Play-date chocolate cake


My little reception-aged daughter is very, very excited today. She has the little girl who she’d most like to be friends with coming round for a play after school. This is big stuff. So, to give them a snack that they’ll hopefully all like (and to use up the leftover buttercream from the iced gemys), I decided to make a chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream. It’s a new cake recipe for me, pointed out by Ali from The Beech Cafe (sorry, but I really can’t remember the name of the book it comes from). I should have made double the recipe for an impressive double layer cake, but splitting the single layer and filling it worked perfectly well. I hope they enjoy it, and here’s to a happy and successful play…

Play-date Chocolate Cake (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, vegetarian, vegan, can be soya-free)

Makes one 20cm round cake, double the recipe for a double layer cake

  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 25g cocoa powder (M&S do a dairy-free one)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100ml sunflower oil
  • 150ml soya milk (could use oat milk)
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 pinch of salt

– Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade

– Grease and line the base of a cake tin

– Sift together the flour and cocoa and stir in the sugar and salt

– In a separate bowl combine the soya milk, bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice and sit for a little while to curdle. Add the oil.

– Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, until smooth

– Pour in to the cake tin and bake for approx. 30 mins until a knife comes out clean.

– Let cool in the tin. Once cold turn out onto a wire rack.

– Ice if desired. I used the remaining buttercream from the Super size iced gemys

– I decorated with a pile of Whizzers

Vegan Baking at the Beech Cafe

What a great day! It was the first Vegan Baking course held at The Sustainability Centre Beech Cafe by Head Chef Alasdair Sim and they should definitely hold more. It was fun, informative and we all got to take home lots of vegan goodies. A highlight was certainly the sourdough vegan pizzas we made for lunch – they were surprisingly delicious. As a vegetarian with a serious fondness for cheese I was always of the opinion that vegan food would be seriously lacking in deliciousness – this baking course proved me to be totally wrong. A pizza topped with roasted beetroot, avocado and seeds sounds just weird, but was actually flavoursome, interesting and tempting. The banana cake we made to begin with was a huge hit (although the star anise wasn’t to my personal taste) and Alasdair was thoughtful and accommodating in finding chocolate chips for me to replace the ‘out of bounds’ nuts. The tofu cheesecake was rich, decadent and a little too filled with orange liqueur to give to children – oh well, never mind…

If you ever get a chance to do any kind of course at this inspiring location – go for it! It is not far off the A3 and yet at the same time completely in the middle of nowhere, and everyone I met was interesting and extremely friendly. Every year there is the South Downs Green Fair (Sunday 13th May) which is a low-key green themed day festival – we’re definitely going again this year. Hopefully I’ll get to see some of the lovely people I spent the day with, and maybe eat at the cafe too.

Ooh, Lucky Me!

Thanks to my lovely partner and his Twitter use I’m going on a Vegan Baking day course at The Sustainability Centre on Monday. I’m not sure how much I’ll learn, but it should be a fun day out. I bet there will be some really interesting people there and I’ll get to bring home a ‘cheesecake’ and a banana cake – and maybe some recipes that are worth passing on!