Decadent chocolate cake with toasted walnuts frosting (vegan)

Chocolate cake! Whether the occasion is a birthday, New Year's Eve or your afternoon coffee, I cannot think of a better way to celebrate the moment! Rich, moist and with that melt-in-your-mouth quality, this cake will not disappoint vegans and non-vegans alike. I used pear jam for this recipe but pretty much any other jam will do, my top picks being fig, apricot and orange. Toast the walnuts either in the oven or in the pan, allow to slightly cool then grind them as finely as you can, being sure not to overdo it as they will turn to butter. If there is any tricky part to this recipe, that would be it! This cake is so easy to make you will not hesitate to make it again, and again, and again... 

For the cake
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1 cup Dutch dark cocoa
- 1 1/2 cups sugar (organic)
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- a pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup extra light olive oil
- 2/3 cups pear jam
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the chocolate toasted walnuts frosting
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup Dutch dark cocoa
- 1 cup margarine (Earth Balance) or shortening
- 2 Tablespoons almond milk, or more if necessary
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon rum extract
- 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- a pinch of sea salt
- 1 cup walnuts, toasted then ground

Sift the flour with the cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the jam with the olive oil, almond milk, vanilla and lemon juice. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and combine. Grease and sprinkle with cocoa two 9 inch springform pans (I used an 8 inch and a 9 inch pan) then pour the batter and bake at 350F for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting.
To prepare the frosting, use a mixer to beat the margarine (or shortening) with the rest of the ingredients, except for the ground toasted walnuts. When the frosting reaches the desired consistency, add the walnuts and beat a few seconds more, until combined. Add more almond milk if you would like to thin the frosting or more powdered sugar (or cocoa) if you would like to thicken it. If using shortening, you will need more almond milk. 
To assemble the cake, spread the bottom layer with some of the frosting, add the second layer and cover the cake with the remaining frosting. I used the crumbs of cake left on the springform pan to decorate the edge of the cake, grated some chocolate for the middle (using a vegetable peeler) and then sifted a little bit of cocoa powder to finish. I'm sure you'll enjoy!

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