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The Best Damn Chocolate Cake (vegan)

March 16, 2017 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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Hello. My name is Abby. And I like chocolate. Wait, correction. I love chocolate. Hang on, final correction. I AM FREAKING OBSESSED WITH CHOCOLATE AND WILL MARRY IT IF GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY. There we go!

Chocolate has gotten me through a lot in my life, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

We’ve been eating a version of this cake in my family for years. The original recipe is from “Great Good Desserts Naturally” by Fran Costigan, a book that’s been sitting on our cookbook shelf for as long as I can remember.

The best part of this cake is that everyone can eat it. No, really, everyone. Which is why I decided to make it for the birthday of my dear friend Sophie.

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Guys, I’d like to introduce you to Sophie, a true soul sister of mine. We met through yoga last year and, after getting dinner together one night, became instant best friends. We share so much and I feel so grateful to have her in my life.

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Now, Sophie is a vegan…who also can’t eat gluten. Oh, I can see the reactions on your faces now. “What could she possibly eat? Grass? Air? Dirt?”

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Contrary to what may be depicted in this incredibly amusing meme, gluten-free vegans can actually eat quite a lot. Rice. Beans. Quinoa. All veggies and fruits. Potatoes and sweet potatoes. Nuts. Avocados. Dark chocolate. There’s plenty if you explore your options!

But when it comes to dessert, baking without dairy, eggs or flour can be a bit tricky. I’ve made plenty of vegan or gluten-free treats in my time, but rarely have I succeeded at simultaneously accomplishing both. But when Sophie’s 18th birthday came around on February 22nd, I knew I had to find a way to make a delicious dessert that fit the bill.

And this cake did the trick!

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By substituting wheat flour with gluten-free baking mix or gluten-free oat flour, you can make this delectable vegan chocolate cake for your Celiac or gluten-intolerant friends. And guess what? It still tastes incredible: moist, fudgy and so chocolaty you might go into cacao-induced shock.

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While the cake itself is beyond yummy, I think my favorite part of this dessert is the frosting. It’s like eating the lovechild of chocolate pudding and ganache. AMAZING.

And did the vegan enjoy her birthday cake? I think she did!

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The Best Damn Chocolate Cake (vegan)

Do you have vegan friends? Do any of them have a birthday coming up? No need to fear, this vegan chocolate cake is here! Moist, unbelievably chocolaty and quite easy to prepare, this beauty is sure to impress your herbivorous and omnivorous friends alike. Feel free to double the recipe and increase the number of layers!

Adapted from Fran Costigan’s “The Chocolate Cake to Live For” 

Ingredients

Prep Time 1 hr 30 min
Cooking Time 30 min
Total Time 2 hr
Yield ~12 servings

FOR THE FROSTING:

1 1/2 cups of cocoa powder (please use the best stuff you can get your hands on!)

3/4 cup of sugar

1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

1 cup of boiling water

1 cup of maple syrup

2 tablespoons of vanilla extract

1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons of cornstarch or arrowroot, dissolved in 1/2 cup of water

FOR THE CAKE:

1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour + 1 cup of all-purpose flour, or sub gluten-free all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

2 teaspoons of baking soda

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

3/4 cup of cocoa powder

1/2 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of vegetable oil

1 cup of maple syrup

1 cup of unsweetened vanilla soy milk or almond milk

1 cup of water

2 teaspoons of vinegar

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

Splash of almond extract

Directions

FOR THE FROSTING:

In a high-speed blender, blend the cocoa powder, sugar and salt until well-combined. With the blender running on medium-low speed, pour in the boiling water. Stop the blender and scrape down the sides, then add the maple syrup and vanilla. Blend to incorporate.

Meanwhile, whisk together the cornstarch or arrowroot with the water until dissolved. Set aside.

Pour the chocolate sauce into a small saucepan. Heat over medium until the mixture comes to a boil. Once bubbling, slowly pour in the cornstarch/arrowroot, whisking constantly to prevent clumps from forming. Continue boiling for another 30 seconds, then remove from the heat. Keep whisking until thickened. Pour into a heat-proof container or boil and let cool in the fridge for at least two hours.

FOR THE CAKE:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two 9-inch circular pans with parchment paper and grease well. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cocoa powder and sugar). Add the wet ingredients (vegetable oil, maple syrup, milk, water, vinegar and extracts). Whisk to combine.

Evenly distribute the batter between the two circular pans. Tap gently to spread the batter out.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick comes out just barely clean, about 25 minutes. Be mindful: it could be closer to 20 if your oven runs hot, or closer to 30 if your oven runs cool.

