Vegan, Jane Austen student, Minimalist, Reader, Librarian

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Double Chocolate Crumb Cake

Where Jim works, every month designates a "Fun Coordinator," someone who is in charge of doing fun things during a given month. Jim is the Fun Coordinator for November. One of the ways of having fun is, of course, sharing food. Jim really enjoys doing this because everything he brings is vegan and good for you.

Jim brought in Fig Newmans (a vegan version of the popular cookie, Fig Newtons) and root vegetable chips from Trader Joe's.

For birthdays, each month there is a special cake and Jim's birthday falls in November. He told his boss he wanted to make the dessert so that he could be sure he was able to eat it! He made a Double Chocolate Crumb Cake, from the cookbook, Babycakes by Erin McKenna. As in everything Jim makes, there are several steps and this recipe is no exception. For me, it would have to be a very, very, very special occasion for me to do all this. But it was delicious--there was one piece leftover and guess who got it? Me!

First you have to make Chocolate Cupcakes:
1 3/4 C garbanzo-fava bean flour
1/2 C potato starch
1 C unsweetened cocoa powder (we used organic Trader Joe's)
1/4 C arrowroot
1 tbsp plus 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp salt
1 C coconut oil
1 1/3 C agave nectar
3/4 C unsweetened applesauce
3 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 C hot water or hot coffee

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, potato starch, cocoa, arrowroot, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum & salt. Add oil, agave nectar, applesauce, vanilla, & hot water (or coffee) to dry ingredients. Stir until batter is smooth.

Pour 1/3 C batter into each prepared muffin tin cup, almost filling it. Bake on center rack 10-22 minutes, rotating the tins 180 degrees after 15 minutes. The finished cupcakes will bounce back when pressure is applied gently to center (I just use a toothpick).

Let cupcakes stand in the tins 20 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Then, you make the Crumb Base:
6 unfrosted chocolate cupcakes
1 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp sea salt

In a medium bowl, use your hands to crumble the cupcakes into small, fine bits. Add oil, nectar, & salt to the crumb. Using a rubber spatula, fold together the ingredients until thoroughly combined. Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. For longer shelf life, store in the freezer up to 3 weeks.

Then you make the Double Chocolate Crumb Cake:
3/4 C brown rice flour
1/4 C potato starch
2 tbsp arrowroot
1/2 unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 C coconut oil, plus more for the pan
2/3 C agave nectar
1/3 C unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 C hot water
1 C chocolate crumb base
1/4 C chocolate sauce (see recipe that follows)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line bottom of a 9 x 13 inch round cake pan with a circle of parchment paper & coat both paper & sides lightly with oil.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, potato starch, arrowroot, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, & salt. Add 1/2 C oil and the agave nectar, applesauce, vanilla, & hot water to the dry ingredients and stir until batter is smooth.

Pour batter into pan and bake on center rack 20 minutes. Remove pan from oven and spoon the Chocolate Crumb over the cake, gently patting it down. Return pan to oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes. The finished crumb topping will be slightly crisp to the touch, and the cake will be firm.

Let the cake stand in the pan 20 minutes, then gently run a knife along the edges. Cover the top of the pan with a cutting board & flip it over. Carefully lift the pan away and reinvert the cake onto your serving plate.

Pour the chocolate sauce into a squeeze bottle (or you can just spoon it over the cake) and drizzle evenly over the top of the cake in a zig zag pattern from one edge to the other. Cover the cake with a dome (we used aluminum foil) and store at room temperatue for up to 3 days.

Chocolate Sauce:
1 1/2 C unsweetened soy milk (Jim used rice milk because our soy milk isn't unsweetened)
1/2 C dry soy milk powder
1/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp coconut flour
1/4 C agave nectar
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 C coconut oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

In a blender or food processor--Jim started out using a stand mixer until he made such a mess and, as I was looking over his shoulder, I told him the instructions said "blender or food processor," so he narrowed his eyes at me before hauling out the blender--combine milk, soy milk powder, cocoa, coconut flour, agave nectar, & vanilla. Blend ingredients for 2 minutes. With the machine running, slowly add the oil and the lemon juice, alternating between the two until both are fully incorporated. Pour the mixture into an airtight container & refrigerate for 6 hours or for up to 1 month. If you plan to use it as a sauce, store at room temperature for up to 1 week. Of course, we keep our house at 72 degrees, so the sauce hardened into frosting; he had to slightly microwave (gasp!) it at work to soften it enough to drizzle over the cake.

As you can see, this is a real project. It's very impressive, tastes amazing, and would make a wonderful special occasion dessert. But it's still too much work to me.

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