Saturday, 31 March 2012

Dan Lepard's Chocolate Passion Cake

If. like me, you haven't had any really good experiences with Vegan cakes, or you are just prejudiced against them for some reason, then I urge you to give Dan Lepard's recipe  for Chocolate Passion Cake a try. It's certainly made me adjust my ideas about baking cakes without eggs; until now I haven't baked anything that I'd really want to make again, and at least one attempt at a  vegan chocolate cake has ended in the bin, with no-one wanting to eat it.

Here, the addition of the other ingredients - date purée, carrots, nuts and spices - hides the blandness that is present in a lot of cakes made using neither eggs nor butter. Both the texture and the flavour is much improved - I would willingly put this cake up against a conventional carrot cake and defy anyone to notice that it was a vegan version!

This is a cake which I would happily make again, even if I didn't need a vegan cake (I didn't need one this time - I was just browsing Dan's book, Short and Sweet, for a cake recipe with either oil, or only a small amount of butter). It was light and moist and packed with a whole bunch of flavours - nuts and spices as well as chocolate. If I have one criticism it's that it's a little on the delicate side - it has a tendency to crumble rather than slice neatly. In addition, I wasn't completely happy with the spice flavour; although it wasn't bad, I think it might be better to use just cinnamon, rather than the stipulated mix of ginger and mixed spice.


Even CT, who has always maintained that he didn't like carrot cake, was happy to eat this! I thought about not telling him there were carrots there, as I had grated them finely, and they couldn't be seen in the dark coloured crumb, but I owned up before he ate any. His acceptance made me wonder if I ought to tell him about the beetroot in the chocolate cake a few weeks ago, which he ate quite happily, if unknowingly, even though he refused to try the Cherries, Berries and  Beetroot cake I made a few days later, because I had to tell him what the pink flecks were!

I didn't change anything in the cake recipe, but I did make a different frosting - my usual fudge frosting (see this recipe) which has less sugar than glacé icing. As I don't have a large food processor, I used a stick blender to purée the dates and blend in the oil and vinegar to make an emulsion. This appears to have been an acceptable way of doing things. I chopped the dates and nuts in a mini processor, but I processed the nuts for slightly too long - I should have stopped while the pieces were a bit larger. The recipe appears complicated on first reading, but the cake was really quick to put together and baked quite fast too.

Apologies for the picture quality - I had the usual problems with making brown cakes look attractive!

10 comments:

Susan's blog said...

Looks beautiful and a slice just now would be excellent.

Gloria said...

what delicious and tempting cake!!

Chele said...

Oh my word that does look good - and surprising that it is vegan too. Yum.

Caroline said...

Oooh, that looks delicious! I've always wondered about that particular recipe but just haven't got round to giving it a go. It looks like it's definitely worth it. The crumb looks very moist - is this the way it has sliced, or was it moist?

Suelle said...

It was a moist crumb, Caroline. Hard to describe a cake crumb which is both light and moist, but this was.

Phil in the Kitchen said...

Really interesting recipe - I love carrot cake and chocolate, of course, so I think I'd love this. I know what you mean about the troublesome brown cake - they don't always look anything like as good as they taste. I think yours looks delicious, though.

celia said...

Hmmm...having trouble leaving a comment today Suelle, so apologies if you get two! Cake looks great - can't believe it's vegan!

Foodycat said...

I think it looks very nice! Not at all an unattractive photo.

Annes S said...

The cake texture looks really soft and good! Really like the sound of the date puree, mainly though as I can munch through a bag of them like sweets!

I've done a couple of vegan cakes too just to experiment with mixed results, yours definitely looks a much prettier one!

MissCakeBaker said...

This looks like such a moreish cake!