Plum Brownie Cake + Espresso Cream {vegan}

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Brownie. Cake. *heart eyes*. A riff on my vegan brownies – with a crackly, sugared top embedded with sweet-tart plums (I used pluots – a plum & apricot hybrid) and served with espresso whipped coconut cream to round everything out. Best served slightly warm from the oven whilst the chocolate cake is still soft and a little fudgy and mousse-like in the center.

This past week, when the weather turned cool for a few days, I had a huge craving for my vegan brownies, but I also wanted to use up some of the fruit that was heaped all over my table. These beautiful pluots were the first thing I thought of to compliment the rich chocolateyness of the brownie, along with a generous heap of fluffy espresso whipped coconut cream (espresso powder whipped into sweetened coconut cream).

I think I like whipped coconut cream a little too much (see here, here & here), but it’s just so easy and complements desserts beautifully without the fuss of making vegan ice-cream or attempting to track down a decent store bought version. So I will continue to use it with reckless abandon.

The pluots (or plums) are perfect, they end up roasting with the sugar that is sprinkled on top to create pockets of sweet & tart caramelised fruit that cut through all of that intense chocolate cake. Plus I just love some seasonality in my baking, I can’t help but add some kind of fruit to my baked things, even chocolate cake.

Plum Brownie Cake + Espresso Cream {vegan}

vegan, egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free
 Brownie cake. A riff on my vegan brownies — with a crackly, sugared top embedded with sweet‐tart plums (I used pluots, a plum and apricot hybrid) and served with espresso whipped coconut cream to round everything out. Best served slightly warm from the oven whilst the chocolate cake is still soft and a little fudgy and mousse‐like in the center.
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 180 ml / 3/4 c coconut milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

dry ingredients

  • 100 g / 3/4 c all‐purpose flour
  • 50 g / 1/3 c barley or oat flour
  • 30 g / 1/4 c chickpea flour
  • 2 tbsp / 2 tbsp. arrowroot starch
  • 60 g / 1/2 c dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

wet ingredients

  • 160 g chopped dark chocolate 70 — 85% cocoa content
  • 125 g / 1/2 c coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder or 1 tsp. instant coffee granules
  • 250 g / 1 1/4 c vanilla sugar / raw granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

to top

  • 4–6 plums or pluots cut in half & seed removed
  • vanilla sugar / raw granulated sugar to sprinkle

espresso whipped cream

  • 1 tin of coconut milk / cream chilled for 2 days or so in the fridge (I use nakula brand)
  • 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder or 1 tsp. instant coffee granules
  • 3–4 tbsp. vanilla sugar or raw granulated sugar + a little dash of vanilla extract

Instructions

cake

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a 20cm / 8 inch round cake pan with baking paper on the bottom & sides, leaving some overhang to use as a handle after baking to lift the cake out of the tin.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the ground flax & water, set aside to thicken to make a flax egg. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the coconut milk & the apple cider vinegar. Set aside to thicken/activate & turn into 'buttermilk'.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside.
  • Place the chocolate, coconut oil & espresso powder in a large heat‐proof mixing bowl & place over a saucepan filled with a few cm of simmering water. Allow to melt, stirring often so that the chocolate does not burn. Once melted & combined, remove from the heat (it only needs to just melt, don't leave it any longer or it will burn).
  • Add the sugar straight away while the mix is still warm & whisk well to begin dissolving the sugar. Whisk in the vanilla extract followed by the flax egg & finally the buttermilk. Whisk together until well combined.
  • Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture & fold until just combined. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan & spread with the back of a spoon until even. Place the plum / pluot halves on top of the cake, cut side up. Space them out evenly, they shouldn't be too close together. Sprinkle with a little sugar then place in the oven on the middle rack to bake.
  • Bake for about 60–80 minutes until crackly on top & a skewer inserted into the middle comes out with some crumbs attached. If it's still gooey just leave it for 5–10 more minutes & test again. If the top starts to burn at any time during the baking period, just lower the oven temp to 160 celsius / 320 fahrenheit and continue baking. Once cooked, remove from the oven & set the cake tin on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes. Then remove the cake from the tin and leave to cool on the wire rack till completely cool or just slightly warm. Serve in thick slices with the espresso whipped cream.

espresso whipped cream

  • Scoop the thick 'cream' from the top of the chilled coconut milk tin (leave the watery part behind) and place in a large bowl that has been chilled in the freezer for 10 minutes. Add the espresso powder and 3 tbsp. of the sugar (& the extract if using) and whip with an electric whisk until soft peaks begin to form. Taste, and add another tbsp. of sugar if you'd like. Continue to whip until firm peaks form then chill covered in the fridge until needed.

Plum Brownie Cake + Espresso Cream {Vegan}

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