I DON’T DO DESSERTS OFTEN (MAKE THEM OR EAT THEM). I COULD, HOWEVER, EAT FRENCH FRIES IN MY SLEEP. YES, I’M ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE.
But I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to bake with cake queen Faiza Hasan. I’ve known Faiza since she was a child (literally). Little did I know that she would grow up to become a brilliant cake-making genius. She’s the creator of The Cake Bar London. I’m not exaggerating when I say her cakes are stuff of legends.
Just take a look at her spectacular hanging, gravity-defying, chandelier cakes, adorned with intricate sugar flowers that she makes by hand.
Here she shares a recipe that’s simpler — one that anyone can make at home — but with all the techniques and insider tips of a professional cake-maker.
The original recipe for this cake was created during the Great Depression, when eggs and dairy products were scarce. Today, there are variations that include milk. This one is a vegan recipe using soy milk.
HERE’S FAIZA’S TAKE:
FOR THE CAKE:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup natural cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1-3/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup + 1/3 cup raw sugar
- 1/2 cup + 1/3 cup brown sugar **Faiza says two types of sugar gives you a glossier cake. If you don’t have them, stick with 1-2/3 cups any sugar you have (granulated or superfine).
- 1-1/4 cups vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 9-inch cake tin (Optional: Divide the batter between the 2 cake tins. Pile the cakes on top of each other with frosting between the layers for a fancier cake.)
- Parchment paper to line the cake pan
- Butter or margarine to grease the pan
- Flat plate or wide table mat
FOR THE FROSTING (this is purely optional):
- 2 cans of coconut milk (Refrigerate them overnight to stiffen the cream. This is essential)
- vanilla extract to taste (2 tbsp or more, purely to personal taste)
- caster/superfine sugar (2-3 tbsp, again to your personal taste)
- A ziplock or re-sealable bag.
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
- Faiza says you should add all your wet ingredients to the bowl (which includes the sugar). So add the soy milk, oil, vinegar, vanilla extract and sugar to a bowl. Whisk using an electric beater.
- Add all your dry ingredients to the bowl. So add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder to the bowl. Whisk all together, starting on a low setting to prevent fly-away flour. **Faiza’s tip: Add all the ingredients first, and THEN whisk. That will give you softer cake. Over-mixing can create chewiness.
- Butter your cake pan. Line the bottom and sides of the pan with wax paper. (See video above.)
Spoon the mixture into the cake pan and bake in oven for 34-45 minutes (depending on your oven, you make have to bake less/more). Insert a skewer or knife into the middle of the cake. When the cake is done, the skewer/knife will come out clean.
Remove from the oven. Remove the paper carefully from the sides.
- Cover cake with cling film. Place a mat or flat plate on top of the cake and flip it over. Carefully remove the rest of the parchment paper. (See video above.)
- Wrap the cling film around the cake carefully. This keeps the moisture in. Allow the cake to fully cool (this may take up to an hour).
- This is a simple frosting from Faiza.
- Scoop the chilled coconut cream into a mixing bowl.
- Add the vanilla extract and sugar to taste. Whisk until you see stiff peaks.
- Spoon the frosting into the re-sealable/ziplock bag. Sqeeze the mixture into a corner. Put the tip of the corner with scissors.
- Pipe the frosting over your cake in any design you like. (See video above.) **If you don’t have time for the frosting, dust the cake with come icing sugar or decorate with chocolate, fruits, anything you like.
Serve any leftover frosting in a bowl separately, so people can get extra helpings of the cream with their cake.
THIS IS A SIMPLE CAKE TO MAKE, BUT IT IS TIME-CONSUMING. YOU’LL NEED BEATS THAT KEEP YOUR ENERGY UP.
Lately I’ve been listening to lots of Top40 songs (very rare for me), but remixed versions like this one of Coldplay’s Adventure of a Lifetime.
Then there’s this version of Cake by the Ocean by DNCE.
Latin mixes always get me going, like this one.
And finally a remix of Gwen Stefani’s Make Me Like You.