Although most of my readers are probably not of the vegan persuasion, I just have to share with you this fabulous recipe for a moist, rich chocolate cake that has won my heart and just so happens to be vegan. I stumbled upon the recipe in Midwest Living Magazine, which advertised the cake as a family favorite of a couple who own a cozy bed and breakfast. The original recipe features a decadent topping of chocolate chips and walnuts scattered and baked atop the batter along with a (non-vegan) chocolate sauce to drizzle upon serving. I will provide the chocolate sauce recipe at the bottom of the post for those curious, though I have not yet tried it.
This cake is very similar to Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Cake in one-bowl preparation, texture, and flavor. It is the perfect chocolate cake for the last minute get-togethers when you realize you have to whip up a sweet treat and haven’t milk or eggs at hand. As with Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake, I find that this cake tastes much better when hot coffee is used instead of boiling water. It adds a depth of flavor that water just can’t match. If you’re hesitant, try using half water and half coffee. I promise, the cake will not even hint at coffee flavor. The cake always bakes very evenly, for which purpose I use this recipe for cut-out cake rounds I sell to a local gelateria. Hope you enjoy!
Check out other inspiring chocolate-based recipes at February’s Flavor of the Month post at Bake at 350.
Chocolate Picnic Cake
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 cups water or strong brewed coffee, cooled
1/2 cup canola oil or cooking oil
4-1/2 tsp. vinegar
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
1. Grease and flour a 13x9x2-inch baking pan; set aside. In a large mixing bowl stir together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Beat mixture with a fork until smooth. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle with Picnic Topping.
2. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool cake slightly in pan on a wire rack. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzle with Grandma Betty’s Chocolate Sauce. Makes 12 servings.
Grandma Betty’s Chocolate Sauce
In heavy small saucepan, combine 1-1/2 cups sugar, 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder and a dash of salt. Stir in 1/2 cup whipping cream and 1/4 cup milk. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly, then reduce heat. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remover from heat. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Transfer to bowl; cover surface with plastic wrap. Cool to room temperature before using.