Sunday, 25 May 2014

Vegan Mocha Loaf: Chocolate Cake For £1

This month, Choclette challenged us all to make a chocolate cake for under £1 for We Should Cocoa. Loads of people have been doing the Below The Line challenge this month, living for £1 a day to raise awareness of poverty issues, so comparatively a £1 cake is a minor challenge... but it was definitely challenging.

It seemed sensible to start with a vegan recipe, since eggs and butter can be expensive. I priced up my basic vegan cake mix, which worked out at 60p to fill a loaf tin. It's a promising start, but unfortunately, that's just a base: it makes something that looks roughly cake-like, but it doesn't really taste of anything. Adding flavour was going to be the hard part.

I was tempted to cheat, because there's a lot you can get for free (blackberries, for instance) that would brighten a cake up no end, but I've a sneaking suspicion that foraging is the kind of thrift that works best for those of us who are too middle-class to really need to save the money. You need a bit of spare time, for starters, and access to a bramble patch that's far enough from main roads to be healthy. So for the sake of this challenge I decided to stick to supermarket pricing on all ingredients, and not assume anything could be had for less.

My final ingredient cost worked out at dead on £1.00, through some mixture of luck and judgement. I did my pricing using Tesco's Everyday Value ingredients, mostly, as they tend to be the cheapest range that's available where I live, and since Tesco stores can be found almost everywhere in the UK. However, you don't really get much choice in the matter of cocoa powder, and I did slip through some higher-quality coffee as it tends to dominate the taste. That's not counting time, equipment, or electricity. Here's a breakdown, if you're interested:

Plain flour (350g) -- 19p
White sugar (220g) -- 17p
Baking powder (10g) -- 4p
Sunflower oil (120ml) -- 18p
Cocoa powder (16g) -- 28p
Coffee granules (8g) -- 12p

This is a basic, functional cake; it's tasty, but not flashy. And it really is massively improved by a sprinkling of plump blackberries, if your interpretation of the rules allows them.

Vegan Mocha Loaf Cake
Makes 1 loaf

350g (2 cups) plain flour
2tbsp cocoa powder
220g (1 cup) white sugar
2tsp baking powder
2tbsp coffee granules
240ml (1 cup) hot water
120ml (½ cup) sunflower olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F), and line a medium loaf tin with greaseproof paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, and baking powder.
  3. Dissolve the coffee granules in the hot water, and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  4. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the coffee and oil.
  5. Mix well until no dry patches remain.
  6. Bake in a large loaf tin, for one hour (check after 50 minutes), until a knife comes out clean.
  7. Turn out and cool on a wire rack.


Rachel said...

I think I agree. Foraging is fine if you don't have to travel to do it, and I think these days is more of a treat than an exercise in thrift!

Angie Schneider said...

Looks so smooth and beautiful!

Kate Glutenfreealchemist said...

Looks fabulously moist and the addition of coffee is definitely a winner for me.... I love mocha! I too thought of adding some free 'foraged' fruit, but somehow, it felt like cheating! There isn't very much fruit around to forage yet and I would have had to get it out of the freezer from last year (which somehow didn't seem fair).....

mypixieblog said...

This looks so easy (and also delicious!)

You are the best :)

A Cuban In London said...

I'm smiling. My daughter bake da similar cake last night (in fact, she made a whole roast dinner and made the pudding, too. That's my girl! her mum helped her out a bit. I was out jogging. My son was with his mates. You can see how labour division works in our household. :-D) y daughter has allergies to dairy products and eggs so vegan food is usually right for her. I had a piece of the cake she made and it was delicious. Yours looks delicious, too.

Greetings from London.

Becky Jerdee said...

Sounds divine :)

Blond Duck said...

Sounds delicious!

Choclette said...

Oh dear Rachel, you've made me feel guilty now for my foraged dandelion flowers! I guess, now you come to mention it, my vegan honey is a bit of a cheat. Oops! I'm not a coffee fan, but it does hugely enhance chocolate cakes I find. Your slices look deliciously light and well textured. One thing I've learnt from this challenge is that although I can't stand margarine, oil makes a very nice cake. Thanks for entering this month's challenge with such a will :)

Fly Girl said...

That sounded like a tall order but it looks like you created a flavorful cake!

Fiver Feeds said...

You can't go wrong with chocolate cakes, this one looks so easy to make I will have to make one of my own :)

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