- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C/gas mark 4). Lightly oil an 8-cup (2L) baking dish, 10-inch (25-cm) cast-iron skillet or cake pan.
- Carefully cut any of the larger strawberries in half so the berries are all roughly the same size. Place the strawberries in the baking dish and toss with the cornstarch. Set in fridge while you prepare the cake batter.
- In a medium bowl, sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt together. In a small bowl, combine the plant-based milk, oil and vanilla extract. Pour the liquid mixture in with the flour mixture, stirring just until combined. It will be thick. Remove the baking dish from the fridge and gently spread the thick cake batter evenly over the strawberries.
- In a small bowl, mix together the remaining sugar and cocoa powder for the sauce layer.
- Sprinkle the sugar and cocoa powder mixture evenly over the batter and then slowly pour the boiling water over the top, being careful not to have the water held too high so you don’t splash it or create a crater. Do not stir.
- Place the baking dish on a piece of foil in the preheated oven in case it boils over. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the top cake layer comes out clean (if you poke too low, you’ll hit sauce). Let it cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Use a large spoon to scoop the cake and sauce into serving bowls. Top with whipped coconut cream or ice cream, if desired. Best served shortly after baking as the cake will absorb the sauce over time. Leftovers can be eaten as is, but are best reheated. Store tightly covered for up to 2 days at room temperature, or 5 days in the refrigerator.
Make it gluten-free: use a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend which contains xanthan gum in lieu of wheat flour. Avoid blends which contain garbanzo (chickpea) flour.