Monday, April 9, 2012

Chocolate Cake for Easter

This Chocolate Decadence Cake is the first vegan recipe I ever made (yes, I know, it's shocking that my willingness to venture into vegan cooking was based on rich chocolate cake and not on kale). It's still my favorite vegan chocolate cake recipe. It's super moist and rich, the coconut oil gives it a unique flavor, and the icing is to-die-for. I mean, TO-DIE-FOR, as in you would be willing to envelop yourself in it and drown in chocolate deliciousness. In fact, you should probably make two batches of icing: One that you will likely eat while you're waiting for the cake to bake, and the other to actually frost the cake with.

Just kidding. (not really)

All of that said, I don't really make this cake very often. I think it's been about a year since the last time I made it. This is mainly because 1. I tend to eat it way too quickly, in spite of my resolve, and 2. it contains oil, which I'm trying to greatly reduce in my diet, after reading research from Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. Perhaps I'll blog about this oil thing at a later date.

Anyway, typically if I'm baking I make things oil free, but yesterday I was in the mood for something really decadent. As I was contemplating where I could go to procure something yummy and vegan (which would have likely led me to the bakery case at Wheatsville), it suddenly it occurred to me that I had all the ingredients on hand to make this cake. Even better, the ingredients in this cake are more high quality and healthier than what I'd probably get in a store-bought vegan cake. Note, I'm not saying HEALTHY...I'm saying HEALTHIER.

The first way it's healthier is that it's made with whole wheat pastry flour. I tend to buy mine in the bulk bin at Wheatsville because it's cheaper, but most health food stores will have it. Using PASTRY flour is key, because even though it is still whole grain, it is so finely milled that your baked goods will still be light—as opposed to using straight-up whole wheat flour, which weighs everything down.

For the cake, I used Spectrum brand coconut oil, although any high quality coconut oil will do. If you're going to use oil, at least use the good stuff. For the icing, I recommend Earth Balance margarine sticks. That tends to be the best tasting/highest quality vegan margarine I can find, and it's trans-fat free (although it's still pure fat, people, so don't go crazy and start spreading it on everything saying, "Hey! It's vegan! That means I can eat as much of it as I want!"). From my own personal experience, I'd recommend using fresh margarine, because after it's been sitting in your refrigerator for awhile, I find it loses its taste. Real butter has always done that for me, too. Maybe I have a refrigerator problem.

I made this recipe into cupcakes, since that gives you an easy portion-controlled size. It also makes it easy to share, which is what I plan to do, so I don't eat them all (note: I have eaten two and given away two so far). I topped mine off with an organic strawberry. Mmm.

Needless to say, this satisfied my chocolate decadence craving yesterday, I saved money by using the ingredients I had on hand, and I'm not too concerned about a once-in-blue-moon splurge such as this, when making these bad boys probably prevented me from getting something much unhealthier.

So go make em', and don't forget to share so you don't eat them all! Because you will want to. Trust me.

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