This is one of the most decadent cakes I’ve ever made and/or tasted. The image doesn’t do it justice; it’s basically a chocolate cake base, scooped out and filled with a caramel and salted peanuts mix, topped with chocolate sauce and extra (crushed) peanuts. If you use this recipe to make muffins/cupcakes, make the caramel slightly thinner so it pours out when your guests bite into it (it makes quite an impression).
Cake base (springform tin, 20cm/8in)
1 cup plain white flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp refined coconut oil or vegan margarine
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp flaxeed meal mixed with 7 tbsp hot water
1 cup water
.Preheat the oven to 180C (360F).
.In a bowl combine the dry ingredients, mix well, then stir in the wet ingredients. Pour the mixture into a floured spring-form cake tin (you can also line it with baking paper and use other types of tins).
.Put it in the middle of the oven and bake it for 35 minutes. Before removing it from the oven insert a knife or skewer into the cake. If it comes out clean the cake is ready, if not, bake it a bit longer.
.Once ready, remove it from the oven and let it cool to room temperature.
Cashew cream & chocolate sauce
1 cup cashews, soaked overnight
1 cup water
½ cup raw sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp refined coconut oil
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
.Drain the cashews that have been soaking overnight and blend them with about 1 cup of water. Depending on the blender, you may need more water, but use as little as possible since you want the cream pretty thick.
.Save 1 cup of the cashew cream to make caramel (see below), and whisk the remaining cashew cream with sugar, cocoa powder, coconut oil and vanilla. Transfer to a small saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, for a few minutes until the sugar dissolves and you get a smooth thick chocolate sauce. Set aside to cool down.
Caramel with peanuts
1.5 cups raw sugar
¾ cups water
1 cup cashew cream (above)
1 cup salted peanuts
.In a medium-size saucepan combine the sugar and water and cook on medium heat stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and cook without stirring for another 10 minutes or until golden brown.
.Remove from heat, stir in the cashew cream, then cook for another few minutes, stirring constantly.
.Remove from heat again, let it cool to room temperature. Stir in the salted peanuts.
To assemble the lot:
.Using a spoon or knife, cut into the cake base and carefully remove the top layer (see image sequence below). Carefully scoop out more of the content leaving a moderately thick foundation and walls.
.Pour in the caramel and peanuts mix.
.Carefully replace the top layer of the cake base removed in step #1.
.Spread the chocolate sauce on top. Sprinkle with crushed salted peanuts. Store it in a sealed container at least overnight before serving.
Everyone’s probably known this all along but I only recently learnt that adding black Himalayan salt to mashed tofu makes tofu taste and smell like eggs. Mashed cauliflower is a good substitute for tofu.
1 cup soft or hard tofu (or a combination)
¼ to ½ tsp black salt (or to taste)
2 tbsp mayonnaise (optional), book, p. 14
.Mash the tofu, add the salt and mayo (if using). Voila! Use it in sandwiches with a lettuce leaf.
Curried eggless tofu filling
Regular salt also works fine in this recipe.
1 cup hard tofu
¼ tsp curry powder (garam masala)
¼ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp black (or regular) salt, or to taste
¼ - ½ tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp lime juice
1.5 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp vegan mayonnaise (optional)
½ cup soft tofu + 1/8 tsp black salt (optional)
.Mash the hard tofu, add all the ingredients except for the soft tofu. Mix well to combine (I use my hands during this step to mash the tofu further).
.Optional: At the end, break the soft tofu up gently with a fork. Sprinkle with black salt. Stir the salted soft tofu into the hard tofu mixture, don’t mix it too much so it doesn’t turn yellow.
When you make scrambled tofu add the black salt after you’ve cooked the tofu because heat seems to kill the taste and smell of the black salt.
1 cup hard tofu
1 cup soft tofu
1 tsp vegetable oil
Pinch of ground turmeric (optional, for colour)
Black salt to taste
.In a small bowl break the soft tofu up with your hands or a fork but don’t mash it. Sprinkle with black salt and set aside.
.Mash the hard tofu. Heat the oil in a pan, add the mashed tofu and the turmeric. Cook stirring constantly for a few minutes (or longer if you prefer it very dry).
.Transfer to a bowl, stir in the black salt. Then gently fold in the soft tofu, don’t stir too much so it doesn’t turn yellow.
Salt and pepper tofu (book, p. 65) is traditionally made with soft tofu or so I was led to believe. Soft tofu is hard to work with in this recipe so I’d usually replace it with hard tofu. Clearly my salt & pepper tofu wasn’t as good as the one from the restaurant but it was good enough. I only recently learnt that soaking the hard tofu in a mixture of water and bicarbonate of soda and salt before frying it gives you the consistency of soft tofu (but without the mess), and I think that’s what most restaurants do too – use soaked hard tofu not soft tofu. It’s super simple and delicious, but you need to fry it, it doesn’t work baked.
3 cups hard tofu, cut into cubes, about 2.5cm (1in)
For the soaking:
4 cups water (approx.)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
For the frying:
3 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
.Place the tofu in a bowl, add enough water to cover the tofu, stir in 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda and 1 tsp of salt. Let it soak for 8 hours. Drain the tofu.
.Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the tofu and toss well (you can work in batches).
.Heat the vegetable oil and shallow-fry or deep-fry the coated tofu. Drain it in a colander or paper towel and serve immediately.
A spicy coriander/cilantro sauce that tastes like heaven. Perfect addition to your falafel roll (book, p.100)
¼ cup finely chopped fresh coriander/cilantro
¼ tsp salt (or to taste)
¼ tsp ground chilli (or to taste)
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground green cardamom
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp garlic paste
2-3 tbsp olive oil
.Mix it all together and use in falafel rolls, on bread, and other stuff.