May 15th, 2008

Egg, dairy & nut free chocolate cake Recipe

(& about my Birthday trip to Lewes)

Vegan Chocolate Cake - Egg, dairy & nut free chocolate - with Recipe - Coco&Me

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Hello there everyone! I’ve been away from posting on the blog for sometime haven’t I…? Sorry (tell me you missed me) ^^.

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It’s because I haven’t had any exciting desserts to post about!

Since I gave birth, I’m feeling just plain flabby. I hate hate hate it (I can’t even face looking at the full-length mirror), & so I have been staying away from making & subsequently scoffing sugary desserts. Call me vain, sometimes vanity overrules appetite, even if it’s for my passion for cakes! Hope you understand…
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Wednesday two weeks ago was my birthday (32!), & so in that following weekend, we decided to drive to Lewes (a small town in SE England) to stay over at our friends L & W’s place as a special birthday treat. Loyal blog-readers would know that I tried & miserably failed to reach Lewes last year, but hurray! this time we managed to get there no problem, & in just over 2 hours!
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Our friends L & W has a beautiful daughter who has serious allergy to egg & nuts. If she were to accidentally eat any of these ingredients, it could be life threatening for her. It must be tough for the whole family when you ALWAYS have to check the ingredients list on the back of products, & to tell your toddler that some products are not for her to eat, when other kids can.

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I made the mistake of boasting to the family about my son’s wonderful strawberry toothpaste, that it is the only one my son likes. Their daughter wanted to try, & we were about to let her, when our friend spotted that the toothpaste has horse chestnut listed in its ingredients… It was a total shock, & then horror moment for me – that a toothpaste had nuts as an ingredient, & that I could have made their little girl very ill.

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It didn’t occur to me that a non-food product could also be dangerous for her. I was then told that even a small amount of nut-oil that happened to be hidden in the hand moisturizer that her mummy was using would swell up the little girl’s hands by contact.
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So it is no surprise that her house is a ‘egg & nut free haven’. And that we were treated to foods under that rule.

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Soon as we arrived, L made us beautiful lunch – & while we were eating it in their country-side garden, L had a chocolate cake baking in the oven. The delicious smell wafted & lingered in the air. Ahhh…, I love home-baking. Nothing like the excitement of straight-from-the-oven cake for dessert. But when L told me it’s Vegan, & that it uses vegetable oil & vinegar as replacements to butter & eggs, I felt a little wary & my excitement deflated. I felt deprived of “the real thing”. Butter & eggs gives cakes flavour, so replacing them didn’t sound at-all apetizing.

(The science: Mixture of vinegar & the bicarbonate of soda creates carbon dioxide gas & raises the cake as it tries to escape out. (you can inflate a balloon this way!) And as for the inclusion of vegetable oil: it is 100% fat in replacement of the fat from the butter that you would’ve used. Butter has atleast 80% milk fat.)

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BUT to my surprise, it was totally TASTY! It was super moist & airy too. And you know what? I can even go as far as to say that I rate the “moist-ness” better than any other chocolate cake I’ve tasted in years (except for my very own ‘Moist Chocolate Cake’ from my stall ofcourse! ^^). And that is a big statement coming from a cake-fanatic like myself. I must say though, that it lacks in the depth of chocolate flavour, but eating it with the ganache filling sorts that problem out.
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So here is the recipe that I scribbled from L’s copy of “Allergy-free Cookbook” by Alice Sherwood. (The recipe book gets a big thumbs up from L who says every recipe in it is really good.) I took the liberty of changing the measurements around a bit to make it slightly more chocolatey, & less oily. I replaced the castor sugar it suggests to light brown sugar for the molasses flavour. Oh, & converted the there-abouts ‘tablespoon & teaspoon’ measurements to proper & precise grams n’ milliletres!

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The book gives you a choice of either spreading chocolate ganache cream or chocolate buttercream (both dairy-free). Both cream recipes are at the end of this post. The chocolate buttercream was a bit too sweet for me, but it was popular with children. The amount of sugar together with the sugary cake scares the heck out of me though… – I suggest if you’re going to serve this cake to grown-ups, go for the ganache.
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Please bare in mind though that if you’re going for the ganache option, nut-free chocolate may be hard to obtain. Most Confectioners use nuts in many of their products, & they might be using the same production-line to make products without nuts in the ingredients. This is where the problem for people with nut-allergy lies. Pretty much all the chocolate bars on the market may have traces of nut, or nut-oil.

