But my sister is both lactose intolerant and vegan and when she asked me to make her a chocolatey birthday cake, I knew I had a difficult task on my hands.
I later found out she was in fact an egg-eating vegan (I know, right?), which would have made my life a lot easier if I had known beforehand.
I made her a cake that I found on this blog called PurelyTwins. Surprisingly, it wasn't a disaster. Despite not being filled with sugar and butter and eggs and all the things that make cakes nice, it was very edible. It had a rich dark chocolatey taste and an almost normal texture.
Flora (the aforementioned sister) then made me slather some pre-made coffee flavoured buttercream all over it. It was vegan, but had very little else to recommend it.
So when I had a chance to make the cake again, with a more suitable topping, I went for it. This whipped coconut cream topping is very simple and easy, but before you want to make it, leave the cartons of coconut cream in the fridge overnight.
When choosing a nut butter, the general rule is that the fewer ingredients there are, the better the nut butter. I use a brand that contains only peanuts, a little salt and sustainable palm oil.
This cake is vegan, gluten free and the only refined sugar it will contain is any that is in the applesauce or the peanut butter. So it's chocolatey, rich and best of all, guilt-free.
You will need:
For the cake:
225g slightly unripe banana
65ml coconut oil (if yours has solidified, just warm it in the microwave for a few seconds)
2 tbsp nut butter
half a tsp baking powder
half a tsp bicarbonate of soda
half a tsp sea salt
4 tbsp protein powder
70g raw cacao powder
an 8 inch springform cake tin, greased and with the base lined with greaseproof paper
For the icing:
2 cartons of coconut cream
grated zest of one lime
1. Preheat the oven to 180 C. Mash the banana and mix with the applesauce, coconut oil and nut butter until thoroughly combined.
2. Fold in the protein powder, cacao, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
3. Use a hand-held blender to blend the mixture until smooth.
4. Pour half the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 25 minutes.
5. Repeat step 4. Leave the cakes to cool while you make the icing.
6. Cut open the top of each packet of coconut cream. The cream should have semi-solidified into a block which will be surrounded by coconut water.
7. Carefully drain off the coconut water without disturbing the cream. Put the cream in a bowl and beat with a whisk until smooth.
8. Spread the coconut cream over the top of each cake layer and then place one on top of the other.
9. Grate the lime over the top of the cake to decorate.
Cut yourself a big, chocolatey, creamy, guilt-free slice.