Preparation time: 25 minutes (for everything)

Baking time: 35-40 minutes (for the sponge)

Cooking time: 45 minutes (for the icing)

Cooling time: 3 hours (for the icing)

Makes: a 4-tier layer cake

INGREDIENTS FOR THE SPONGE:

4tbs ground flax seeds + 12tbs water

600g plain flour

400g sugar

4tbs cacao

4tsp bicarbonate of soda

a good pinch of salt

200g of dark vegan chocolate (70% cacao and upwards)

450ml almond milk (or coconut or soya milk for a nut-free recipe)

150g coconut oil (melted) + extra for greasing

2-3 large unwaxed oranges

INGREDIENTS FOR THE ICING:

2kg sweet potatoes

350g cacao powder (or more to taste)

1/3 cup rice or maple syrup

1 tsp pure vanilla essence

grated orange peel of 1 orange

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS:

We placed some vegan bliss balls coated in turmeric, greenery, candles, orange pieces and ice cream cones on top, but the world is your oyster, so do what you like!

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 200C. Grease 4 round cake tins (16cm each)  with coconut oil and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the ground flax seed and water with a spoon and set aside.

In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients: the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda and salt.

Take the chocolate and with a knife or grater, break it into little, thin pieces. The finer, the better. 

Place the grated chocolate into a large bowl and mix it with the wet ingredients: the almond milk, melted coconut oil and flax seed mixture. Add the juice of the oranges, grate in the zest of the oranges and combine.

Next mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients until nicely combined. Though be sure not to overmix!

Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared cake tins and place into the oven immediately. Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes. (Do a toothpick test after 35 minutes, the cake needs to be cooked through but not dry).

Whilst the cake is baking in the oven prepare the chocolate icing by cutting the sweet potatoes into chunks, placing them over a large pot with water and steam them until they are soft and fully cooked through (about 45 minutes). Pour away the water when done. Let the sweet potatoes cool. 

If the cake sponge is ready, remember to remove it from the oven now. Let it cool. Once cool remove any uneven tops gently with a sharp knife, so that the cake layers are relatively flat and even. (Feel free to eat the off cuts:)).

Finish the icing by placing the sweet potatoes together with the cacao powder and syrup in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and add more sugar/cacao until you obtain the level of chocolate-ness and sweetness you desire. Place in the fridge for at least 3 hours before you start icing the cake.

Ice the cake by spooning icing on top of the first sponge layer. Spread evenly. Then place the second cake sponge layer on top of the first iced one. Ice evenly and continue until all 4 have been placed on top of each other. Next ice the outside of the cake, filling any gaps between the slices. Remember this is a naked cake so there will be parts on the outside of the cake with very little icing! Decorate to your liking. 

Tip 1: You can also bake the sweet potatoes for about 45 minutes in the oven (or until soft) instead of steaming them.

Tip 2: You can also use raw cane sugar in the frosting in stead of maple syrup. Please do to taste!

Enjoy!

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