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Thankfully there is a UK-based company Kinnerton who produces guaranteed nut-free chocolate products. It is apparently sold in selected Sainsbury, Asda, Tesco, Morrisons & Waitrose stores. Or you can buy in bulk directly from them too. Kinnerton has really gone the extra mile to manufacture nut-free products by allocating nut-free zones, as well as following strict safety measures to keep it nut-free. Read all about how they did it on their website.
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There are a few moderations I’ve made to the recipe:

  • Vinegar is to be added as the very last ingredient. – It’s to delay it reacting with the soda. You should get the maximum rising-power out of it that way.
  • I’ve included cherries & jam. – Our friend L spread fruit jam in-between the layers & mixed cherries in to the cake, which I thought really made this extra special.
  • I propose using apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar as the book suggests. – Apparently the concentration of acidity is stronger, & without any scientific background, I’m hoping it’ll react even more with the soda & produce a fluffier sponge. – It’ll add a tiny bit more flavour to the cake too. And did you know that cider vinegar is good for treating sore throat? – Hey! A cake that’s good for illness? Now we’re talking!!
  • And optionally, you can add a splash of Kirsch cherry liquor in to the ganache to add to the cherry theme!

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Vegan Chocolate Cake - Egg, dairy & nut free chocolate - with Recipe - Coco&Me

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Egg, dairy & nut free chocolate cake Recipe:

(serves 10-12)

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Ingredients for the sponge:

  • 330g of plain flour
  • 400g of light brown sugar
  • 12g of Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 65g of nut-free cocoa powder

    (Note: check the back ingredients list to make sure it is nut-free. Cocoa powder is often made in chocolate factories that also handle nut products.)

  • 2g of salt
  • 450ml of unsweetened soya milk
  • 90ml of corn or other nut-free vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing

    (Note: don’t use olive oil as its flavour is too distinct)

  • 23ml of white vinegar
  • 7ml of vanilla extract
  • A large tin/ jar of pitted cherries
  • Fruit jam of your choice (cherry, apricot, strawberry, raspberry, etc)

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You’ll need:

  • 2 x 20cm (8 inch) round baking tins

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Method for the cake sponge:

  • 1. Pre-heat oven to 180C (350F, gas mark 4).
  • 2. Grease both tins with oil. (No need to line it with grease-proof paper. The oil on the tin & the oil from the cake is sufficient enough lubricant for de-moulding the cakes.)
  • 3. Sift together the dry ingredients in to a bowl: flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, cocoa powder & salt. (The light brown sugar tends to clump, so please don’t skip sifting!)
  • 4. Mix together the wet ingredients in another bowl: soya milk, oil, & vanilla extract.
  • 5. Mix wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
  • 6. Stir in the cider vinegar.
  • 7. Divide mixture in to two greased tins.
  • 8. Spread evenly.
  • 9. Evenly scatter the cherries on top of the batter. Here make sure you don’t place any cherries in the centre – this way you’d be able to cut a clean slice with a straight angle when serving.
  • 10. Bake for 40 minutes, until it rises, & is firm to the touch.
  • 11. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, & then turn out on to a wire cooling rack ( – I like to cool it upside down, so that the domed top becomes flat surface perfect for icing). Cool completely.
  • 12. Make the dairy-free ganache or the chocolate buttercream using the recipe below.
  • 13. Place one sponge upside down on the stand/ platter on which you’re going to present on.
  • 14. Slather jam of your choice.
  • 15. Use spatula to spread 5mm thickness or so of the ganache/ buttercream.
  • 16. Pop the other sponge on top.
  • 17. Artfully (painterly) slather the rest of the ganache/ buttercream on the top & the sides.

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Ingredients & method for the dairy-free ganache:

  • 150ml soya cream (in place of double cream)
  • Nut-free & dairy-free dark chocolate 200g
  • 100g castor sugar
  • 7ml Kirsch cherry liquor
    Method:
    Bring soya cream & sugar to simmering point & pour over the finely chopped chocolate. Mix gently with spatula (If the chocolate has not fully melted, zap it in the microwave 10 seconds at a time until melted). – Use immediately.

