I am very curious about all things culinary and am really impressed when I read about how incredibly inventive vegan cooks can be (without resorting to using the omnipresent soya inventions simulated to mimic dairy or meat products). When looking into creating a vegan birthday cake, I was sucked into the fascinating way in which chick pea water (aquafaba) can be used instead of egg whites - it really can make an amazing Italian Meringue icing.
Recipe for Vegan Chocolate Cake
275 g plain flour
320 g brown sugar
100 g unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp salt
450 ml coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
320 ml coconut oil
2 tsp distilled white or apple cider vinegar
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C (Gas mark 3) and grease a 23cm (9 inch) cake tin and line the base with baking paper.
Sift the flour, cocoa, bicarb, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
Combine the coconut milk, vinegar, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla extract in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 40 to 55 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out with almost no crumbs attached. The middle of the cake should also spring back when lightly pressed. Place on a wire cake rack and leave to cool in the tin.
Recipe for Vegan Italian Meringue icing
250 g caster sugar
120 ml aquafaba (reserved liquid from cooked/canned chickpeas)
400 g Trex .
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder.
Put water in a large sauce pot and begin heating. Place aquafaba and sugar into your mixing bowl (use metal or glass).
When water is simmering, place your mixing bowl on top of the pot, making sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir with a whisk, as mixture heats. Keep heating until sugar is completely dissolved and AF is opaque.
Remove bowl from heat and place on stand mixer.
Attach the balloon whisk, and begin mixing on high speed. Continue whipping on high speed until bowl is completely cool.
Begin adding Trex, one piece at a time, waiting a few seconds between each piece. Keep beating until fluffy. If frosting separates, keep whipping on high speed. If necessary, place in refrigerator for about 10 - 15 minutes and then beat again, adding any remaining Trex.
To decorate "Ombre" style, start to fill your icing bag (using a Wilton 1M star tip) with a small amount of the white icing (about 1/4 of the bag), add 1 tbsp of cocoa to the remaining icing and add another 1/4 to the icing bag, keep adding the cocoa as the bag progressively fills. Start in the middle of the cake, piping a central swirl, then move around the cake piping swirls as you go. The icing will get darker and darker as you move around the cake.
Tastes delicious, looks impressive ... win, win!