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Vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free chocolate cakes decorated with fresh fruit and flowers



Food & wine editor


Who says no gluten or dairy means no fun? These three rich chocolate cakes taste just as good as they look

January is usually a time for new eating regimes and pledging to avoid all food sins (including that leftover box of Christmas biscuits). It certainly seems an odd month for the sweetest of national food holidays: Chocolate Cake Day (27 January). But we think you should look at it as a chance to indulge in life’s occasional treats by cooking up one of your own. Best of all, we’ve come up with three tempting recipes that will help you stick to any new year diet changes while still satisfying your sweet tooth. Stick to your Veganuary guns with a frozen cheesecake made with antioxidant-rich berries or try a dark, dense seeded olive oil cake that’s dairy-free. For a real showstopper, our egg-rich but flour-free sponge sandwich, with lashings of crème fraiche and cherries, should do the trick. Saintly they might not be, but there’s no denying the delicious factor when it comes to these alternative cakes.

Vegan frozen fruit chocolate cheesecake

Prep time (including chilling) 2 hours

2 tbsp coconut oil, softened
100g macadamia nuts, toasted
1 x 220g pack medjool dates, roughly chopped
½ pack frozen raspberries
½ pack frozen blueberries
150g Made Without Dairy frozen coconut cream
30g hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
20g desiccated coconut
100g 72% (or above) dark chocolate, broken into pieces
Fresh raspberries and blueberries, to top

Grease a 24cm loose-bottomed fluted tin with ½ tsp coconut oil.

In a food processor, pulse the rest of the coconut oil, macadamia nuts and dates. Press into the tin and refrigerate for 20 mins.

Blitz the raspberries in the food processor with two tablespoons of water, until smooth. Pour onto the base and freeze for 30 mins. Wipe out the food processor, then blitz the blueberries with two tablespoons of water, until smooth. Pour onto the raspberry layer. Freeze for 30 mins.

Wipe out the food processor. Melt the chocolate gently in the microwave or over a pan of simmering water. Leave to cool, but not harden. Blitz the frozen coconut cream with the toasted hazelnuts and chocolate. Pour onto the blueberry layer. Sprinkle desiccated coconut on top. Freeze until just set. Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before serving and top with fresh raspberries and blueberries.


Gluten-free chocolate and cherry layer cake

Prep time 15 mins
Cook time 40-50 mins
Makes 3 x 20 cm cakes

600g 72% dark chocolate, in pieces
150g unsalted butter
20 eggs, separated
450g demerara sugar
180g cocoa powder
½ tsp sea salt
300g low-fat black cherry yoghurt
150ml lighter crème fraîche
60g morello cherries, drained and sliced in half

Preheat oven to 170C/150C fan/gas mark 3.

Grease and line three 20cm cake tins.

Melt the chocolate and butter. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a food processor until doubled in volume. Sift in the cocoa powder and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peak stage.

Fold the chocolate into the egg yolks and sugar. Gently stir in the yoghurt and a third of the egg whites to loosen the mixture. Fold in the rest of the egg whites.

Divide the batter between the tins. Dot half the cherries on top. Bake for 40-50 mins until set. Remove from the tin once cool.

Gently whisk the crème fraîche in a bowl and gently fold in the cherry yoghurt to give a marbled effect. Spread the crème fraîche mix on top of one cake and stud with cherries. Place the other cake gently on top and repeat. Top with fresh cherries.


Dairy-free seeded olive oil chocolate cake

Prep time 15 mins
Cook time 40 mins
Makes 1 x 23cm cake

60g cocoa powder
½ tsp sea salt
130ml almond milk, or water
3 medium free-range eggs
150g dark muscovado sugar
150ml olive oil
150g ground almonds
15g pumpkin seeds
15g sunflower seeds
50g 72% dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1 tsp softened coconut oil

Preheat oven to 170C/150C fan/gas mark 3. Grease and line a 23cm cake tin.

In a bowl stir the cocoa powder, salt

and almond milk together until smooth. Stir in a couple of tablespoons of almond milk first to make a paste, then gradually add the rest.

With an electric mixer, whisk the eggs, sugar and olive oil for five minutes on a high speed, until thickened. Add the cocoa powder mixture and whisk until smooth. Gently fold in the ground almonds.

Pour the batter into the tin and sprinkle the seeds on top. Bake for 40 mins, until set. Cool for a few minutes, then use the baking parchment to gently remove from the tin. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water and stir through the coconut oil. Drizzle over the cake before serving.

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