I’m not sure why I gave this dessert such an unassuming title. It may be more appropriate to call it an ice cream mousse cake. A thick layer of chocolate cake makes up the base, and the rest is the creamiest, richest and perhaps most intense little slice of pure chocolate sweetness I’ve ever created.
So why call it a torte? Generally, a torte is a flourless cake that is traditionally made with loads of eggs, butter, sugar and chocolate, resulting in a dense structure that has a soft, almost pudding-like texture. The challenge for a vegan is how to create such flourless and creamy desserts without eggs. The answer—in every vegan recipe I’ve come across for this kind of cake—is tofu. Generally, it works. It lends an egg-free recipe body, by acting as a binder and creating a creamy texture. For this recipe, I use coconut cream as a delicious and healthy alternative. A generous amount of good-quality dark chocolate also makes this dessert beautifully rich and smooth. The recipe below makes a small 6-inch cake, but I recently made it as a 9-inch cake for a friend’s birthday by doubling the recipe ingredients and it worked out great. I also garnished it with a swirl of smooth peanut butter and chopped peanuts for a heavenly treat.
- 1/2 cup spelt flour
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp nondairy milk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- In a large bowl, whisk together the spelt flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, combine the coconut oil, maple syrup, nondairy milk and vanilla and heat over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the coconut oil melts.
- Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture and stir just to combine. It will be a very thin batter.
- Pour the batter into a lightly oiled 6-inch springform pan and tap the bottom of the pan on your counter to loosen any air bubbles.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the crust comes out clean.
- Allow to completely cool in the pan.
- 1/4 cup nondairy milk
- 1 tbsp agar flakes
- 1 cup coconut cream*
- 3 oz dark chocolate, chopped (or 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips)
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
- 1/4 cup agave nectar
- 1 1/2 tbsp natural smooth peanut butter
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Pour the nondairy milk in a medium saucepan, sprinkle the agar flakes on top and swirl the pan lightly. Let sit for at least 20 minutes to allow the agar flakes to soften.
- Add the coconut cream and chocolate to the pan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the cream and chocolate are melted.
- Pour the mixture into a blender and add the remaining ingredients. Blend for 2 or 3 minutes until smooth and bubbly.
- Pour the mixture onto the top of the crust in the springform pan and tap the pan on your counter to loosen any air bubbles.
- Put the pan in the freezer to set, about 2 hours. Garnish with peanut butter and chopped peanuts, if desired.
If storing overnight, wrap the pan tightly with plastic wrap and tin foil. To serve, remove from the freezer, unwrap and let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before cutting and serving.
*Coconut cream is merely the cream from the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk (look for brands with at least 20% fat content). You should get about 1 cup of cream from one can. The remaining water at the bottom can be reserved for other uses.