Innocently white clouds of meringue cloak this mystical black cake with yellow filling. The flavor is alike mystical and sweet -- it's licorice with orange filling! However, this is licorice as in licorice root, which is a bit different from licorice candy, even though it is related. So those of you who think ugh, licorice! -- I challenge you to give this a try! It is sweet with a deep flavor, complemented by fresh orange and lemon.
This cake is perfect both for a different birthday party and a scary halloween. And the scariest part is not the look of it -- it is what comes after. And with "after" I mean the surprise that comes the day after, when your feces are dark!
This phenomenon happens because the cake is colored black with activated charcoal, which is totally harmless (in large doses or if taken over a period of time, it can cause constipation, but the dosis here is too small for that), but it colors the feces. Just make sure to use activated charcoal, which is used medicinally, and not common charcoal.
One person noted a little bit of grittiness in the cake because of the charcoal. I don't think it matters, but if you don't want to use charcoal, you can also just use black food coloring, but it won't give the after-effect.
And for those of you who are interested in it, this cake is vegan, which means no eggs, butter, or milk. And it tastes addictively good!
I was inspired to color the cake with charcoal from the instructable for Purgatory Burgers.
Step 1: You Will Need...
Cake (2 pcs):
2 dl. water from canned chickpeas
1/2 tsp. fine salt
2 tsp. lemon juice
140 g. cane sugar (pulverized in blender if not already fine crystals)
320 g. wheat flour
4 tsp. baking powder (20 g.)
2 Tbsp. psyllium powder
2 Tbsp. raw licorice powder
2 Tbsp. activated charcoal
100 g. chopped licorice candy or raisins, optional
2 dl. mild oil (160 g.)
2 dl. water (200 g.)
1/2 l. orange juice
80 g. cane sugar
4 Tbsp. corn starch
1 dl. coconut cream
1 dl. soy cream, nut cream, coconut cream, or other cream substitute
1 tsp. grated orange or lemon peel
dash turmeric, for color, optional
Lemon Meringue (or use vegan whipped cream):
1 dl. water from canned chickpeas
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
50 g. cane sugar (pulverized in blender if not already fine crystals)
1/2 tsp. vanilla sugar or a splash of vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. locust bean gum (stabilizer)
grated orange peel (or carrot)
Step 2: Cake: Chickpea Meringue
Chickpea meringue is the secret to making this vegan cake so fluffy and moist and utterly delicious.
Chickpea meringue is made by whipping the water from canned chickpeas instead of egg whites. (Picture 1 and 2) You can read more about it here.
To make the base for this cake, whip the 2 dl. chickpea water with the salt and lemon juice, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, till you have soft peaks. (Picture 4)
Add the sugar one tablespoon at a time, and whip between each tablespoon until the sugar crystals are dissolved.
When all the sugar is added, continue whipping for about 5 min., until you have very stiff peaks. (Picture 5 and 6)
Step 3: Cake: Dry Ingredients
In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, psyllium, licorice powder, and charcoal two times.
Stir in the licorice candy or raisins if using (I used raisins).
Step 4: Cake: Batter
The batter is made by alternating between adding dry and wet ingredients to the chickpea meringue. This method prevents the meringue from collapsing too much and the cake batter from becoming overworked.
First, add half of the dry ingredients and FOLD them into the meringue using a scraper. The mixture does not have to be totally uniform and smooth. (Picture 1 and 2)
Add the oil and fold that into the batter. Again, it does not have to be totally evenly mixed into the batter. (Picture 3 and 4)
Add the remaining dry ingredients. (Picture 5)
Add the water. Now, fold the batter together until it is smooth and uniform. (Picture 6 and 7)
NOTE: It is important to FOLD the batter together with a scraper instead of stirring with a spoon, or even worse, mixing with the mixer. This is because folding will prevent the meringue from collapsing too much, even though it will (and should) always collapse a bit, as it will otherwise just collapse while baking.
Step 5: Cake: Baking
Stir the batter a bit to remove any big air bubbles.
