Friday, May 19, 2023


Custard fillings might actually be my favourite type for any cake. Regardless of the layers themselves, there is something so satisfying and comforting in a good custard filling. I have spent a long time trying to refine it, and I am glad I did; because it is its own class of comfort food to me, when it comes to desserts.
I love using brownies as a cake base, especially with denser custard fillings, because I feel those textures match wonderfully. And this is a gorgeous fudge chocolate espresso brownie base, topped with smooth peppermint vanilla filling, and a rich topping of dark chocolate ganache. Such a simple, yet utterly delicious everyday little cake.
I also love using fresh mint in my desserts, however, if you do not have fresh mint or you want even more of the flavour, feel free to use a drop of two of clear peppermint extract. Make sure you taste as you add the flavouring, just so it doesn’t overpower the filling.
Do make sure you take the torte out of the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes prior to serving, as it is best served that way. And as always, with strong coffee and in good company.

For the mocha brownie base
100 grams plain flour
20 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
100 grams dark chocolate (80%)
100 millilitres boiling water
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
150 grams vegan vanilla yoghurt
100 grams dark brown sugar
40 millilitres vegetable oil
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste
For the peppermint custard filling
450 millilitres soy milk
15-20 fresh mint leaves
80 grams cornflour
100 grams granulated sugar
small pinch of turmeric
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
150 grams vegan block butter, diced
For the rich chocolate topping
100 grams dark chocolate (75%)
75 millilitres plant-based double cream

To make the custard filling, pour the majority of the soy milk into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add in the mint leaves, and let the milk come to a simmer. As soon as it starts to show wisps of steam, remove it from the heat, cover it well, and let it steep for at least 20 minutes, or until cool.
Once the milk has a wonderfully minty aroma, strain it, and return it to the stove, over medium heat. While waiting for the milk to come to a boil, whisk the reserved milk with the cornflour, sugar, turmeric, and vanilla; until blended and smooth. Once the milk comes to a boil, pour in the cornflour mixture, and cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens and resembles a custard, about 2 minutes.
Remove it from the heat, transfer it to a large bowl, and add in the vegan butter, one piece at a time, whisking constantly. When the filling is nice and blended, cover the top with cling film or a piece of baking parchment, and let it cool down to room temperature.

To make the coffee brownie base, melt the dark chocolate over low heat or in the microwave, and set it aside to cool slightly. Pour boiling water over the instant espresso granules, briefly stir, and let it cool down. Take a large bowl, add in the vegan yoghurt, oil, sugar, and the vanilla bean paste, and whisk very well. Add in the cooled coffee, as well as sifted flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt, and once again, mix briefly. Finally, add in the melted and cooled chocolate, and stir until only combined.
Line the bottom and sides of a small round baking pan (15 cm) with baking parchment, pour in the batter, and immediately bake in a preheated oven, at 180°C, for about 20 minutes. Make sure you check the brownies with a toothpick early on, to make sure they are fudgy, and not overbaked. Take them out of the oven, and let them cool in the pan.
Once the brownies are cool to the touch, and the custard is ready, whisk the cooled custard with an electric mixer on high until it becomes creamy, about a minute or two, so it is easier to spread. Place the brownie base gently onto the serving platter, close a cake ring around it, and add all of the custard on top. Level it nicely, and place it into the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
To make the chocolate topping, melt together the chopped chocolate and the double cream, either over low heat or in the microwave, and let it cool down for a few moments. Take the torte out of the refrigerator, glaze it quickly, tap the platter so it settles nicely, and return it to chill for at least 8 hours. Yields 12 servings.