Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Vegan Chocolate Cake [Menu]

Vegan Chocolate Cake - Title

I've gone through my spells of veganism. The longest one being a year or so of time, last year's only a few months. Now a days, I'm a pescetarian. That's basically a fancy way to say a lacto-ovo vegetarian with the occasional carnivorous indulgence (of the aquatic variety).  I've never done this out of a dietary concern. It's always been for weight loss or ethical/environmental reasons. I've never had any extreme allergies. Lemons sometimes tickle my throat, and I don't feel awesome after eating a ton of oats. Ultimately, though, these are minor annoyances and, certainly, nothing I've concerned myself over.

That can't be said for my friend Katie, however. When Katie officially joined the clan this past year by marrying Tk, one of my oldest childhood companions (who was pictured in our old, tiny apartment from the very first post on The Powdered Plum), she brought an interesting situation to the table. Extremely lactose intolerant. Allergic to peanuts. But not at all picky and very sweet and willing to try things - even if they make her sick. Now, that's a gal worth fixing something special for, wouldn't you say? 

Vegan Chocolate Cake - Orange Glaze Close-up

I started keeping almond milk on hand (and found I actually somewhat prefer it in baking), and I decided to try out this vegan cake recipe for Carol and Matt's joint birthday party since Katie would be among our guests. (It should be noted that Matt helped by making the non-vegan cake for the party. He is a sweet, well-meaning gentleman.) I went through a ton of recipes before I found one that sounded in the least bit promising. I don't have a lot of experience making anything more than vegan-friendly cookies, and chocolate cake has a tendency to be dry without dietary restrictions applied. I know full-well there are a myriad of fantastic, successful vegan recipes out there whose ingredients can put eggs and milk to shame, but it took a while before pinning down the right one. I do believe, however, it has been accomplished.

Vegan Chocolate Cake - Sugar Coated Goodness

This chocolate cake is moist and delicious, and the orange glaze is absolutely perfect. I have a go-to non-vegan chocolate cake recipe that's hard to beat on flavor, but you can't win over the extreme ease (and low cost) of this option. I'd really put them on the same level, to be honest. Plus, this one doesn't take five hours to assemble! 

If you like the combination of orange and chocolate, definitely go for this particular icing recipe. It hardens just enough to add a nice mouth-feel and is sweet enough to perfect the flavor of the cake. However, if oranges aren't your thing or you're not sure you want to have an entire cake of it, by all means, adapt it to your preferences. As long as the amounts are the same, it'll turn out just fine (and you can always experiment to see what works for you.)

Recipe Ahead!

Vegan Chocolate Cake with Orange Glaze
Adapted from HilahCooking

Vegan Chocolate Cake (Yields: 1 cake, about 9 servings)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup oil (I use a neutral oil like Canola)
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Orange Glaze (Yields: about 1 cup of icing)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • Zest of one orange
  • 3 - 4 Tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice

Optional: sprinkles, orange slices, or other decorative toppings

Preheat your oven to 375°F. 
Grease an 8"x8" pan. If you would like to turn out the cake onto a platter, line the bottom of the pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving a "lip" of paper or foil along each side so that you can lift it out of the pan. 

Sift the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt)  together, then slowly incorporate the wet ingredients (water, oil, vinegar, vanilla extract). Mix well, then pour into your prepared pan. 

Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in the pan before attempting to lift out or flip onto a platter. 

To make the glaze, combine all glaze ingredients into a bowl or large measuring cup (powdered sugar, zest, juice). Once the cake is cool and positioned as you like (either on a serving platter or in the pan), pour the glaze over the top and spread to coat evenly allowing it to drip down the edges. 

I finished mine by sprinkling the very top with clear sanding sugar. You can, also, top yours with orange slices, or anything else you please! As Chef John would say, be the boss of your cake.


Nutritional Information
Analyzed using the Spark Recipe Calculator and Point Plus Calculator 

1 Serving
Calories: 332.4
Total Fat: 6.7g
Total Carbs: 67.3g
Protein: 2.8g
Fiber: 1.6g
Estimated WW Value:  9 Points(+)