Saturday, February 7, 2009

Texas Chocolate Cake!

Earlier today, my wife got off work and said, "man, I should've brought us home two slices of chocolate cake". The cake we have at work is horribly delicious, and unfortunately, not vegan. It's so good, but I feel bad after eating it. Glad she left the cake at work, but eager to do some baking, I told her that I would love to bake her a chocolate cake and got right to work. One of my favorite cake recipes of all-time is for Texas Sheet Cake, a moist cake often made with buttermilk, eggs, and butter. Feeling adventurous, I decided this was the cake for us! It only took about 15 minutes to whip up, and 30 to bake. It's heavenly! I was so proud! This is the first vegan cake I've ever made and it opens a whole new door into vegan baking for me! I brought this over to my cousins' house (who are omni he-men) and was told that this was one of the best cakes they'd ever eaten! They had no clue it was vegan. It's so moist and airy that it puts other non-veg cakes to shame. It's delicious, you must try it!

NOTE: While reading this recipe, you might scoff at the idea of vinegar, but DON"T leave it out! Vinegar is important because it reacts with the soda to help the cake rise. Without it, the cake would become very dense, like a brownie (hmm...). Also, I use rice vinegar (plain, unseasoned) because it has a very neutral taste unlike say, apple cider vinegar (which I just plain don't like).

TEXAS CHOCOLATE CAKE:
1 1/2 c. unbleached flour
1 c. Turbinado sugar
1/3 c. cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. rice vingear
1/2 c. strong coffee
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. sliced almonds, optional


GLAZE:
1 (1 oz.) square unsweetened (vegan) chocolate
1 c. powdered sugar
1-2 Tb. hot water



Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, mix flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, oil, vanilla, rice vinegar, coffee, and water. Add the flour mixture a little at a time to the wet ingredients, then stir until well-mixed. Pour into a greased and floured 9" x 13" x 2" pan and bake for 30-45 minutes (I had mine on a baking stone so it only took 30 minutes to cook. Without a baking stone it might take another 15 minutes or so) until the cake springs back when touched or a toothpick comes out clean. Set aside.

Melt the chocolate completely in a medium bowl. Add the powdered sugar and stir until smooth, adding one or two tablespoons of hot water to help smooth it out. Glaze the cake while still warm, and sprinkle with sliced almonds (if desired).
Let sit about 15 minutes before serving.

8 servings/270 calories (without almonds, 255)

TO MAKE A REGULAR CHOCOLATE CAKE:
Omit cinnamon.
Omit coffee and substitute with water (1 c. water total).
Omit almonds.
Use the above glaze or substitute with your favorite vegan frosting/icing.

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