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Make your own easy vegan chocolate cake stack

Celebrate Chocolate Cake Day with home made chocolate brownie and truffles 

Hallo again from Honeybuns gluten free bakery, Dorset.

As my granny used to say, “These things really are sent to try us”. What with continued lockdown, kids at home and rubbish weather, things are a tad on the grimmer side of fun at the moment. Even the Honeybuns donkeys are looking glum. 

Donkeys and horse in paddock

To help ward off the January lockdown blues, we’ve been keeping busy, packing up all your lovely online cake orders which helps keep us sane. We’ve also been working on a new website which we’ll be unveiling for you later this month. We’re bringing you new letterbox cake gifts, exciting collabs with fellow artisan makers (gluten free natch) and a better online experience. You’ve been so patient and loyal – you deserve the very best! Thank you for all of your continued support – we really do appreciate it.

By way of thanks, we’ve devised a lovely recipe for you to celebrate international Chocolate Cake Day.

To say an even extra special thanks, we’ve thrown in a second recipe for delicious vegan and gluten free chocolate truffles. The truffle recipe is adapted from the 'Almond, Chocolate & Cherry Truffles' recipe in our Honeybuns All Day Cook Book. Both our cook books are available in our online shop.

Truffles and chocolate cake on cake stand

It’s our International Chocolate Cake gift to you, our treasured Honeybuns followers. This brownie stack is very pretty and is ideal for celebrating special occasions including birthdays, anniversaries, baby showers ……alternatively bake it now, snuggle up and let those lockdown blues float far, far away…

So let’s get started on making this “Cheer you  Up” chocolate brownie cake adorned with vegan chocolate truffles.

First, we’ll answer the questions we frequently get asked about our recipes. You can then get everything assembled and ready for a stress free baking experience.

How quick and easy is this dairy free brownie cake to make?

The brownie part of the recipe is a doddle. You will need 5-10 minutes to weigh and mix your ingredients plus 30 minutes in the oven and that’s it. To make your home made vegan truffles you’ll need 5-10 mins of weighing and blitzing in the food processor, plus another 15-20 mins to make them look pretty and to create your decorated brownie stack. So no more than 1 hour 10 altogether.

Do I need any fancy equipment to make this chocolate cake?

A food processor is helpful but apart from that everything else is pretty basic.

Here’s exactly what you need to make your choclat-ey cheer up cake:

  • Tray bake tin measuring approx: 30cm x 23cm x 4cm
  • Food processor
  • Mixing bowl
  • Microwave or pan and hob
  • Baking parchment

Which gluten free ingredients do I need to buy in?

All of the ingredients will need to be gluten free and vegan. Remember to check on the pack for allergen information, if you are baking for a coeliac everything needs to be gluten free and not just wheat free. Our Honeybuns All Day Cook Book has lots of helpful info on gluten free ingredients in the store cupboard section. If you have no time by all means go straight to our online shop and buy 1 x tray of Honeybuns vegan Dark Chocolate Brownie.

Dark chocolate brownie cake slice on fabric

I’ve indicated in brackets what you can substitute from your store cupboard as well.

Gluten free Brownie ingredients

  • 250g sugar (our go to is Muscodvado but granulated white, brown or coconut sugar will all work)
  • 250g coconut milk (or another plant based milk of your choice or a vegan coconut based yoghurt would work)
  • 250g dark chocolate (it needs to be gluten free and vegan. Try Solkiki)
  • 200g gluten free plain flour (Doves is good, or you can use 150g plain flour plus 50g flax or other ground seed to add interest and good Omega 3 oils)
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar
  • Vegetable oil for brushing (rapeseed, coconut, hemp are all fine) 

Vegan Chocolate truffle ingredients

  • 100g pitted prunes, dates, figs or dried apricots
  • 125g ground almonds
  • 25ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp gluten free, vegan cocoa powder
  • 4 tsp liquid sweetener (maple syrup or agave work well)
  • 55g whole almonds (or other nuts of choice)
  • 24 glace cherries
  • 150g dairy free and vegan chocolate
  • Decorations (edible dried flower petals, chocolate chips, freeze dried raspberry all work well)
  • You’ll need some cocktail sticks too

Here’s how to make your brownie tray bake

  • Preheat oven to 170°C / Gas 3
  • Line your tin with baking parchment and brush your tray bake tin with dairy free oil-it’s a sticky mix.
  • Melt the chocolate buttons using a microwave or bains marie method.

