Vegan Chocolate Cake – Affinities Cake from Rococo

Vegan Chocolate Cake

It’s chocolate cake time, although this one counts as semi-healthy owing to the fact that it is a vegan chocolate cake and it contains prunes – so a slice of this definitely counts as one of your five a day in my view. Given my addiction and adoration of chocolate in any form I was amazed to learn (prompted by Dom’s Random Recipes challenge) that there are only two books dedicated entirely to chocolate on my bookshelf.  I was so surprised by this, that I felt the need to pop into my local book store to peruse the chocolate section to see exactly how many chocolate books I’m missing out on. There were, as you can imagine, many wonderful chocolate books that I could very easily have immediately added to my collection. Melt: A book of Chocolate by Louise Nason and and Chika Watanabe stood out, as did Eric Lanlard’s Chocolat. Of the two I found at home, the first – ‘Zlota Ksiega Czekolady’ was written entirely in Polish and the second was a fairly recent addition; Rococo Mastering the Art of Chocolate by Chantal Coady of Rococo Chocolates.

Chocolate Books

Out of the two books, my son picked Rococo as the book to cook from. He also happened to bring home a chocolate book from the school library this week, so we explored the process of making chocolate through both books. In another coincidence, we also caught Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on television on Sunday. So all in all, it’s been quite a chocolate-filled week.

Affinities Cake

Having selected the Rococo book, the page we opened (174) depicted a chocolate cake adorned with rose petals (perfect for Valentine’s Day, too) and referred to as being so here on The Telegraph’s website. The cake is called Affinities Cake – possibly due to the affinity between the ingredients – balsamic, vanilla, salt, soda, olive oil and prune juice?

I had to flip back a page to find the recipe and found that I had most of the ingredients to hand, apart from the prune juice. I did have a large bag of dried prunes in the cupboard though, so I whizzed them up with some water to make 400ml of prune liquid. I also used Ndali vanilla powder and a gluten free flour blend, so in fact, my version of this cake ended up being gluten free and vegan. Double brownie points…

Vegan Chocolate Cake

Chocolate is a deeply emotional subject. I am obsessed, and I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by several tons of the best chocolate in the world – Chantal Coady

On a more serious note, the introduction to the recipe saddened me a little. The first time Chantal Coady came across this cake was in Grenada, when it had been made for Mott Green, co-founder of the Grenada Chocolate Company. I remember vividly the day that my friend Vanessa Kimbell wrote of Mott’s untimely death – in a tragic accident. Vanessa had spent the week with Mott in Grenada and he profoundly influenced her; so much so, that Vanessa’s personal blog is now dedicated to Mott Green’s memory. By all accounts, he was a truly great man and is missed by all who knew him and worked for him in the business of producing chocolate.

Vegan Chocolate Cake

So this post is, like dark chocolate, bitter sweet. It is a deeply seductive cake, though the headnote in the book is now tinged with loss. I hope that Mott’s legacy lives on in Grenada and around the world.

…his greatest legacy will be the super-ethical model of organic chocolate production where the growers and producers are equally paid and where the normal terms of trade are reversed ensuring that it is possible to add all the value at source and bring maximum benefit to the local economy, in this case to the people of Grenada who Mott loved – Chantal Coady

Vegan Chocolate Cake


Click here for the ‘Affinities Cake’ recipe 

Vegan Chocolate Cake

Changes I made –

  • I made my own prune juice by whizzing up 100g of prunes with 400ml water
  • I used soft light brown sugar
  • I used a gluten free flour blend instead of plain flour
  • I topped my cake with melted organic dark chocolate and some caramel – the caramel I used is non-vegan but you could leave it out or use a vegan version!!

Vegan Chocolate Cake

You can find more chocolate recipes by searching under the category of chocolate on my recipe index.

This post is being linked to Dom’s Random Recipes event, which this month challenged us to select any chocolate-themed recipe book and to make a randomly selected recipe from that book. This month, Dom at Belleau Kitchen has also joined forces with Chocolette, who runs the equally glorious We Should Cocoa event over on her Chocolate Log Blog.


