A vegan cake rich with chocolate flavour, blueberries and a chocolate glaze
Κέικ σοκολάτας με μύρτιλα. If you were raised in a traditional Greek home then there are a few things that you know to be true. Family is more important than anything. Family is also a term used generously; obviously your parents, your siblings and your grandparents are family, but so is your cousin’s cousin on their father’s side to whom you have no blood relation. You also know that food is almost as important as family – what you eat, how you eat it, and who you eat it with are questions which inform who you are as a person, and they are full of meaning and significance.
Another important food related question has to do with when you eat something, or rather – when you don’t. For many Greeks, meal planning is dictated by fasting rules set out by the Orthodox church. So, Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year there is to be no eggs, dairy, meat or fish. As well, there are 4 longer fasting periods during the year when these same rules (and more) apply for weeks. (If you would like to learn more about these fasts, you can consult our free downloadable Lenten Meal Plans such as this one).
Growing up this meant that if a special event happened to fall on a fasting day, there were limits on what could be served on the celebratory table. Imagine your 10th birthday landing on a Friday. Your friends, both Greek and non-Greek are over, as are your cousins, and you’re all wearing paper party hats. Everyone who doesn’t know better is looking forward to cake. And then, you all gather around the marble-topped living room table so that you can blow the candles out on your birthday halva.
Fortunately, many years and tears later, our mother expanded her repertoire of lenten desserts. A cake is lenten if it contains no dairy and no eggs (and no steak…but that’s usually not an issue). And so she began making a chocolate cake that she learned from a lady at church. It was delicious, and over time she made it even more so. She started adding to it – sometimes nuts, sometimes chocolate chips, sometimes raisins and sometimes she added blueberries – our favourite!
What is the difference between fresh and frozen blueberries in baking?
Our mom and dad don’t remember eating blueberries while in Greece, but here in Canada it is one of their favourite fruits. Better than candy, they say – and they are so right. It’s no wonder then that our mom started to incorporate blueberries in this wonderful chocolate cake.
You can use either frozen or fresh blueberries here, although we prefer the frozen variety for the following reasons:
- They are easy to store and you don’t have to worry about them remaining fresh
- They are easy to find, year round
- They hold their shape better when being mixed into the batter
- They are delicious to snack on when they are frozen 🙂
If you do use fresh blueberries just be mindful that the total baking time may be less than what we indicate in the recipe.
How do I know when my cake is baked?
Baking times for desserts are really meant to be a good guide; so. much depends on your oven and even the pan that you use. The best way to test that a cake is done is to stick a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean (except for a few dry crumbs), then it is ready. Any wet batter on the toothpick means that the cake needs to bake a bit longer.
If your cake is still not cooked but the top has browned simply cover it loosely with aluminum foil.
Do I need to add the glaze?
No, you don’t. Our mother actually rarely topped this cake with anything more than some icing sugar. We do like the glaze however because it gives an extra layer of chocolate deliciousness, and there is nothing wrong with that!
Looking for more lenten desserts? Check these out:
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