Cinnamon Girl's Anniversary Cake

First of all, I'm sorry for neglecting the blog for so long (my last recipe was almost three weeks ago!) but here's a little update on what I've been up to: finishing some collabs, being busy with daily life, preparing the first Christmas recipes and also trying to keep up with my workout routine which some days was extremely difficult since I ended up exhausted and with a rather messy kitchen. Btw, my legs feel like jelly today after yesterday's cardio session...can't hardly walk, geez!
These past weeks I've been more active on Instagram but it was about time to bring you some fresh new stuff! Also I want to find some extra time and visit your blogs to leave you some love because even though it's all about IG these days I'm one of those persons who actually enjoys checking out your beautiful blogs to read the full recipes and drool over your cool pics. I adore the 'gram but nothing compares to seeing pictures in full-size and navigate through a website. When it comes to my IG posts I prefer to keep it short and sweet and personally find it a tad bit boring when people write endless captions...well I kinda hated it back when I had an old iPhone 4 because the text looked so small on my screen but now that I'm the happy owner of an iPhone 8 Plus life gets easier, lol.
Some of you might recognize the cake I'm sharing today because I posted a sneak peek on my Stories and it was actually the cake I made for my sister's birthday but since I'm so short on time I thought that cake was big enough to celebrate both things. It's my blogiversary and can't believe Cinnamon Girl turns 7 this month! Seven years, woah!
This cake is super super delicious, sincerely one of the yummiest cakes I've made in a long time and my favorite part is that thick layer of creamy vanilla cashew buttercream; this buttercream is strongly addictive and works perfectly with almost any kind of cake/dessert. I'm so happy that I finally got the right consistency and it is also a quite versatile recipe, which I'll also use for some of my xmas recipes (but with a few variations).
The cake consists in a vanilla sponge cake with a generous layer of vanilla cashew buttercream and a thin layer of cherry jam, all covered with my go-to dark chocolate ganache. It's completely dairy-free and made with lots of love and I hope you like it!

Cinnamon Girl's Anniversary Cake
(8 servings approximately)

- For the cake:
2 cups organic all-purpose flour.
1 teaspoon baking powder.
1 teaspoon baking soda.
1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt.
1 teaspoon pure vanilla powder.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (arbequina).
3/4 cup pure maple syrup.
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk.
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar.
Cherry jam (to spread over the buttercream).

- For the vanilla cashew buttercream:
1 1/3 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight (plus 1 tsp salt).
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk.
1/4 cup agave syrup.
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla powder.
Pinch of salt.
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted.
3 tablespoons cacao butter, melted.

- For the dark chocolate ganache:
225 g (8 oz approx.) dark chocolate (70-72 % cacao).
1 cup unsweetened almond milk.
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup.
Pinch of salt.
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil (arbequina).

I recommend making this recipe in the following order:
1- Cashew buttercream: remember it must set in the fridge overnight so I always prefer to begin with the buttercream.
2- Cake: if you have enough time you can bake the cake the same day you make the buttercream and let the layers firm up in the fridge overnight. This will make the assembling easier.
3- Chocolate ganache and assembling.

- Vanilla Cashew Buttercream:
Soak the cashews in 2 cups of purified water with one teaspoon of salt, overnight.
Drain well and place them in your food processor (or a powerful blender) with the almond milk. Blend well until you get a smooth cream with no lumps, you might need to stop and scrape down the sides of the container a few times. Add in the agave syrup, vanilla powder and salt, and blend again until completely combined. Gradually a pour in the melted coconut oil and finally the melted cacao butter. The buttercream should look smooth and creamy. Transfer to an airtight container, cover the surface with plastic wrap, put the lid on and refrigerate overnight to let the cream set, it will thicken considerably once it's chilled.
Before spreading it onto the cake let it thaw at room temperature a little bit if it's too thick.

- Vanilla sponge cake:
Preheat the oven to 180 ºC (350 ºF) and lightly grease with nonstick cooking spray or coconut oil a 20cm/8-inch cake pan; line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl stir together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and vanilla) until combined using a wire whisk.
In a separate bowl whisk the oil, maple syrup, milk and vinegar until foamy. Pour into the dry mixture and stir with a whisk until the batter is smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the pan comes out clean.
Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then unmold and cool completely on a wire rack. Cover the cake and transfer to the fridge for a few hours until chilled, this way it'll be easier to cut in layers since this sponge cake is a bit delicate.
Cut the cake in two even layers and spread a generous amount of the cashew buttercream on top of one the layers. Spread a thin layer of cherry jam, cover with the second cake layer and crumb-coat the entire cake with the leftover buttercream. Let it set in the fridge while you make the chocolate ganache.

- Dark Chocolate Ganache:
Pour the milk into a medium saucepan, add in the salt and bring to a gentle boil. Immediately remove from the heat and add the dark chocolate and maple syrup. Use a silicone heatproof spatula to stir everything together until the chocolate is fully melted and smooth. Finally pour in the oil and mix until glossy and combined.
Set aside at room temperature until ready to use.

- Assembling:
Once the ganache has thicken a little bit place the cake on a wire rack with a big plate or baking sheet below. Pour the ganache over the top of the cake making sure it is completely covered, you can carefully tilt the rack to fully cover the sides. This is optional but you can use up the leftover ganache that flows off the cake to cover with a second layer of chocolate, you might need to reheat it in a double boiler or bain-marie.
Let the cake rest in the fridge (covered, to prevent the chocolate from absorbing strong odors) until the ganache thickens.