Happy third birthday to me! Well, at least to this blog. Three years ago this week, I published my first post. To celebrate, I thought I’d share a sweet treat with you. Well, not really share it with you in person, but virtually share it with you.
And what’s better for a birthday celebration than a big, fat, chocolatey cake?
I don’t know either, that’s why I’m asking.
I first had this cake over a decade ago. I was working in my first real, post-college job and had the good fortune to work closely with an amazing team. We soon became inseparable. Work would end and we’d head out to the bars. We’d have sleepovers on the weekends. We went on overnight and day trips together – to the beach, to the woods. It was like an extension of college, or at least, what I imagine college is like if you don’t go to a giant school in the city.
One of the women I worked with had been vegan for years and years. On her birthday her mom overnight-FedExed her a cake. It was her favorite cake during her vegan years, and continued to be even after she was no longer vegan. After one bite, I think it became my favorite cake, too. Even after a day in a box traveling across the country, this chocolate cake stood out.
When I got the recipe and learned to make this cake myself, it became even better. When you tell people it’s a vegan cake, there’s a slight hesitation and skepticism before they eat it. You can see them mentally raising an eyebrow. After the first bite, all doubts are dispelled by the rich, chocolatey goodness of this cake.
The best part? No animals were harmed in the making of this cake.
Vegan Chocolate Cake
2 1/4 c. unbleached white flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. cocoa (unsweetened)
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. warm water
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. white vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare two 8-inch layer cake pans by lightly greasing them and dusting with flour. Shake off excess. Alternatively, you can use one large sheet cake pan.
4. Pour evenly into pans and bake 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Vegan Chocolate Frosting
Adapted from Elana’s Pantry
1 c. dark chocolate chips (70% cacao or higher) (or 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1/2 c. unsweetened chocolate)
1/2 c. grapeseed oil or other light vegetable oil
2-3 Tbsp. agave nectar, honey (not vegan, although delicious), or other syrupy sweetener like cane sugar, maple syrup or rice syrup
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
1. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate and oil. Stir to prevent burning. Alternatively, melt in microwave in 15-second increments, stirring between each heating.
2. Add agave, vanilla and salt. Stir to combine.
3. Place frosting in freezer for 15 minutes to chill and thicken, or in refrigerator for an hour.
4. Remove from freezer/refrigerator and use a mixer or hand blender to whip frosting into a thick and fluffy consistency.
Tips: If the frosting is too cold, it won’t properly whip up or spread, you may need to microwave it for 5-10 seconds to soften it up. If it gets too soft, just pop it back in the freezer for a spell. I find that as I’m frosting the cake, I need to periodically stop, microwave for 5 seconds, remix the frosting, and then continue to frost. If you like very thick frosting on a layer cake, you might want to increase the recipe by 1/2 to 1.