Michael's birthday was barely half elapsed before he got on his plane to Munich, so we agreed that I'd have a celebratory cake ready for him when he returned home. Michael had picked out the rum'n'raisin recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World and I offered to pump it up with a bit of cocoa.
Instead of forming a dozen cupcakes, I poured the batter into a single round cake tin and baked it a little longer. It makes for a damp cake with a fluffy crumb and deep flavour - it has the dark caramel sweetness and only a little of the sharp booziness of dark rum. While I'm not especially fond of dried fruits in cake, the rum-soaked raisins dotted through this one are happy bursts of tripled sweetness.
A soaked-in glaze and slathering of buttercream layer but don't belabour the rum flavouring; I also added a ring of dark chocolate chips to the top to extend the cocoa theme.
We ate this cake with cups of vanilla-scented black tea, and everyone went back for seconds.
Rum'n'raisin cocoa cake
(adapted from a recipe in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World,
by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero)
2/3 cup raisins, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons dark rum
1/4 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup castor sugar
1 tablespoon barley malt syrup or molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons cornflour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground mace or ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
1 1/2 tablespoons castor sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon margarine
1/4 cup margarine
1 tablespoon dark rum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon barley malt syrup or molasses
1 tablespoon soy milk
1 cup icing sugar
dark chocolate chips, to decorate
Place the raisins in a small bowl and pour over 2 tablespoons of the rum. Allow them to soak up the alcohol for at least 30 minutes and preferably an hour or two.
Preheat an oven to 180°C. Line a springform cake tin with baking paper and lightly spray it with oil.
In a medium bowl, stir together the soy milk and apple cider vinegar. Allow them to curdle for a couple of minutes. Whisk in the oil, sugar, syrup, remaining tablespoon of rum and vanilla until everything is well combined.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, cornflour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and mace. Pour in the whisked liquid ingredients and stir thoroughly until well combined and smooth. Fold in the rum-soaked raisins. Pour the cake batter into the cake tin and bake until the cake passes the skewer test, about 35 minutes.
While the cake is still warm, prepare the rum glaze. Stir the rum and sugar together in a small saucepan and set them over low-medium heat, until the sugar is dissolved and they've been bubbling about a minute. Take the saucepan off the heat and add the margarine, stirring until it is melted. Whisk in the vanilla. Use a skewer to poke holes in the top of the cake and spoon over the glaze. Allow the cake to cool completely.
To make the buttercream, place the margarine, rum, vanilla, syrup and soy milk in a medium bowl. Beat them until they're well mixed (I struggled). Sift in half the icing sugar and beat it thoroughly into the margarine mixture. Repeat with the remaining icing sugar, and continue beating for several minutes, until the buttercream is light and fluffy. Spread the buttercream over the cooled cake and decorate the top with chocolate chips.