Our Chocolate Hazelnut Wedding Layer Cake

Vegan Hazelnut Chocolate Wedding Layer Cake Vegan Hazelnut Chocolate Wedding Layer Cake Vegan Hazelnut Chocolate Wedding Layer Cake Vegan Hazelnut Chocolate Wedding Layer Cake

What’s that sound?

*Sound of wedding bells*

Just kidding, I’m not getting married in a church, so there are no bells involved.

But the rest is true: by the time you read this, I’ll be walking down the aisle towards the next chapter of my life, and to be perfectly honest, I can’t bloody wait for it anymore because I’ve planning it for so long now!

There are big changes coming ahead: I’m moving jobs and moving across the country (back to the Big Smoke), but I’m marrying my absolute best friend here in bonnie Scotland first. It’s been a tumultuous year leading up to this point.

And of course it didn’t really happen if you didn’t celebrate it with cake.

Can I tell you a secret? I’m sick to death of this cake. I never want to bake it again. I’ve been through so many trials that I just want it to turn out perfectly on the day so I can finally enjoy it, and then I never want to hear about this cake again.

I went through quite a few trials of this cake, even baking it at a friend’s house to be sure I’d be able to bake it in a different oven, the day before the wedding, and I thought after trialling 7 or 8 I’d nailed it… but something about it still felt a little off. I kept thinking that this was the cake I’d present to my guests, and yes it looked pretty, but the crumb could be better, there were air pockets in places if I wasn’t careful with folding the ingredients together…

And then it hit me.

Vegan Hazelnut Chocolate Wedding Layer Cake
Vegan Hazelnut Chocolate Wedding Layer Cake

I was trying to make a chocolate hazelnut layer cake recipe from scratch when I already had one on the blog.

Cue me yelling to myself: WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO REINVENT THE WHEEL, CLEM?!

I dusted off the ol’ recipe and doubled it up to make the layers. I’d forgotten how good this cake tastes – soooo hazelnutty, so damn good. I wanted it to look like a proper layer cake with buttercream icing though so while I kept the recipe for the cake layers the same, the whole thing is a very different to the original.

And yes, while I’m very proud that I did this, if you asked me… no I would never, ever do this again. WHAT A BLOODY STUPID THING TO STRESS YOURSELF OUT LIKE THIS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING.

But the stress is over now. I’ve got my pretty dress on, a glass of bubbly in my hand, and my best friend waiting at the end of that aisle. Cheers to that.

Vegan Hazelnut Chocolate Wedding Layer Cake

Our Chocolate Hazelnut Wedding Layer Cake

Note: this is based on my recipe for Boozy Hazelnut Chocolate Cake. For the cake layers, you basically want to make the recipe twice. Don’t double it. I’ve tried and honestly if you haven’t got some kind of industrial kitchen mixer there’s just too much batter to handle at once, so it’s easiest and safest to make the recipe ones, put two layers in the oven, and then do it again. Up to you if you want four layers or just three. Three is about all I can fit in my travel cake tin, so that’s what I went for, but you could go bigger.

The cake layers freeze very well. I made the layers at home, froze them, then took them with me to my Airbnb and assembled the cake there before taking it to my wedding.

Ingredients:

Cake:

The cake layers from this recipe, twice

Buttercream:

250g vegan margarine (I use Stork)
500g icing (confectioner’s) sugar
50g dark cooking chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp hazelnut milk

Chocolate drip and decoration:
1 tbsp Frangelico
100g chocolate
1 tbsp hazelnut milk

Ground hazelnuts, to dust
Chocolate hazelnut paste, to spread between the cake layers

