Friday, January 19, 2024

VEGAN BISCOFF CHOCOLATE BROWNIE CAKE

Ever since I first tried Biscoff, I fell in love. The crunch, the spice blend, the caramel undertones... Simply a gorgeous biscuit that is wonderful on its own, even better with a cup of coffee, and simply sublime combined with chocolate.
I love this type of filling because it combines the tangy flavour and creaminess of cream cheese frosting, without adding all the icing sugar usually necessary to keep it firm to frost. It is lovely and light, and preserves that beautiful Biscoff flavour so well.
The best way I found to make the filling is by hand, with a spatula or a wooden spoon. Some brands of vegan cream cheese and the soured cream alternative can start to weep after being blended with icing sugar using an electric mixer, even on the lowest setting, so my recommendation is to simply use a spatula and blend by folding. And, of course, it is always a good idea to have a few extra Biscoff biscuits on hand, in case the filling is too soft for your liking.
I like serving this type of cake with strong coffee, to balance the richness, but it is also wonderful with a tall glass of cold milk of your choice. It is really best to serve it in thin slices, but if the slice in the photograph is still too much, feel free to divide it in half, and serve it that way.


Ingredients
For the chocolate brownie cake layers
250 grams plain flour
40 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
200 grams granulated sugar
100 grams light brown sugar
420 millilitres boiling hot water
80 millilitres vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
For the Biscoff filling
200 grams vegan cream cheese
100 grams vegan soured cream alternative
250 grams Biscoff (Lotus) cookies, finely ground
75 grams icing sugar, sifted
100 grams extra dark chocolate (85% cocoa solids), roughly grated

Preparation
Start by making the chocolate brownie layers. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Sift the flour into a large bowl, then sift in the cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix briefly, and then add in the sugars and mix very well. Line a rectangular cake pan (20x30 cm) with baking parchment, bottom and sides, and set it aside. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients; pour in the water, oil, vanilla, and the vinegar, and whisk until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake immediately in a preheated oven, at 180°C, for about 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. It is imperative not to overbake the cake, so it would be wise to check it early on. Let it cool in the pan completely.
To make the Biscoff filling, place the vegan cream cheese and vegan soured cream alternative into a large bowl, sift in the icing sugar, and blend them together with a wooden spoon or a spatula. Add in the ground or crushed Biscoff cookies and the grated chocolate, and fold it through until combined. The filling will be somewhat soft, but manageable. If you feel it is too soft to work with, add a bit more of ground Biscoff cookies.
Once everything is ready, proceed to assemble the cake. Level the cake, if necessary, and slice it in half crosswise and lengthwise, to create four thin rectangular layers. Take a spoonful or two of the filling, to use as frosting, and divide the rest into three equal parts.
Place the first cake layer onto the serving platter, close a cake form around it, line it with a strip of acetate, and spread on a portion of the filling. Continue stacking until everything is used up, and spread the reserved filling on the very top of the cake. Place it into the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
When ready to serve, remove the cake from and the acetate strip, decorate further if you like, and slice with a thin knife dipped in hot water and patted dry. Yields 9 rich servings.

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