Bains marie method Bring a saucepan of water to simmering point, placing a bowl on top of the pan. Place the chocolate in the bowl, ensuring no steam or water comes into contact with the chocolate. Stir gently and occasionally until the chocolate melts. Alternatively use a microwave. Just take care to gently melt the chocolate - if it burns there is no rescuing it.

  • Heat your coconut milk up in a microwave or in a pan. You just need to take the chill of it.
  • Pop all your ingredients including the melted chocolate and the warmed up coconut milk into a mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer blend all the ingredients together until you get a smooth, glossy brownie mix.
  • Tip this mixture into your oiled tin.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, until springy on top.
  • After baking leave the brownie in the tin until cooled and then cut into slices. You can then take them out of the tin using a fish slice.

A step-by-step guide to making your vegan truffles

  • Keep the chocolate and cherries to one side. Pop all the other ingredients in your food processor and blitz on full power for 1 minute. Scrape the sides down and check the consistency. You’re after a paste with some nibbed nuts visible for texture. Blitz again if required.
  • Divide the paste into 24 portions and roll into balls. Indent each ball with your finger or thumb and place a glace cherry inside. You’ll then need to re shape the paste to cover the cherry & re roll to ensure it’s a recognisable, round truffle shape.
  • Melt your chocolate in 30 second bursts in the microwave on medium power. Alternatively simmer a pan of water and place a dry bowl over the top of the pan. Pop the chocolate in the bowl until it has melted. Make sure you do not let water get into contact with the chocolate - it will turn grainy and bitter (a bit like me on a bad day).
  • Spear each truffle onto a cocktail stick and dip into the chocolate.
  • Whilst the chocolate on your truffles is still wet, decorate your truffles. I used a mix of rose petals, cornflowers, vegan glitter spray and vegan toffee pieces.
decorating your vegan chocolate truffles

To create a Wow vegan cake centrepiece

Find a suitable pretty cake stand and stack your brownie pieces up into a tower.

Brownies on cake stand
vegan chocolate truffles on cake stand

Pop your decorated truffles on top.

vegan chocolate truffles and brownie display

Stand back, take pictures and be amazed at how simple this was!

Top Tips

- For other decorating ideas see our edible vegan Christmas Cake decorations blog. Although this was Christmas themed you can adapt the ideas. For example, try spraying star anise in pretty pastels (using Sugarflair vegan friendly glitter sprays) and they will look like spring time flowers.

- For a stunning vegan Birthday cake finish off with mini indoor sparklers. Available now from most supermarkets.

- Make your own DIY cake stand by resting a pretty vintage plate on top of a vintage china cup or even an egg cup.

- You can make the brownies and truffles ahead of time and free them. Once thawed out you can build your cake stack and decorate your truffles.

- For a boozy birthday or celebration you can add alcohol (eg. Brandy) to the truffle mixture or soak your cherries in booze.

- For more delicious gluten free brownie tray bakes head over to our online shop....

Honeybuns All Day Cook Book front cover

The truffle recipe is adapted from Almond, Chocolate & Cherry Truffles recipe in the Honeybuns All Day Cook Book. Find this and our other cook book in our online shop for more easy free from baking recipes.

Comment below and share what your favourite part of this recipe is! Be sure to share this recipe with a friend too! Thanks for reading!

- Emma Goss Custard

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