Exquisite Misery

I’m not a fan of lengthy prattle in recipe posts, but this one does require some explanation, so here goes: At the party at the end of Dragon Age Inquisition (a video game btw), Leliana mentions cakes made of “deep mushroom and anis” topped with gold dust, and tells you to avoid them. They are called “The Exquisite Misery”, she adds. Fans of Dragon Age will be familiar with foods being referred to in this way, the ham that tastes of despair probably being the most well-known. At any rate, ever since reading that the first time, I’ve been desperate to make said cakes, so yesterday I did. Using chocolate was the thing that immediately sprang to mind, though I’m not sure it’s used in Thedas by anyone other than the Qunari, but let’s leave such semantics aside for now. 😉

Pictured above is inky Inaniel who romanced Solas and suffered various other tragedies, and who hence suits the concept of the cake’s name.


Note: this makes a small cake. If you want more, double the recipe.

You will need:


1 1/4 cups flour

2/3 cups muscovado sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup Pernod or other anise liqueur

1/8 tsp powdered vanilla

1 tsp porcini mushroom powder


2/3 cup warm water (you can also use fizzy water)

1/3 cup neutral oil

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

A couple of drops of edible orange oil (optional).


Edible gold dust

Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius and line a small cake tin with baking paper. Mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately, then mix dry and wet together, but do not overmix. Bake until a fork comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for a while, then transfer to a rack. Turn it around again so the uneven side is facing upwards when cool, and decorate with edible gold powder. Cut into small pieces and serve in cupcake wrappers if you want the “petit fours” effect.

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Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Please note that the decision to publish recipes is in the name of promoting veganism and helping save our planet. If you change the recipe, I request that you also make your work available free to others.

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