Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chocolate Birthday Cake, Oh My!

Well well. Here I am, sitting in beautiful Burbank, California, shielding my eyes from the sun, feeling the heat accumulate on my forehead to what may become a tan, all in the name of Christmas. It's my annual California vacation, spending time with family for the holidays.  Sitting here I have a few things on my mind including finishing up some shopping for the kids, but mostly my focus is on food- food of the future (holidays, cooking for the family, gingerbread house making), and food of the past (vegan chocolate cake!). I have a feeling this cake will be floating through my brain for weeks to come.   

As you may or may not know, I recently turned 30 and to my delight was presented with one of the most delicious cakes I've ever experienced (now affectionately coined as 'vegan chocolate cake' among my friends). As another 30th birthday approached, this time for my friend Jean, one request was made. You guessed it- vegan chocolate cake. Instead of taking the same route of specially ordering one, I took the challenge upon myself to create one from scratch and make it with love. I really had no idea what I was getting myself into, but what came out of it were some of the most proud and exciting moments I've had as a vegan cook. A mouth watering, 3 story, almond chocolate fudge layered, chocolate iced, vegan cake. And many compliments to follow.

The first of three layers.

While in New Zealand a month back, my sister made a quick dessert one evening which took her no time and was wonderfully delicious. She had made a molasses cake sweetened with some dates- a mix between a healthy cake and a rich treat. She proceeded to tell me that it was the easiest cake she knew how to make and there were lots of varieties such as banana or chocolate that can also be made by adapting the basic recipe. You can find those recipes here: http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs/29/Vegan_Cake59303.shtml

Chocolate fudge layers between the cake.

Vegan Chocolate Cake:
(I tripled the recipe and poured it in 9" round pans and baked all at once. I added 5 minutes to the time.)

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup unbleached flour
1 cup natural sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cocoa powder

Wet Ingredients: 
1 cup cold water
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil or applesauce (or a combination of the 2)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8 or 9 inch baking dish. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In a small bowl (or in a 2 cup measuring cup) mix wet ingredients together. Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix with a fork or an electric mixer until well mixed. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Since I made 3 layers, I did an almond-chocolate fudge to keep them together. I did this roughly by combining dark chocolate, coconut oil, icing sugar, almond butter, a drop or two of almond extract, sliced almonds, and the secret ingredient which was pureed, unsalted, chick peas. I'll try to make this again into real fudge one day and write out a recipe. At this time it was too rough and creative to remember measurements. But oh so good. Note: I didn't tell anyone about the chickpeas until they were finished raving about how delicious it was.

3 layers of cake, 2 layers of almond fudge, and
fresh chocolate icing on top.

I let the icing, made of dark chocolate, coconut oil and icing sugar cascade over the cake and decided that was a nice way to present it.

And finally, here we have a picture of Jean, the birthday girl with her cake. Over there to the right? That's me, looking just about as excited as I've been known to look, staring directly at my masterpiece. What satisfaction and joy! The end.


kcuvelly said...

Love the look on your face! It was delish! I had the honour of having bites of the last piece! :)

Jean said...

As your official taster and receipiant of said vegan chocolate mouthwatering goodness, I loved it!!! Thank you so much Drea!!! Kelly, Luke and I finished it off the next day and it was the fastest a birthday cake has ever dissapeared in all my 30 years!