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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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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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Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes (whole-wheat + vegan)

June 1, 2016 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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Food! Glorious food!

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It feels like I’ve barely had time to cook lately. The past six months or so, I’ve significantly upped my yoga practice, so I’ve been dashing off to afternoon or evening classes almost every day. When I get home, I’ll snack on whatever fruits and veggies I can find rather than cooking an elaborate meal. While I love yoga — I am training to become a teacher this summer and fall, after all — I do miss my daily ritual of preheating the oven and heating pans with olive oil.

Sometimes, though, a free morning or night will present itself, and I’ll get roasting, bake something, or make a yummy breakfast like these pancakes!

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After AP exams are over, most seniors at my high school go on internship — meaning we’re free from the confines of school to go out into the community and do something worthwhile. As for me, I’m currently interning at the local newspaper, building up my writing repertoire before heading off to college.

I know what you’re thinking: “Abby, I thought you were all about food! Why are you working at a newspaper?!” Well, I ain’t no one trick pony. Yes, I like to cook (and eat, cough) but I also love to write, and do photography, and do yoga, and learn about history, and draw, and do crafts, and do music and…

…okay, I’ll stop. The point is that I like lots of things, and as a teenager especially, I think it’s really important to get experience in lots of different areas in order to be the most well-rounded adult possible. Also, since I might want to pursue food writing as a possible career, this gives me good practice on the journalistic side of things.

What’s so nice about internship is that there’s no homework. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have anything to do for school in the afternoon and evening. Free time is glorious. I’ve finally had time to read books (I read Walden — one of the most amazing pieces of literature ever) and have started teaching myself how to play ukulele. It’s so nice to sit on my bed every night and strum and sing away, not having to worry about waking up at the buttcrack of dawn the next morning to suffer beneath the weight of tests and study guides and worksheets.

Now I just have to graduate. Eighteen days from today, baby. I can’t wait to decorate my cap. It’s going to be purple and sparkly and have Grumpy Cat and Pusheen on it. It will be glorious.

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So yeah. Pancakes. Pancakes are almost as fantastic as escaping four years of high school. Especially pancakes with bananas and chocolate chips.

What’s the secret to chewy, fluffy pancakes? Baking powder. Lots of it. A tablespoon seems excessive, but trust me, you need it. Nothing is sadder than a flat pancake.

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So, are you ready to how to make these marvelous breakfast delights?

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Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes

Ingredients

Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 5 min
Total Time 20 min
Yield 12 pancakes

1 1/2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour (feel free to substitute with all-purpose or gluten-free flour)

1 heaping tablespoon of baking powder

2 tablespoons of sugar

Pinch of salt

1 cup + 1/2 cup of unsweetened vanilla soy milk

2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed

3 tablespoons of canola oil

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

2 ripe bananas, sliced thinly into rounds

1/3-1/2 cup of mini dark chocolate chips

Directions

In a large bowl, sift and whisk together the flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Set aside.

Pour 1 cup of soy milk into a measuring cup. Add the vinegar and ground flaxseed, and whisk vigorously with a fork to combine. Let sit for five minutes to congeal slightly.

Pour the milk/vinegar/flaxseed mixture into the center of the dry ingredients. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of soy milk, oil, and vanilla, and use a spatula to fold everything together. Stop when no clumps remain — don’t go any further!

Using the spatula, stir in the bananas and chocolate chips. Again, be careful not to over-fold. Cover the bowl with a dish towel and let the batter set for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a nonstick pan over medium heat. Do this at least five minutes prior to pouring in any batter — you want the pan to be hot!

Using a 1/4 cup measure, spoon rounds of batter into the pan. Don’t overcrowd — I found that two individual scoops was best. Cook for 4 minutes, or until the top begins to harden slightly, bubbles form, and the bottom is golden brown. Gently flip, and continue cooking until no longer liquid in the center, about 2-3 minutes.

Remove and repeat with the remaining batter.

Serve hot with maple syrup, jam, and/or peanut butter, or store in an airtight container and reheat in a toaster for later consumption.


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What are your favorite pancake add-ins? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know! 🙂


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Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes

May 30, 2016 Print this page

Pancakes are such a wonderful classic. A sprinkling of dark chocolate chips makes this more of an indulgent breakfast, but not so sweet to be considered dessert: the perfect balance, in my opinion. Feel free to substitute your favorite fruit for bananas (I bet strawberries or blueberries would be good!), and leave out the chocolate chips if you’d like.

Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients

Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 5 min
Total Time 20 min
Yield 12 pancakes

1 1/2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour (feel free to substitute with all-purpose or gluten-free flour)

1 heaping tablespoon of baking powder

2 tablespoons of sugar

Pinch of salt

1 cup + 1/2 cup of unsweetened vanilla soy milk

2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed

3 tablespoons of canola oil

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

2 ripe bananas, sliced thinly into rounds

1/3-1/2 cup of mini dark chocolate chips

Directions

In a large bowl, sift and whisk together the flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Set aside.

Pour 1 cup of soy milk into a measuring cup. Add the vinegar and ground flaxseed, and whisk vigorously with a fork to combine. Let sit for five minutes to congeal slightly.

Pour the milk/vinegar/flaxseed mixture into the center of the dry ingredients. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of soy milk, oil, and vanilla, and use a spatula to fold everything together. Stop when no clumps remain — don’t go any further!

Using the spatula, stir in the bananas and chocolate chips. Again, be careful not to over-fold. Cover the bowl with a dish towel and let the batter set for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a nonstick pan over medium heat. Do this at least five minutes prior to pouring in any batter — you want the pan to be hot!

Using a 1/4 cup measure, spoon rounds of batter into the pan. Don’t overcrowd — I found that two individual scoops was best. Cook for 4 minutes, or until the top begins to harden slightly, bubbles form, and the bottom is golden brown. Gently flip, and continue cooking until no longer liquid in the center, about 2-3 minutes.

Remove and repeat with the remaining batter.

Serve hot with maple syrup, jam, and/or peanut butter, or store in an airtight container and reheat in a toaster for later consumption.


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