Friday, September 29, 2023


This is the chocolate cake of my childhood. Robust walnut layers, flavoured with coffee and vanilla, and a smooth chocolate buttercream. What more can one want from a cake?
I love these traditional cakes, as they are the most reliable ones for transport and gifting. They are the most nostalgic ones to me, as well, especially with a simple decoration, and served in generous slices. This is one of my tried and true recipes, and I can proudly say that it is the first one that disappears from the serving platters.
The buttercream is wonderful, incredibly rich and deeply chocolaty; however, depending on the type of cocoa powder and chocolate you use, it may get too firm after refrigeration. That can easily be solved by adding a splash of vegan double cream or even a generous spoonful of apricot or smooth plum jam.
And speaking of the richness, I used an 80% cocoa bar with no sugar added, so if you do the same, taste the buttercream and adjust the level of sweetness to your liking. This applies even more if the cake is for the little ones, as they do not really enjoy those deeply chocolate, almost bitter notes.

For the walnut cake layers
220 grams plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
90 grams ground walnuts, toasted
120 grams granulated sugar
small pinch of salt
400 millilitres hot water
45 millilitres vegetable oil
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
120 grams jam
1 heaping teaspoon vanilla bean paste
For the chocolate fudge filling
250 grams vegan block butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
150 grams icing sugar, sifted
20 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
150 grams dark chocolate (80% cocoa)

To make the walnut cake layers, sift the flour, baking powder, and baking soda into a large bowl. Add in the ground walnuts, salt, and sugar, whisk well, and set it aside. Add the jam into a large bowl, add in the water, oil, coffee, and vanilla, and whisk until the jam completely dissolves. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients, and whisk until only combined.
Prepare four small round baking tins (15 cm) by lining them with baking parchment, bottom and sides. Divide the batter into four equal parts by weight, pour each of them into a baking tin, tap it lightly on the counter, and level it as much as possible. Bake them in a preheated oven, at 180°C, for about 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the very centre comes out clean. The cakes will be very soft, so let them cool in the baking tins completely.
While the cakes are almost completely cool, make the buttercream filling. Melt the chocolate over low heat or in a double boiler, and set it aside to cool down to room temperature, making sure it is still pourable. 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. Sift in the icing sugar and the unsweetened cocoa powder, and blend it very well.

Finally, when the buttercream is almost ready, add in the melted and cooled chocolate while the mixer is running, stopping to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Once the batter is blended well, 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 once more until light and creamy. If it seems too thick to spread, which can happen depending on the cocoa powder and chocolate used, add in a bit of vegan double cream and blend well. Set aside about a third of the filling to use for the decoration, and divide the rest into three equal parts.
Place the first cake layer on the serving platter, add a layer of acetate around it, and close a cake ring tightly. Spread a portion of the filling on top; add another cake layer, another portion of the buttercream, and continue stacking until all the cake layers are used up. Place a piece of baking parchment or some cling film on the very top of the cake and place it into the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, along with the reserved buttercream in a sealed container.
When the cake is ready, remove it from the refrigerator, remove the cake ring and the acetate, and whip the buttercream once more, to make it spreadable. Decorate the cake to your liking and serve. Yields 16 rich servings.