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Ingredients & method for the dairy-free chocolate buttercream:

  • 175g dairy-free spread
  • 400g icing sugar
  • 90g of nut-free cocoa powder
  • 10g of vanilla extract
    Method:
    Cream the dairy-free spread to thoroughly soft. Add vanilla extract & mix. Slowly & gradually add icing sugar & cocoa powder until creamy and smooth in texture. Use immediately.

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coffee mugs  - lewes park - Coco&Me

(In Lewes, we visited Southover Grange gardens. I was extremely happy to get a proper porcelain mug (& not the usual paper throw-aways with plastic lids) for my Rooibos tea from their kiosk! And how wonderful that everyone dutifully returns it to the kiosk when they finish! (if this was a park in London, more than half would probably disappear I’m sure…) – It reminds me of drinking Glühwein from a porcelain mug at a German Xmas market, but only you’d have to pay extra first, & you’d get a little money back if you return the mug!)

Lewes park - Coco&Me

(From left: Me, L, cutie girl I, W, & my boy upside down. And in the right picture, my daughter S asleep.)

28 Comments »

  1. Welcome back! You are very brave to stop baking long enough to lose the baby fat. Sigh, my blog has been the death of my figure.

    I love the thoroughness of your post, all the research and the exact measurements. The cake looks delicious. I’m actually looking for a very simple cake recipe for my baby who turns one next weekend. I remember now you make a lot of children’s birthday cakes so I’ll have a look at your blog.

    Comment by Astrid - May 15, 2008 7:40 am

  2. Good morning Astrid!
    Actually…, the crusade to lose the baby fat has been on hold because I’ve been test-baking this cake… (any excuse, right?)
    I think I must have made this 4 times in a space of a week. No, I didn’t eat ALL of it, (It got given away to local friends) but still, quite frightening to think I have helped my self to more than a slice from each… , all in the name of research you understand… ^^

    Comment by tamami - May 15, 2008 9:11 am

  3. Well well, my first comment on a blog coming up!

    Wolf told me last night that you had written a ‘fascinating’ and ‘very sweet’ blog on your visit to Lewes so I’ve just taken a look and indeed he is right! I will try your version of the cake next time! You made me think that getting into ‘cake science’ would be very useful for me, as I am always trying to bake something that resembles normal cake for little one. Perhaps you could point me to some good books/web info for this? My latest baking crusade is to do egg free AND sugar free cake! I recently thought that little one was having too much sugar so I bought a sugar-free baking book from amazon and to date have made some absolutely fabulous sugar free muffins (sweetened with banana and raisins). I use an egg substitute powder which I find works if there is only 1 egg to replace in a recipe. You can find this powder at any health food store. You done any good sugar free creations?

    Anyway, this comment is fast turning into a blog!! Lastly, just wanted to add how much we enjoyed your visit. It was lovely to have time to chat, and play with the kids, and to bounce around the lovely new baby! My little one just asked if you would like to live in Lewes! We wouldn’t say no, of course, but will come and visit you guys in London before the sumer is up.

    Lots of love, Lisa xxxx

    Comment by Lisa - May 16, 2008 6:29 pm

  4. Lisa,
    wow! thank you for taking your precious thesis-time to write here! and a v. sweet comment too!
    We really enjoyed our outing, it was refreshing, & I can see why you guys have moved there. The house, it’s location, & the attic with a special view of the downs… honestly wow. If it weren’t for work-commitments, maybe I’d consider moving there. And to be near a dearest friend too ofcourse – missing yr company here in Ldn…

    t xxx

    ps: in regards to sugar-free cake, I have never tried baking any, so you’re ahead in the game here – if you do come across good ones, please pass it on to me – I now crown you my official “Coco&Me alternative-cake advisor”!

