The only cake I can remember from my childhood in Ghana was pound cake which I found extremely boring – and still do, lovely when freshly baked but not my idea of a luscious dessert. So, what to do when I had to add desserts to my authentic Ghanaian food menu for Veghana?
Founded in Dubai, Veghana is an international catering company that makes meat and dairy-free West African cuisine. I created Veghana with two strong convictions, that any future ready food business needs to ditch the meat, and that our traditional Ghanaian food is the tastiest in the world. West African food with, so many plant-based options, is lined to be one of the great global cuisines, if we jump on the global plant-based trend.
It is a shame that in Ghana, we don’t have more chocolate cake in our homes, when cocoa powder should be so easy to access. We needed a kick-ass dessert for Veghana, and it needed to be from cocoa to really represent Ghana, so I called on my old trusted chocolate cake. I had been baking it for my sons for over ten years, re-inventing it all the way. I tinkered with the recipe some more and removed the eggs, replacing them with flaxseed and making the cake entirely dairy-free. It is now a run-away success, and we regularly get customers asking for the full cake when we only intended to sell it by slice. All is great until they ask for cake decoration, which I have no patience for, and not needed for this recipe, just cover your cake in a thick layer of soft chocolate icing making it utterly irresistible – enjoy.
Butter/margarine for greasing
6 eggs (or 6 tablespoons of milled flaxseed mixed with a cup of water for egg replacement)
80g of unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup of boiling water
350g of plant-butter (like Flora) or margarine
350g of caster sugar
230g of self-raising flour
2 rounded teaspoons or baking powder
120g of butter or margarine
60g of cocoa powder
3 teaspoons of water
500g of icing sugar
2 x 8inch/20cm baking pans
- Grease the baking pans. Take a sieve and sift the cocoa powder into a bowl, add the boiling water, and make into a thick paste, add more water to get it smooth if you need to. Make sure you remove all the lumps. Add the rest of the cake ingredients and mix together with a wooden spoon or electric whisk if available.
- Measure the mixture equally into the two pans. Bake in a preheated oven at 200C (Gas mark 6) for 20 mins until they are well-risen, careful not to overcook. Cool them and remove from the pans.
- Whilst the cake is cooling, make the icing. Pour the butter very softened or melted into a bowl, use a sieve to add the cocoa powder and mix with the butter. Add the milk. Using small amounts at a time, mix in the icing sugar to make a glossy icing. When cakes are cool, spread the icing on the top of one cake then put the other on top like a sandwich, then spread the icing over the cake. Leave the icing to set in the fridge before serving.
- Cut into 12 slices.
The secret to keeping cake moist lies in your freezer; even more important for egg-free cake. As soon as it is done in the oven, I remove the cakes from their trays then put them in the freezer on a plate on a folded towel to protect any food it may need to sit on. The reason is, cake carries on cooking when removed from the oven, to ensure it doesn’t get dry, cut the heat and get a cake so much more lovely to eat.
Written by: Nana-Serwa Mancell
Chef and Owner, Veghana
FB & IG: @VeghanaLife
Source: Featured in Glitz Africa Magazine issue 28