Chocolate cake is a staple of my baking and after becoming vegan was the first cake recipe I tried to conquer without the use of animal ingredients. Whether you make buns, a sandwich cake or brownies, somehow you can’t quite beat baking with chocolate. The basic recipe I’ve written here can be just as easily put into paper cases and made into cupcakes, as into brownies as I have done. It’s now become one of the recipes I return to most and so far feedback from hungry friends has been very positive!
My recipe is adapted from this one by aliciak on instructables.com – however I’ve jazzed it up a bit and have added apple sauce to make it an even squidgier and moister brownie, as well as adding a different topping. The glaze used in the original recipe is great, but for something as dense and dark as the brownies below I think it’s nice to have the relief of a sweet, smooth chocolate buttercream. Due to the original recipe the measurements are in cups, which has both its benefits and drawbacks. If you’re a very precise baker – unlike me – it can be annoying, but it also means you can adapt recipes depending to how big you want the cake to be. For a batch of brownies like the ones I’ve made in the pictures, I’d use a reasonably sized mug (as pictured) as your “cup” measurement, but if you just wanted to make a small tray you could use something smaller. It’s also great for people who don’t have scales, or whose scales have sadly run out of batteries as mine have.
For the brownies
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
1 cup coffee (in liquid form! For this size of brownie I put two heaped teaspoons of instant coffee granules into the mug/cup and added boiling water up to the top of the mug)
1 tsp vanilla essence/extract
1/3 cup oil (I used sunflower)
¼ cup apple sauce
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
For the icing
½ cup dairy free spread (such as Pure or Vitalite)
2/3 cup icing sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
4-5 chopped walnuts to decorate
To make the cake
1) Mix the flour, sugar and cocoa together in a bowl.
2) Add the coffee, oil, vanilla essence and apple sauce. Stir the mixture until it is all well combined.
3) Sprinkle the chopped walnuts into the mixture and stir them through so that they are well distributed.
4) Bake at 190C/380F/Gas 5 for around 20-25 minutes. Be careful you don’t overcook the brownies, so once it looks done on top stick a skewer in – if it comes out clean or just slightly fudgy you can take it out of the oven. Leave the brownies for 10-15 minutes in the tin, then turn out to cool.
To make the icing
1) Put the spread into a bowl and slowly add small amounts of the icing sugar and cocoa, creaming it into the spread as you go. Once it’s all mixed in and seems to have a thick consistency, its ready to go. If it doesn’t seem stiff enough for you, try hardening it up with a short spell in the fridge.