This never-fail cake recipe has made many birthday cakes over the years. It also happens to be vegan, which is handy when baking for others. The molasses and cocoa make the cake fabulously chocolatey and the combo of coconut cream, dark chocolate and muscovado sugar is deliciously creamy and decadent without being overly rich.
Recipe and styling Sarah Heeringa. Photography Josh Griggs
2 ⅓ cups plain white flour
1 cup Fairtrade cocoa powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 ½ cups Fairtrade cane sugar
¾ cup light oil (such as sunflower, coconut or olive), plus more for the tins
1 ½ cups cold water
3 tbsp Trade Aid organic molasses
2 tsp Fairtrade vanilla extract
3 tbsp cider or malt vinegar
225g Trade Aid dark chocolate drops
1 cup Fairtrade coconut cream, chilled
150g Trade Aid muscovado sugar
Strawberries and edible gold paint for garnishing
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly oil three 20cm cake tins.
Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder together in a large bowl. Add the sugar and mix well. In a smaller bowl, combine all the liquids. Make a well in the centre of the dry mixture and pour in the liquid. Use a metal whisk to gently combine all the ingredients.
Divide the mixture equally between the three tins. Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until a skewer poked into the cake comes out clean. Remove cakes from oven and leave for 5 minutes before turning out onto cooling racks.
Ganache Heat the chocolate drops until just soft. Add the coconut cream and sugar and beat well to combine. Chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours, until firm.
To assemble Use approximately half of the chocolate ganache to layer the three cakes together. Spread the remaining mixture on the top and sides. Chill again to set the ganache before decorating with edible gold paint and garnishing with fresh strawberries.