custom cakes/cookies

Sunday, February 14, 2010

*Vegan* Citrusy, Raspberry Triple Chocolate Layer Cake

Finally, I am posting a layer cake. I adore making layer cakes, as my profile states, but I've yet to actually put one on this blog. Layer cakes are quite celebratory in nature, kinda necessitating a reason to make them. There's been plenty to celebrate of late, I've just been down other avenues with cupcakes and macarons and cutout cookies. I was starting to think about updating my profile, removing the mention of layer cake, when my friend Karin's mom contacted me about making a cake to surprise Karin on her first wedding anniversary. Oh boy was I delighted and honored!

Immediately my head starting spinning with flavor combinations. Because Karin was my faithful canning partner last summer, I knew I wanted to do something with jam. This idea has been in the works since before Christmas! Karin's mom was really cute about pinning down the details: "It has to be vegan, I'm afraid." No problems here, I'm no stranger to vegan baking; I've got a handful of vegan friends to lean on for taste testing! While personally I prefer whole cream and real butter in my desserts, vegan baked goods are usually a snap to whip together--often less finicky in the details (although not always the case).

This is a rich, moist chocolate cake layered with homemade citrus-raspberry jam and decadent tofu-based chocolate amaretto mousse and finished with a poured chocolate ganache. All accomplished without the use of dairy (or much refined sugar for that matter). The chemistry of vegan baking really is fascinating. An early version of this cake was going to incorporate DIY vegan white chocolate as an elegant decoration, but that's a trick I've yet to master; test trials did not turn out favorably. So I assessed my strengths and looked to my friend Heather for help with fondant. The love bird decorations were inspired by a spool of ribbon used to decorate the cake board. I'm hoping it's the perfect touch of whimsy befitting a first wedding anniversary celebration.

Congratulations, Karin and Jes! And thank you, Marcia for trusting me with such an important task!

Triple Chocolate Cake
adapted from New Vegetarian
makes two 8-inch cakes

2½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 oz. dark chocolate chips, melted
½ cup canola oil, plus more for greasing cake pans
½ cup raw organic agave nectar
½ cup maple syrup
2 cups chocolate soy milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp rice vinegar
2 TBS Amaretto

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease two 8-inch cake pans with oil and line each bottom with a round of greased parchment.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl combine melted chocolate and ½ cup canola oil. Add the agave and maple syrups to the chocolate mixture, stirring to combine. In a third bowl, preferably one fitted to a stand mixer, mix together chocolate soy milk, vanilla, vinegar and Amaretto. Add the chocolate syrup mixture to the mixing bowl and stir to combine. Next add the dry ingredients to this and mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, until a thicker batter forms.

Divide batter between prepared cake pans and bake for about 30-35 minutes until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and springs back when gently prodded. Allow cakes to cool in their pans for about 20 minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack. Remove parchment rounds. Let cakes cool completely before frosting.

Citrusy Raspberry Jam
makes 1 pint

10 oz. raspberries, fresh or frozen
¼ cup candied kumquats in syrup with candied citrus zest, puréed

Combine raspberries and citrus purée in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Allow fruit to boil until thickened and liquid has cooked down. Consistency looser than typical jam is helpful for spreading.

Amaretto-Spiked Chocolate Mousse
straight from 101 Cookbooks
makes enough to completely frost a 4-layer, 8-inch round cake

½ cup chocolate soy milk, room temperature
10 oz. dark chocolate chips
12 oz. soft, silken tofu, drained and at room temperature
¼ cup Amaretto
¼ tsp almond extract

Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler over barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until completely melted. Remove from heat. Process tofu and chocolate soy milk in a food processor until smooth. Add the melted chocolate chips and process again to fully incorporate. Stir in the Amaretto and almond extract. Taste and adjust for flavor, adding a bit more extract if needed. Keep at room temperature to frost cake or refrigerate in individual cups for several hours until firm to serve as a separate dessert.

Chocolate Ganache Glaze
adapted from Post Punk Kitchen
makes enough to glaze a 4-layer, 8-inch round cake

¾ cups soy creamer
6 TBS nonhydrogenated margarine (such as Earth Balance buttery sticks)
10 oz dark chocolate chips

Place chocolate chips in a large bowl. Heat soy creamer on medium high until it comes to an active simmer. Add the margarine to melt. Remove from heat and immediately pour cream over chocolate and stir until completely mixed and glossy. Allow ganache to cool before pouring over cake as a glaze. The longer you allow the ganache to cool, the thicker it will set. For piping consistency, allow the ganache to completely cool and set up. Once cooled completely, the ganache can also be whipped with a mixer for several minutes at high speed to give it a more airy, spreadable texture.

“Butter”cream Frosting
adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World
makes about 4 cups

½ cup nonhydrogenated shortening
½ cup nonhydrogenated margarine (such as Earth Balance buttery sticks)
3½ cups confectioners sugar
1½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp rum extract
½ tsp almond extract
½ tsp maple extract
¼ cup plain soy creamer

Beat the shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until fully incorporated. Add extracts and soy creamer, and beat until smooth (5-7 minutes). Tint with food colorings and use to decorate.


Miss E said...

Olivia, this is amazing!

NOELLE said...

WOW I did not realize this was VEGAN! This looks fantastic! Congrats! I am saving this for future use!