Vegan Chocolate Cake

Have you come across any ‘virtuous’ chocolate cake recipes on your travels?


  1. says

    Oh my that cake looks amazing. I have to make all my cakes gluten and dairy free but have never thought of adding prune juice. I have to try it!

  2. says

    I don’t know why I continue to try and comment there is obviously some fault in my link…. but of course I can’t help myself especially when this chocolate cake looks so so special and love those prunes they give it such depth. Love it.

    • Ren Behan says

      Thank you for persisting! I do usually get your comments but in any case hope any hitches are definitely resolved!

  3. says

    Beautiful written and styled photos Ren. Not to mention a fabulous recipe which I’m most definitely bookmarking for the future. Looks utterly delicious.

  4. says

    Beautifully photographed cake with all the ingredients (and approach) that I love. Really stunning. I remember Vanessa’s piece about Mott. I knew nothing about him previously, but she wrote so very movingly that it is hard to forget his impact and passion.

    • Ren Behan says

      It is probably still a *bit* naughty, but the vegan element and prunes are at least a good starting point – and good quality, organic chocolate is good for you…!

  5. says

    This does look like a heavenly chocolate cake and that book is definitely a favourite of mine. I particularly love your choice of melted chocolate and caramel topping. Beautifully shot as ever!

  6. says

    Thanks for sharing this and inspiring me to go with a different chocolate cake to my preferred. I made it this weekend for a friend’s birthday. Half way through I realised I didn’t have enough caster sugar so I used soft brown and jaggery mixed in equal measure which gave a lovely caramelly flavour. I also used a tin of prunes in juice whizzed up in the magimix which worked perfectly. Loved that batter. A firm favourite from now on I think!

    • Ren Behan says

      Hi Urvashi, I also used a little bit of soft brown sugar, it’s never a bad thing in a chocolate cake. Wow, so pleased you got to try it. I’m assuming you used regular flour so you probably got an even better texture than I did with a gluten-free blend. Hope your friend enjoyed it, too x

  7. says

    What a beautiful post from the photographs to the recipe and the story of Mott. It certainly fits in well with my ‘Baking with passion’ theme. Thank you for linking up with Love Cake this month.

  8. says

    What a beautiful cake. I love how the ganache drips down the sides. Does the ganache ever set up or did you take the pictures shortly after finishing the cake so it hadn’t the chance to set up yet?

    • Ren Behan says

      Hiya, the dark chocolate did eventually set, if you didn’t mind having a non-vegan topping, you could try true ganache with cream to keep it silky.

  9. says

    Ren your photos are so delicious and crisp it easy to not read the text at all but its so well written that I was lost in the piece. I love dark chocolate more than the sweet variety and I think with Valentines ,hubby’s bday and our wedding anniversary all lined up one after the other I think I need to bake something decadent and ummm indulgent :)

    • Ren Behan says

      Thank you Manjiri, pleased you enjoyed the post and the pictures. Hope you do get to bake something indulgent for your husband. x

  10. says

    oh Ren, this is such a beautiful cake and such a lovely post too… all those gorgeous cook books dedicated to chocolate, it must have been hard but I think you did well and played along brilliantly, the photos are as ever glorious, make me want to lick the screen, which i’m not adverse to doing now and again!… thanks so much for entering xx

    • Ren Behan says

      Thank you Dom, so pleased you like it. I can’t wait to read all the posts this month in Random Recipes – to see all the different chocolate books that people write about and cook from!

  11. says

    Your cake looks beautiful. I have never thought of making chocolate from scratch and am ashamed to say I don’t have any chocolate books in my house :-S Lovely tribute to the late Mott Green.

    • Ren Behan says

      Thank you Tina, it’s a magical process and this is a wonderful book by way of introduction. x

    • Ren Behan says

      Thank you Nazima – though submitting them to foodgawker and being rejected for “low-light” is infuriating!

