Raw, noun: 13. unrefined sugar, oil, etc.

I've been baking again a lot in the last several weeks, spurred mostly by a cavalcade of birthdays and anniversaries and special events. It's reminded me of the power of the yoga of baking, the meditation inherent in the practice, the silence and the stillness and the stirring and the creation of something where there was nothing. And, most importantly, the seva involved in the whole tender process of imagining, crafting and setting an intention out of love, out of the desire to give, to serve, to share.

(How this cracks our hearts open, without us even realizing it!)

Yesterday marked the end of my 6-week spring Bhakti Flow teacher training, so I knew I'd want to bake something vegan and beloved and delicious to share with my beautiful yogis. For this most recent creation, I revisited the Vegan Chocolate Bundt recipe from my Yoga Journal article on the yoga of baking from last December. It's such a solid base from which you can deviate in really creative ways. For last winter's end-of-training potluck, I turned this recipe into a Chocolate Pomegranate Bundt with fresh pomegranate seeds and a pomegranate-molasses frosting; this time around, I played with a few ingredients and came up with this


Wasn't sure how the final product would turn out, but the resulting cake was moist, coconutty, and balanced. (Whew!) So round up your Chambord and your coconut milk, turn on the coffee pot, crank up the tunes, and let's get baking.


1 c freshly brewed coffee (I used vanilla nut, but whatever's fine)
1/2 c coconut milk
1/4 c Chambord raspberry liqueur (sub more coffee if you don't want the alcohol)
2/3 c unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
1/3 c Canola oil
1/3 c applesauce
1/4 c cornstarch
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
2 c whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose white flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup fresh raspberries

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees; grease and flour your bundt pan. (I used my heart pan, because, hello, bhakti love!) Heat the coffee in a saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low and whisk in coconut milk, Chambord, and cocoa powder until it has dissolved. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside to bring to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, oil, applesauce, and cornstarch until the sugar and cornstarch dissolve, about 2 minutes. Mix in the extracts. Once the chocolate mixture has cooled a bit, stir that in as well. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Beat until the batter is relatively smooth. Fold in flaked coconut, followed by the fresh raspberries.

Pour the batter into a prepared pan and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake's center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 20 minutes. then invert the cake onto a serving plate and cool completely.

Vegan cakes can often be grainy and dry, so keep an eye on the oven to make sure you don't overbake it. The coconut and raspberries I've added to this recipe will really help to keep it moist, too.

Being the frosting whore that I am, I wanted to work up something rich. So I found this excellent basic recipe for a vegan chocolate frosting, and just modified it a bit:

1/2 cup vegan margarine (Earth Balance, etc.)
2 cups vegan powdered sugar
1 tbsp coconut extract
1 teas vanilla extract
2 tbsp vegan soymilk
1/3 cup cocoa powder (or more)
A dash of salt

Optional: add 1 tbsp coconut milk and 1 tbsp Chambord to give the icing more of a coconut-raspberry cordial feel. If you're not into the alcohol, skip it!

Soften the vegan margarine. (This would be a good step to do while baking the cake). Using an electric mixer, cream the sugar into the softened margarine. (Don't do it too early and piss off the neighbors. I learned this the last time around.) Then add the coconut and vanilla extracts, soymilk, cocoa powder, and salt. Mix well. If it is too thick, add a very small amount of soymilk, and if it is too thin, add more powdered sugar. Continue to mix until the frosting is light and fluffy.

I often find it helps to heat the frosting at a low level a bit on the stovetop as you whisk it. If you're feeling like something a little more adventurous, throw in the extra coconut milk and Chambord. I find they make all the difference.

Drizzle that action all over the cooled cake, and let it sit for a bit before you add the flowers. If you're short on time (or blooms), just sprinkle fresh coconut over the top for a nice contrast. I had a few stalwart phlox still thriving in the bouquet on my countertop, so included a few of those to contrast with the vibrant red buttercups. These ranunculas are actually decently poisonous (thanks, Google), but really only when consumed by livestock in enormous quantities, so I figured, hell, bring 'em on. Finished it out with a few sprigs of waxflowers and some willing pothos leaves from the babies on my mantel. Perfect.

And there she is. A bhaktilicious baking project for a seriously bhaktilicious crew. Big love.

The Joy of Baking (Yoga Journal)


Anonymous said…
Hi Rachel, Namaste.
I just read your Joy of Baking article in Yoga Journal and I was so touched. I was immediately drawn to an article about baking and yoga! I too LOVE baking, cookies are my passion (although I dream about making beautiful coconut covered cakes!) and your article reminded me of a recent experience. I have always envisioned yoga + cookies. I am a yoga teacher and I just love the idea of people practicing yoga and then enjoying cookies, odd perhaps I know. Last Tuesday I baked some and brought them to my class. It was something so small but it sure brought out the kid in everyone! And while I was making them I too sunk into a meditative state as I often do when I'm rolling the dough, or shaping the cookies. People lingered after class, talked, snacked - it was pure bliss and a truly beautiful site.
Thank you for your sharing your story. It was delicious!
Love and light.
Rach said…
Hi Dana!

Thank you so much for your wonderful feedback. It was such a treat to hear from you. Isn't it amazing to really see the whole yoga of baking unfold, not only in your own mind-state, but in the relationships between the people around you?!? I loved your recollection of the way people stayed and lingered. That is some serious power, wrapped up in the humble costume of some sweet treats.

Keep baking, keep breathing, keep reading. Do stay in touch. My oven's been en fuego lately, so there are many more baking updates to come.

Kerri Gagne said…
I have to say that even though I practice baking much, MUCH more than I practice yoga, I love that there really is a yoga of baking. I become intoxicated with it. love.

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