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

I've had a few requests for the cake from last weekend's Bhakti Kitchen workshop. Here's the recipe — vegan and gluten-free, crazy, right? — with a final pic to follow. The beauty of this recipe is that you can switch it up in myriad ways: by adding fresh fruit or candied ginger, nuts, raisins, or chocolate chips, liqueurs like Chambord, Kahlua or Grand Marnier, or even simple almond or hazelnut milks. Just play with it.

You can find gluten-free flour and xanthan gum at any local Whole Foods or similar somewhat-progressive grocery store. Coconut milk usually hangs out in the aisle with the Thai foods. Happy baking.

CHOCOLATE COCONUT CREAM BUNDT


INGREDIENTS

1 c freshly brewed coffee
3/4 c coconut milk
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 Bob's Red Mill gluten-free flour
1 tsp Xanthan gum
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flaked coconut

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees; grease and flour your bundt pan. 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 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, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Beat until the batter is relatively smooth. Fold in flaked coconut.

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 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
2 teas 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 to give the icing more of a coconut cream feel. Or just substitute coconut milk for the soymilk, to begin with.

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.

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.

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

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