Happy Friday! Finally! The weekend is getting closer and closer and I am looking forward unplug a bit. Do you feel the same?
Today I am posting my chocolate, earl grey and bergamot cake, (also called, in my head and by me only, Miriam’s woodland fantasy)which is vegan and super flavourful. The most amazing friend ever mailed me a box of bergamots, which I have used for several things, one of which is this cake.
The cake has several elements:
- Chocolate sponge
- Bergamot buttercream
- Earl grey ganache
- Tempered chocolate decorations
- Bergamot sable cookie mushrooms and squirrel
- Matcha “moss” cake
- Meringue mushrooms and snow (recipe from https://projectveganbaking.com/vegan-chocolate-meringue-mushrooms/)
What are your weekend plans? Any baking included? Mine are some baking and some napping 🙂
Ingredients and procedure
For the chocolate sponge
450ml almond milk
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
225g soft vegan butter
300g caster sugar
1 bergamot zest
1 tsp salt
375g self raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
75g cocoa powder
60g melted dark chocolate
Pour the apple cider vinegar in the milk and let curdle. Beat the vegan butter and the caster sugar for ~5 minutes, until pale and fluffy. Pour in the bergamot zest. In another bowl, sift together the flour, the bicarbonate and the cocoa powder. Then start adding this dry mix to the beaten butter, but do it in batches and alternate a batch of dry with a batch of wet (milk+vinegar) ingredients. Do not mix, try to FOLD. Treat the butter as if it was beaten egg whites. Once everything is incorporated, add the melted dark chocolate and pour in the cake tin. I divided my mixture in 3 tins. Bake at 180C static for ~45 minutes. I have a temperamental oven, so for me it takes 50 minutes, for others it might take a bit less. Check with a metal skewer.
For the bergamot buttercream
120g vegan butter – I use a less soft type of butter, like the vegan block, do not use margarine
160g icing sugar (add if required)
Zest of 2 bergamots
For the sable mushrooms:
80 g flour
50 g butter – it should be cold and cubed
30 g icing sugar
Zest of 1 bergamot
20 g almond flour
Pinch of salt
20g melted white chocolate
Mix flour butter and icing sugar until the butter is broken down. Add the almond flour, the bergamot, the salt and the melted white chocolate. Quickly shape into a ball and let rest the fridge for at least 1h. Once ready to bake, remove from the fridge and let soften a bit at room temperature. Do not worry if the dough feels like a piece of marble, it will be workable soon and pretty much indestructible despite its sandiness once eaten.
Shape the dough as you like, I hand cut a squirell shape in paper, overlaid it to my dough (4mm thick) and baked it for 13-15 minutes at 160C fan. Let cool before decorating.
For the mushroom shape, I cut a half moon slightly more curved and placed it on chopsticks, shaping it like one of those mushrooms growing out of trees. Baked for 12 minutes.
For the matcha “moss” sponge cake:
100ml almond milk
1/3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
50g soft vegan butter
60g caster sugar
100g self raising flour
1 tsp matcha powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Follow the same procedure described for the chocolate sponge. I used a small tin but it still took 40 minutes for this to bake. Once cooled, break down the sponge so that you can stick it on the fresh ganache as if it was moss.
For the chocolate ganache-frosting
60 ml double cream – keep 40 after infusing
9g earl grey leaves
140g dark chocolate
50g white vegan chocolate
After you have piped your buttercream between the sponges and the cake is stacked, prepare the frosting.
Warn the cream with the earl grey until simmering. Move from the heat and let infuse for at least 2h. Discard the earl grey and use the remain cream, which should have reduced in weight after the straining. Weigh 40 grams.
Melt the 50g white vegan chocolate and brush it in random spots of your cake, so that it will give it some depth.
The ratio of this ganache frosting is practically 3:1 and it hardens quite quickly but it also keeps everything together very nicely. When it’s hardening, use a toothpick to score it as if it was the bark of a tree.
Finish decorating as you please, I used the vegan meringue leftovers to make a snowy effect by crumbling some of it. I also melted some white chocolate tempered it and shaped it in a circle, then painted with some melted dark chocolate to make it look like the inside of a tree!
Let me know whether you try this recipe here or on Instagram @cake_files_ 🙂