Warning: explicit food porn photography coming at you.
I am not a beer fan — never was and probably never will be. When I transitioned to a fully plant-based diet I knew beer was never going to be a problem — aside from Kriek Belle-Vue, I never drank any beer.
So obviously, this cake puts that somewhat into perspective.
Because funny enough, since becoming vegan, I’ve been drinking more beer. It still only happens once in a blue moon (like when Mum makes a little trip to Belgium and brings me back goodies, mostly chocolate and beer — how original of us), but even so. And when I saw a recipe for a Guinness chocolate cake in the latest issue of Jamie Oliver’s magazine, well, I couldn’t resist for some reason. Even though I think the taste of Guinness is appalling (sorry to the Irish followers!).
But try finding a vegan equivalent to Guinness. IMPOSSIBLE. The closest I got was this vegan stout by Suma. (I love the name, btw — Penumbra — it’s so sultry. Or is that just me?) They also sell a chocolate flavoured one; I don’t know why I didn’t buy that one as it might actually work even better in this cake. It also happens to be the cheapest vegan stout I could find online; some retail for over £70.
If you (have) wonder(ed) about which beers are vegan or not, here is a fairly comprehensive list. I’m sad to see a few Belgian beers are not suitable for a plant-based diet (commercialisation most likely being the culprit) but the traditional ones, which I’m assuming are the tastiest ones anyway, usually are.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 45 minutes
200g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
200g brown sugar
2-3 tbsp cocoa powder
75-100g dark, good quality chocolate, broken in pieces
2 tbsp vegan margarine
2 tbsp apple sauce
3 flax “eggs” (3 tbsp ground flaxseed + 75ml warm water)
powdered sugar, to dust
Preheat the oven to 190ºC. Line a 20cm tin with baking parchment.
Mix the flax eggs in a little bowl and set aside so they can gel.
Over a pot of simmering water, place a bowl in which you will melt the “butter” and dark chocolate. It will take a few minutes. Stir around with a wooden spoon or spatula until silky and smooth. Take off the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
Next, beat together the flax “eggs”, apple sauce and sugar until slightly frothy and well combined.
Add the Guinness to the melted chocolate. Don’t worry if it separates, it will all come together with the other ingredients.
Time to assemble it all: in a large bowl, place first of all the sugar and “egg” mixture. Next add half the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder, then half the stout chocolate liquid, and gently fold in the ingredients. Repeat with the remaining flour and chocolate until smoothly combined.
Pour into the mold and bake for 45 minutes. If the top begins to dark too much, too quickly, cover with aluminium foil and continue baking at the same temperature.
Let the cake cool on a wire rack for 10-20 minutes before taking out of the tin, then let it cool entirely before slicing. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.
You can also cut up this cake into brownies, it’s perfectly moist and ideal as a little snack bite.
Just in case stout really isn’t your thing, take a look at my recipe for Irish cake–a luxuriously decadent double chocolate and Bailey’s cake, 100% plant-based and irresistible. Approved by a true Irishman, so it must be good!
So you may have noticed there’s a substantial amount of chocolate in this cake… and I’m not supposed to eat any chocolate until Easter, remember? Well… I caved. I admit it, I gave in! I realised I hadn’t had a bite of chocolate in over a month, so much so that I didn’t even crave it any more. For me, that’s a serious accomplishment! So I allowed myself a small slice of cake. I know some will consider this as a failing but for me, it doesn’t mean much: I already feel so proud I managed to go for so long without chocolate on a daily basis. I’ve learnt a good lesson from this trial, though, and I will definitely keep at a little distance from chocolate from now on, since it’s actually done me good.
Anyway, that was a long post to explain a lot of things. Thanks for reading it all, if you did, and if you didn’t, I don’t blame you 😉