In Germany it’s cherry time. Cherries always inspire me to bake a cake and in my opinion cherries go so well with chocolate and something nutty. They either have to go with crumbles on top or with chocolate pieces inside. On top of that, I wanted to experiment with coconut yoghurt and so I chose the chocolate variation.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT – CHOOSE YOUR GROCERIES CAREFULLY
You might have noticed that I follow a personal way of sustainable eating, that is, I try to do my best. So I always try to think of a recipe that uses ingredients, which try to be as sustainable as possible. This time the coconut yoghurt and the almond milk are the least sustainable ingredients. Obviously packaging here is more substantial and the coconuts come mostly from Asia and then have to go through long transportation routes and an energy intensive production process to end up as a creamy coconut yoghurt. That is why I really buy it rarely.
I only buy in my beloved organic grocery store and I always choose the products which show the most effort in following a fair and sustainable production cycle. You can never be sure to choose the best, let alone the perfect product. There is still so much going wrong, that there cannot be the “perfect” choice.
Personally living in Europe, I think it makes a huge difference to buy for example an organic almond milk made in Europe with organic European almonds from a trusted label, which shows some effort concerning sustainability, instead of buying the cheapest almond milk made who knows where, with Californian non organic almonds. The transportation routes are much longer, California is already an endangered drought region, and who sells for too cheap needs to save money in the production processes, on employees salaries and working conditions. Having said that, almonds are in every case a product that should be consumed in moderation, as they require loads of water to grow and are planted often in dry regions.
But let’s come back to my delicious cake. As a flour base I used a combination of spelt flour, grounded almonds, buckwheat flour and a bit of corn starch. I noticed that combinations of different flours and gluten-free flours, especially in vegan cakes, make a more interesting taste, a better texture and are healthier. Of course you can make it gluten free and use either a gluten free flour mix instead of the spelt flour or replace the spelt flour with buckwheat and a little cornstarch.
The cake really hits it for me. It is fluffy, nutty, moisty, chocolaty….all at once…and then topped with the creamy coconut yoghurt, it makes the perfect summer coffee & tea cake. It’s neither too sweet, nor too heavy. Putting it in the fridge for a few hours results in a more dense cake, which stands out by a more chocolaty and deeper taste. Both variations taste delicious.
SERVES: Makes a 19 cm cake
130 g white spelt flour (type 630 in Germany)
70 g buckwheat flour (I ground the whole buckwheat in a food processor)
20 g corn starch
14 g baking powder (=3 tsp)
20 g cocoa
100 g raw cane sugar
20 g vanilla sugar (or more raw cane an 1 tsp vanilla extract instead)
pinch salt (optional)
pinch cinnamon (optional)
140 ml almond milk mixed with 4 tsp lemon juice
60 ml sparkling water (or tap water)
120 g vegan butter
100 g ground almonds
60 g vegan chocolate cut in 0,5 cm pieces (I used rice chocolate)
20 cherries (plus more for the topping)
300 g coconut yoghurt (18 % fat)
2 tsp powdered sugar
Start by adding the lemon juice to the almond milk and letting it sit for at least 15 minutes. The vegan butter should be at room temperature, so that its consistency is almost fluid.
Cut cherries into halves and remove the core. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (upper and lower heat). Line a 19 cm cake pan with parchment paper and grease the sides.
In a medium size bowl mix all dry ingredients and in a second medium bowl mix wet ingredients.
Sift the dry mixture into the liquid mixture and mix on a high speed with an electric hand mixture (or with a fork), only for a few seconds until it is just combined. Be careful not to overmix it.
Fold in the ground almonds and then the chocolate pieces.
Spread one third of the cherry halves on the pan bottom, pour over the cake mixture, then scatter the rest of the cherries on the cake, pressing them down, so that they are not visible anymore. Even the cake batter out and bake the cake in the middle of the oven for around 45 to 50 minutes.
When a toothpick inserted comes out clean or almost clean it should be done. Turn off the oven and leave the cake inside with the door opened for another 5 minutes. Then let the cake cool down completely.
Mix the coconut yoghurt with the icing sugar using a fork. Pour it over the cake and spread the leftover cherries on top.
Healthy for people & planet – please go always organic!