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180ºC/gas mark 5/350ºF.
  2. Start by baking the cake layers. Line and grease 2x 20cm springform or loose bottom tins.
  3. Prepare the cake batter as per the recipe linked above, then divide the batter equally between the two tins. Bake for about 40 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the icing. Start by melting the chocolate and hazelnut milk in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir lots to prevent the chocolate from burning. Using an electric whisk, whisk the margarine and the melted chocolate together,  then progressively add the icing sugar until totally incorporated. You should now have a smooth icing. Place in the fridge till needed.
  5. When you have the first two cakes ready, let them cool and then release from the tins. Clean, line and grease your tins again. Time for round two: make the same recipe again, divide between the two tins, bake again.
  6. When 3-4 cakes have completely cooled, level them if needed (I rarely do). Place the first layer on your prettiest cake stand, spread some hazelnut chocolate paste over it then about 1/5 of the buttercream. Smooth out a thick layer, then place cake layer number 2 on top of this. Repeat the same with the hazelnut chocolate paste and buttercream. And so on. I don’t usually put hazelnut chocolate spread on the top layer but don’t let me stop you. Use the rest of the buttercream to spread over the sides and top of the cake. Using a cake spatula, make the icing as even and smooth as possible (it’s not that different from plastering).
  7. Place the cake in the fridge while you prepare the chocolate drip. The cake should be very cold by the time you drizzle the melted chocolate over it, so that it can grip onto the buttercream and set quickly (otherwise it will drip too far down). The drip needs to be liquid enough to fall down the sides in elegant drips, but not so thin that it will run to the bottom and leave a thin layer over the cake.
  8. Melt the chocolate in the Frangelico and hazelnut milk in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir lots to prevent the chocolate from burning. Set aside to cool when there are no more lumps. Keep an eye on it and keep stirring it every so often: it should be running, not gloopy, but it should also hold on to a wooden spoon just a little; if it runs off like water, it’s not set yet, or you’ve added too much liquid. Once it’s the right consistency, slowly drizzle onto the centre of the top of the cake. It should pool in the centre and start spreading to the sides, and eventually drip over. You can also help spreading with a spatula or wooden spoon. Dust with ground hazelnuts.
  9. Place in the fridge to set, and serve when ready! Eat within 2 days and keep refrigerated.

 

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Love and cookies,

The Chocolate Tree – Vegan In Scotland

vegan in Scotland TVCF banner
In this blog series I review vegan/vegetarian restaurants, cafés and shops in Scotland. Ever since I moved here, I noticed it is noticeably harder to eat out and stick to a plant-based diet in Scotland than it was when I lived in London. After several months of frustration, I am making it my mission to suss out vegan/vegetarian places to eat all over Scotland — if it takes me all the way out to the Hebrides! (The things I do for you guys…)


The Chocolate Tree - Blog Review #veganinscotland
The Chocolate Tree - Blog Review #veganinscotland

I’ve been very excited about this review for a while. I moved to Edinburgh four months ago now, and I was eager to find my essential foodie spots: the farmers’ markets, my preferred supermarket, my local pub and café, and the like. It was at the Edinburgh farmers’ market, on a cold Saturday in January, that I stumbled upon a stall of chocolate bars. The stall holder handed me a free – FREE – cup of hot melted chocolate. Just water and chocolate, melted together. It coursed through me like a magic potion, thawing my chilled body. And man, it tasted good.

That stall belonged to The Chocolate Tree.

Most weeks I visit the farmers’ market. I make sure to buy my fruit and veg first, and what money I have left goes on chocolate. I knew the company owned a shop in Edinburgh as well – not far from where I live in the West End, actually – but I knew the temptation would no doubt bankrupt me and expand my waist size exponentially.

And yet, I had to know… so I finally went!

Let me walk you through the wonderful shop that is The Chocolate Tree, in Bruntsfield, Edinburgh.

The Chocolate Tree - Blog Review #veganinscotland

It’s a little like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory meets the witch’s wood carving shop in Brave: all dark and moody wood furniture, electric wallpaper and classic mural paintings. The business started as a solar-powered chocolaterie touring festivals across the UK, and TCT is still committed to recycling and being kind to the environment: they use biodegradable cellophane for their packaging and reusable FSC certified paper to print their labels on.

