This recipe is a tribute to one of my older posts, the chocolate mousse cake. That one was a classic in my mom’s kitchen and would often appear on the table on festive occasions, especially during the warm months since it is served cold.
I absolutely love that cake, and decided to recreate a vegan version of it.
Honestly, it turned out to be one of those “how-did-I-not-think-about-this-sooner” moments… It was fairly easy to make, with the veganizing part requiring only the minimal effort of owning (and cleaning) a food-processor.
In the original post, I mentioned that this cake is best saved for birthdays and other occasions where you let yourself indulge in a little treat that maybe you normally wouldn’t. This version of the cake is no different.
Let’s debunk the silly myth that if something is vegan it is automatically more healthy. Sugar is totally vegan. So is oil. And even margarine. So it is definitely possible (even easy) to make vegan stuff that will put you on the fast track to obesity.
Luckily for me, I’m the kind of person who far more appreciates well-prepared vegetables than cakes and cookies.
But even if you’re the kind of person who inhales chocolate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner I think this cake is so rich (even in its vegan form) that it only takes a small piece to satisfy that craving.
Another thing you’ll note about this cake is its use of something oddly reminiscent of… egg whites. Yeah. Totally vegan. Whips like a charm. What’s it made of, you ask? Why, flax, of course!
Using flax seeds in baking isn’t a new concept to anyone trying to do things without eggs, but most people (me included) use ground flax to replace the egg in recipes like pound cakes, brownies, certain cookies… Ground flax mixed with water does not whip (tried that).
But flax gel does.
The idea is to basically distill just the gelatinous property of the whole seeds. It’s really not difficult, although a bit messy and not so much fun in hot weather since it requires simmering them in water.
It’s quite genius and I wish I could say it was my discovery, but the mastermind behind this is Miyoko of Artisan Vegan Life. Now that I’ve stumbled upon it though, I will be experimenting with these vegan egg whites a lot!
Speaking of birthdays. We just celebrated my 28th birthday and… Our son’s zero-th birthday!
Our little boy was born about
two three nearly four weeks ago, and there are no words to describe the feeling of becoming a parent (but I’ll give it a try anyway).
It’s weird to think that while we were still in the hospital I kept thinking that I would probably not be able to recognize him among all the other babies in the nursery… but just a couple of days later I felt like I had known him my entire life. There’s something so familiar about him, and I can’t decide if it’s because he’s a combination of Mr. Graceful’s and my families, or because I’m sleep deprived and my neurons are firing backwards, making me experience each moment with him as this haunting déjà vu.
Either way, I am awake enough to note that these are definitely the best days of my life so far. The little guy is definitely the best birthday present ever!
Enjoy, and happy birthday!
All-Out Chocolate Mousse Cake — Vegan Style
Serves: Can be cut into 16 satisfying slices
Estimated Time: 45 minutes
Kosher Classification: Neutral
Music That Complements This Dish: Summer of ’69 – Bryan Adams
About 25 tea biscuits
1 Tbs. instant coffee
1+1/2 cup cashews, soaked overnight
juice of half a lemon
200 g dark chocolate
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup oil
2 Tbs. water
1/3 cup whole flax seeds (I used brown)
Prepare the flax gel by simmering the flax seeds in 1 cup of water over medium heat until the water reduces to an egg white-like consistency, between 20-40 minutes.
Strain the flax gel from the seeds and discard them, or keep to use in something else. It is useful to do this using utensils from smooth materials such as metal, glass, or silicon. I had to rub the gel through the sieve with a spatula. If you over-simmer it and the gel is too thick to strain, properly, add some water and simmer again while stirring frequently until you reach the right consistency. It should feel slimy and, honestly, kinda gross if you rub it between your fingers.
Set it aside and let it cool.
Next, melt the chocolate in a double boiler along with the oil, sugar, and water.
While the chocolate mixture cools, make the “sour cream” by blending the soaked cashews with the lemon juice, and slowly adding the water until a sour cream consistency is reached. You can also use almond meal, but its flavor is not as mild as cashews. Either way it’s very important to process the nuts with liquids or else this will release their oils and give the cream a nut-butter-y flavor. Pour the nut cream into the chocolate mixture and mix until uniform.
Then, whip the flax gel on high speed until it looks like very thick, dense marshmallow fluff.
Isn’t that amazing?
Fold the fake egg whites into the chocolate mixture until completely uniform.
Now for the easy part: Make a bowl of “coffee” by mixing the instant coffee with the milk of your choice. Then dunk the tea biscuits in the coffee and line the cake pan with it to create a moist crust.
Pour the chocolate mixture on top of the biscuit layer and smooth the top.
Refrigerate until the top of the cake firms up (you can speed this up by placing the cake in the freezer, but be sure to cover it in plastic wrap so that it doesn’t get a funky freezer taste).
- Simmer 1/3 cup whole flax seeds in 1 cup water over medium heat for 20-40 minutes, until the water reduces to gel
- Strain the seeds and keep the gel. Let cool.
- Melt 200 grams dark chocolate in a double boiler with 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup oil, and 2 Tbs. water. Let cool.
- Blend 1+1/2 cups soaked cashews with the juice of half a lemon. Add 1/2 cup water slowly while blending until it reaches a sour cream consistency.
- Whip the flax gel to a Swiss meringue consistency and fold into the melted chocoalte.
- Make “coffee” by mixing 1/2 cup milk of choice with 1 Tbs. instant coffee. Dunk 25 tea biscuits in the coffee and use them to line your cake pan.
- Pour the chocolate mixture over the tea biscuits and smooth the top. Refrigerate until firm