CHOCOLATE LAYER CAKE WITH CHAI CASHEW BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
35g (⅓ cup) T2 Chai Loose Leaf Black Tea
1L (4 cups) boiling hot water
400g (2½ cups) LUCKY NATURAL CASHEWS
240ml (1 cup) coconut milk
120ml (½ cup) pure maple syrup
120ml (½ cup) coconut oil, melted
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
⅓ tsp salt
1 lemon, juice only
360ml (1½ cups) almond milk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
360g (3 cups) plain flour
100g (1 cup) cacao powder
4 tsp baking powder
300g (2 cups) coconut sugar
½ tsp salt
320ml (1⅓ cups) grapeseed oil
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1. Starting the day before serving, to make the chai buttercream, add chai to a saucepan and cover with hot water. Brew tea for 10 minutes then drain through a sieve, retaining the liquid. Soak cashews in liquid for four hours, then drain.
2. Add cashews, coconut milk, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla, salt and lemon juice to a high-speed blender and blitz until very smooth, before transferring to a large mixing bowl.
3. Place the mixing bowl in the freezer for 1 hour. Once chilled, remove and beat with electric beaters (or whisk by hand) for 1 minute. Return to the freezer and repeat this process 2 more times. Once completed, you should have a firm and spreadable buttercream. Store in the fridge until assembly.
4. Preheat fan-forced oven to 170°C. Grease and line the base of two 15cm cake tins and set aside.
5. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add milk and apple cider vinegar and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, sift flour, cacao and baking powder into another mixing bowl and add coconut sugar and salt before combining well.
5. Add the oil and vanilla to the milk mixture and whisk together. Pour wet mixture into the dry mixture, and fold until everything just comes together.
6. Pour evenly between the two cake tins and bake for 45 minutes, or until firm but springy. Allow cakes to cool for 10 minutes before turning on to a wire rack to cool completely.
7. To assemble, cut the tops off each cake to create even surfaces, and then cut each cake in half through the middle. You should end up with 4 equal layers of cake.
8. Add chai buttercream to the top of the first layer of cake and spread to about 1cm thick. Add the second layer of cake and more frosting, continuing until all layers are stacked. Cover the top and sides of the cake with the remaining buttercream and decorate as you like, for example with fresh berries.
• Cacao powder, coconut sugar and almond milk can be substituted with cocoa powder, caster sugar and full cream milk respectively, if desired.