I’ve quickly fallen in love with this brand and this company because a) their chocolate is orgasmic, and they’re not afraid to play with flavours (but more on that later) and b) their staff are so dedicated to giving you the best experience enjoying their chocolate. They are always chatty at the market stall, telling me all about their chocolate-making process and telling me about their vegan options, and giving me free hot chocolate to taste.

My favourite flavours so far are peppermint, cardamom, salted caramel and haggis (!!). I was really into winter spice over the cold months, and probably would still enjoy it now if I wasn’t so enamoured with cardamom. It’s important to mention that their chocolate is made bean-to-bar, which means it’s all made right here in Edinburgh from raw cacao beans to achieve the best result possible.
The Chocolate Tree chocolates
The Chocolate Tree - Blog Review #veganinscotland
I had the most delicious vegan chocolate Easter egg, made with creamy coconut milk, and I wish I had bought more (but my bank account thanks me for exercising some restraint) because IT WAS THAT GOOD, but they also had plenty of dark chocolate bunnies (and they might still have some if you hurry and snap ’em up!).
The Chocolate Tree - Blog Review #veganinscotland
You can’t visit the shop and not try the Giandutto truffles. You know how much I love that hazelnut-chocolate combination – just see my Gianduja Chocolate Mousse Cake recipe for proof – and these truffles did not disappoint. All their truffles are labelled with vegan and dairy-free when they are so.

They also sell sorbets (all vegan) and ice creams (not vegan) in their shop, plus a vegan chocolate spread that I have yet to try but have my eye on. And if you need an impressive cake for a party, you’re in luck: The Chocolate Tree also makes whole cakes!

In short, The Chocolate Tree is the perfect place to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon sipping on hot chocolate at one of their  tables by the window. And don’t forget to take a few of their chocolate bars home with you – one isn’t enough!

**************

The Chocolate Tree
123 Bruntsfield Place
Edinburgh EH10 4EQ
0131 228 3144
www.choctree.co.uk

+ they’ve got a shop in Haddington, too!

11 Hardgate
East Lothian
Haddington
EH41 3JW

**************

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Love and cookies,

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3-Ingredient Vegan Salted Chocolate Truffles

3 ingredient vegan salted chocolate truffles
So when I made these, Mr Cookie Monster said something utterly unlike him:

‘My teeth will rot through if you keep on making these sweets.’ (Read in an Irish accent.)

This coming from the guy who will invariably buy himself at least two bags of sweets for the cinema, or must have gummy bears at least once a week. Now I make him chocolate and he’s complaining? Men. (By which of course I mean: ‘A proportion of the male gender who sometimes utter the most incomprehensible things and whose brain’s inner workings are about as clear as muddy water to me’, but it’s just easier to roll my eyes and sneer with this one word.)
3 ingredient vegan salted chocolate truffles
3 ingredient vegan salted chocolate truffles
So we’ve been living together for nearly a month now, after two and a half years of dating, a year and four months of which was long-distance. We’ve had our ups and downs but we’re still happy and in love, and most importantly, we’re still best friends to this day. He bugs the s*** out of me sometimes (ok, every day), but at the end of the day I’d feel miserable if I knew I wouldn’t wake up next to him in the morning. It’s an odd feeling, because I’ve always fared better on my own. I’m a hardcore introvert, I need lots of time to myself and will easily feel overwhelmed if I’m in a crowd, and generally prefer to work on my own as I just get annoyed with other people. But… (and it’s a big but) as comforting as it is to continue living as I always have, that’s not a healthy behaviour. At some point I have to learn to live with others, right?

This month so far has been an interesting social experiment. I quickly identified the things I don’t like about living with Mr Cookie Monster (he leaves his clothes on the floor and eats like a stereotypical bachelor, i.e. I am sick to death of fajitas). He’s not a feminist, not even close–we need to work on that. He likes to push my buttons for a laugh (we’ll see if it’s still funny when I ‘accidentally’ thwack him with a frying pan).

