Mini Vegan Double-Layer Chocolate Cake with Sour Cream Icing

I was at TK Maxx today trying to find some silicone cupcake tins so I could make some cupcakes when I saw some mini spring-form cake tins.  I had to get them.  And then I had to make a cake.  And so I came home, and I did.

Vegan Chocolate Cake

I had to cut off a bit of the bottom layer so that I had an even surface on which to place the top layer, and I also had some left over icing, and let me just say, genius.  I can’t wait to have a full slice later.  It’s chilling in the fridge right now, as the consistency of the icing wasn’t exactly thick, so I don’t know how it would hold up at room temperature for extended periods of time.  I’ll have to work on my icing in the future.  But, hey, I haven’t baked many cakes in my time, thankyouverymuch.  The ingredients are simple.  The cake is dense and delicious.

To make the cake mix:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup self-rising flour (or all-purpose flour and 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp baking powder)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup dutch-pressed cocoa
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 180 C.

Step One Combine sifted flour, sifted cocoa powder, sugar and salt in a big-ish bowl well.

Step Two In a large glass stir the remaining ingredients (all wet) well.

Step Three Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients.  Mix well until no clumps are left.

Step Four Divide the mixture evenly directly into two greased mini spring-form cake tins.

Step Five Bake for about 35 minutes.  Start checking the cakes at 25 minutes.  Bake until you can stick a fork in them and they come out clean.  This may take upwards to 40 minutes depending on your oven.

mini cakes

As for the icing… pretty much all I did was chuck some remaining soy sour cream into a sauce pot and heat over low heat.  Then I chucked in the remnants of some dark chocolate I had in the cabinet (chopped up finely first) and stirred until it was all melted and combined, with the pot still over low heat.  Then I chucked in some confectioner’s sugar for good measure.  I wouldn’t say the icing is my finest moment in baking, but it is tasty and got the job done.  I might try something similar but with the addition of a vegetarian jelling agent so it can keep at room temperature for extended periods of time.

Picnic Food Extravaganza (part 2)

In addition to the Chickpea Nuggets-of-Delicious and the Sweet BBQ Sauce, I brought some Vegan Chocolate Cherry Soy-Free Bread Pudding.

I had never made anything like this before, but, knowing the logistics of a regular bread pudding, I was convinced it would work.  People seemed to like it.  It turned a bit too pudding-ey for a picnic, though; I was hoping to get it to a consistency where it could be eaten with one’s hands, but luckily people had plates and spoons and were able to eat it anyway.  In the future, I’d probably add some vegetarian gelling agent like arrowroot powder even some Ener-G Egg Replacer.

Most importantly, it was super easy.

Without further ado:

Ingredients

  • about 10 slices of whole wheat bread, decrusted and cut into cubes
  • 710 mL oat milk
  • About half a bar of vegan dark chocolate, cut into small chunks
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 180g raw cane sugar
  • 1 tin black cherries in syrup, drained completely and chopped

Step one Warm milk in a pot over the hob and then add cocoa powder and sugar.  Stir to combine so that most of the cocoa powder has dissolved. Remove from heat.  Stir in cherries.

Step two Scatter bread cubes across the bottom of a square cake pan (or whatever cake pan you have).  Pour milk mixture over the bread cubes.  Scatter the cherries and chocolate chunks over the top.  Fold everything through and make sure all the bread has begun to suck up the milk.

Step three Bake in the oven at 200C for 35-40 minutes, until you take it out and the centre just wobbles a bit and the crust is a bit hard.

Domesticity

I have (frighteningly) settled right into a domestic life here while Red’s parents have been on holiday.  I look forward to baking, cooking, sewing, grocery shopping.

I have baked cookies, muffins, cake, banana bread.  I have cooked some delicious meals as well as some truly inedible ones.  I learned a valuable lesson about measuring out chili powder appropriately instead of guesstimating measurements.  Apparently the difference between one teaspoon and one tablespoon is a big one.

Today I went on my daily shop.  I walked to the grocery store and meandered around the aisles looking sufficiently beleaguered.  You never know how much you take for granted your own societal nuances until you’re faced with another’s.  I would have thought that a supermarket is a supermarket is a supermarket, that the layout would not widely diverge from one English-speaking country to another.  Or that the things you find common place, like the placement of sour cream next to cottage cheese in the dairy aisle, are obviously universal.  What you weren’t prepared for, however, is the fact that England is not a neighbor to Mexico and the use of sour cream in recipes isn’t so normal and therefore not given as much shelf space at the grocery store, prominently sitting next to the hoards of cottage cheese containers like it is in the United States.  No, the sour cream is marginalized from the supermarket mainstream and in the far corner of the dairy section next to the double cream (what is double cream??).  And once you find the two containers of sour cream the grocery store has on offer, suddenly you feel quite naive to have thought you might find a dairy-free alternative.  Ha.  Haha.  Silly, you.

Long story short: the grocery store looks like it has the trappings of an American grocery store, giving me a false sense of confidence, but the facade quickly fades and I feel lost in the produce section, considering no fewer than eight different varieties of potato identified only by the price in pounds sterling per kilogram.

I hate the metric system.

I am getting ready to prepare dinner.  Red should be home in about 50 minutes.  I really miss going to a yoga studio.  I found one in the nearby town, Chelmsford, but when I stopped to determine the time and money involved in traveling on the train or bus to Chelmsford from Witham, I realized the high cost and long commutes just weren’t worth it.  We are moving on the 15th, which is just one week away.  I hope to find an inexpensive yoga studio (I think I’m being naive).  I’m looking forward to being in the Stamp and getting started with school.  I know that the start of school probably means I’ll be spending less time cooking and baking, something in which I have found much joy.  I am mostly eager for finding out just how much work I have ahead of me.

This has been the longest summer of life.  I’m not used to not being a student.  I feel that my brain might have atrophied.