450g Plain flour
90g Cocoa Powder
2 teaspoons Bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon Salt
325g Caster sugar
250ml Sunflower Oil
500ml strong coffee (cold)
3 teaspoons Almond extract
4 tablespoons of white vinegar
300g of pitted cherries sliced (can be fresh or frozen or tinned-drained)
500g Icing sugar
100g Cocoa powder
250g Vegan spread (Vitalite is particularly good)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4
- Line, grease and dust with a little cocoa powder 2 x 20cm/9” cake tins. Do not use loose bottomed cake tins as the batter is slack and may leak (spring form is ok
- In a large bowl mix all the dry cake ingredients together (flour, cocoa powder, Bicarbonate of soda, salt and sugar .
- In another large bowl, mix all the wet cake ingredients (Oil, coffee, extract and vinegar)
- When you are ready to bake the cake, and not before (I’ll explain why at the end) mix the wet cake ingredients to the dry cake ingredients and mix together until smooth, and incorporated into a smooth batter
- Quickly, distribute the batter evenly between the two cake tins and scatter the chopped cherries evenly on top of each of the two cake batters.
- Bake on the middle shelf of the oven at 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4 for 30-35 minutes
- Once the cake is cooked, remove from the oven.
- Allow the cakes to cool slightly before releasing from its tins.
- Cool cakes on cooling rack
- To make the icing (see tip first- it will help you keep a clean kitchen!), by putting all the icing ingredients into a bowl and beat the fat, sugar and cocoa powder with either a hand whisk or with a stand mixer (paddle beater works better in my experience) and beat until it reaches the consistency of whipped cream
- If the Icing is a little slack add 100g more of icing sugar. If the icing is too stiff, add a tablespoon of hot water Tip: add two tablespoons of hot water into the sugar and cocoa powder and mix in with a spoon before adding the fat. Doing this will reduce the inevitable sugar cloud that occurs when making ‘buttercream’
- Once cake is completely cool, top the bottom layer with half the icing, put the second layer on top and ice the top of the second layer.
- Cake should be stored refrigerated (due to the fruit content) in an airtight tin for up to a week.
The use of vinegar in this recipe is two-fold. One is to react with the Bicarbonate of soda to create bubbles which will make it light and airy. The second is the acidic nature of vinegar will neutralise the “soapy” taste of Bicarbonate of soda.
The amount of vinegar used is in excess of the available bicarbonate of soda molecules and so will leave some vinegar behind during the ‘aeration’ process of the chemical reaction. BUT! fear not! The excess vinegar evaporates during the cooking process leaving a sweet and airy cake!
Once the air bubbles are created in the raw cake batter, the only way to trap them is to cook the cake ASAP, which is why the liquid portion of the cake mix, must not be added to the dry portion until you are absolutely ready to bake it.
Leaving the cake batter to sit around uncooked once the reaction process has begun, will allow time for the precious bubbles to escape, leaving you with a flatter, denser cake (still edible, but not as nice.