Pansy and orange blossom chocolate cake (incl vegan options)

This dessert was by far the hit of the night at the July supper club. It’s a orange blossom chocolate cake with vanilla cream. This was originally a recipe I wrote for LandScape magazine, but it is pretty unrecognisable as that now I have tweaked it so much. I really like the texture – it’s an olive oil cake, which makes it very light and fluffy. And I love orange blossom water – it makes everything taste wonderful, and luckily the supper club guests agreed. The triumph of this one for me was the fact that it could be very easily turned into a vegan cake too. See below, I replaced egg with aquafaba, butter with a vegan butter, yogurt with an oat cream, very successfully, like for like. It makes two really good chocolate cakes in their own rights; I can’t stop making and eating it! I hope you enjoy it too.


Pansy and orange blossom chocolate cake 

Serves 9


60g cocoa powder, plus 45g

110g self-raising flour

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

150g caster sugar

120ml buttermilk/oat cream 

1 tsp vanilla bean paste, plus 1 tsp for the cream

1 1/2 tbsp orange blossom water

1 eggs/50g aquababa 

60ml olive oil

75g unsalted butter, softened/vegan butter 

75g icing sugar

50g sour cream/oat cream 

35g vegan dark chocolate, chopped

20cm square cake tin

30g each whipped double cream/oat cream, to serve 

edible pansies, for decoration

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line the cake tin with baking paper. In a large bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, flour, bicarbonate of soda and caster sugar. Mix the buttermilk/oat cream into the mixture, along with the vanilla bean paste, orange blossom, eggs/aquafaba and oil. Whisk with an electric whisk until smooth. Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin. Bake for 20-25 mins, or until an inserted table knife comes out of the cake clean. Allow to cool completely within the tin.

To make the icing, whisk together the butter/vegan butter with the icing sugar and extra cocoa powder until very smooth, then whisk in the sour cream/oat cream. Place the dark chocolate in a microwaveable bowl and microwave for 1 min to 1 min and 30 seconds, until you can stir the chocolate. Whisk the melted chocolate into the icing. Ice the cake with the icing and allow to set in the fridge for 1hr.

To make the vanilla cream, whisk the double cream or oat cream until thick but still soft and stir in the 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste. Bring the cake out of the fridge 30 mins before you want to serve the cake and cut into nine squares (whilst still fridge cold). Serve with the vanilla cream.