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Friday, 7 May 2021

Mini Chocolate Sheet Cake

A mini chocolate sheet cake, with vegan 'Nutella' swirls and whole / chopped hazelnuts. This cake is perfect to enjoy by yourself ( or share- but who wants to do that- haha).

Sometimes you just want a little bit of cake but not make a massive '12 server' right?, well, I have the perfect cake for you! This rich and decadent chocolate sheet cake is light and fluffy, with a layer of rich silky smooth chocolate buttercream.

This mini cake features a small chocolate sponge with the most delicious, light and whippy chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream, topped with a drizzle of vegan friendly Nutella and whole / chopped hazelnuts. 

Small bakes / small batch recipes are extremely popular right now, so I wanted to share my favourite recipe for a tiny sheet cake perfect to share between two or just by yourself!

I know cake is something to be shared, but sometimes you don't want to share? I know I don't. With this tiny sponge, it's the perfect size to share between two. Why not have half one day and the other half the next... you choose!

Why you MUST make this cake:
  • The sponge is light and fluffy
  • It's small enough for a couple of servings
  • It's loaded with chocolate (what could be better?)
  • The Swiss meringue is rich and silky
  • Ideal for an intimate birthday cake
  • It's easy to make
  • Its creamy and decadent 
Looking for more chocolate desserts? Look no further: 

Notes*
What is aquafaba?
Aquafaba is the water from a can/tin of Chickpeas.The Chickpea water or brine as its called, acts as an amazing egg substitute for cakes, meringue buttercreams etc.

What vegan block butter to use?
As Swiss meringue uses liquid from the aquafaba, having a stiffer butter is key. I like the Naturli Vegan Block.


Preparation: 5 minutes
Baking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 2-4
Level: Easy

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Ingredients for the sponge
  • 150ml of dairy-free milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 120g of self raising flour
  • 60g of caster sugar
  • 20g of cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda 
  • 30ml of sunflower oil

Ingredients for the buttercream
  • 80g of dairy-free block butter (see notes*)
  • 25ml of aquafaba / chickpea brine (see notes*)
  • 120g of icing sugar
  • 80g of dairy-free dark chocolate 
  • 1 teaspoon of sunflower oil
+
  • 2 tablespoon of vegan 'Nutella'
  • Hazelnuts
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Method (cake)
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees c fan and line a 6x8 inch rectangular cake tin or a small rectangular cake tin with grease-proof paper. Allow the paper to hang over the tin, this makes it easier to remove the cake when baked.

2. In a bowl, combine the dairy-free milk with the apple cider vinegar and whisk until fully combined.
Set aside for 10 minutes to curdle. This creates a vegan 'buttermilk'.

3. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
Mix well to combine.

4. Add the oil into the 'buttermilk' and whisk to combine.

5. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix.

6. Pour the batter into the lined tin. Use a cranked pallet knife to smooth out the batter, making sure to get it into the corners of the tin.
Make sure to tap the tin on the worktop one or two times to remove any air bubbles.

7. Pop the cake into the middle of the preheated oven and bake for around 20 minutes.
You will know it is done when you put a knife or skewer down the middle of the cake and it comes out clean and it's springy to the touch.

8. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then carefully transfer onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool fully before frosting. You can even place the cake in a sealed container once cool then frost the day after. It's a very light sponge so be careful with it when removing from the tin.

Method (buttercream)
1. Fill a small saucepan 3/4 full with water, creating a bain-marie, place onto the hob over low/ medium heat.
Finely chop the dark chocolate and place it into a heatproof bowl along with a splash of oil. Place the bowl over the simmering water and allow to melt. Once melted, allow to cool for 10 minutes until its not too hot.

2. In a large mixing bowl, add in the dairy-free butter and whip until creamy. I use a stand mixer with a balloon whisk attachment, a hand mixer will work great too.

3. Sift in the icing sugar and whip on high speed for a couple of minutes to incorporate it.

4. Pour in the aquafaba and whip for 5 minutes until it turns light and creamy. Don't over whip it or it can become too soft. If it does, just add in more icing sugar until it's thick and creamy.
 
4. Pour the melted chocolate into the buttercream and whip to incorporate. The buttercream should be very light and airy. Add more chunks more butter to get it to the right consistency. 

5. Dollop the buttercream on the sheet cake and use a cranked pallet knife / off set spatula to swirl it around.

Why not add some vegan 'Nutella' in a piping bag, snip off the tip and drizzle it over the buttercream. Top with crushed and whole hazelnuts for even more nuttiness!

To store:
Serve fresh or store in a sealed container at room temperature. If stored in the fridge, the buttercream (as it contains chocolate) will set firm. Allow to come to room temperature for around 20 minutes before serving.
Best eaten within a few days!


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