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Dairy-Free Chocolate Birthday Cake

"This is everything a good chocolate cake should be: a light and moist sponge, creamy chocolate filling, and a rich, glossy ganache frosting. And sprinkles—everybody loves sprinkles," writes Katy Salter, a food writer, editor and blogger who was diagnosed with a lactose intolerance. This cake, along with her dairy-free 'buttermillk' chicken and her pork belly cemitas are from her new book, "Dairy-Free Delicious," aimed at providing delicious dinners and treats for those with lactose sensitivities and intolerances.

RECIPE: Chocolate Birthday Cake

Yields: 6 to 8 Slices

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups self-rising flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • Generous 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 4 medium eggs

FOR THE GANACHE:

  • 10 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • Generous 1 3/4 cups coconut cream, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 5 tablespoons coconut cream, chilled

TO DECORATE:

  • Multicolored sprinkles
  • 2 x 8-inch round cake/sandwich pans, greased and lined

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Sift the self-rising flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Beat the oil and sugar together with an electric whisk, or with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, for a few minutes, until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, alternating with a tablespoon of the flour and cocoa mixture, and whisk to combine. Fold in the rest of the flour using a large metal spoon, until just combined.
  2. Divide the cake batter between the 2 pans. Smooth the tops, then bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and a skewer or toothpick inserted into the middles comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pans before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. Once the cakes have cooled, make the ganache. Heat the coconut cream in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat just as it comes to a boil—as soon as it starts bubbling around the edges. Put the chocolate pieces in a heatproof bowl, pour the coconut cream over, and stir gently with a wooden spoon until all the chocolate has melted and you have a smooth, thick ganache. (If there is still a little chocolate that hasn't melted, then fill the empty pan with water, bring to a simmer, and set the bowl above the pan so it isn't touching the water, to melt the last of the chocolate, stirring gently.) Whisk in the confectioners' sugar. Transfer 8 tablespoons of ganache to a separate, smaller bowl. Chill both bowls for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the smaller bowl of ganache from the refrigerator. Add the chilled 5 tablespoons coconut cream (pour away any remaining watery liquid) and whisk with an electric mixer/paddle attachment of a stand mixer until it is a pale, milk chocolate shade and mousse-y in texture, with the consistency of heavy cream. Spread over the center of one of the cakes, leaving a 1/2-inch gap around the edge of the cake. Place the other cake on the top. Remove the remaining ganache from the refrigerator and spread over the top of the cake, letting it spill over the sides. Use a palette knife or spatula to smooth the sides to give you your base coat of frosting. Spread on a second layer to cover any patches where you can still see the sponge, and smooth again. The cake should now be covered with ganache, with no sponge visible. Decorate with sprinkles. Set for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Excerpted from "Dairy-Free Delicious" by Katy Salter (The Countryman Press). Copyright © 2016. Photographs by Laura Edwards. Available onAmazon.

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