Friday, August 04, 2023


When I was young, cakes were only made on special occasions, such as birthdays, and this is one of the cakes that would be made on one of those events. Plenty of chocolate and plenty of walnuts and hazelnuts, the true sign of a lavish celebratory cake.
I didn’t care much about walnut cakes back then, quite possibly as almost every cake was a combination of walnuts and chocolate, but I do love them now. Especially in a blend with toasted hazelnuts, and just a hint of strong coffee.
Soft and fudgy chocolate cake layers and a robust filling make for a rich, gorgeous cake fit for a special occasion. Or just an everyday cake, with a cup of freshly brewed coffee and in good company.
On a final note, depending on your biscuits, as some can be a tad dry, you may need a bit more of the orange juice. Do not hesitate to add a tablespoon or two more, so the filling is smooth and easily spreadable, because if it is too dry and stiff, it will drag cake crumbs with it as you spread.

For the chocolate cake layers
240 grams flour
35 grams cocoa
1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon instant espresso big pinch of salt
300 millilitres warm water
200 grams dandelion honey
70 millilitres oil
3 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
20 millilitres vinegar
For the cookie buttercream
125 grams vegan block butter
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
50 grams icing sugar
150 grams finely ground vegan vanilla biscuit crumbs
150 millilitres fresh orange juice
50 grams toasted hazelnuts, ground
50 grams toasted walnuts, ground
For the decoration
100 grams dark chocolate (70%)
30 millilitres sunflower oil

Start by making the fudge cake layers. Take a large bowl and sift in the plain flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, instant espresso powder, and salt. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients; add in the warm water, dandelion honey, oil, vanilla, and vinegar, and whisk until just combined.
Line three small round cake pans (15 cm) with baking parchment, bottom and sides, and set them aside. Pour the batter into the prepared pans, tap them lightly to pop any remaining air bubbles, and immediately bake in a preheated oven, at 180°C, for about 10-12 minutes, or until done. Check the cakes with a toothpick, making sure they are fudgy and not dried out. Let them cool in the pans completely.
While the cakes are cooling, make the buttercream filling. Place the softened vegan block butter into a large bowl, add in the vanilla, and mix with an electric mixer on high for about 2-3 minutes, or until lighter in colour and creamy. Add in the icing sugar, and blend it very well. To that, add the fine cookie (biscuit) crumbs, and mix on the lowest setting until somewhat combined.
Start adding the fresh orange juice in a thin stream while the mixer is running, stopping to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Once the batter is blended well, add in the ground hazelnuts and walnuts, and blend once more. The buttercream may look a touch soft, but that is fine. Place the bowl into the refrigerator for the buttercream to chill while the cakes are cooling.
Once everything is ready, proceed to assemble the cake. Level the cake layers if needed and whip the buttercream until light and creamy. If it seems too thick to spread, which can happen if your biscuits were on the drier side, add a bit more of the orange juice, and blend well. Take 2-3 spoonfuls of the buttercream and place them into a separate bowl, and divide the rest into two equal parts by weight.
Place the first cake layer on the serving platter, add a layer of acetate around it, and close a cake ring tightly. Spread half of the filling on top; add another cake layer, the rest of the buttercream, and the final cake layer. Spread the reserved filling on top of the very top of the cake and place it into the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
When you are ready to serve, remove the cake ring and the acetate, and let the cake stand for about 15 minutes at room temperature. Meanwhile, melt together the dark chocolate and the oil, and let it cool down slightly, so the chocolate is still pourable. Slice the cake into individual servings, and glaze each one with the melted chocolate. Yields 16 servings.

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