Once the cakes come out of the oven, let them cool in their pans for half an hour, then transfer to cooling racks and let come to room temperature before frosting.

TO ASSEMBLE:

Take a piece of wax paper and lay it on top of a cutting board. Gently place one of the cakes on top of it. Using an inverted spatula, take a generous dollop of frosting and spread it all around the cake. Once sufficiently frosted, place the other cake directly on top of the first one. Use the rest of the frosting to cover the cake completely in chocolaty goodness. Eat what you don’t use.

Put the cake in the fridge for an hour before slicing and serving.


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Here’s to another year of tasty treats for my favorite vegan! <3


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The Best Damn Chocolate Cake (vegan)

March 4, 2017 Print this page

Do you have vegan friends? Do any of them have a birthday coming up? No need to fear, this vegan chocolate cake is here! Moist, unbelievably chocolaty and quite easy to prepare, this beauty is sure to impress your herbivorous and omnivorous friends alike. Feel free to double the recipe and increase the number of layers!

Adapted from Fran Costigan’s “The Chocolate Cake to Live For” 

Ingredients

Prep Time 1 hr 30 min
Cooking Time 30 min
Total Time 2 hr
Yield ~12 servings

FOR THE FROSTING:

1 1/2 cups of cocoa powder (please use the best stuff you can get your hands on!)

3/4 cup of sugar

1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

1 cup of boiling water

1 cup of maple syrup

2 tablespoons of vanilla extract

1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons of cornstarch or arrowroot, dissolved in 1/2 cup of water

FOR THE CAKE:

1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour + 1 cup of all-purpose flour, or sub gluten-free all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

2 teaspoons of baking soda

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

3/4 cup of cocoa powder

1/2 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of vegetable oil

1 cup of maple syrup

1 cup of unsweetened vanilla soy milk or almond milk

1 cup of water

2 teaspoons of vinegar

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

Splash of almond extract

Directions

FOR THE FROSTING:

In a high-speed blender, blend the cocoa powder, sugar and salt until well-combined. With the blender running on medium-low speed, pour in the boiling water. Stop the blender and scrape down the sides, then add the maple syrup and vanilla. Blend to incorporate.

Meanwhile, whisk together the cornstarch or arrowroot with the water until dissolved. Set aside.

Pour the chocolate sauce into a small saucepan. Heat over medium until the mixture comes to a boil. Once bubbling, slowly pour in the cornstarch/arrowroot, whisking constantly to prevent clumps from forming. Continue boiling for another 30 seconds, then remove from the heat. Keep whisking until thickened. Pour into a heat-proof container or boil and let cool in the fridge for at least two hours.

FOR THE CAKE:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two 9-inch circular pans with parchment paper and grease well. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cocoa powder and sugar). Add the wet ingredients (vegetable oil, maple syrup, milk, water, vinegar and extracts). Whisk to combine.

Evenly distribute the batter between the two circular pans. Tap gently to spread the batter out.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick comes out just barely clean, about 25 minutes. Be mindful: it could be closer to 20 if your oven runs hot, or closer to 30 if your oven runs cool.

Once the cakes come out of the oven, let them cool in their pans for half an hour, then transfer to cooling racks and let come to room temperature before frosting.

TO ASSEMBLE:

Take a piece of wax paper and lay it on top of a cutting board. Gently place one of the cakes on top of it. Using an inverted spatula, take a generous dollop of frosting and spread it all around the cake. Once sufficiently frosted, place the other cake directly on top of the first one. Use the rest of the frosting to cover the cake completely in chocolaty goodness. Eat what you don’t use.

Put the cake in the fridge for an hour before slicing and serving.


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Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Coconut Frosting

August 17, 2016 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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So, I think I can say I have really and officially made it. Eleven days from today, I will begin my freshman year of college. I said high school to myself for a second, then proceeded to chuckle because thank goodness I’m not going back there. Shudder.

All of this change is coming. I can feel it in my bones. New people, new city, new classes, new professors, new yoga studio, new room, new eating habits, new study habits…what isn’t going to be new?! Yes, I’m a little nervous, but I’m way more excited than nervous. I’ve been waiting for this time for four years, and boy, I have never been so ready to spread my wings and leave.

One thing I’m really going to miss? My kitchen! Cooking (and baking!) have been my anchor throughout those four crazy years, and it feels a little weird that I’ll be leaving my anchor behind this year.

