Sometimes the best recipes come out of a cooking disaster. Case in point: I made the Pumpkin Cake with Hazelnut Ganache from the Millenium cookbook, and it was literally a flop. For some crazy reason I decided to add fresh figs to the cake, and it didn’t rise. Sadly, it was more like a flat pancake. But the hazelnut ganache filling was about the most delicious thing I’d ever tasted. And because the recipe called for twice as much ganache as was needed, I had a lot left.
I had guests coming for dinner, so I needed a quick solution to my dessert crisis. So I jumped online and found a foolproof vegan chocolate cake recipe courtesy of Moosewood. I spread the ganache in between two layers of the chocolate cake, and voila – I had the most decadent vegan cake in the universe. My guests loved it, and my friends at the office were blown away when I served them the leftovers the next day – no one could believe it was vegan.
One word of warning – the Moosewood cake is a bit difficult to cut into two layers. I ended up using a flexible plastic cutting board to cut through the middle and lift the layers onto the plate. An easier option would be to bake two of the chocolate cakes and use those as your layers. The recipe below if for one cake, so double it if you want to go that route. If you do, there’s no need to double the amount of ganache – this recipe makes a nice thick layer.
I have to admit, this cake certainly doesn’t qualify as health food. While it contains no butter, it’s incredibly rich and fairly high in fat due to the chocolate and hazelnuts. So this is a “special occasion” cake, to be sure. But it’s so worth the splurge.
Vegan Chocolate Cake with Chocolate-Hazelnut Ganache
(adapted from The Millenium Cookbook and Moosewood)
For the ganache:
For the cake:
1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour (I used half whole wheat pastry flour)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup organic canola oil
1 cup cold water or coffee
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
To make the ganache, grind the hazelnuts in a food processor. Add the soy/almond milk and process to thoroughly combine with the nuts. Slowly pour in the melted chocolate and process until fully blended. Place in a bowl and refrigerate for 4 hours or more. Before using the filling, let sit at room temperature for one hour.
In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients for the cake. In a smaller bowl, mix the oil, water or coffee and vanilla. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and stir with a whisk until smooth. Quickly stir in the vinegar.
Oil and flour a 9-inch spring form pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper (use the removable bottom of the pan as a template to cut your circle.) Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool completely. Remove the sides of the pan and cut the cake into two layers (see note above.) Transfer the bottom layer to a cake plate or stand, and spread the ganache on top. If the ganache is too stiff to spread, put the bowl in a hot water bath briefly. Top with the second layer of cake. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and garnish with raspberries.