"We’ve made this cake to celebrate team birthdays at our office more times than I can remember, and everyone loves it," says Ella Mills. "I know lots of people get worried about baking cakes and think they’re not natural ‘bakers’, but the brilliant thing about vegan cake mixes is that they are so simple to make: The ingredients all just get stirred together and there’s no need for complicated beating or whisking.
"There is quite a lot of maple syrup in this cake but that’s because it’s really for a special occasion, rather than an everyday bake."
Give it a go…
For the cake:
300g ground almonds
240g buckwheat flour (or plain flour)
1tbsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of sea salt flakes
440ml maple syrup
100ml almond milk
The water from 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas (not the chickpeas themselves)
For the icing:
400g pure coconut yoghurt
50ml maple syrup
The scraped seeds of 1 vanilla pod or 1tsp vanilla powder
For the middle:
100g strawberry jam
To decorate (optional):
Handful of fresh strawberries, chopped
Handful of edible flowers
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan 180°C). Line two 23cm cake tins with baking parchment.
2. In a large bowl, mix the ground almonds, buckwheat flour, bicarb and salt, stirring well to remove any lumps. Add the maple syrup, almond milk and chickpea water and mix again until it comes together to form a smooth batter.
3. Pour equal amounts of the batter into the lined tins and bake for 20 minutes, until well risen and a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean – if it doesn’t, place the tins back in the oven for five more minutes. Once ready, remove and leave the cakes to cool in their tins until room temperature, around 30 minutes.
4. While the cakes cool, make the icing. Whisk the coconut yoghurt using an electric whisk – either a stand mixer or a hand whisk – until it becomes really thick, around five to 10 minutes. It’s really important to whisk the yoghurt on its own first, before adding the maple syrup. Once it feels very thick and holds its shape, add the syrup and vanilla and continue whisking for a further minute. If you don’t have an electric whisk you can use a balloon whisk – just make sure you whisk long enough to get a good amount of air and thickness into the mix.
5. Once the cakes are cool, spread the jam over one and sandwich it with the other. Spoon the icing over the top of the cake and smooth it over evenly. We like adding berries and edible flowers as decoration.
Deliciously Ella The Plant-Based Cookbook by Ella Mills, photography by Nassima Rothacker, is published by Hodder & Stoughton. Available now.