It was my lady wife’s birthday last week, and having become the resident cook of the house, I had to make her a cake. I’ve mentioned it in passing before, but she has intolerances to yeast and dairy, which makes the world of baked goods a nightmarish minefield for us!
Still, birthdays and cake go together too well to forego the institution, and I refuse to have her miss out as a result, so I baked this, my second ever cake (the first was an okay Victoria sponge, too deeply average to make these hallowed pages) to celebrate.
Massive credit needs to go to Pippa Kendrick, the wonderful Intolerant Gourmet, for whom I owe a debt of gratitude- when first diagnosed, my wife and I had pretty much written off our hopes of eating anything but bland crap for all eternity. Her two books have been life savers, and as I use them more, I’m getting more aware of the kind of substitutions I can make for all recipes, meaning my shelves of cook books are back in play, ftw. I have not made any huge changes to her recipe, beyond making it triple layered, using a little less cocoa, and some sprinkles at the end, so in return for my uncouth plagiarism, I am leaving links here to both of her brilliant books on Amazon. If you have a food intolerance of any kind, these books really are a game changer.
You’ll need either three 12cm cake tins (I used silicone ones from Poundland- oh that you could be that classy!) or two 20cm ones.
- 125g tin cocoa powder (I know the black Green and Blacks one is safe for dairy- read the label!)
- 275g plain flour
- 1tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
- A pinch of salt
- 500ml Rice Milk
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 350g caster sugar
- 160ml rapeseed oil (canola if you’re American)
- A jar of nice raspberry jam
- A punnet of raspberries
- 80ml Rice milk
- 2 bars of dairy free dark chocolate (I always go for Montezuma, it’s pretty tasty)
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
Sift the cocoa powder and flour into a large bowl, and add the baking powder, bicarb of soda and salt. I’m sure the smart readers of my blog know already that a little salt really brings out the best in chocolate- they are, in cookery terms, BFFs. In a separate large measuring jug, measure out the rice milk and oil, with the lemon juice to sour the milk. Leave everything to sit for 5 minutes. Wash the sieve while you wait- you’ll never want to wash it, it’s a pain.
Preheat the oven to 180c.
Okay, now beat the sugar into the milk/oil mixture until you have a pleasant sludge, then bit by bit, pour the sludge into the flour mixture, beating thoroughly, until you have a smooth batter and a sore forearm.
Grease up your cake tins, thoroughly, until you’re sure they won’t stick, then pour a third of the cake mix into each (of half if you’re using two). Stick these in the oven for 25-35 minutes, until risen and they don’t leave any goop on a knife or other pointy utensil when stabbed.
While these cook, add the 80ml of rice milk to a pan, bring quickly to a soft boil, then reduce the heat to the lowest possible. Add the two chocolate bars, broken up, and maple syrup, then stir, thoroughly until melted and smooth. It only takes perhaps two minutes, so dont leave it unattended. Take off the heat and set aside to cool.
Remove the cake from the oven, and leave this, too, to cool for 10 minutes.
Place the first layer of cake on a plate, and generously smear jam all over the top of it (top tip- if some cake came out better, use the worst bits at the bottom- NO ONE WILL EVER KNOW!) then place the next layer on top, and smear the top of this with more jam. I used about half a jar in this process. Then put the final layer on top.
Get your saucepan of gooey chocolate ganache icing, and generously dollop the top of the cake with it, then use a pallet knife to spread it more evenly. Repeat until you’re out of chocolate, and should hopefully have covered the cake. Sprinkle the raspberries and silver balls over the top, then put in a container and put in the fridge for at least an hour to set.
Happy birthday, even if it’s not your birthday.