    Comment by tamami - May 16, 2008 7:40 pm

  5. Hello! Good to see you back, and glad to see you looking so well!

    Thanks for the recipe – I’m going to send the link to my mum. My brother is a vegan, and as you can imagine, baking for him can be problematic! (I love the idea of cake as medicine too. I’ll definitely remember that next time I have a sore throat. ;) )

    Comment by Rachel - May 18, 2008 5:14 pm

  6. Hey Rachel!
    Yup, I’m backkk! How r u? Did u get that job in Bristol (it was Bristol right)? – Medicinal cake – maybe there’s an un-tapped market there!!! ^^

    Comment by tamami - May 18, 2008 10:10 pm

  7. Nope, didn’t get the job in Cardiff. *sigh* Looking for a job is full-time job – pity it doesn’t pay! :P

    I think you’re on to something with medicinal cake. After all, cider vinegar is good for a sore throat… and chocolate cures all other ills, right?? ;)

    Comment by Rachel - May 24, 2008 12:53 pm

  8. hey Rachel.
    sorry to hear that the job in C didn’t turn out. Oh well, look on the bright side, you’re young & beautiful, & there’s much more to life than finding a 9-5 job that is 40hrs+ stuck in an office. Surely no rush…! Enjoy your freedom… – I find that, as much as I enjoy being a “responsible”mother of two, I wish I still had the freedom of doing whatever anytime, any-day, anywhere. No commitments holding me back. Y’know what I mean? Now I’d have to wait ’til they leave my nest, oh, say, in about 18 years time?!

    Comment by tamami - May 24, 2008 5:12 pm

  9. Tamami San,
    great to hear that you are upon return to the market, as I found your blog only after you was on maternity leave!
    So I shall pop by when you return… ^^

    Comment by suzie - May 28, 2008 9:37 am

  10. Hello Suzie, welcome to my blog!
    Please do visit me, I’m hoping to return end of September! – In the meantime, Broadway Market is a fantastic, & a really fun place to spend a Saturday, especially if it is great weather – so I recommend visiting there anyways!

    Comment by tamami - May 28, 2008 1:14 pm

  11. Hi Tamami,

    Congratulations to you & newborn, she’s a beautiful girl & going to break many guys’ heart! You looked gorgeous too! I still need to shed some weight off … people told me that women who went through natural birth lost their baby fat faster than those went through cesarean – which was in my case due to toxemia (at last trimester.)

    Nevertheless, I’m so glad that you and baby are safe & healthy!

    Also, I hope to visit you in my next trip to London. Please email me @ how to find your stall.

    BTW, can you share recipe for baby food as well? :-D I’m lost at what to cook for my son.
    He’s half-Belgian & half Chinese & 3/4 Thai… LOL… Talk about mixed heritage…:-)

    Thanks & take care

    Best wishes & regards
    pixen

    Comment by pixen - June 2, 2008 9:42 pm

  12. Hello Pixen!
    Thank you. – But I really need to lose weight too – I’m at a stage where I’m too small for maternity-wear, but too flabby to get back in to my old clothes – hence I really have nothing to wear…!
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    I’m currently not doing the market, expecting to get back in September. so I’ll let you know then. In the meantime, you can also check out their website – http://www.broadwaymarket.co.uk/ for their location map. – I’ll very much look forward to meeting you one day!
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    As for baby food recipes:
    how old is your son? I have a great baby food book (Japanese) that I can copy a recipe from for you. ;)

    Comment by tamami - June 2, 2008 10:57 pm

  13. Hi Tamami,

    :-D I already bookmarked the link you gave me. I’m really looking forward to meet you and taste your baking,etc.

    Thank you so much of your idea to translate/copy recipe for me. Is true that most sites of baby food are japanese… Is difficult to find baby/toddler recipes in English that suits asian family (well, in this case eurasian family?)

    My son is 2 yr + 2 months old. He almost had complete set of his milk teeth. Yet he seemed not ready to eat rice except rice porridge or alphabet pasta. Occasionally, he likes Tori Zosui (he’s top favourite is chawanmushi :-D ) Is there any translation of baby/toddler food book of Japanese to English in UK or online?

    Please do email me… Who knows we can share recipes and ideas of bringing up kids … :-) I’m totally lost sometimes because my son is the first and only child … :-P

    Thank you for extending your friendship to me… and not forgetting your wonderful blog!

