When it comes to desserts, I consider chocolate cake the Holy Grail. Nothing else quite matches the deep satisfaction of a rich, delicious chocolate cake. Plus, a good chocolate cake is full-proof, nobody is disappointed and you can never get sick of it. So, when half of the family took the vegan turn, I set out on a quest to find the perfect chocolate confection.
With cake, texture is paramount. A good cake is moist, but not wet, rich, but not dense, and spongy, but not rubbery. Keeping these mind, I scoured the internet for the ultimate recipe. I had tried several with solid results until I came across l.a. kitchen’s recipe for chocolate loaf. The fact that it is a loaf makes this cake much more rich than most, but at the same time, exponentially more satisfying and delicious.
I’ve made this cake many times since, and I’ve tweaked the recipe slightly in order to enhance the texture and flavor of the dessert. Keep in mind with other cakes in general, especially vegan ones, it is never a good idea to use silken tofu (even though many recipes call for this) because its makes the cake rubbery and very dense. Also, those of you who are looking for a healthier recipe, white flour can always be replaced with whole wheat pastry flour for similar, if not better, results and even with whole wheat, which will give a grainier, slightly dryer cake, but nonetheless, maintain its flavor well. Similarly, if recipes call for margarine, opt out for Earth Balance or similar natural, vegetable oil based spreads that will give the same effect at a much lower heart attack risk.
The perfect birthday cake topped with fresh fruit!
- 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 12 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 teasp vanilla extract
- 1 teasp salt
- 1 cup canola oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 teasp baking soda
- 2 cups applesauce
- 1/4 - 3/4 cup soy milk , or any other liquid such as orange juice, water, or almond milk
- any seasonal fruit , I usually use berries because their light texture and fresh taste easily complements chocolate
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
- In a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients except for the soy milk and fruit, and mix
- Add approximately 1/4 - 3/4 cups of soy milk (or your choice of any other liquid) until the batter is smooth, easy to stir, and slightly liquidy
- Line a 9x13 baking pan with wax paper (you can choose any other method of lining/greasing the pan but I have found wax paper makes for the easiest removal of the cake and retains the shape and moisture in the cake best)
- Pour in the batter and put in the oven for 30 - 40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out dry.
- Mix all the ingredients together.
- Remove the cake from pan once cool.
- Cut cake in half horizontally (this is tricky and may take an extra long knife).
- Spread the bottom half with a thin layer of frosting and some berries (or other fruit).
- Replace the top half, cover with frosting and finish off with the rest of your fruit.
When using fruit, be careful about cutting the fruit up and exposing it to the cake. For example, if you cut strawberries and put the strawberries face down on the cake, they will suck the moisture out of the cake and leave the cake slightly dryer.