Blind Designer

Super-moist boiled fruit cake free demonstration 1030 Monday 11 July.   Register at:

Even blind people can design buildings: three house extensions, a house façade and an internal redesign to my name.   I just need someone expert in the materials and measuring to translate ideas into reality.   The latest is the new shed to accommodate the sous-chef’s bike and all the internal fitting out to store lots of unwieldly garden implements.   Nearly done and design virtually completed.   The finishing touch is the roof façade, carefully scalloped to match the awning on the adjacent studio so everything matches.

It was a delight to cook with Sue, Chair of Open Sight Hampshire, to mark the centenary year of the charity supporting thousands of visually impaired people across the County.   She introduced me to her vegan chocolate cake which, with the original cup measures, must be of American or Australian origin.   While avoiding animal products, it is certainly not short of calories but did stay perfectly moist and moreish for a week when stored in the fridge.   Would also make an excellent dessert when teamed with some summer fruits.

The demo of her cake and my very quick brownies (I’ll post the basic brownie recipe next week along with a gluten-free version sent by Rosemary in Australia)

Vegan chocolate cake.


1 cup (260g) unsweetened almond milk.

1 tablespoon cider vinegar.

2 cups (250g) plain flour.

1 and three-quarters cups (350g) granulated sugar.

three-quarters cup (85g) cocoa powder.

2 teaspoons baking powder.

1 and a half teaspoons bicarbonate of soda.

1 teaspoon salt.

half cup (80g) vegetable or coconut oil.

two-thirds cup (200g) unsweetened apple sauce.

1 tablespoon vanilla extract or bean paste.

1 cup (250g) boiling water.

Chocolate ganache:

350g vegan dark chocolate bars, broken into small pieces.

1 and a half cups(300g) full fat coconut milk or coconut cream.

Pre-heat oven to 175C, Gas 4.

Oil two 9inch sponge tins, line their bases with baking parchment then lightly flour.

Mix the almond milk and vinegar and set aside to slightly curdle.

Place all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and gently stir to mix.

Add wet ingredients (oil, apple sauce, vanilla, almond/vinegar mix) and whisk at medium speed to fully combine.

Reduce the mixer speed and gradually add the boiling water to produce a smooth but very runny batter.

Pour half the batter into each tin and cook for 40 minutes.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes at least before turning out of the pans.

Meanwhile, make the ganache by placing the contents of the tin of coconut milk into a microwave-safe bowl.

Heat in the microwave on Medium, ensuring that the solids melt rather than bubble over.

Mix in the chocolate and allow to melt and combine for a couple of minutes.

Whisk to smooth and fully combine.

Allow to cool and thicken for 30 minutes.

Spread about a third on top of each cooled cake, place one on top of the other before spreading the remaining ganache around the sides.

My Tips:

Weigh the empty mixing bowl.   Weigh it again when all the ingredients have been mixed.   Subtract the first weight from the second to give the total weight of the cake mix.   Halve it to give you the weight for each separate cake.   Easier for blind people than trying to guess the amount in each tin!

For the apple puree, a large peeled, cored and diced cooking apple could be gently reduced to a puree by cooking in a microwave with a very little water, allow to cool.

A standard tin of coconut milk was the ideal quantity.

© 2024 - Penny Melville-Brown
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