Completely, delightfully, chocolate

Sunday, March 4, 2012

   In my opinion, chocolate desserts (and by chocolate desserts I mean a dish dedicated completely and lovingly to the flavor and texture of chocolate) can be the most difficult to create and execute well. A truly chocolate dessert typically has a limited number of ingredients and it is frustratingly easy to end up with a cloying, droopy or possibly dry and crumbly, end result.
   May I present the ultimate, the one and only solution to your chocolate craving: Vegan Chocolate Cake.

   It is the first vegan baked dessert I've ever made. Which is saying a lot. I bake a lot and I eat a lot of desserts. The whole vegan thing has always reminded me painfully of that period of time in our lives when my mother was convinced carob chips were the healthy solution (sorry, mom).

   This cake is simple, it has few ingredients, you don't need to break the bank buying chocolate freshly imported from Europe and the result is effortlessly, completely, densely yet lightly.... chocolate.

   Even though I bake a lot and taste many desserts, I often have a slice or a piece, perhaps a pinch, a taste from Steve's plate, and promptly forget about it. Not this cake. I've gone back. Many times. A sliver here, a taste there... it sings my name and demands attention. I even exercised today for this cake. Clearly, it's serious.

   Don't hesitate. Release yourself from the preconception that eggs and butter are necessary for a moist and delicious cake. Embrace this cake and it will embrace you back. Trust me. You need vegan chocolate cake in your life.

   Also, I added rum because I could and because, well, rum is delicious. Just say yes.

Vegan Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Joy the Baker

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder, plus additional for dusting the pan
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4  cup hot coffee
1/4 cup dark rum
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

   Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9-inch bundt pan with vegetable shortening or baking spray and dust with cocoa powder.  Set aside.
   In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  In a medium bowl, whisk together coffee, rum, oil, and vanilla.
   Add all the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.
   Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  The batter will be relatively thick.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it.
   Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a cake platter to cool.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm.
   Cake will last, covered, at room temperature, for up to 3 days. 

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