Christmas Blackberry Cake with Chocolate Glaze
I had a Christmas cake in mind that would be multilayered and stuffed with cherries and blackberries on the inside. I figured the filling would be easy and for the cakes I would just have to make sure they are plenty moist, so I added frozen blackberries into the cake batter as well. Why the heck not…Frosting is always the tricky one and is based on bits and pieces from Jude Blereau’s Wholefood Baking and Amy Chaplin’s At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen. I would strongly recommend reading these two books as they offer fantastic alternatives for vegan baking and then adjusting based on your preference. I wanted to avoid using margarine, but have a frosting that holds well without tasting too much like cacao butter or coconut milk. I made two different batches before settling for the mix I have here.
For the dry mix:
2 cups (~260g) spelt flour
1/2 cup (~45g) almond meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the wet mix:
1/2 cup almond milk*
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup flaxseed meal, in 1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 teaspoon apple cider
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup frozen blackberries
For the filling:
1 cup (~180g) cherries, pitted*
1 cup (~120g) blackberries
2 tablespoons rice malt syrup
For the vanilla frosting:
1 cup almonds, soaked overnight*
1 3/4 cup water
1 cup (400ml) coconut milk (organic, with as less nasties as possible)
1/8 cup (30ml) maple syrup
2 teaspoons agar powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
30 grams raw cacao butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the topping:
50 grams dark chocolate
- Make the frosting
- Prep a double layer muslin cloth or a nut milk bag if you have one, over a pan and set aside.
- Remove the skins off the almonds, rinse and drain. If you’re having trouble with the skins, blanch almonds for 5 minutes and skins will slip off easily.
- Combine the almonds and water and place in an upright blender.
- Blend on high speed till completely smooth. Pour this over the prepared lined pan. Slowly squeeze out liquid. You will have about 450ml of almond milk.
- Add the coconut milk, agar and maple syrup, and bring the milk mixture to boil while whisking. Then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. In a separate bowl, dissolve the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water then add to the milk mixture and continue whisking. You will notice the mixture becoming thicker. Lastly, add the cacao butter and the vanilla extract. Gently whisk till the butter has completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool before placing in the fridge to let set, at least 3 hours, but for best results leave in the fridge overnight. Once set, the mixture will be fairly solid. Put it back into an upright blender and blend until silky smooth. Transfer back into a container and keep in the fridge till you are ready to assemble the cake.
- Make the cake
- Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Prep two 6-inch cake tins and set aside.
- Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl.
- In another bowl, combine the flaxseed meal with 1/4 cup of lukewarm water and let it sit for a few minutes. Then add the almond milk, coconut oil, maple syrup, apple cider and vanilla extract and whisk to emulsify (I used a hand held blender). Lastly, mix in frozen blackberries.
- Add flour mixture and mix well. Divide the cake batter between the two cake tins, and bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- Make the filling
- Combine cherries, blackberries and rice malt syrup in a small pan and bring to boil. Cover pan and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 10-15 minutes till it thickens. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
- Make the chocolate glaze
- Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in a microwave.
- Assemble the cake
- Place the cakes onto a nice flat surface and using a large sharp knife, cut each cake in half horizontally. Cakes will be relatively easy to cut, but take care when moving the layers onto your serving platter. I like to slide a flat baking tray between the layers when moving. If the surface of the top of the cakes is uneven, you can gently cut across the surface to achieve a flat look.
- Spread the blackberry-cherry filling in the center of first layer and pipe or spread the frosting all around reaching the edge of the cake. Goal is to have a beautiful filling in the middle and frosting all around.
- Carefully slide another layer of cake on top and repeat till you get to the fourth and final layer.
- Ice top and sides with the frosting. There will be enough to repeat the process twice. So do it once pop the cake in the fridge for 10-15 minutes then repeat.
- Pour the melted chocolate on top and gently ice the glaze with a spoon or an offset spatula so that the chocolate drips down the sides.
- Place in the fridge until ready to serve. Cake will keep good, but after a day you will notice discoloration of the frosting, so it’s best to serve the day it’s made.
Notes: For best results, prep prep prep. Almonds need to be soaked overnight, unless you can find cold pressed almond milk. With the vanilla frosting, the key is to keep the frosting cool and give it plenty of time to set. For the wet mix, regular store bought almond milk will do. Rest of the cake will be fairly easy and fun to make. In my filling, I am using cherries and blackberries, but feel free to use one or the other.
Vegan baking is my way of living mindfully while learning about and using wholesome ingredients to create delicious and balanced baked goodies.