Care for some delicious rich, fudgey, no-bake chocolate espresso cake? You're in for a treat! I've had the pleasure to make this recipe from my blogging pal Brandi's new cookbook (she blogs over at The Vegan 8), and am sharing it here with you (with her publisher's permission, of course) because:
a. it's scrumptious,
b. it's my kind of recipe (simple, non-fussy, chocolate for daaaays...),
and c. because I must let you know more about this awesome cookbook of hers.
Over the years I've cooked a number of recipes from Brandi's blog, all of which have been absolutely delicious -- especially since both Brandi and I share a love for potatoes, tahini, chocolate, and lots of flavor :P When readers email me in asking for recommendations for savory food blogs, Brandi's is one of the ones always on the list. Her recipes are just very simple, comforting, and wholesome.
So when The Vegan 8 cookbook came out I knew I had to pick up a copy to see what it's all about. I had someone in mind I planned on gifting it to once I checked it out, but of course as soon as we had a look through, my husband was instantly eyeing the BBQ bean ball sub, and I the chocolate cake (typical!), and we've made the cajun spiced red beans earlier this week -- delish, and the "20 minute Alfredo" became one of my husband's favorites these last few weeks. So maybe the book will stay here a little longer after all ;). And I'd love to gift one of you a copy as well, though more on this a little later...
You can see some of the recipes from the book in the quick leaf-through I shared on Instagram earlier this week. All of the recipes in the book are 8 ingredients or less, and consist of mostly whole foods. Most are also gluten-free and oil-free. Lots of savory dishes, sauces, and appetizers, but also crepes, pancakes, granola, muffins, cookies, cake, and more.
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Back to this cake though. If you're into dark chocolate, and espresso, and fudgey goodness, this cake is for you! It's incredibly rich and satisfying. It goes amazing with a cup of coffee, or just a plain cup of mylk.
I love that it doesn't use cashews -- so a yay for those looking for more cashew-free vegan cakes. And I love that it's a fridge cake, and not a freezer cake -- it holds up better longer unrefrigerated than a typical raw cake. I did like mine sitting on the counter for some time to soften out a little more though (it's freezing cold where I am right now, so things will stay firm even outside of the fridge...) -- it made it soft, and velvety smooth.
Another bonus is that it doesn't require a blender, so if your blender has been struggling with typical raw cake recipes, so long as you have a good food processor for this cake you're in business.
Here's what Brandi shared about her recipe in the book:
"I wrote this recipe years ago and am finally sharing it publicly here [in the book] for the first time. Hands down, this is in my top five favorite desserts that I've ever created. It embodies everything I love in a dessert: rich chocolate flavor, lots of espresso, and the creamiest, smoothest fudge texture. Plus, it is super easy to make. For the filling, it is important to weigh the chocolate chips to ensure it sets. Feel free to adjust the espresso depending on how strong you like it. To make a larger cake, double the recipe and use a 9-inch round pan. Just note that chilling may take longer."
Just a quick note about something I had to do different than the recipe recommends: I don't have a microwave, so a few parts needed a workaround. I melted the chocolate using a double boiler method instead. (Just make sure to let it cool off just a touch before adding it to the processor so it doesn't melt or overheat your processor). I also had to keep my chocolate curls finer than Brandi's original tip instructions (which involved a brief microwaving of the chocolate to soften it just a touch so the curls shave off nice and long) -- admittedly her chocolate curls look absolutely luxurious in the book photo, but you can also make cute little chocolate shavings from an unheated chocolate bar instead if you don't own a microwave as I've done here.
I'm going to type out Brandi's instructions as they are in her book in the recipe below though, just wanted to share the above in case you're like me and don't have a microwave around.
Thanks Brandi for the lovely cake recipe. I'm already eyeing that lush baked chocolate cake from the book next :)
The Vegan 8 Giveaway: (CLOSED -- thank you all for the wonderful suggestions. It was extremely difficult to choose a winner amidst so many delicious ideas. The book went to John and his Mojito Chocolate bar suggestion).
And before I let you move onto some cake-making endeavors, Brandi's publisher has agreed to gift one of my blog readers a copy of this cookbook. If you'd like to enter for a chance to win the book please leave a comment below the recipe answering the following question: If you could invent a unique new vegan chocolate bar flavor, what would it be? I'll pick a winner based on the chocolate bar idea that I think is the most interesting and delicious. Feel free to suggest multiple things, or even come back and comment again if you think of something new after a day or two. All comments must be entered in by no later than Wednesday Nov 21, 2018 (11:59PM EST). I'll come back here to announce the winner after that point. This book giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only (those are the only places the publisher will ship the book to)... sorry to my international friends and readers! If you live outside the US and Canada but would like to enter and have the book shipped to someone residing in the US or Canada you'd like to give this book to, that's also an option :) Please make sure you leave an email address you actually use in the email field below your comment (not within the comment itself) so I can get in touch with you if your chocolate bar idea is the winner. I'll contact the winner by email go obtain your mailing address by Nov 23, 2018 -- you'll need to respond within 1 week of receipt of the email, otherwise the book will go to the next person in line. Can't wait to hear of all your amazing suggestions! And if you're not in the US or Canada, I'd love to hear your suggestions too (I mean, it's fun to dream up new chocolate flavors, isn't it?) -- just specify in the comment that you're not in the giveaway zone.
This gluten-free and vegan no-bake chocolate espresso fudge cake is rich, deep-flavored, and perfect for the chocolate lovers out there.
- 1 cup (140g) raw, unsalted sunflower seed kernels
- ⅛ tsp fine salt
- 2 tbsp (12g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp ground espresso
- 2 ½ tbsp (50g) pure maple syrup
- 1 ½ cups (300g) dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon (135g) "lite" canned coconut milk*
- 3 tbsp (48g) creamy roasted almond butter**
- 1 tsp (5g) vanilla extract
- ½ to 1 tablespoon (3-6g) ground espresso
- 1 ½ tbsp (9g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- ⅛ tsp fine salt
- dairy-free dark chocolate curls for garnish
1. To make the crust, add the sunflower seed kernels to a food processor, and process for about 30 seconds or until finely ground into a flour. Add the salt, cocoa powder, and espresso, and process just until combined. Add the syrup, and pulse until it all comes together into sticky large clumps and holds together when pressed between your fingers.
2. Line the bottom of a 6-inch springform pan with parchment paper and spray the sides with nonstick spray for easy removal later. Press the crust mixture into the pan, making a flat, even layer along the bottom but not up the sides. Wipe your processor completely clean.
3. To make the filling, add the chocolate chips and milk to a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds. Stir well, and then heat in 15-second increments until the chocolate is almost all melted. Stir until completely smooth and no more bits remain. Add the chocolate mixture to the food processor. Add the almond butter, vanilla, espresso, cocoa powder, and ⅛ teaspoon salt to the food processor, and process for 2-3 minutes or until completely smooth. Scrape the sides, and process once more.
4. Pour the filling over the crust, and smooth the top. Chill in the fridge until completely solid throughout, at least 2 to 4 hours but ideally overnight. Garnish with shaved chocolate curls, if desired.*** Store covered in the fridge.
*Or cashew milk, shaken first.
**Note: Cashew butter will work in place of the almond butter, just make sure it is the raw variety with no added oils or sugar. To make this nut-free, sub with sunflower seed butter (such as SunButter). Thanks to all the chocolate and since it's a small amount, the sunflower seed taste is not noticeable.
***Tip: To make the chocolate curls, place a dark chocolate bar on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on HIGH for just a few seconds to slightly soften it. Use a vegetable peeler to shave the edges and create long curls.