This cake is completely different to any other vegan cake I have ever made! To be honest this made me pretty nervous. I have already got a pretty amazing basic recipe which I base all my vegan cakes and cupcakes on. It makes a light, fluffy and flavourful cake which always makes me happy and wows everybody I bake cake for. So, I was reluctant to try a completely different cake when I'm so happy with the cake I've got now. It's kind of like working hard at the gym and finally getting the awesome fit body you want and then somebody (presumably some sort of magician/witch/genie/gypsy/robot devil) offers you the chance to have a completely new body instead - but you don't know whether it will be worse or better (that is possibly a bit of an extreme parallel to draw - but that just tells you how passionate I am about my perfect cake). Do you take it???
So - last Saturday afternoon I met up with a wonderful friend and decided that I had to get over my nerves and bake this cake. It is based on a cake which I found on several different websites called the "Bosnian Easy Cake". At first glance I couldn't see much about this cake which made it special or particularly Bosnian (perhaps a Bosnian reader can tell me this!!), but it was conveniently vegan! So I decided to make my own version - adding real dark chocolate to make it rich and adding walnuts (because it seems like all the Bosnian desserts I have found are full of walnuts!!).
When we mixed the cake batter together we were worried. Understatement. The batter was dense, thick, oily and heavy. I was having people over to dinner to help me eat this cake so I had a mild panic attack (which mostly consisted of me hopping from one foot to the other and saying "What should I do? What should I do???") and wondered whether I should try and alter the recipe or whether I should trust it and see what happened.
When we pulled it out of the oven and I saw the beautiful dense brownie-like cake I actually jumped from one foot to the other with joy!! It had cooked through! It looked like a cake!! It wasn't a big blob of sticky dough!! My relief was phenomenal. Not only had it worked..... it looked delicious!! It smelt like rich chocolate and baked walnuts, it felt firm and dense under my touch (so different from the light fluffy cakes I usually cook!) with a crunch hard top like a moist brownie! It tasted rich, chocolatey and fudgey with crunchy chunks of walnuts littered through it like hidden treasure. I'm so glad I took the chance and found something new which I will definitely be making again!
Bosnian Chocolate Walnut Cake
2 cups plus 2 tbsp wholemeal flour
1 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup water
1 cup oil
100g dark chocolate
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl except the walnuts.
3. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients except the chocolate. Mix well with a wooden spoon (or maybe you electric mixer - but it is a very thick mix so depends how good your mixer is, I've always been a bit old fashioned and like mixing my cake mixes by hand).
4. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (if you are already a pro at melting chocolate properly then skip ahead now to step 5). If you don't have a double boiler (who does?) then bring a small amount of water to the boil in a saucepan and balance a ceramic or metal mixing bowl over the top of the saucepan. Chop up the chocolate roughly and add it to the bowl. Stir continuously until the chocolate is almost completely melted. Remove from the heat and continue to stir until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
5. Mix the melted chocolate and the walnuts into the cake batter.
6. Grease a medium sized cake tin well (as you can see I used a cute heart shaped one) and line the bottom of the tin with greaseproof paper (I found that it didn't tend to stick to the pan much at all so you needn't be anxious over it).
7. Pour the cake batter into the prepared tin and bake for 40 minutes. Test the cake after 40 minutes by inserting a sharp knife into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean the cake is done, if it comes out dirty give it another 5 minutes in the oven.
8. Turn the cake out to cool. When cooled dust with icing sugar and serve.