Well, get ready for a new Yes to Yummy mini series, entitled, “Small Kitchen, Big Dreams.” And by small kitchen, I mean my mini fridge and microwave. Y’all ready for some MUG CAKES?!?!?!?! How about some OATMEAL JARS?!?!?!?! DORM ROOM HACKS?!?!?!?! HELL YEAH!!! #COLLEGE!!!!!

Sorry. That was a little weird and extreme. I’ll show you a cupcake picture to get things back on track.

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These were so good. My taste-testers agreed. According to my yoga teacher Emily, she took a bite of this cupcake in the car, expecting to save the rest for later. Needless to say the cupcake didn’t make it out of the parking garage.

There are oodles of lovely flavors and textures going on here. Chewy, crunchy, sweet, smooth, cinnamon-y…this cupcake is a perfect package for awesome. And you know what?! You can eat it for breakfast, too. Maybe leave off the frosting, maybe not. Choice is up to you.

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Wanna make ’em? Well, you should!

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Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Coconut Frosting

Ingredients

Prep Time 35 min
Cooking Time 25 min
Total Time 1 hr
Yield 12-15 cupcakes (or muffins)

4 eggs

3/4 cup of vegetable oil or coconut oil, melted

1 cup of brown sugar

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour

2 teaspoons of baking soda

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon of ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves

Pinch of ground nutmeg

4 large carrots, grated

1 cup of pecans, chopped

1/2 cup – 1 cup of raisins (depending on how much you like raisins!)

Coconut frosting, doubled if you like a generous dollop of frosting

Toasted coconut flakes, for garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with parchment liners and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs lightly, then add the oil, sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat well to thoroughly combine.

In a small bowl, sift together the dry ingredients, excluding the carrots, pecans and raisins. Stir to combine and then, 1/2 cup of a time, incorporate into the wet ingredients with a spatula.

Once all of the dry ingredients are added, pour in the carrots, pecans and raisins. Fold gently with a spatula combine and stop just when well-mixed. Don’t overdo!

Using an ice cream scoop or two large spoons, distribute the batter between the prepared muffin tins, stopping about 2/3 of the way up. (If you run out of space, no worries — just prepare another muffin pan or wait until your first batch is done.)

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes depending on how hot or cold your oven runs.

Once fully cooked, let cool in the muffin tin for half an hour, then transfer to a cooking rack to come to room temperature.

Meanwhile, prepare the coconut frosting, if desired. Once the cupcakes are cool, frost them and decorate with toasted coconut flakes.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days — but best when eaten right away!


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All right folks, guess it’s a “see you later” for now? I can’t wait to update you on all of the yummy foods I’ll eat in New York. Keep your fingers crossed that I’ll make friends and not accidentally wind up on a train bound for Hoboken!


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Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Coconut Frosting

August 17, 2016 Print this page

Is it a breakfast food? Is it a dessert food? That decision is up to you. Sweet and earthy, these cupcakes are perfect for any time of year. Feel free to leave off the frosting for a tasty muffin.

Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients

Prep Time 35 min
Cooking Time 25 min
Total Time 1 hr
Yield 12-15 cupcakes (or muffins)

4 eggs

3/4 cup of vegetable oil or coconut oil, melted

1 cup of brown sugar

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour

2 teaspoons of baking soda

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon of ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves

Pinch of ground nutmeg

4 large carrots, grated

1 cup of pecans, chopped

1/2 cup – 1 cup of raisins (depending on how much you like raisins!)

Coconut frosting, doubled if you like a generous dollop of frosting

Toasted coconut flakes, for garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with parchment liners and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs lightly, then add the oil, sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat well to thoroughly combine.

In a small bowl, sift together the dry ingredients, excluding the carrots, pecans and raisins. Stir to combine and then, 1/2 cup of a time, incorporate into the wet ingredients with a spatula.

Once all of the dry ingredients are added, pour in the carrots, pecans and raisins. Fold gently with a spatula combine and stop just when well-mixed. Don’t overdo!

Using an ice cream scoop or two large spoons, distribute the batter between the prepared muffin tins, stopping about 2/3 of the way up. (If you run out of space, no worries — just prepare another muffin pan or wait until your first batch is done.)

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes depending on how hot or cold your oven runs.

Once fully cooked, let cool in the muffin tin for half an hour, then transfer to a cooking rack to come to room temperature.

Meanwhile, prepare the coconut frosting, if desired. Once the cupcakes are cool, frost them and decorate with toasted coconut flakes.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days — but best when eaten right away!