    ありがとうございました。

    Comment by pixen - June 3, 2008 3:45 pm

  14. Hello Pixen, thank you for commenting back.
    If your son is 2yr+, the book I mentioned earlier’s not relevant, as it only goes up to 1yr old.
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    I don’t remember what my son was eating when he was 2yrs, but I vaguely recall him eating anything.
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    The biggest trick was to eat with him. Everyone eats better when you’re surrounded by people eating right?
    As for any books, sorry… I don’t know any…

    Comment by tamami - June 3, 2008 9:14 pm

  15. It look’s to good to be through I am definitely going to try this

    Comment by Sorina - June 25, 2008 3:28 pm

  16. Hi Sorina, thank you!!

    Comment by Tamami - June 25, 2008 6:45 pm

  17. Stumbled on this whilst looking for a dessert to make for a dinner party with some vegan friends. I’ll be baking it tomorrow so I’ll let you know how it goes. (I know this blog is a couple of years old but everyone loves feedback right?) I was desperate for a recipe with more precise measurements, I’m not a natural cook but can pull most basic things off if I have a good recipe.

    Comment by Lisa - April 16, 2010 5:32 pm

  18. Hello Lisa! Oh yes! I love feedback! Do let me know how it goes! ^^

    Comment by tamami - April 16, 2010 10:10 pm

  19. Wow! The cake turned out amazing! My husband is very anti-soya but he loved it. I made a buttercream filling as it was were very sweet toothed, I manage to find some dairy free white chocolate buttons to decorate it. Thank you so much!!

    Comment by Lisa - April 17, 2010 5:03 pm

  20. Yayyyy!!!! I’m so happy it worked out! And thank you very much for taking your time to write a feedback here! Hmmmm…., buttercream filling….^^

    Comment by tamami - April 18, 2010 10:43 am

  21. Daer Tamami,
    I have been silently reading your blog and loving it. You are fantastic, how does 1 person bake so much in just 3 days. I take a whole afternoon just to bake 1 cake! I wish I had known about you on my last visit to London in 2008, I would definitely have made the trip to Broadway market to sample your goodies.
    I’m finally breaking my silence to ask you this: what is soya cream? I live in Singapore and we have soya everything but I’ve never seen soya cream. It’s not tofu is it? Can we substitute it with soya milk or tofu?

    Comment by elisabeth - May 12, 2010 1:29 pm

  22. Hello Elisabeth! Wow! Thank you for commenting on this blog for the first time! RE: Soya cream, it’s just a non-dairy alternative to using standard cream. If it’s the ganache recipe above you are trying to bake, I’m afraid you can’t substitute it with milk because milk has less fat content. – I presume you are allergic to dairy products??
    – Anyway, hope to hear from you again! Keep commenting!

    Comment by tamami - May 12, 2010 1:59 pm

  23. Hi Tamami,

    I came across your blog looking for an alternative choclate cake without eggs and dairy. I am considering making the recipe. I was wondering will the cake still be a moist sponge without the jarred cherries/fruit added. I’m not a fan of fruit in cake and want it to be a plain chocolate cake, but still moist!

    Thank you,
    Sophie

    Comment by Sophie - September 6, 2011 2:36 pm

  24. Hello Sophie,
    the original recipe from the book was actually without any fruit I think (it’s been a long time ago…). So yes, I’m sure the recipe works without the cherries!! :) Happy baking!! Let me know how it goes!! xx

    Comment by Tamami - September 6, 2011 6:37 pm

  25. [...] var, precis som varmrätten, vegan. Så inga ägg eller mjölkprodukter. Receptet är tagit härifrån, förutom frostingen som är en väl bevarad hemlighet och förmodligen kommer att finnas med i min [...]

    Pingback by Födelsedagsmiddag med bubbel och chokladtårta!!! | - November 20, 2012 7:01 am

  26. Thank you Bake my Day for linking back! xx :)

    Comment by Tamami - November 20, 2012 12:43 pm

  27. […] both with your favorite non-dairy beverage, like soy milk). I adapted the cake recipe from here and the ganache recipe from here. I loved the texture of the cake, though I felt the recipe could […]

    Pingback by Egg-less chocolate cake with a ganache glaze | Kitchen Heals Soul - April 11, 2014 3:29 am

  28. Kitchen Heals Soul, thank you very much for referencing back to my blog! :)

    Comment by tamami - April 13, 2014 3:00 pm

 

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