Serves up to 16
Move over brownies, you’ve been replaced. Well, to be fair, there is room in your life for both, but I prefer this. Why? Because it’s less sweet, but outrageously rich, and you can shave off really tiny slices at a time to make you feel like you’re eating less of it (the photo was taken while the cake was still warm due to the likelihood of rain, the texture totally changes when you put it in the fridge). Plus, since you store it in the fridge it keeps for ages, and it’s the best thing ever with an espresso. Oh and it’s gluten free and you can’t even tell.
I actually created this by accident, when I felt like doing a little aquafaba experimentation. I was browsing through a French gastronomic magazine when I came across a recipe for fondant cake. This ‘cake’ is essentially chocolate and eggs mixed together, and I thought, what if I tried my combination of chickpea flour and aquafaba to replace the eggs?
I didn’t really expect it to work the first time, but I was bored and had a cupboard full of chocolate. So I made it, and unsurprisingly it didn’t turn out like the original. I think silken tofu will be the key with fondant cake. But I put it in the fridge figuring I’d do something with it anyway. Later that day I got a hankering for something sweet, so I reached in and pulled off a chunk. O.M.G. It was good. I had accidentally made a gluten free torta paesana and improved on the original. My housemate proclaimed it the best chocolate dessert ever, and my dad who was visiting ate the entire container I gave him before he got home. Dark chocolate lovers, this is the dessert for you.
Since then I have added all kinds of nuts and rum soaked fruits, because why wouldn’t you, and measured it all out for you. It’s pretty versatile, so you can serve it with coffee or with some ice cream or cointreau cashew cream for dessert. In fact it’s a great make-ahead dessert and it feeds a lot of people because you only need a tiny slice. It is pictured here with walnuts, because that’s what I had, but my absolute favourite is with pinenuts. Seriously try it, it will blow you away.
200g dark chocolate (I use 70%, because I don’t like it too sweet. Feel free to use a sweeter one if that’s what you’re into)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vegan butter, margarine or refined coconut oil (all give equal results)
1 tsp vanilla extract
7tbsp chickpea flour
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Couple pinches salt (omit if using salted aquafaba)
1 cup nuts (pinenuts highly recommended, walnuts a close second, followed by hazelnuts)
1. Preheat the oven to 150C. Grease a 9 inch springform cake tin and line the base with baking paper
2. Place the nuts (whole if pinenuts, roughly chopped if walnuts) onto a baking tray a roast for 5 minutes or so until they start to release their oils and are lightly golden. Watch them like a hawk, burnt nuts are nobody’s friend.
3. Place the chocolate in a bowl over gently simmering water and stir with a metal spoon until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and beat in the butter/margarine/oil until melted. Add the sugar and vanilla and mix well. Add the nuts and chickpea flour and beat well.
4. Pour the aquafaba into a deep bowl with the vinegar. Whisk very rapidly until it’s all white and foamy, kind of creamy, and somewhat thick. You don’t need peaks. Pour this into the chocolate mixture and quickly fold in. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and place in the oven immediately. Bake 45 minutes-1 hour, depending on your oven. It should be firm to the touch and have a really thin skin on top that is slightly cracked, like brownies. Leave in the tin to cool to room temperature, then place in the fridge, still in the tin, until chilled. Remove from the tin and serve.