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Healthier Smores Cupcakes

December 2, 2015 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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Aren’t these cupcakes absolutely gorgeous?! I think they were worth waving over a candle for an hour. Yup, I did that. My blowtorch broke, so I used a candle to brown the top. Hey, when you have determination, you can do anything.

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Sigh. I could totally go for a glass of determination right now. I’m kinda stuck in this very transitional time and it kinda totally blows. I try to be optimistic, to smile and see beauty in everything and sing Kumbaya, but most days I’m just so tired that I put my head down and keep plowing through. Sometimes I’m slightly convinced I’m going crazy, like when I drew myself as a prickly pink sea cucumber or when I was entertained by a cardboard box for a good fifteen minutes.

Is it too late to reclaim my identity as a cat?

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I have a dream, and it’s so close that I can almost reach my hand out and grab it. And that’s super exciting. But at the same time, I feel like I’m going to vomit because that dream might not be mine to grab, and I’m going to have to pick up the pieces and find a new one instead. And right now…I know…nothing. That’s terrifying.

Ah, the trials and tribulations of being a teenager! At least I’ll always have cooking and baking to keep me preoccupied.

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I’ve been up since 4:30 A.M. so I’ll spare you my mindless prattle and cut to the chase: THESE CUPCAKES. YOU MUST MAKE THEM. I didn’t have one–I gave all of them away to friends and family–but the reports from the taste testers were astoundingly positive. (Apparently one of my English teachers refused to share his cupcake when asked by a colleague because it was so good.) Several people said this was the best cupcake they’ve ever eaten, so you’ve gotta believe it, folks!

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So go forth. Make cupcakes. Send good energy and prayers or whatever you do and dance little positivity dances for me. Thank you. Love you. <3

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Smores Cupcakes

Making cupcakes is fun, but you know what’s even more fun? Burning cupcakes, on purpose, for ART! No, I’m not a pyromaniac, just a girl who likes making cupcakes extra pretty.

Ingredients

Prep Time 1 hr
Cooking Time 20 min
Total Time 1 hr 30 min
Yield 10-12 cupcakes

FOR THE CUPCAKES:

1 large egg, at room temperature

2/3 cup unrefined cane sugar or coconut sugar

1/4 cup of molasses

1 cup unsweetened almond milk + 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup of vegetable oil or melted coconut oil

2 tablespoons of coconut cream (the thick stuff at the top of the can)

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

1 3/4 cup of whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of salt

FOR THE CHOCOLATE GANACHE:

4 ounces of dark chocolate, chips or chopped finely

1/4 cup of full-fat coconut milk

FOR THE MARSHMALLOW MERINGUE:

3 egg whites

3/4 cup of unrefined cane sugar

3/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Directions

FOR THE CUPCAKES:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with parchment liners and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, sugar, molasses, almond milk/vinegar mixture, oil, coconut cream, and vanilla extract until well-combined. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together with a fork and fold into the wet ingredients, 1 cup at a time, until no clumps of flour remain. DO NOT over-mix.

Using an ice cream scoop or two large spoons, scoop the batter into the parchment liners until each is 3/4 the way full. Bake in the oven until a toothpick comes out clean in the center, about 20 minutes.

Let cool in the muffin tin for 15 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to come to room temperature.

FOR THE CHOCOLATE GANACHE:

Melt the chocolate in the microwave or a double boiler. Once completely melted, add in the coconut milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, and stir with a spatula. Let cool at room temperature or in the fridge until thickened but still very pliable.

Using an inverted spatula, spread a generous scoop of the ganache all over the top of each cupcake. Let the ganache harden a bit at room temperature while you make the marshmallow.

FOR THE MARSHMALLOW MERINGUE:

In a small saucepan, warm the egg whites and sugar over medium-low heat until the sugar is mostly dissolved, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add the cream of tartar and salt, and beat on medium-high until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and continue beating until stiff peaks form, about 2-3 minutes longer.

Immediately fill pastry bags fitted with a fat French tip with the prepared marshmallow meringue. Decoratively pipe it all over the top of each prepared cupcake, making whatever patterns you desire.

TO FINISH:

Using a culinary blowtorch (or a candle, if you’re old-school), gently brulee the top of each cupcake until the meringue begins to brown. Try not to stay in one place too long: once you’ve achieved browning, move onto the next section.

Store in an airtight container for up to 24 hours. Best if consumed right away.


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Happy December, everybody! 🙂


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