This past weekend I attended my first Kirtan chanting event at Laughing Lotus yoga studio, and to get myself hyped up before I went to it, I flipped through the December 2009 issue of Yoga Journal. I bought it in November at the same time as a couple of other magazines, and I must not have had the time to look through it, or else my baking radar might have detected Rachel Meyer's article about a year of baking cakes, and the included vegan chocolate bundt cake recipe (adapted from Veganomicon). Or, maybe when I read it the first time, my senses just weren't as finely tuned to seek out bundt cake recipes as they have been ever since my boyfriend gave me my first bundt cake pan for Christmas. At any rate, I was inspired: the picture in the magazine just looked delicious, and I already had all of the ingredients handy, so I saw no reason not to give this cake a try.
I don't usually bake vegan things due to a few sub-par baking experiences I had in high school (when I was a vegetarian) and the general lack of personality I feel most of the vegan baked goods I've eaten since then have had, even from some of the most well-reputed bakeries. It also doesn't help that most vegan cookbooks (at least the ones I've owned) aren't published with pictures, and without a preview I'm not always inclined to trust that I'm going to be happy with whatever comes out of the oven. But the picture in this magazine depicted the most modest, no-frills, confident-looking cake, with only that light dusting of powdered sugar to wear; no sign of the overly dense, crumbly, dry consistency I've come to expect from my vegan baked goods. And I can say the same positive things about the the cake I ended up with, too: it was moist, chocolatey, and surprisingly as satisfying as any non-vegan cake.
I made this cake with intention to feed it to my friends on Sunday quesadilla night, but after dinner everyone was too full to eat much so I brought the rest to work the next day, where it was devoured! A lot of my coworkers liked it so much they even asked for the recipe, which I posted after the cut.
Vegan Chocolate Bundt Cake (adapted from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero)
1 3/4 cup freshly brewed coffee
2/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil (I used regular vegetable oil)
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose white flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp confectioners' sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Heat the coffee in a saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low and whisk in 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 into the batter. Beat until the batter is relatively smooth (for other cakes, I usually leave a few lumps in the batter with the intention to not-overmix, but for this batter you will want to be sure that all of the flour is incorporated).
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.
Once the cake is cool, sift the confectioners' sugar over top.
Thanks to everyone who has come to visit my blog this week! I hadn't told many people about it before (I guess I just wanted to establish a style or a rhythm before I did), but I took advantage of the opportunity to share it this week with some of my coworkers when they asked about this cake, and I've gotten a lot of positive feedback. I even found out that some of my coworkers keep blogs too! It's been such a happy confidence-boosting experience to learn more and meet on common ground with some of the people I work with.
I've also (not related, but coincidentally) gotten more comments this week and it makes me feel so good to know that people are reading and responding to my entries! Hi, and thanks!