500 millilitres soy milk
80 grams cornflour
120 grams granulated sugar
150 grams vegan block butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon dark rum
For the assembly
200 millilitres plant-based double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 tablespoons icing sugar, sifted
27 pieces vegan cocoa biscuits, around 250 grams, square is best
200 millilitres soy milk, lukewarm

To make the rich caramel filling, start by taking away about 100 millilitres of soy milk, and whisking it very well with sifted cornflour. Set it aside, and whisk it gently from time to time. Add the sugar into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, place it over medium heat, and let the sugar melt slowly. Do not rush this process, because it can take some time for the sugar to start melting. Once it starts to brown around the edges, slowly move the melted parts towards the centre.
Keep cooking the sugar on medium heat until it starts to turn dark in colour and become very fragrant. As soon as it becomes a deep amber colour, very carefully pour in the larger portion of the soy milk, and let it come to a boil. The cooked caramel will harden, and that is fine, as it will completely melt into the milk by the time it starts boiling.
Once it comes to a boil and all the caramel is melted, whisk the cornflour mixture once more, and add it to the caramel milk. Cook, stirring constantly, about 2-3 minutes, until it thickens up and becomes a rich custard. Remove it from the heat and immediately strain it through a mesh strainer, in case there are still pieces of hardened caramel. Cover the top cling film or a piece of baking parchment, and let it cool down to room temperature.

When the custard is ready, take a large bowl, pour in the plant double cream, add in the icing sugar and the vanilla, and whip until stiff peaks form. Set it aside or in the refrigerator. Take another large bowl, add in the room temperature vegan butter, and mix with an electric mixer on high, until very light and creamy, almost resembling a buttercream, about 3-4 minutes. Briefly mix the cooled custard, so it is easier to blend. Without stopping the mixer, add the cooled custard, a spoonful at a time, to the vegan butter, until completely combined. Add in the vanilla and rum, and blend again.
To assemble the cake, line a small rectangular cake tin (18x18 cm), ideally with a removable bottom, with cling film or baking parchment, for easier serving later on. Pour the lukewarm soy milk into a container that you find most convenient for dipping the biscuits.
Divide the biscuits into three equal parts, three groups of nine biscuits, and dip the first part into the milk briefly, then place them on the bottom of the tin. Spread half of the caramel filling over the biscuits gently, and then top with almost half of the whipped cream. Reserve a few tablespoons for the top of the cake, if you wish. Dip the next batch of biscuits into the milk, and place them onto the cream, pressing down very lightly. Repeat the same steps with the filling and whipped cream, then top the cake with the last remaining biscuits dipped in soy milk.
Cover the top with cling film, to prevent the cake from drying out, and place the cake into the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight. When you are ready to serve, remove the cling film, remove the cake from the tin, top with the reserved whipped cream, and serve. Yields 9 rich servings.