This simple vegan orange cake filled with chocolate cream and topped with chocolate ganache gets my vote for "the best cake" every time I make it. I love the irresistible orange-chocolate combination and use it in many desserts. I think the success of this cake is also due to the whole wheat flour. The type I use has bits of bran in it and creates a fantastic texture while adding a nutty flavour to it.
The orange cake is very light and fluffy, moist and wonderfully orange-scented. The chocolate cream is light and mildly sweet. The textures and flavours come together perfectly in this cake that needs nothing else to be a big hit. Last time I made it I was so anxious to taste it, because I hadn't made it in a long time, that I ended up assembling it and devouring a slice while the cream and cake were slightly warm. Words fail me to describe the absolute pleasure of eating it. It would simply melt in the mouth, leaving me craving for another bite...and another. The perfect bite! - that's what it is.
I wholeheartedly recommend this extraordinary cake for any special occasion (waking up craving chocolate counts as special occasion for me). I haven't tried to replace this type of flour with regular cake flour or even with finely ground whole wheat flour. It is already perfect! If you let it cool completely you'll understand why you don't need extra moisture.
I needed a heart-shaped cake for a birthday celebration and for lack of a heart-shaped pan I had to improvise, much to my enjoyment, because I got to eat all those crunchy, slightly caramelized edges all by myself :). A small rounded V at one end, a large V at the other, a little trimming around the sides and there I had a beautiful heart.
This cake was inspired by a recipe for cream-filled cupcakes. Sadly I cannot credit its author because at the time I didn't save the link for future reference and now I can't seem to find it. One note before we get on with the recipe: if you're using an electric oven with upper and lower heating elements, switch them both on. Leave them on for 10 minutes while the cake is baking on the middle rack, then switch the top one off. The cake batter is liquidy and too much heat coming from above makes the cake crack.
Chocolate Orange Cake
Prepare a 20 cm (8") loose bottom pan. Remove the bottom, cover it with parchment paper, fold it underneath and place it back inside the ring. Pull the paper from all sides until it's taut and trim the edges, leaving a 2 cm border, as shown below. Lightly oil the sides of the pan.
- 1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup unrefined caster sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice with pulp
- 3/4 cup oat milk (or soy milk)
- 1/3 cup sunflower oil (for a fat-free version replace with applesauce, it works great too)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Note: The measuring cups I use are 250 ml (1 cup), 125 ml (1/2 cup), 80 ml (1/3 cup) and 60 ml (1/4 cup).
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix gently with a fork or spoon until just combined. Make sure you don't overbeat, or the cake will lose its fluffy texture.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan (bring the bowl as close to the pan as you can).
Bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. See my notes on baking above.
Put the pan onto a wire rack and let cool for about 15 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan, slide it off the removable bottom and back onto the wire rack until it's completely cooled (to remove it from the pan, I just place the pan on top of a bowl and then carefully push the ring down with my thumbs while holding the bottom from underneath - of course, if you have a springform pan, you don't have to struggle with this). Peel off the paper and place the cake on a serving plate.
If you want a heart-shaped cake, just draw a heart with the tip of a knife and then trim off the edges. Otherwise just cut the cake in half to obtain 2 layers and carefully move the top layer onto another plate.
Spread the chocolate cream over the bottom layer and cover with the other one. If you like a more fruity cake you can add bits of orange to the cream. If the cake does crack a bit, use a little cream to fill the cracks and even out the surface before pouring the ganache over.
- 75 g chocolate (60%), broken into small pieces
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2 Tb oat milk (or coconut milk)
- 25 g vegan butter or margarine
- 50 g chocolate (60%), broken into small pieces
- 1/4 cup agave nectar (or maple syrup)
- 1 Tb oat milk (or coconut milk)
You can slice and serve the cake straight away or chill it in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
Enjoy and spread the magic :)
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