Sometimes I get creative when I describe vegan baking and I start using "egg-free" and "dairy-free" phrases. I find that a lot of people react badly when they hear "vegan" and "cake" in the same sentence, however "egg-free" and "dairy-free" encourages people to try. But no matter what I call it, the reality is that it is vegan. And it's good. And it's tasty and delicious and chocolatey.
About a year ago I've discovered a wonderful vegan chocolate cake and since then I couldn't help but try and come up with other vegan desserts. I am not vegan, but if I can reduce just a little bit of fat without comprising the taste, then why not?
I came up with this recipe while leafing through a cookbook where I noticed a Spiced-Prune Cake. I thought that prunes could add moisture and sweetness to a cake, so I could reduce the amount of sugar and oil. I didn't really want any pronounced prune flavour (although I do really love prunes), so I finely chopped them to distribute in the batter. I added a little bit of my favourite Orange Oil which is a secret ingredient in a lot of my baking. It gives this je ne sais quoin to the glaze and leaves you asking for another bite. It's not necessary, but I highly urge you to buy a bottle.
So, this was my morning. Measuring, writing, baking, photographing and eating this delicious and still warm slice of cake with a cup of perfect Americano and now I am patiently (or not so patiently) waiting for dinner when it'll be appropriate to have another slice.
Prunes, pitted - 1 cup
Water, boiling - 1/2 cup
Chocolate chips, semi-sweet - 1/2 cup
Flour - 1 1/2 cups
Sugar - 2/3 cup *
Cocoa powder - 1 tablespoon
Baking soda - 3/4 teaspoon
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
Vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon
Vegetable oil - 2/3 cup
White vinegar - 1 tablespoon
For the glaze
Chocolate chips, semi-sweet - 1/3 cup
Icing sugar - 1/2 cup *
Water - 2 tablespoons
Orange oil - 1/2 teaspoon
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper and spray it with oil.
- In a food processor or by hand finely chop prunes, pour boiling water over them, mix and let stand to cool slightly.
- Melt chocolate chips either in microwave or on a water bath. Let cool slightly.
- In a large bowl mix together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
- Add oil, melted chocolate, cooled prune and water mixture, vanilla and mix until flour disappears.
- Add vinegar and mix it in. Do not over mix! Batter will be pretty thick.
- Spread the batter into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 min. Edges will be cooked through but centre will still be a bit soft.
- Take the cake out and let cool. Meanwhile make the glaze.
- Melt chocolate in the microwave or on a water bath.
- In a separate bowl mix together icing sugar and water.
- Add melted chocolate into icing sugar mixture and mix until smooth.
- Add the orange oil and mix.
- Pour the glaze over cooled cake and spread.
* Prunes and chocolate are pretty sweet, so you could reduce the amount of sugar in both cake and glaze by a little bit.
- I have reduced the amount of oil in this cake and it is a little bit crumbly. For a less crumbly cake, you may want to add full cup of oil instead of 2/3 cup. Since I was making the cake just for myself and my husband, it didn't matter if it held perfect slice, so I chose to add less oil. Flavour was still there and it was moist (because of the prunes), rich and chocolatey.