As promised, here are the pictures and recipe for Jonathan's birthday cake, a vegan double chocolate torte created by Angela Liddon of OhSheGlows. You've probably already seen the video of my attempts to recreate this recipe, wherein I was attacked by an avocado stone and couldn't find the bottom part of my spring-form tin so I had to use a casserole dish instead...yeah. While all the while wearing my "Anna, Regina della Cucina" apron? If not, I definitely recommend that you do watch it. It will give you a far better idea of exactly how much effort went into baking this cake, oh excuse me...torte. These pictures make it look easy!
Step 1. I preheated the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. In a large and preferably pink baking bowl, I mixed the dry ingredients (plain flour, caster sugar, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and arrowroot) until they're blended together. Angela recommended spelt flour but I have no clue what that is, and seeing as I had just purchased a ginormous bag of plain regular white flour I felt I may as well finish that off first. She also recommended mixing something called "Sucanat" with the sugar. Yeah, again...no idea. I did however manage to source this mysterious arrowroot in good old Tesco! It was surprisingly easy to find.
Step 2. In a smaller bowl, I whisked the wet ingredients (maple syrup, almond milk and hazelnut oil). Angela recommends canola oil but I couldn't find this anywhere! So being utterly clueless about the whole thing, I decided to substitute it with hazelnut oil instead...the word "NUTELLA" flashing in my brain. It turns out you can't actually taste the hazelnut in the finished cake at all and hazelnut oil is a hefty €4.99 for a tiny 250ml bottle. Poo! :(
Step 3. I added the wet ingredients to dry. I mixed it until it looked something like the above picture. This smelled absolutely DIVINE. I could have eaten it all right there and then...but of course, I didn't. Otherwise Jonathan wouldn't have been very happy with a bottomless
cake torte! Seriously though, it smells like a rather large and delicious uncooked brownie. Mmm...
Step 4. I spread the entire mixture into a casserole dish. I'm not even sure that my cake tin would have worked with this because Angela's recipe calls for a 10 inch tin and mine is quite small. So in my case, the dish worked better but of course a springform cake tin would be ideal because you can pop it out and it won't get stuck or anything. You will also need to wet the dough while you're spreading it because otherwise it just won't work (it's very sticky). I wet my spoons with boiling water and this made the spreading very easy! I then baked this in the oven for 25 minutes.
Step 5. To make the filling, I blended 4 avocados, maple syrup, almond milk, peanut butter, arrowroot, salt, vanilla extract and cocoa powder in my TINY blender which to my surprise, actually held everything and blended it pretty well! I then melted chocolate chips (dark, not milk!) on the stove and added them to the filling, then blended it again.
Step 6. When the base was done, I left it out for about 5-10 minutes to cool and then spread the entire topping/filling all over it with a spatula. I then set it in the freezer for 2 hours and transferred it to the fridge which is where it stayed until served! Angela says that the avocado taste is only really noticeable if served at room temperature and it is best served chilled.
My mom, two sisters, Jonathan and I all sampled the torte later that evening and the reaction I got was very positive. My only gripe with it was that I felt I could taste the avocado even when chilled...and that put me off it a little bit. However the texture was deliciously creamy and I adored the brownie bottom! My mom hates avocado but she loved both the topping and base, my sister Emma (who is a qualified baker!) also really liked it, Erika isn't a huge fan of cakes/desserts at all so she had a very small slice but seemed to enjoy it and Jonathan loved the filling and left most of his base...LOL. This is typical of him though, whenever he eats cheesecake he always leaves the base part...he's just a fusspot like that!
One thing I really liked about this dessert is that although it looks and seems very rich and heavy, in fact it's really light and doesn't make you feel like a beached whale after eating too much of it (which of course I did!). This was obviously due to the lack of dairy. I must admit that cutting out dairy products in general seems to be one of the best things I've done! There are plenty of cheeses I still eat such as goat cheese, feta cheese, pecorino (made from sheep), mozzarella (buffalo) etc. I definitely feel a lot better for it and would recommend it to anybody who is thinking about it!
Let me know if you do try this recipe! I still have a ton left over in my fridge, so I will continue to nibble at it and maybe I'll even get used to the avocado! For the full recipe and a much more professional account of how to make it, please check out Angela's blog! It really is a great read :) Thank you to those who recommended it to me!