Monday, May 01, 2006

We live for this Vegan Chocolate Cake!

I made this cake for my husband’s birthday. It is a vegan chocolate cake with chocolate tofu cream filling and frosted with chocolate ganache. When it comes to eating cake, my dear husband (DH) demands CHOCOLATE, CHOCOLATE, and CHOCOLATE! None of those cakes with fruits or vegetables in it! We had a long discussion about his birthday cake. I don’t make much desserts at home to avoid gaining weight so every chance I have I want to try a new recipe from my cookbooks. I wanted to try a carrot cake recipe that my friends suggested from Vegan with a Vengeance (VwaV) cookbook but he said not for his birthday cake, he wants CHOCOLATE! So I thought about trying the Raspberry-Blackout Chocolate Cake with Ganache-y Frosting from VwaV. No, there are raspberries in it!, he said. Ok, I guess, he likes heavy-loaded pure chocolate and chocolate only, so CHOCOLATE it is! Although he let me put raspberries for decorations, there was no raspberry in the cake.

DH is a chocoholic and needs to go to a chocoholic anynomous meeting, I think, if there is such a meeting..and…I am a vegan cookbookoholic myself that I have tons of cookbooks; therefore, fortunately, I am able to find the ‘perfect’ chocolate cake I haven’t tried yet for his birthday cake. I bought Great Good Desserts Naturally! by Fran Costigan a while back and haven’t tried even one recipe from it. The cake recipe I tried was named ‘The Chocolate Cake to Live For’ and the filling is plainly ‘Chocolate Tofu Cream.’ This cake uses Dutch processed cocoa which is perfect because DH likes this kind of chocolate. We both don’t like the light color Hersey cocoa type but love semi-sweet dark chocolate of any kind.

This chocolate cake was soooo gooood! It melts in your mouth. It is the perfect title for it too since DH wants to live to 100 years if I make this cake for his birthday year after year. The chocolate tofu cream was so simple to make and so so delicious. The consistency was just perfect, too! All in all, it is the best vegan chocolate cake I have ever made. Really! When it comes to making a vegan chocolate ganache cake, I had a lot of practice because of DH. I recommend this cookbook to anyone and will buy her new cookbook: More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally. I just can’t wait.

The frosting I used was the Ganache-y Frosting and the white squiggly on top was the Royal Icing, both from Vegan with a Vengeance. The only thing I did different than what the recipe suggested, I poured the hot chocolate ganache on top of the refrigerated filled cakes instead of waiting for the ganache frosting to become a spreadable consistency (refrigerated for 1 hour) to frost the cake. Then, I tilted the filled cakes to right and left to make the hot ganache flows down the sides of the cake. This makes a perfect smooth and glossy frosting after it is refridgerated for about 1 hour. This is my trick to make a beautiful cake without spending money at the cake decoration classes. I practiced doing the squiggly decoration on a wax paper and was doing ok enough to add the icing on the cake. After all, DH didn’t care much about the squiggly thingy.

BTW, I have been perusing Vegan with a Vengeance cookbook a lot lately and visited Isa Chandra’s website. Check out these cupcakes pictures: Fauxstess cupcake with squigglies on top and Isa Chandra's vegan cupcakes. Aren't they beautiful? This is where I got the idea for the squiggly decoration. I will definitely buy her new cupcakes cookbook and make the cupcakes with squigglies on top someday.

Before I end this long blog, I want to share a few tips of baking a cake. I learned these tips from others and from practicing making Chocolate Ganache cakes, you know for who! I think I am qualified to give a class of ‘How to make a perfect vegan Chocolate Ganache cake’ by now since this is the only vegan cake that I can make perfectly, thanks to DH.

First of all, I learned about from Bryanna. It is not a vegan website but is loaded with information about baking. Preparing the baking pans is a crucial step in baking cakes. I use the Baker’s grease suggested by this site which you can buy at the cake supply store but it is easy to make at home: mix well an equal amount of vegan shortening (like Spectrum), canola oil, and unbleached flour. For baking cakes, I still use a parchment paper for the bottom of the pan and then use the baker’s grease on top of it. You don’t need to flour the baking pans with this grease. THIS is the benefit and it works like magic. I usually store my baker’s grease in the fridge and take it out to a room temperature before I prepare my baking pans. It actually works for baking just about anything and not just cake. I used it to grease my corn-shaped cast iron muffin pans and the corn-shaped muffins didn’t stick to the pan at all. I have had a great success using this baker’s grease and never gone back to oil and flour my pans anymore.

Second, buy the Cake Magic Baking Strips ! It is well worth it. Have you ever bake a cake and then the cakes have a hump in the middle and then you have to use a knife to level it out before you frost it? I really hate that! It takes a lot of work to prepare the cakes before frosting it and then I have cake crumbs all over. This magic strips really work well. I enjoy watching my cakes baking in the oven and rising evenly. I have even levels cakes coming out of my oven all the time now. You can make your own at home buy cutting old kitchen towels, wet them with water, and then wrap them around your cake pans with safety pins. I tried that too but didn’t like the frayed towels around the cake pans. I am afraid that the cotton strings will end up in my cake. So to avoid so much trouble I bought these magic strips for $6.95 in a kitchen store near me. It can be reused again and again.


Dori said...

I a not much of a cake baker and have never seen these cake pan strips you have pictured here. How do the strips work to make the cake level?

Unknown said...

Hi Dori,

I wet the strip with water (you are not suppose to wring it) and then wrap it around the cake pan, fasten it with the pin provided. I baked the cake with the damp strip wrapped around the cake pans. The cake will rise evenly.

BTW, Dori, I was not able to visit your blog. I gut a run time error and the whole thing disappear. I will try again. I sent you an email about this too.


julie hasson said...

SIV, your cake is beautiful!! Have you ever considered a career as a vegan pastry chef : )? Your husband is a very lucky man!

I had bought Fran's book about a month ago, but haven't baked anything from it yet. Now I feel inspired to try her cake to "live for". I'll have to give those cake strips a try to.

Unknown said...

Thanks Julie! I have to learn to make other perfect vegan pastries to be a chef. :-) I only can make a perfect vegan chocolate ganache cake. I am learning from this cookbook which is a good one since it has healthy dessert recipes.

Yeah, that cake strips are great to have and creates a beautiful level cake.


Dori said...

Hmmmm... I don't know what's up about the blog. I haven't noticed anything weird. I did delete the less of dori blog, it just got to difficult to try to post on two. I wonder if you try again it will be okay.

Harmonia said...

How awesome is that!?

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

I can open Dori's blog, Debbie. This cake looks so awesome, but then Fran is awesome! I have her book, and have been meaning to try that cake! I just ordered her new book, plus "Vegan with a Vengeance", and Julie Hasson's cupcake book-- splurge!

Flo @ Yielded Heart said...

I have visited this cake post a few times, but haven't commented 'til now.

This is awesome, and more than your gift of baking, I could tell you made this with much love! (At least that's how I would feel if someone makes me a cake like that for my birthday.)

KleoPatra said...

That looks so great, that cake! I am a newcomer to your blog and I love, love, love it!!