I’ve found this an interesting cake to play with, transforming it into a vegan or completely dairy-free cake by simply replacing the milk with an equivalent. I used almond milk and coffee (and substituted half the flour for almond meal, leaving out the cinnamon and orange and using some vanilla instead). It’s a winner, perhaps even better than the original, remaining moist for days with the unmistakable aroma of almonds. Even better was the version with coconut milk, so soft and buttery you would never guess it was indeed butter-less. 

In both cases I needed to use about 100 ml extra liquid, but think of the potential here with other substitutes, too. Next time I’ll add a splash of rum to it, or – for those who don’t have a problem with dairy – buttermilk in place of regular milk.

– Emiko Davies

torta-bilbolbul 2 Emiko DaviesChocolate “Bilbolbul” Cake


200g flour
250g sugar
100g bittersweet cocoa powder
2g (½ tsp) ground cinnamon
2 tsps baking powder (or 1 sachet of Italian leavening or 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda plus 1 teaspoon cream of tartar)
250ml milk
Zest of 1 orange


1. Sift all the dry ingredients together, in particular the cocoa. Add the milk and zest and stir to combine until smooth.

2. Spread the mixture in a round cake tin* (22-24cm diameter) greased with butter and lined with baking paper. Bake at 180ºC/365ºF for 35-40 minutes or until springy when touched on top.

3. Remove from cake tin when cool enough to handle, and serve dusted with powdered sugar, if desired, or some whipped cream.

*You can also make it into cupcakes – spoon the mixture into a muffin tray and bake for about 20 minutes.

Bilbolbul Emiko Davies

florentine-cookbook-image-IMG_3224-blogAbout Emiko Davies
Half-Australian, half-Japanese, Emiko Davies is a citizen of the world. Having grown up in Beijing and completed a Fine Arts degree in Rhode Island, she moved to Florence, Italy, where she met her future husband. Now, after a stint in Australia, she’s back in Tuscany where she resides with her husband and daughter. Emiko started her blog as a creative outlet, to make up for the mundane day job she had at the time. She now writes a regular column for Food52 and the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. Her first cookbook, Florentine: The True Cuisine of Florence, will be released on 1 March, 2016.

Click here for more delicious cake-related recipes from the world’s top pastry bloggers.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Related Articles