The only fitting way I can begin this blog post is by telling you all that I am super thrilled to share this recipe. I’m trying hard to keep this short but seriously failing!
This is a cake my Mum started making over forty years ago. It never had a name but we called it Biscuit Cake, because of the sponge finger, or Savoiardi, biscuits. Biscuit Cake was the most special of all cakes and was requested by many cousins. It’s sort of like a tiramisu, with your sponge and cream-like layers, though my Mum’s recipe never had coffee or mascarpone.
When I became vegan, I looked in to veganising Biscuit Cake but it was full on vegan unfriendly– cream, butter, eggs. Not to mention a lack of available vegan Savoiardi! When veganising my family’s old recipes, it’s very important to me that I stick to making them as ‘authentic’ as possible. Using coconut cream for example is not an option for a replication of Biscuit Cake (unless I was deliberately going for a brand new cake), because there was no coconut in the original. Same with the mousse component of the cake. I’ve made other mousses with a tofu base, avocado mousse, all those different kinds of vegan mousse, but none were the *same* kind of mousse that is needed for this family favourite.
In short, if I was to veganise Biscuit Cake, it had to taste, look and feel exactly like the Biscuit Cake I grew up with. No compromises. Biscuit Cake is just too special for poor knockoffs!
I never imagined I could one day create a vegan version of Biscuit Cake, that tastes like the original and has the exact same mousse-ishness. But that day has come! And I can sum it up in one word: aquafaba.
If you haven’t heard of aquafaba, perhaps you’ve heard of vegan meringue being made with the liquid from chickpeas or beans. That’s aquafaba. I pop open a can of chickpeas and use the liquid as an egg replacer. Or you can whip the aquafaba and it ends up like whipped egg white! No more pouring the liquid down the sink!
Please check out the Facebook group called Vegan Meringue- Hits and Misses for some amazing creations (and helpful ‘failures’) to see what people are up to. I love checking to see what people have some up with! Or check out #aquafaba on Instagram or Twitter. The official aquafaba site is at http://aquafaba.com/
So I got to thinking: could I really use aquafaba to make the mousse just right? My gut feeling was no because the success of the cake depends on how the mousse turns out.
Awesome people, I am ecstatic to report that I did it! Boy was it a nervous night, pacing up and down, waiting for the mousse to set. A few hours after putting it in the fridge, I ever so carefully tilted the container of this moussey-cake experiment, fully expecting it to run. IT DIDN’T BUDGE. That’s when my heart skipped a beat (and I mean that).
Then I did what anyone else would have done in my position, even though you’re supposed to let this recipe stay untouched in the fridge overnight. I grabbed a spoon and just went for it.
I made the cake a second time as a recipe test and also to get photos of the process, shown below (the full recipe can be printed out further down). Both times turned out fantastic, even with my minor psyllium husk stuff up the second time!
Out of all the family cakes in my collection, Biscuit Cake has the most sentimental spot in my heart. It wasn’t just the cake itself– it was the experience of helping to make it and the anticipation of eating it. Then the loooong wait until it was ready to be topped with cream the next morning, and then hours after that before it would be eaten at a family event. All the kids hung around for Biscuit Cake!
I’ve decided to name this cake Faye’s Mousse Your Own Adventure Cake because you can change up the flavours. If you want a chocolate cake with peppermint flavoured mousse, go to page 42. If you prefer a coconut cake with lemon mousse, turn to page 86. That kind of thing! I did an experiment with a white chocolate raspberry mousse that turned out great.
I’m so happy I can share this much loved family cake with my children (with no raw egg) and I’m so happy I can share it with all of you! If you make it, I’d love to hear how it went!
I’ll put my notes and tips here in point form. Please read through them, and the recipe, a few times before attempting to make it! I know this is already so long but the cake can seem a little ‘busy’ (truthfully, I sometimes felt frazzled doing this on my own and having a helping pair of hands is good!)
– Have your cake ready: use your favourite vegan plain sponge (or plain cake) recipe. Bake it in a square or loaf tin. When cool, cut it in slices no less than 1cm. You will need two layers of the cake slices, so experiment first with a serving dish to see what fits best (don’t make the cake slices more than 1.5cm). For this cake and even trifles I have used cake recipes from Bryanna Clarke Grogan and Dreena Burton. Just find a plain vanilla cake for my cake shown here.
– Gather your equipment: a small to medium sized saucepan and wooden spoon for melting the chocolate; a large mixing bowl for folding the melted chocolate mix and beaten aquafaba; electric beaters (or something to whip your aquafaba with); a spatula or something to fold beaten aquafaba whites; a small whisk (or spoon) with a bowl for the psyllium husk mixture; a wide bowl for the warmed milk (you will dip cake slices in this); your serving dish. Have everything ready in place.
– Have your workspace (benches/counters, stove, sink) cleared! If, like me, you have a small kitchen, you will need a fair bit of space to work and a place to dump the dirty dishes.
– This cake is best left in the fridge overnight to set properly (apply any cream topping after it has set and when you’re ready to serve). It still tastes fine days later.
– Depending on the density of your cake slices, you may need to dip briefly, or longer. Don’t worry if it doesn’t turn out perfectly, it still tastes awesome!
– Seriously, if this turns out wrong and the mousse is all sloppy and your cake is too mooshy or dry because you over or under dipped the cake slices, don’t worry! It will still taste great. If it’s too wet, call it a pudding with the word ‘surprise’ in the title. If it’s too dry, have some of your favourite cream. I’ve eaten too-wet and too-dry versions in the past, when my cousins had made the original recipe and got it a little wrong but everyone still ate up. So don’t worry!
The full recipe can be printed out below, but here are some of the steps shown with photos.
* Melting your vegan butter and chocolate gently:
* The melted chocolate-butter mix with unbeaten aquafaba and ground psyllium husk (whisked in milk) added. Photo note! I actually made a mistake when I was mixing up the psyllium husk (I used way too much before adding to the chocolate as I miscalculated). I was able to compensate luckily! The little bits of psyllium husk you see weren’t noticeable in the finished cake, but my first successful experiment had a much smoother looking chocolate mixture:
* After having beaten your aquafaba, you fold it together with the cooled chocolate mixture to form the mousse:
* Dip each cake slice in the warmed milk and put a single layer down in your serving dish:
* Pour half the mousse mixture over the cake slices, making sure everything is covered. Then make a second layer (again, dipping the cake slices in the warm milk before placing on top of the mousse). Then pour the remaining mousse on top (I was a cake slice short here!):
* Got any leftover mousse? Eat it!
* Cover and set in the fridge for at least six hours or overnight:
* The next day, serve! Here I’ve used some cashew cream on top:
I used home made hazelnut milk in this recipe and added a teaspoon of hazelnut extract to the melted chocolate-butter mix. Some other flavour combinations may include
* coconut cake with white chocolate lemon mousse and coconut cream
* chocolate cake with peppermint mousse
* white chocolate raspberry mousse with lemon cake (I tried this and added pureed and strained berries to a white chocolate-vegan butter combination, then added the aquafaba and psyllium husks. The mousse turned out fine)
* almond-milk dipped cake with almond flavoured mousse
I hope you enjoy a Mousse Your Own Adventure of your own 😀