Basic Vegan Chocolate Cake

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This is THE most popular cake of all the ones I make for both children’s and grown-ups’ birthdays! It’s full of chocolate flavor, moist and very light. Don’t tell your guests it’s vegan and sugar-free, wait for their reaction, then confess! Nobody can ever tell this cake is super-healthy.
For a 28-cm/11-in. cake
450 ml/2 cups plain soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
260 g/2 cups unbleached plain/all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of/baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
60 g/2⁄3 cup cocoa powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
60 g/1⁄2 cup plain wholemeal/whole-wheat flour
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
170 g/2⁄3 cup pure maple syrup
100 g/1⁄2 cup sunflower or safflower oil
grated zest of 1 orange or lemon
125 g/6 tablespoons fruit jam
2 teaspoons rum or juice of 1⁄2 orange or lemon
28-cm/11-in. springform cake pan, baselined with parchment paper and oiled
Makes 12–15 slices
Excerpted with permission from The Vegan Baker: More than 50 delicious recipes for vegan-friendly cakes, cookies, bars and other baked treats.
PICTURED ABOVE: The Basic Chocolate Cake Recipe with Strawberries and Chocolate Frosting.

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.
Mix together the milk and vinegar in a bowl and set aside for 10 minutes.

Step 2

Sift the unbleached flour, bicarbonate of/baking soda, baking powder, cocoa and salt into a mixing bowl, then add the wholemeal/whole-wheat flour and cinnamon and mix well.

Step 3

Add the syrup (see TIP below), oil and zest to the vinegar mixture and mix well. Gently fold these into the dry ingredients with a spatula. Make sure not to mix too much, otherwise the cake might turn chewy. When everything is just incorporated, spoon the mixture into the prepared cake pan and spread evenly with the spatula.

Step 4

Bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Spring open the cake pan and allow the cake to cool completely. When the cake is cold, peel off the paper. Slice the cake in half horizontally with a large, serrated knife. You can also cut off the top if it has domed while baking and you prefer it to be flat.

Step 5

Put the jam and rum or juice in a small saucepan and heat until it comes to the boil. Spread this over both cake layers – this will make the cake moist and stop any frosting from seeping into the cake. Allow to cool. Put the lower cake layer back in the cake pan and attach the springform ring. The cake is now ready to be topped or filled.

Step 6

TIP: If you are serving the cake as it is (without a filling or frosting), add a little extra syrup to the mixture, or spread something sweet over the cake after baking.

Step 7

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