Pour it into two springform pans or cake pans 22 cm. in diameter. Depending on your pan, it may need to be oiled and floured. If it is a cake pan (no removable sides), it may make it easier to remove the cake if a piece of parchment paper cut into a circle is placed on the bottom of the pan before the batter is poured in.
Immediately bake the cakes in a convection oven at 200 degrees C for 20 min. (if it is an ordinary oven, you will have to bake them longer, about 30 min.), or until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool.
Step 6: Orange Pudding
Mix the orange juice, sugar, and corn starch and cook the mixture while stirring until it has thickened.
Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the cream, zest, and turmeric.
Let the pudding cool in the refrigerator over night. (I was in a hurry, so I poured it into a shallow dish and put it in the freezer. Just note that it will be ruined if it freezes.)
When the pudding is cold and stiff, whip it with a hand mixer or blend it in a blender or with an immersion blender until it is smooth.
Step 7: Lemon Meringue (or Whipped Cream)
For the frosting I made a meringue just like the one that is used as the the base for the cake batter. However, it was very unstable and quickly collapsed. I think I should have made an Italian meringue instead of French meringue (read about the difference here -- learn to make vegan Italian meringue here). The Italian meringue is more stable because it is made with hot sugar syrup instead of just plain sugar. Alternatively, you can just frost the cake with vegan whipped cream. However, I think American frosting would be too sweet in combination with the sweet licorice powder.
Here is how to make the French meringue I used. Whip the 1 dl. water from the canned chickpeas and the lemon juiceuntil you have soft peaks. (Picture 1 and 2)
Add the sugar one tablespoon at a time, whipping in between each tablespoon until the sugar crystals are dissolved. Add the vanilla.
When all the sugar is added, whip another 15-20 min. until you have a glossy, very hard foam. (Picture 3 and 4) Sprinkle the locust bean gum over the surface and whip until combined. The locust bean gum stabilizes the meringue and prevents it from collapsing as quickly.
But as I said before, it would probably be better to make Italian meringue with 50 g. hot sugar syrup slowly poured into the meringue or just use vegan whipped cream.
Step 8: Assembling the Cake
To assemble the cake, remove the cake bottoms from the pans. (Picture 1) One of mine was larger than the other, so i had to trim the edges off.
Place one bottom bottom-side-up in a cake pan (the smallest if using two different sizes pans). (Picture 2) This is because the bottom side has more texture, so the pudding has something to hold on to.
Place a piece of parchment paper all around the edges, as shown in the photos. (Picture 2 and 3) This will make it easier to remove the cake after it has been moulded.
Pour in the orange pudding (Picture 3) and place the other cake bottom bottom-side-down on top (Picture 4).
Refrigerate the cake until the pudding has set, at least 1 hour.
Remove the cake from the pan (this is easiest if you used a springform pan) (Picture 5) and carefully peel off the parchment paper (Picture 6).
Step 9: Decorating the Cake
Put the meringue in a piping bag with star tip. (Picture 1)
Pipe some meringue on top of the cake and smooth it out with a spatula. (Picture 2) Drag a fork over the surface to make a wavy pattern.
Pipe meringue on the sides of the cake. Instead of piping straight up and down, I piped the rows at an angle, which resulted in a swirling effect. (Picture 3) Finish by piping stars/peaks all around the top edge.
Picture 4 and 5: The frosted cake
For decoration, I used small, hard gray licorice pastilles (Picture 6), which I placed all around the edge using tweezers (Picture 7). I also put some in the center together with some grated carrot (I wanted to use orange zest, but did not have any, and you could not taste the carrot anyway). If you want, put some licorice candy or raisins around the cake on the platter.
Picture 8 and 9: The finished cake
Step 10: Enjoy!
As long as you use a stable meringue, this cake can be refrigerated for a few days. However, I think it is prettiest the same day it is made.
I hope you enjoyed this instructable, and that perhaps some of you would like to try this. If you do, please post pictures, and whether you do or not, please vote for me in the halloween food contest! Thanks!!!