          • Ren Behan says

            Thank you Sally. Yes I have a chocolate beetroot cake on my list of things to make for this week. I love using fresh veg in cakes, too. Courgette is another good one, with a pinch of cinnamon. The BBC Food Programme was indeed sad, he is greatly missed.

  12. says

    I too have the beautiful rococo chocolate recipe book. It’s just too nice for me to cook from because I’d worry about spoiling the wonderful photos. Somehow I see you as being a rather tidier cook than me! Your cake looks stunning

    • Ren Behan says

      It does make a wonderful coffee table book – but there are some beautiful recipes, too. Thanks for stopping by – no longer going to spam!!

  13. says

    This cake looks wonderful, beautifully photographed and I’m so pleased to see a properly delicious looking vegan cake as have been looking for a sweet treat to try out on my vegan friend, Chava. Love your pretty tea plates and cups and saucers by the way. I have a few cups from that range but always think how gorgeous yours look against your tempting bakes.

    • Ren Behan says

      Thanks Andrea, I’m in danger of over-using my pretty plates and cups, but I love them so much. Constantly adding to my collection. This is a lovely vegan recipe – though be careful to make or use vegan caramel! Or leave it out x

    • Ren Behan says

      Thank you Janie, would be much appreciated. I have a “pin it” thing on my images if you hover over them, you’ll see a pin :-)

    • Ren Behan says

      Ha ha, lots of bowl licking going on. This is a great cake as it is basically just a case of throwing all the ingredients in and then watching them react like a volcano! Ted would love it :-)

  14. says

    Yum, Ren…it looks absolutely gorgeous! I was so affected by Vanessa’s grief too…her description of Mott & his ongoing influence was inspirational as well as being deeply sad to think of what the world has lost. I think the comment above might be referring to ‘Chocolate’ by Helge Rubenstein…which is a book that I also have! Will be making this one for sure, I have Chantal’s book in front of me now…happy weekend to you x

    • Ren Behan says

      Thank you Rachel, yes poor Vanessa and Chantal who knew Mott personally. Such a loss. I’ll look out for Helen’s chocolate book – and will look forward to yours one day – filled with brownies!

  15. says

    Wow! Amazing cake I love all chocolate cakes for it’s richness :) I have one book called chocolate hidden somewhere, it’s smller than yours but I never make anything from it.

    • Ren Behan says

      Thank you Syliva, chocolate cake is my favourite. Hope you get to make something from your book soon x

  16. says

    Wonderful post Ren. I nominated Mott for the Food & Farming Awards, sort of hoping lots of other people did too. He was such an inspiring man and how awful to have such a tragic accident. I was really upset and I’d only exchanged an occasional tweet with him.

    Your adaptation to the cake of liquified prunes sounds delicious and it looks simply glorious. Thank you for entering it into the combined RR & WSC :)

    • Ren Behan says

      Hi Choclette, I so hope Mott wins – that would be a lovely thing to happen in his memory. He was a huge inspiration to so many and it was very untimely. Yes – I think the prunes made it even more healthy :-)) Looking forward to the RR & WSC round-ups x

  17. says

    Ren this is simply beautiful! Do you know its the 40th Anniversary of Grenada’s independence, so a fitting tribute to both Mott and Grenada. He will be smiling, he loved that cake and his version was much more basic than this one. He might frown at the caramel being non vegan, but its good to make your own variations. Hope it tasted as delicious as it looks and that your son enjoyed the volcano effect.

    • Ren Behan says

      Thank you Chantal – how lovely of you to comment. Doh, the caramel is of course non-vegan owing to the butter, I’ve added a note. We very much enjoyed making this cake and we will definitely be baking more of your recipes together. I’m so pleased I inadvertently marked the 40th anniversary of Grenada’s independence – a happy coincidence x

  18. Ren Behan says

    Thank you Karen – oops hadn’t spotted tea Time Treats though I did go through the Food Blog Diary. There’s more chocolate to come this month.