I love baking and have wanted to make a cake for a long time; but you need an occasion for a cake. Otherwise it sits, pathetically, waiting in the fridge. So when I visited Ben for his birthday, I knew it would be a good chance to give it a try. Luckily, Ben’s enthusiastic about my vegan tendencies (being the lactose-intolerant pescaterian that I am), and was totally game when I told him what I wanted to make: vegan german chocolate cake. He’d planned a picnic in the park near our apartment with some Berkeley folks. It was the perfect opportunity. I combined two recipes I found online for the cake and frosting.
There was a bit of a rush to get the cake done in time for the picnic, so I didn’t capture every step in pictures. But it’s really simple.
The original cake recipe makes one thick layer of chocolate cake, but I wanted two layers with frosting in the middle, so I split the batter evenly between two cake pans. The only thing to watch is baking time, as the thinner layers will bake a bit faster.
What you need:
Cake dry ingredients:
1/3 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup arrowroot starch -or- tapioca starch
1/3 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Cake wet ingredients:
3/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup applesauce
Cake, optional (not really):
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 cup plain soymilk
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water until smooth
2 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
2 cake pans (I used 8” or 9” tins), non-stick cooking spray, whisk, saucepan, cooking spoon, large mixing bowl, smaller mixing bowl, toothpick
What you do:
Preheat oven to 350. Spritz the cake pans with non-stick cooking spray.
In the large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients and set aside. In the smaller bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips. (Optional (necessary) step: Taste the batter. I did and had to stop myself from eating too much.) Pour batter into sprayed cake tins. Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes, checking after 15 by sticking a toothpick in the middle of each layer. If it comes out clean, it’s ready. Allow to cool before frosting.
In the saucepan, mix the soymlk, coconut milk, sugar, and vanilla together. Add the cornstarch mixture and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils and thickens.
While that’s happening, you can toast the coconut and pecans by simply heating a dry pan over medium heat and cooking the coconut flakes and nuts in batches (don’t overcrowd or they won’t brown). Toast until they’re slightly browned and smell amazing.
Cook the milk/sugar/cornstarch mixture for one more minute after it boils. Remove from heat and stir in almost all of the toasted coconut and pecans (reserve some to sprinkle on top of the finished cake). Allow to cool for about 10 minutes (mixture should still be warm) before slathering on the cake.
To frost the middle and top of the cake, first spread one heaping layer on one cake layer, then carefully sandwich it with the other cake layer upside down, still in the tin. Then remove the top tin so the bottom of the top cake layer is exposed, and schmear the rest of the frosting on top. Sprinkle with remaining coconut and pecans. Admire the beauty and serve it up.
I didn’t mention right away to the picnic-goers that the cake was vegan. It was consumed at an impressive rate. The group was surprised when I told them it was in fact vegan. I’ll definitely be making this one again.
Additional antics ensued:
A pretty perfect day.