happy birthday plant power (vegan) challenge entry

Plant Power (Vegan) just had it's first birthday on hive so we are celebrating with a challenge making a birthday cake for the occasion. please join in the celebration

Double chocolate layer cake with chocolate ganache

ingredients for an incredible ganache:

100 g 70% chocolate, chopped
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut cream

pour off the liquid from the coconut milk and save for some other use. here i am just using the cream. warm it over low heat just until completely melted remove from heat and

add add the chopped chocolate and stir until melted

and lastly stir in the maple syrup.

this simple to make ganache tastes absolutely awesome, only slightly sweet and very versatile. when cool it will be a little thicker. so far so good. now for the hard part.

deliciously moist chocolate cake ingredients:

1 cup homemade almond milk
1 1/2 Tbsp homemade apple cider vinegar
2 cups wheat flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup homemade pear preserves
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup boiling water
the filling:
3 pears, peeled and sliced
desiccated coconut
2 tsp sugar
peeled almond halves

these are from the shop

and these we make ourselves. pear preserves, apple cider vinegar, and coconut oil. we don't have pear trees but have several friends who do and we often get quite a lot from them. we do have an apple tree and make a wonderful apple cider vinegar. we also have coconut trees in our garden in india and deliver dried coconuts to the local oil mill. we sell most of the oil but bring a few liters back to norway with us. since we have not been to india recently this is the last jar we have.

first the almond milk.
since this is for baking i am making a simple and quick version using 1/4 cup almonds to 1 1/2 cups water.

soak the almonds in a little hot water for 15 minutes. drain and peel.

blend the peeled almonds in 1 1/2 cups water at high speed.

pour through a strainer. use 1 cup here and save the rest including pulp for tomorrow morning's muesli or whatever.

my homemade apple cider vinegar is less concentrated than many store brands so you may want to consider using less if what you have is stronger.
add the vinegar to the almond milk and set aside to curdle.

meanwhile preheat the oven to 180C/ 350 F grind the salt fine and sift together with the flour, baking powder and baking soda into a large bowl. then sift the cocoa, then sift sift everything together with the sugar.

if needed, heat the coconut oil in a pan over low heat just until melted.

add the pear preserves. some recipes call for applesauce, mainly to make to make the cake moist but when making chocolate cake i prefer pears. if you don't have pears then applesauce will do fine.

stir in the almond milk and vanilla. don't be worried that 1 Tbsp is too much.

spread oil or vegan butter in a large cake form or 2 if you prefer. this is a layer cake so it is a little faster and easier if you use 2 but i am using 1.

pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and beat together until totally smooth. Just before filling the cake form(s) slowly beat in the boiling water. the batter will seem thin but this is what makes the cake so moist

fill the cake form and place in the hot oven

make sure the form is not too high in the oven, especially if you are using 1 form. the cake will rise and i don't want the top too get too dry and burn. if using 1 form bake for about 50 minutes and test with a knife. if using 2 forms 35 minutes should suffice but bake until the knife comes clean.

when done let the cake cool 15 minutes before removing the sides. then let the cake cool completely before decorating.

i was too concentrated on how to decorate and how to avoid the cake falling apart when splitting so i forgot to take a photo but it must be done carefully. the cake is heavy and moist and can break apart if not supported when removing the top layer

cover the bottom layer with the sliced pears

sprinkle the desiccated coconut and sugar evenly over the pears. i did not use any ganache around the edge here but afterwards i thought maybe i should have.

replace the top layer carefully

pour the ganache over the cake

and spread it evenly also on the sides

i just dragged a fork over the top to give this striped effect but of course, feel free to decorate any way you want.

i put the cake in the fridge to harden the ganache a little before the finishing touch with peeled almond halves. it is less messy that way, just don't let it harden completely or the almonds won't stick. the cake is perhaps best served room temperature for a luscious creamy ganache.


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