Monday, September 7, 2009

Recipe for Vegan Chocolate Cake (aka Gloubi-Boulga)

Since I've had a few recipe requests for the cake I wrote about last weekend, I thought the easiest thing would be just to post it here.

It's from my favorite vegetarian cookbook, one of the few that I brought with me from the US, called "Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home: Fast and Easy Recipes for Any Day." It was one of my first cookbooks right out of college, back when I had no idea how to cook at all. If I remember correctly my Grandma is the one that offered it to me, along with some much-needed pots and pans. And it has served me so well over the past 13 years or so that it's now in tatters, in two separate pieces with no cover and tons of food stains all over it. But I hang onto it because it really is the best cookbook ever.

The recipe is called "Six-Minute Chocolate Cake," but my Grandma, who is very wise about all things culinary, told me that it's actually a "Depression Cake." That is, a cake that was commonly made during the Great Depression back when butter, milk, and eggs were hard to come by. It was vegan by necessity, in fact. If you google chocolate depression cake you can actually find some similar recipes.

The secret to this cake is that the vinegar reacts with the baking soda to make it rise. Pretty resourceful, I thought.

Whatever you call it, it's super easy and delicious, whether cooked all the way through or not. I made the cake again last night to bring over to a friend's house, making very sure to put the stove on the right setting. I have to say I prefer it fully-cooked, but if you want the gloubi-glouba version, just bake it for less time than called for, or on grill mode. Good luck!

-1 and 1/2 cups unbleached white flour (I used spelt flour last night, sometimes buckwheat or whole wheat - just to change it up and be a little healthier. If you do this you may want to add a bit more liquid to compensate for the the heavier flour)
-1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 cup sugar (I use a bit less usually and always organic unrefined sugar or rapadura)
-1/2 cup vegetable oil (I tend to use canola, but I used unhydrogenated palm oil for another recipe that turned out well. The advantage is that palm oil is tasteless, while canola has a bit of a taste to it.)
-1 cup cold water or brewed coffee
-2 tsp pure vanilla extract
-2 Tablespoons vinegar

Preheat oven to 375
°F (190°C)

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and sugar into a mixing bowl or directly into an ungreased 8-inch square or 9-inch round baking pan (I have neither of these so I just improvise with whatever I feel like using).

In a 2-cup measuring cup, mix together the oil, water or coffee, and vanilla (NOT the vinegar yet).

Mix wet and dry ingredients with a fork or small whisk, and when the batter is smooth add the vinegar and stir quickly. There will be pale swirls in the batter where the baking soda and the vinegar are reacting. Stir until the vinegar is evenly distributed throughout the batter, and pour into baking dish if you started in a bowl.

Bake for 25-30 minutes (less if you want a more pudding-like version). Set the cake aside to cool.

Their suggested glaze:
1/2 pound bittersweet chocolate
3/4 cup hot water or rice or soy milk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and stir in the hot liquid and vanilla until smooth. Pour over the cooled cake and refrigerate for 30 min before serving.

My emergency glaze:
I spooned some raspberry jelly (though you can use whatever jelly or jam you like, I'm sure)
into a saucepan and mixed it with rice milk over low heat until I got the desired consistency - pourable, but not too runny. I also added a little agave syrup to sweeten since the jelly was pretty tart and the cake had less sugar than they called for. Pour over cooled cake.

Voilà! The cookbook also suggests other toppings such as powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, whipped cream, ice cream, fresh fruit, etc. whatever you want, basically. I usually make either the chocolate glaze (which is really rich!) or a fruity one.


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