Friday, November 8, 2013

Vegan German Chocolate Cake OR, How to be Happy While Quitting Smoking

Every Thursday night is Pizza Night at the Milkweed Mercantile. And one doesn't live by pizza alone. It wouldn't be a trip to the Mercantile without a fabulous dessert with which to finish your meal.

Many of my favorite people here at Dancing Rabbit choose to eat vegan. As a friend and business owner, I want them to feel welcome when they come to the Mercantile, and so try to have vegan desserts available as often as possible. And here's the cool thing - vegan baking can be fantastic! Let me rephrase that - there is absolutely no reason for bad-tasting vegan food. One of my favorite things to do (granted, my life is far from exciting) is to bake a vegan dessert and challenge snobby non-vegans to be able to tell the difference. Because I myself am a snobby non-vegan, I figure that if I like it, it's got to be pretty good. And I really like this Vegan German Chocolate Cake, which combines a super-easy cake recipe with an even easier frosting recipe. No mixer needed.

Mae keeps up her energy for pizza making and keeps her smoking jones at bay by sampling the vegan German Chocolate Cake.

The Amazing DR Chocolate Celebration Cake
We’re betting that no one will ever guess that this cake is vegan. It is dense and rich; the vinegar and baking soda provide the lift. We suspect that this cake originated during war times, when eggs were luxuries in short supply.

1½ c. white flour
1½ c. whole-wheat flour (using all whole wheat flour makes the cake gummy and heavy)
2 c. sugar (do not use honey, sorghum or other liquid sweetener)
2/3 c. cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 1/3 c. water
1 c. brewed coffee
1/3 c. oil (may substitute applesauce or coconut milk)
2 tsp vanilla
2 Tb vinegar

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Grease and flour an 11” x 13” pan OR two 8" or 9" round pans.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together dry ingredients.
  4. Add wet ingredients; stir until evenly moistened.
  5. Pour into prepared pan. Place pan in pre-heated oven.
  6. Bake approx. 30 minutes. You’ll know the cake is done when you insert a knife into the center and it comes out clean.
  7. Cool, and frost. Enjoy!

Vegan German Chocolate Frosting
(revised June 2014)*

1/3 cup cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water until smooth
1 cup plain non-dairy milk
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  1. In a medium saucepan, make a slurry of the cornstarch and water. Whisk until smooth (do not turn on the heat yet).
  2. Add the non-dairy milk, coconut milk, sugar, and vanilla to the pan. 
  3. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens. 
  4. Cook for one minute after it boils. 
  5. Remove from heat and stir in coconut and pecans.
  6. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes (mixture should still be warm) before spreading on cake.

Makes enough for one two-layer 8- or 9-inch cake.

*after making this a few times I figured out an easier way to do this frosting!