Dark, cakey and full of coffee flavour, my easy vegan espresso brownies will thrill your taste buds!
Sometimes nothing else will do but cake. It has a child-like simplicity that never fails to win me over. Perhaps it takes me back to those childhood days when a cake was a special treat: my grandma’s Victoria Sponge or Coffee Cake (note: this is a plain, tender sponge cake flavored with coffee and filled with coffee buttercream) or perhaps the cake I insisted that my Mum made for me every single birthday: the Hansel and Gretel chocolate house. I insisted that the chimney always went to the birthday girl, a small square of sponge with about an inch of icing used to cement it to the top of a rickety cake roof.
Later on, my mother discovered the joys (and simplicity) of the Lemon Drizzle Cake, a cake with such longevity that we would be eating it two weeks after it was baked and it still tasted great.
England is a country of cake eaters. We love dense fruit cake with virginal royal icing and marzipan, we enjoy the daintiness of Fairy Cakes (although these have been somewhat usurped by the ubiquitous Double-Choc or Blueberry Muffin in recent years) and Chocolate Cake holds a special place in the hearts of singletons the country over.
Table of Contents
What are vegan Espresso Brownies?
Is it wrong to have brownies for breakfast? Not if the main flavour is coffee! These vegan brownies have a rich, deep coffee flavour that will send the espresso lover in your life crazy (in a good way, not just a caffeine induced way)! Coffee has the most perfect affinity with chocolate, enhancing the flavor and adding a deep, slightly smoky hint to these cakey brownies. The pinch of espresso just takes these dark chocolate brownies to the next level.
They are, in fact, less a brownie, and more cake-like, a cakey brownie if you will, so don’t expect a really gooey middle, but instead a tender, caffeine infused crumb, supporting yet more coffee in the form of a simple water icing.
These cake-like brownies are great served warm with a plant-based vanilla ice cream too.
I think they’d be perfect for an informal coffee morning, If you wanted to fancy the cakes up a little, a sprinkling of some purple edible flowers will never go amiss.
What is the Blender Cake Method?
It still seems that the ratio of being buying cakes compared to baking them is top-heavy. People seem to fear baking as though it were a sophisticated French technique. Indeed, there is a certain art to icing cakes but there is nothing at all to creaming some butter and sugar together, and folding in some flour, but I have developed a technique that even removes the creaming element.
I call it the Blender Cake Method.
- Simply whisk the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Throw the wet ingredients into a blender (and what self-respecting vegan doesn’t own a blender that they surely make morning smoothies with? (Although I don’t actually make smoothies with mine)), whizz together until smooth then mix into the dry ingredients. It is almost foolproof.
I have said before that baking becomes more like second nature as your confidence improves and don’t the cakes that our mothers and grandmothers bake(d) taste so much better than their chemical laden shop-bought variants?
I am living proof that practice does indeed make perfect. I have had many disasters in the kitchen but as your grow more experienced, you learn certain pitfalls, specific methods, and your success rate grows exponentially. Remember that you are in charge of the ingredients and not the other way around.
I love to top these luscious brownies with a chocolate bean, and serve, almost ironically, with a cup of a tea, and a Penguin classic. These days I get time to read very rarely, so it’s nearly always an Audible book I turn to, but nothing beats the smell of a vintage paperback, the slightly crumbly pages, and the joy of finding an annotation or an old ticket, used as a bookmarker. What do you love to read with a cup of tea or coffee?
- Self-raising or all-purpose flour. You can also use gluten-free flours of your choice.
- Cocoa Powder. I use Green and Blacks Cocoa which is dark and velvety, perfect for cooking, adding a rich depth of flavor.
- Espresso Powder, of course for that mysterious espresso flavor. I prefer powder over granules, as it dissolves quicker, but don’t use ground coffee, as you will just have grainy bits of coffee studded throughout your dark chocolate espresso brownies. I find that coffee turns good brownies into great brownies!
- Vegan butter. Use your favorite brand.
- Caster or superfine sugar. You can use brown sugar too, for a fudgier flavor.
- Vegan yogurt. I like Alpro vanilla for this.
- Vanilla Extract, for an additional sweet flavor.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together the self-rising flour, cocoa powder(or you could use raw cacao powder for an even more intense flavor), and baking powder (this is your leavening agent, along with the flour).
- In a separate bowl, dissolve the espresso powder in some hot water.
- In a blender, whizz together espresso powder (or instant coffee), vegan butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and plant-based natural yogurt until you have a smooth mixture.
- Add this into the flour and stir gently with a wooden spoon until completely amalgamated.
- Fold in some cacao nibs or dairy-free chocolate chips if using.
- Pour brownie batter into an 8″ brownie or cake pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 3-35 minutes, or until they spring back to the touch.
- Leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack, leaving to cool completely before icing or drizzling with melted chocolate.
Try my other delicious vegan chocolate treats
Vegan Espresso Brownies
- 8" brownie pan, lined
- 1¾ cup Self Raising Flour
- 1 teaspoon Cocoa Powder
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1 cup Butter - vegan
- 1 cup +2 tbsp Superfine Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- ¾ cup Yogurt - plant based, I use Alpro Soy
- 3 tbsp Espresso Powder - dissolved in 2 tbsp boiling water
- ¼ cup Butter - Vegan
- 3 tbsp Soy Milk
- 4 teaspoon Espresso Powder
- 1¾ cup Confectionary Sugar - sifted
- Preheat oven to 180c. Grease and line an 8” square baking tin.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder.
- Beat in the spread, sugar, yogurt and coffee.
- Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cake springs back to the touch.
- Leave to cool.
- To make the icing, melt together the spread, milk and espresso powder until the powder has dissolved and you have a smooth mixture.
- Pour over the sifted icing sugar and beat well until there are no lumps left.
- Pour over the cooled cake. Leave to set, then cut into squares and enjoy!
Please note that where the recipe asks for milk, butter or yogurt, this refers to any plant-based version that you prefer.