For Vegan Month of Food 2014 I am adapting recipes from the first book I ever learnt to bake from: Chocolat: Fondre de Plaisir by Camille and Nathalie Le Foll. Join me as I veganise 20 recipes from this book – it’s going to be a month of total chocolate decadence!
I remember the first time I made this cake. It was the summer I was 17 going on 18; I had just graduated from high school and had 3 blissful months of sweet nothing to do until I moved to London to read English and Creative Writing. I practiced playing ‘Mona Lisa [When The World Comes Down]’ by The All-American Rejects on the guitar every day in the garden and went to the gym every day to try and lose weight (not that I needed to, but I had a very distorted body image back then). Mum and I saw ‘Julie & Julia’ at the cinema one evening, an event which was to be downfall of my gym routine as I instantly fell in love with cooking and baking. I kept going to the gym but I also made cakes at least twice a week. I baked them all from Chocolat: Fondre de Plaisir.
This butterscotch sauce was out of this world – so good that I had a spoonful straight out of the pan, and then another, and ten more. I’d never tasted anything so sweetly satisfying. Sugar, cream and honey melting together in a pool of perfect golden delight.
Revisiting the recipes from this book I’ve realised that in French baking there is a tradition of melting solid chocolate and incorporating it into the cake batter, in contrast to most American and British recipes I’ve read on the Internet, which use cocoa powder. The latter is admittedly a cheaper option, but it steals a heavenly experience from the baker: melting the chocolate.
Have you ever melted chocolate? Oh, there’s nothing like it. In ‘Julie & Julia’ the modern day heroine, Julie, after a harrowing day at her godawful job, returns home with several packets of butter and begins melting them into a pan. ‘Is there anything in the world better than butter?’ she asks. Yes, there is: melting butter and chocolate together.
Go do that today and if you don’t feel the tiniest shiver of childish joy, I wash my hands of you.
Hazelnut Chocolate Bundt Cake with Butterscotch Sauce
Notes: I use wholemeal flour in these recipes because I happen to have (well, had) 2kg of it in my cupboards. If coconut sugar is too intense for you, use regular raw cane sugar instead.
You will need: a small-medium sized bundt tin. (If in doubt, go for the smaller size.The original recipe is a traditional round cake, so feel free to use a small round springform cake tin if you wish.)
For the cake:
150g (1 cup, tightly packed) self-raising wholemeal flour
150g (5.3 oz) roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
75g (1/2 cup) coconut sugar
100g (1/3 cup + 1 tbsp) vegan butter
200g (7 oz) dark chocolate, roughly chopped
5 tbsp soya milk
2 tbsp ground flaxseed + 6 tbsp water
For the butterscotch sauce:
80g (1/2 cup) coconut sugar
150ml (2/3 cup) rice, oat or soya cream
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Grease the bundt tin and set aside.
2. Combine the first three ingredients (minus a handful of chopped hazelnuts) in a large mixing bowl. Lightly whisk the ground flaxseed and water in a smaller bowl (these are your ‘flax eggs’ ) and set aside for now.
3. Place a small saucepan over medium heat. Melt the butter, chopped chocolate and milk, stirring till smooth. Pour into the bowl of dry ingredients, folding in the flax eggs too. Mix till just combined.
4. Pour the batter into the bundt tin, smooth out the surface with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes exactly.
5. Meanwhile prepare the butterscotch sauce: add the coconut sugar to a medium-sized pan over fairly high heat and leave to melt for about 3-5 minutes. Gradually pour in the cream, stirring quickly and constantly. Simmer for ten minutes until reduced by about a quarter, then set aside to cool.
6. Carefully flip the cake onto a platter, pour over the cooled butterscotch sauce and top with the leftover chopped nuts. Enjoy now or save for later.
What is the first cookbook you ever learnt to cook or bake from?
Have you seen my other vegan chocolate recipes for Vegan MoFo 2014? Click here to catch up and don’t forget to subscribe via email (link in the sidebar) so you don’t miss another one. You can also follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr! You can also follow my blog through Bloglovin‘.