This Is The Ultimate Way To Prepare Onions

Read this post to revolutionise the way you cook dinner. This will save you some serious time. Here's how one woman made short work of onions. It all started with that ubiquitous and time-consuming recipe directive: First, caramelise an onion... By 'one woman', I do, of course, mean me. And by 'caramelise an onion' I mean that thing I seem to have to do at the beginning of every home-cooked main meal or soup. Is there any savoury dish that doesn't benefit from the initial frying of an onion? Unfortunately, peeling, chopping and carefully browning an onion takes time. It can add at least 15 minutes to the start of any cooking process. That could sometimes be enough to put me off cooking from scratch, especially if I was in a rush. Until now.

Chocolate Vegan Birthday Celebration Cake - Recipe with Oil

This chocolate cake tastes as good as it looks. It's made entirely from plant-based ingredients: no nasties in here.

Rest assured, there is no butter and no horrible margarine/spread butter-replacement. This recipe uses vegetable oil.

And no eggs, of course. No complicated egg-replacer either. No egg-substitute at all. Just a sponge made from flour, plant milk, sugar and oil. Simple ingredients that are entirely in harmony with the whole-food plant-based diet.

Yet there's nothing ascetic about it: no self-denial, no compromise on flavour or texture. I find myself needing to use the word 'sumptuous'.

I made this sumptuous* cake for my husband's birthday and nobody could tell that it was vegan. It was wolfed down as fast as any other cake; enjoyed as much as any buttery, eggy Victoria sponge.
*There, I used it again!

My daughter wanted me to make the same cake for her birthday too. I made hers oblong, but it was the same recipe.

You will love how simple it is to make and how easily you can create a chocolate sponge cake that will be enjoyed by vegan and omnivore guests alike.

For the chocolate sponge

Combine the wet ingredients:
  • 1 cup milk (I used soya)
  • 1 tbsp vinegar (I used cider vinegar)
  • 1/3 cup oil (I used sunflower oil)
Then combine the dry ingredients:
  • 2 cups wholemeal flour
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry, put into a tin and bake at just under 200oC until a skewer comes out clean.

For the topping

To make this cake extra-special, I topped it with 'nutter cream' - my delicious veganification of butter cream, using nut butter instead of dairy. You can use any unsalted nut butter for this recipe but I find that cashew butter has the mildest taste.

You need about half butter to icing sugar. I used:

Depending on how cool your climate is and how firm your butter, this icing may be difficult to mix and spread. Adding water, a small amount at a time, can slacken it nicely and make it easier to use.

I decorated the top with berries and a drizzle of vegan chocolate sauce.

Adapt this recipe

You can use this basic recipe to make other flavours of sponge cake, of course, by omitting the cocoa and adding other flavourings. Coffee works well, and the cashew 'nutter cream' is very good with coffee flavouring too.

These lightly spiced cinnamon vegan muffin cakes are particularly moreish.

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