Not content with sharing the secrets behind her home made Gingerbread House, our resident queen of cookery Lucy whipped up this delicious dairy free version of a Christmas favourite for you, too! Fancy making it over the holidays? Take it away, Lucy...
"This chocolate log is a hit with everyone who tries it! You can't tell it's vegan, so even the most suspicious cake-eater will be enchanted. It's based on Leon's vegan chocolate cake but it's very flexible - and perfect for the festive season. Right! Let's get our ingredients lined up:
80g Cocoa Powder (make sure it's vegan!)
80ml Vegetable Oil
150ml Hot Water
200ml Coconut Milk
180g Plain Flour
1.5 teaspoons of Bicarbonate of Soda
1.5 teaspoon of Baking Powder
2-3 bars of good quality vegan chocolate
First, we're going to make the mousse to go inside the log. Grab your avocados and mash them into a bowl with two teaspoons of lemon juice. If you're not fond of avocados, you could also use vegan substitutes for cream or butter. I did hear that you can rub the stone on your face as a moisturiser, but because it's all green I think I'd look like a little goblin!
The avocado gives the mousse a smooth, thick consistency and lets the flavour of the chocolate take centre stage:
Add in several tablespoons of cocoa powder (to your taste) to the bowl and keep mixing:
Now it's time for a tablespoon of golden syrup! It works a little like eggs, binding everything together and adding a nice gloss to the sponge:
You can add some vanilla essence into the mousse for more of a milk chocolate taste, some chilli, or even a little alcohol as this makes a good dessert on its own! Check your booze is vegan, though, as some of them aren't. I'd go for rum, cointreau or perhaps a flavoured vodka...
Mousse done, let's get cracking on the sponge. Mix your hot water and cocoa powder together in a bowl until it's smooth and there are no lumps left.
Next, carefully add two tablespoons of golden syrup, the coconut milk, a splash of lemon juice and oil:
If I were being good, we'd be sifting this flour, but I'm very lazy so we're not! Try and sieve your flour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder as you add it to the mix (though I won't tell if you won't!)
Using a hand whisk or an electric mixer, give it a good mix until it looks glossy and smooth:
Line your chosen tray with greaseproof paper and gently pour in the batter:
Top tip: bicarbonate of soda + lemon juice = bubbles! Give your tray a tap or two on the work surface to get rid of any trapped bubbles as they'll ruin the texture and make it much harder to work with once it's cooked. After that, pop it into the oven for around 35 minutes...
While that's cooking, grab your two bars of good quality vegan chocolate. I'm using Montezuma, which you can find prettily easily in your local supermarket. Break it into chunks in a plastic bowl and pop it in the microwave for around 30 seconds to melt.
Remember to take sneaky peeks every now and again. If you leave it in for too long without stirring, the chocolate will burn and set fire to the sugar inside!
It's about time to get our cake out of oven! Let it cool for a few minutes to cool before you start filling it.
I'm using a cherry pie filling for a touch of festive fruitiness but you can pick any kind of jam to go inside. If you want to use a cream filling, pre-roll and cool the sponge, or the cream will just melt...
Ready to roll? Excellent! Gently lift the end of the cake under the baking paper:
Slowly, with both hands, roll it forwards, trying not to trap the paper inside (it's not very tasty at all!)
Don't worry if you've been a bit too over zealous with the filling! We'll be drizzling the whole log with chocolate, so just scoop up any bits that splurge out.
Repeat the rolling motion until the whole sponge is rolled up nicely into a log shape.
Hooray, we did it! Using a spoon or a knife, spread the melted chocolate over your log to create the impression of bark.
Luckily, I found some amazing edible glitter in my local supermarket to add a magical finishing touch to our log. Once the chocolate has set a little, sprinkle the glitter or icing sugar all over the cake - it looks just like snowfall!
Ooh, I nearly forgot! No chocolate log would be complete without a sprig of holly... and I thought our Holly Brooch would be very appropriate.
There you have it! A Christmas treat that everyone can enjoy!