Wow, it’s again time for celebrations, and what is more celebrating than a nice cake with loads of chocolate chips?
This cake is called Treccia Pasquale, which literally means Eastern braid, and you can imagine why. It is probably less famous than some of its counterparts like colomba or focaccia dolce but the principle is the same: a soft, pale-in-the-inside-golden brown-in-the-outside cake, that you can’t literally stop eating. Famous in my family was the time my brother and I ate a 1kg treccia filled with chantilly cream all by ourselves… we were young and brave, and I can assure you that after a good coffe with Grappa (it is a rather strong liquor typical of our regions) we were as good as new. Well….we spent the afternoon on the couch watching old movies because we were so dramatically full, but that’s all another story.
Now that I am all grown up and responsible (?), I am specialised in the vegan version of this cake. Besides the cream it has nothing less in flavour than a non vegan treccia. If you offer to bring this cake as dessert for Easter, they will never know…
I highly recommend three special ingredients to prepare this cake: one is a rainy day, the second is a cup of hot tea and the third is a good book to keep you company while you wait for the cake to rest.
Happy Easter everybody, I wish you a lovely day, lots and lots of bunny cuddles!!
For the starter:
150g of white flour
100ml of warm water
3g granulated yeast (the same your would use to prepare bread)
For the dough:
350g white flour
4g granulated yeast
100g sunflower oil
1/2 tsp powdered vanilla beans
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange
100g dark chocolate
1 pinch of salt
100g rice syrup
50g agave syrup
Please don’t get scared by the amount of ingredients, it is really easy to make! First of all, let’s prepare the starter so your cake will need just very little yeast. Dissolve the yeast in warm water and set aside for 5 minutes. Then mix the water+yeast with the flour. Now, I have already mentioned it but the quantity of water needed depends on the flour that you are using, and I don’t mean the kind of grain, I really mean the brand. Ideally you should add enough water to have a slightly humid and gluey mix. Cover with cling paper but make sure you don’t seal it or poke some holes on the top to allow breathing. Set aside in a warm place (25 degrees) for 2 hours. Start reading the book you prepared for the day.
At the end of the 2 hours you should see some bubbles on the top of the stater and the volume should have raised.
In a separate bowl mix all the remaining dry ingredients and add the oil, incorporating it with your hands. Then add the chocolate and lastly add the syrups and knead gently until nice and smooth. If the dough is too wet, add some more flour, if too dry you can add bit of warm water.
Set aside in a warm place (I generally put it into the oven with the light on but no heat) for 2.5 hours. Prepare some tea and share it with someone you love. Also watch an episode of your favourite show on Netflix.
The dough should have pretty much doubled. Divide in three parts and…. braid!
Set aside for another 2.5/3 hours and in the meantime… well get creative with your time.
Cook for 15 minutes at 190° and then for another 15 at 160º. The outside should be golden brown like in the picture above.