Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Dining In - Chocolate Celebration Cake (Gluten-Free)

Chloe's Celebration Cake, Gluten-Free - Chloe's Vegan Desserts
Chloe's Celebration Cake, Gluten-Free - Chloe's Vegan Desserts

Slice of Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Cake Veega Blog Chloe

It was my friend's birthday and we had plans for a fun Hot Pot style dinner at his apartment (complete with vegan-friendly side of the pot and tons of veggies!), so I decided to be formal and make an actual cake. For his previous birthday, I made one of my most gourmet and "reblogged" desserts - the Coffee Almond Crunch Cupcakes. These were a big hit so I had to step my game up, but I also wanted to experiment. From a previous shopping trip I had a bag of gluten-free flour from Trader Joe's that I hadn't opened. I went out and bought the expensive, yet required, complement to it, xanthan gum. It's a thickener that helps starches combine to trap air. I was nervous baking my FIRST altered gluten-free dessert, meaning making substitutions versus making baked goods that were naturally gluten-free like: Healthy Chocolate Chip Blondies

Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Frosting
You can find this recipe and others in Chloe Coscarelli's dessert cookbook, Chloe's Vegan Desserts (buy your copy here). The prep was no different except instead of one dry flour you have to add an extra ingredient, the xanthan gum. Determining the appropriate baking time was difficult; for one thing I wasn't using the same pan size that Chloe's recipe called for. I had an 8-inch pan that I needed to reuse twice for two layers whereas she noted using a 9-inch pan. The cake wasn't cooked all the way through when I first checked it so I cooked it longer and then longer again. People are often concerned that gluten-free baking can be dry and I did worry that the outer part of my cake would be, because it already looked done when the middle was not. After letting it cool I saw that it held together so I kept my fingers crossed that the taste and texture were not sacrificed from the experimental baking time.

Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Cake Chloe's Vegan Desserts
Now for the taste...it was a winner! The whole non-vegan, non-gluten-free dinner party loved it! I did too. I was really shocked at how moist it was, more moist than most of the other cakes I've made from Chloe's cookbooks. The chocolate was flavorful especially with coffee baked in, but wasn't overpowering and the sweet vanilla frosting paired perfectly with it. Up against a plethora of NYC bakery items, including vegan ones from Peacefood Cafe, this cake held its own! Although this is not healthy, it is a "make again" recipe and now I'm eager to incorporate gluten-free substitutes into other baked goods. 

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
Trader Joe's Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour & Bob's Red Mill Xanthan Gum3 cups gluten-free all purpose flour (You can use all types here and it's best to follow the directions of what you're using to know how to pair with the xanthan gum and how long to bake! I used the Trader Joe's variety)
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum (I used Bob's Red Mill brand)
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups cold coffee
1 cup canola oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Vanilla Frosting
1 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening (I used Earth Balance sticks)
3 cups powdered sugar
3-5 tablespoons of almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Earth Balance Natural Shortening Vegan - Veega

To Prepare Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray round cake pan with oil (I used an 8-inch pan instead of the recommended 9-inch).

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, xanthin gum, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt.

Dry Gluten-Free Ingredients for Vegan Cake Veega Blog
Dry Gluten-Free Ingredients

In a medium bowl whisk together wet ingredients - coffee, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and stir to combine, but don't overmix.

Fill pan with batter and bake for about 30-35 minutes, checking towards the end with a toothpick to make sure the middle sets and toothpick comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan, then flip over to release it onto a plate. 

To Prepare Vanilla Frosting:

In a medium bowl use a handheld mixer or a standing mixer and beat vegetable shortening for about a minute, until smooth. On low speed, add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and combine with vanilla extract and desired amount of almond milk so that the frosting is thick, but not dry.

To Assemble Layer Cake:

Flip cake layer back over so top is up and use a large sharp knife to trim the dome part off each layer. Place first cake layer on your serving plate. Scoop out about 1/3 of the frosting and coat the top of the layer. Add another cake layer and the remaining frosting to coat edges and top. Garnish with your choice: fresh berries, sprinkles, chocolate shavings... go wild! I actually used cake crumbs from the sliced off dome portion. Slice to serve.

Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Frosting Layer Veega Blog

Happy Birthday David Cake Red Writing Vanilla

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