But far more numerous and precious are the things I like about living with Mr Cookie Monster. I don’t leap out of bed in the morning like I used to, true enough, but I get to snuggle closer and steal a bit of warmth for a few minutes. I have a human being to talk to when I come home at the end of the day (according to some people it’s weird to talk to my cat; I beg to differ). I have someone to share all my desserts with (and I do make a lot of desserts). I actually sit down on the sofa to watch a film now, instead of doing other tasks at the same time, which means I only pay half an ear to the storyline. I get to explore my favourite city in the world with him.

So although I might sometimes miss the independence I enjoyed in my bachelorette pad, I don’t think I’d trade in living with Mr Cookie Monster. For now at least I can bear him 🙂
3 ingredient vegan salted chocolate truffles

3-Ingredient Vegan Salted Chocolate Truffles

  • Servings: makes 15 truffles
  • Print

200g (7oz) 85% cooking chocolate
1 heaping tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp rock salt

Break the chocolate into small pieces and add to a small saucepan, along with the coconut oil, placed over moderate heat. Stir gently until the chocolate is completely melted, which will take approximately 3-5 minutes. Note: the chocolate must NOT bubble! Keep the heat quite low.

Set aside to cool, then place in the fridge for about 45 minutes, or until the chocolate is set.

Using a teaspoon or melon baller, scoop a small amount (about a teaspoonful) of the hardened chocolate and roll it into a walnut-sized ball in your hands. Your hands will need to be cold, otherwise the chocolate might melt and not hold its shape; it’s therefore advisable to wash your hands with cold water before getting started. Repeat this method to make 15 truffles.

Press a few grains of rock salt onto each truffle.

Keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Help me out! Any tips on living with your significant other for the first time? Why do men smell? How do I refrain from hitting him with a frying pan every other day??

Love and cookies,

thevegancookiefairysignature-2

Gluten-free Chocolate Chai Marbled Cake

Chocolate Chai Marbled Cake GF
So I guess I’m still not off that chai kick, huh? If you’re a chai devotee like me, check out my Chai Gingerbread Stars with Coconut Glaze, and Chai Tiramisini. Intervention, you say? No, please, I’m enjoying myself so much!
Chocolate Chai Marbled Cake GF 6
But seriously. I have had a lot of requests for more gluten-free baked goods lately so I decided to face my fears and attempt gluten-free baking. It’s an area of vegan baking that makes me really nervous because so far I’ve not had a lot of success with GF baking. Crumbling cakes, dry loaves, sunken cakes, bland baked goods — you name it, I’ve had it.

Chocolate Chai Marbled Cake GF
Some months ago I purchased the book Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking by the lovely Cara Reed of Fork & Beans, though I only recently had the chance to start reading it and trying the recipes in there. I’d made a couple of batches of her ‘Grandma’s Chocolate Chip Cookie’ with the intention of giving them to my new neighbours as a welcome and introduction gift, but truth be told, the cookies never reached the neighbours. ahem

Chocolate Chai Marbled Cake GF
I’d been planning to chai-ify my marbled cake recipe for ages, but figured it’d be the perfect opportunity to try it gluten-free. I wasn’t expecting anything much when I popped the tin in the oven… but miraculously, it turned alright!

A few notes: I used a ready-mixed gluten-free flour (Dove’s Farm Mill), which worked really well for me. Gluten-free batter doesn’t act like normal batter, though, so you should expect this one to be somewhat less flexible and liquid — not quite as “pourable”, I mean. So when you “pour” the batter into the cake tin, you will have to spread it out with a spatula to make sure it reaches all corners and sides of the tin. The cake is also slightly drier than my regular marbled cake recipe, which I actually don’t mind as I can spread a little almond butter on top without the slice crumbling on my plate. If you don’t like the texture to be quite so dry, just bake 5 minutes less.
Chocolate Chai Marbled Cake GF

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chai Marbled Cake

Notes: make sure the soya milk is at room temperature, otherwise it will harden the coconut oil when they come into contact. (Coconut oil is only liquid at room temp or when warmed.)

