Saturday, March 9, 2013

cake walk

Tomorrow my kids' school is having their Spring Festival. I volunteered to bring two cakes for the cake walk. Camilla wanted to make her great grandmother's pound cake, which is always a hit. I wanted to bring a vegan treat, of course. The thing about cakes is you don't know what it's like until you cut into it,  and since I don't have a 'go to' cake, I made cupcakes. Wow, they are really fantastic!  Brett said it was one of the best he's ever had. I used a recipe from Sticky Fingers' Sweets, by Doron Petersan. This is the girl whose D.C. bakery by the same name was voted best bakery by The Washington City Paper. Not "best vegan bakery," but "best bakery".  I have made several things from this book, all good. Some more complicated than others, but this was super easy.

Chocolate Love Cake
1 3/4 plus 1 1/2 TB all purpose flour (pre sift the flour)
1 1/4 cups plus 3 TB sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup brewed coffee, cooled (I used decaf)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 TB vinegar (apple cider recommended)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line two 9 inch cake pans with parchment paper, or lightly oil and dust with flour.
Since I made cup cakes, I just used paper liners, you'll need 18.

Whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
In another bowl, whisk together the water, oil, coffee, and vanilla.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until just incorporated.
Fold in the vinegar until you begin to see streaks. Don't overmix the batter. (*see the note below)

Distribute the batter evenly between the two pans, or 18 cup cake liners. For the cake, bake for 20 - 25 minutes until the cake springs back to the touch. For the cupcakes, I baked about 14 minutes, so I'd check them at 12. Remove them from the pan, and cool completely before frosting.
   *For a fluffy, spongy cake, you need to get it in the oven before the CO2 bubbles stop bubbling. So, once the vinegar is added, you need only to combine until a slight color change is visible, not until it's fully incorporated.

For the frosting:
1 cup plus 2 TB non hydrogenated vegetable shortening
1/4 cup plus 2 TB non hydrogenated vegan margarine, recommended Earth Balance
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar (1 lb 1 ounce)
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3-5 TB soy milk

In a bowl of a stand mixer, combine the shortening and margarine and whip with a  paddle attachment until completely combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure the ingredients are mixed and slowly add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder, a little at a time. Once the sugar and cocoa are incorporated, add the vanilla and soy milk and mix on low speed until the liquids are incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix on medium-high speed until all the ingredients are combined and the frosting is fluffy, about 2 minutes.

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