Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Vegan chocolate cake


I mentioned in a previous post that we have a friend who is currently dairy and soy free. She and her husband invited us over for dinner one evening, and of course I volunteered to bring dessert. I scoured the internet for some dairy and soy free recipes but nothing jumped out at me. Our friend also mentioned that she didn't like coconut, so that made my search a bit more challenging.

I found a few potential recipes and almost settled on some vegan blondies. After I read the instructions, I realized that the ingredients and baking method were very similar to the healthy (vegan) deep dish chocolate chip pie that I made the last time our families got together. I obviously did not want to repeat a dessert so I kept looking for other potential recipes to try.

Eventually, I came across a recipe that boasted "the best chocolate cake you will ever have... that happens to be vegan."  Well, that definitely caught my attention. I looked through the ingredient list and was thrilled that I didn't need to buy any special ingredients and that I already had what I needed in my pantry.

I brought this cake over to our friends' house, and they were all very impressed with this cake. My husband said that it tasted amazing, and he never would have guessed that it was vegan. Even my friend, the non-coconut fan, said that she liked the frosting and kept the leftovers so she could snack on it another day. This is a cake that I know I will be making again because it was so easy to bake and didn't require a trip to the grocery store. The frosting, of course, is optional, but it helps take the cake to a whole new level.

Vegan chocolate cake

  • 1 and 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white or apple cider vinegar
Vegan frosting
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk (or coconut cream)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 TBSP cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Dark)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar to taste (Use stevia or powdered sugar for thickest results.)
Directions
To make the cake: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease or line an 8x8 baking pan and set aside (I used my 8x8 silicone baking pan and did not grease or line it).

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Then add in the warm water, vanilla, oil and vinegar. Mix well until the batter is smooth and all the ingredients are completely incorporated.

Transfer the batter to your prepared baking pan. Bake in your preheated oven for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting or serving.

To make the frosting: Open your can of coconut milk and drain out any excess liquid (you can save or toss it). If the coconut cream is already thick, move onto the next step. Otherwise, leave it uncovered in the refrigerator overnight.

Dump the coconut cream into a small bowl and mix in the cocoa powder, vanilla and powdered sugar. Beat well with a spatula, fork or a whisk. Be sure to NOT add too much liquid from the can of coconut milk or else your frosting will be runny.

If the mixture is thick enough, you can use it immediately to frost your cake. If it's not as thick (like mine), transfer to a bowl and leave it uncovered in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight so the liquid evaporates. Then you can drizzle it on top and call it a ganache.

The frosting will keep in the refrigerator for several days. If you keep it uncovered, it will thicken up each day since the liquids will evaporate.

Yield: About 16 squares of cake; frosting recipe makes about 1 cup

Source: Instructables; frosting from this post
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