250g (1 + 2/3 cup) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
200g (2 cups) of sugar, or less (see note)
250g (1 cup) coconut oil, melted
175ml (3/4 cup) soya milk
1 tsp vanilla paste
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp ground flaxseed + 5 tbsp water
1 + 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground mace
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF/gas mark 4) and line or grease a loaf tin.

2. In a small bowl combine the ground flaxseed and water. Set aside.

3. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the sugar, coconut oil, vanilla paste, soya milk and flaxseed mixture. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry.

4. Pour half of the batter into another bowl. Fold in the cocoa powder and spices.

5. Pour half of the vanilla batter into the loaf tin, spreading it out evenly with a spatula. Pour half of the chocolate chai batter, smoothing it out over the vanilla batter as best as you can. Repeat with the remainder of the vanilla and chocolate chai batters.

6. Bake for 55-60 minutes, at which point the top should crack open like the top of a volcano and a skewer should come out clean. Cool on a wire rack before slicing.

Any more gluten-free recipe requests? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

Love and cookies,

thevegancookiefairysignature-2

My new e-books! Vegan Chocolate & Christmas recipes

Vegan Choc 2Vegan Christmas cover

I couldn’t be prouder of these two little e-books. Chocolate is my favourite food group (it’s a food group, don’t argue with me) and Christmas is my favourite time of year. Both conjure up dreams of comfort, twinkling fairy lights, and lots and lots of mouth-watering, maddeningly tasty desserts. I couldn’t keep all of these insanely good recipes to myself, so of course I had to share them with you 🙂

Oh and if you haven’t seen them yet, here are some reviews of my books by Coconut & Berries, Green Spirit Adventures, Forks & Beans and Fragrant Vanilla Cake.adore these ladies’ blogs and couldn’t be more humbled and excited that they liked my ebooks.

My ebooks contain some recipes, but not all that I took, so allow me to share the rest with you:

Chocolate ebook roundup TVCF

How about some Raw Matcha Truffles or Speculaas Chocolate Truffles to go with your afternoon tea? Or maybe you prefer a kick to your chocolate – in which case you’d love the Mayan Hot Chocolate and the Orange & Hazelnut Chocolate Pots.

I’m a traditionalist, personally, so my loyalty lies with my Mœlleux au Chocolat, the original French lava cake, all oozing goodness; it’s practically obscene to even talk of it.

But I’ve got you sorted with the party good, too: Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake, Chocolate Pecan Pie, or maybe the most dangerous of all: Death By Chocolate & Oreos. Lord help us all!

Some of you will tut at me for talking about Christmas already. I make no apologies for the fact that I start thinking about Christmas in July – no kidding. What? It is the most magical time of year, after all! And vegans especially have a bad time at Christmas – too often we end up snacking on crisps and breadsticks with dip at family gatherings. NO MORE. Say hello to cakes, puddings, luscious salads and mouthwatering pièce-de-résistance that will make your relatives look at their cuts of meat and think ‘What the hell am I eating this for when s/he’s feasting on THAT over there?!’

vegan christmas ebook roundup

My Festive Roasted Winter Veg always make an impression. Move over, roast turkey – here’s my fabulous Pistachio & Hazelnut Roast with Cranberry Sauce, and the perfect Fragrant Roast Potatoes to go with it, plus the most Christmassy salad you have ever laid eyes on. Oh and this Chocolate & Orange Yule Log that’s on the front cover of my ebook? We gobbled it up in 2 days last Christmas, leaving none for my poor brother-in-law. Oopsie.

For all my British readers, I’ve planned a few recipes especially for Boxing Day, the day after Christmas: Pomegranate Syrup Pancakes for a leisurely breakfast in bed and an Uber-Cheesy Cauliflower Bake for the ultimate comfort food supper in front of the telly.

My ebooks are available now on Amazon.co.uk/Amazon.com for only £1.53/$2.49! If you haven’t got a Kindle, download the free Kindle app onto your mobile phone or tablet and enjoy my recipes today!

Thank you all for your support! 🙂

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Love and cookies,
thevegancookiefairysignature-2