2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
scraped seeds of half a fresh vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
10 ounces parve semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup parve plain soymilk
2 tablespoons parve margarine
1 cup strawberries, washed and trimmed
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar, or more to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour an 8-inch square baking pan.
2. Combine the eggs, sugar, oil, flour, soymilk, baking powder, salt and scraped vanilla beans or extract and mix well. Pour into the pan and bake for 35- 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool in the pan 10 minutes and then turn the cake onto a rack to cool completely while you prepare the ganache. If baking in advance, you can freeze when cool by wrapping in plastic wrap and then slice the cakes when cold.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the sugar syrup. Place the water and sugar in a small heavy pot over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat. Let sit at room temperature until you are ready to use.
4. Break the chocolate into small pieces and place into a microwave safe bowl. Melt for 45 seconds, stir and then another 30 seconds, stirring each time until melted, adding time in 15 second increments if necessary. Whisk in the vanilla. Heat the soymilk until hot, not boiling. Add to the chocolate mixture a little at a time and whisk well after each addition. Add the margarine and whisk until very smooth. Cover with plastic and place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
5. Take the cake and, if necessary, trim off the top to make the top of the cake flat and trim the sides to make them straight. Eat the trimmings immediately. Cut each cake across into three slices.
6. Set aside the bottom of the cake to use as the top of the cake. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Place the top square on the paper. Place some pieces of waxed paper under the cake to catch the drippings. Take a pastry brush, dip into the sugar syrup and brush the top the all around to moisten it. Scoop up about ¾ cup of the ganache and, using a silicone spatula, spread evenly on that layer of cake; just use enough ganache to cover the layer. Add the middle piece of cake, moisten with syrup, and spread another ¾ cup of ganache. Place the reserved cake bottom on top, bottom-side up, but do not moisten it with the sugar syrup. As you assemble the cake, try to make it even by looking at the cake from the side and gently pressing down to even out the cake if the cake is too tall on one side.
Use a long metal spatula to spread ganache on the top of the cake. Try to reserve a few tablespoons of ganache to use for decorating the cake. Heat the blade of the metal spatula in very hot or boiling water and wipe lightly with a towel to dry and then immediately slide around the top of the cake to make the ganache completely smooth. Place into the fridge for one hour. To serve, trim off a thin part of each side so the sides are all even. Cut into squares, rectangles or large squares into rectangles, as desired. Place the reserved ganache into a pastry bag and make any flowers, dots, or swirls on top of the mini cakes. Store in the refrigerator.
To make the sauce, place the strawberries in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until puréed, scraping down the bowl a few times, as needed. Add the powdered sugar and mix. Taste to see if the sauce is sweet enough. If not, add more sugar. If the mixture is very thick, add a tablespoon of hot water. Strain the mixture into another bowl. Store in the fridge.
To decorate the plate, you can use the strawberry sauce and add fruit. If you have any ganache left over, heat in the microwave for about 15 seconds, or until pourable, stir, and you can use it as a sauce on the plate.