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Review of Cook's Vegan Chocolate Cake

Veteran Member
13638 posts
Joined: Jul 17, 2006


Posted to Thread #18128 at 11:55 pm on Apr 26, 2010

I'm a died-in-the-wool carnivore, so when I have to come up with a vegan dessert, it just doesn't come naturally. I usually end up with the old stand-by war-era recipe using cocoa powder and boiling water, but wanted to try something new. I found this Cook's Illustrated recipe and decided, "why not". Well, it was FABULOUS!! My DH ate a cupcake without knowing it was vegan cake AND frosting. He's sometimes blunt to the point of crass, but always gives me an honest opinion. He loved it!! I took the cupcakes to the party today and all the vegans had to come tell me how good they were. Whew! Now that I have the chocolate cake under my belt, I'll have to branch out :)

Oh, and instead of making the two 9" rounds in the recipe, I made cupcakes (it made exactly 24) and I baked them for 18 min. The frosting was REALLY yummy as the silken tofu (the shelf product, not the dairy-case product) creams up so beautifully.

And here's another poster's review:
Vegan Chocolate Cake
Cook’s Illustrated

Where the meticulous testers found specific brand-name products worked best in baking the "perfect" cake, those product names are given in parenthesis in the ingredient list.

• 1 and 2/3 cups natural large-crystal cane sugar (testers preferred Sugar in the Raw)
• 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup oat flour
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
• 1/3 cup natural cocoa (testers preferred Scharffen Berger Natural Cocoa Powder)
• 1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
• 1 cup hot brewed coffee
• 1 cup light coconut milk
• 2 tablespoons cider or white wine vinegar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 3/4 cup vegan butter substitute (testers used Spectrum Spread)

• Two 10-ounce packages vegan or other semisweet chocolate chips (testers used Tropical Source)
• 1/2 cup hot brewed coffee
• 4 tablespoons boiling water
• 1/2 cup light coconut milk
• 4 ounces silken tofu

To make the cake:
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray; set aside. Process sugar in a food processor to a fine powder, 30 to 40 seconds. Sift sugar, flours, baking soda and salt into a large bowl, then whisk to combine. Combine cocoas and chocolate in a large bowl and cover with hot coffee; whisk until smooth.

Combine coconut milk, vinegar and vanilla in large measuring cup. Place vegan butter substitute in a medium bowl. Add coconut milk mixture in two additions, whisking until smooth after each. Add vegan butter-coconut milk mixture to the chocolate mixture and whisk to combine, then add this mixture to dry ingredients and fold gently with rubber spatula until just incorporated and no streaks of flour remain.

Divide batter evenly between cake pans and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, switching position of and rotating pans after 12 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours.

To make the frosting:
Place chocolate chips in a medium bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Pour hot coffee and boiling water over chips, then whisk until smooth. Whisk in coconut milk until incorporated. Process chocolate mixture and tofu in food processor until smooth and combined, 10 to 15 seconds, scraping down bowl once or twice.

Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cool and texture resembles firm cream cheese, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (If mixture has chilled for longer and is very stiff, let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.)

Transfer cooled chocolate mixture to the bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Whip mixture at high speed until fluffy, mousse-like, and the mixture forms medium stiff peaks, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.

To assemble, invert cakes from their pans. Spread a dab of frosting in center of a cardboard round cut slightly larger than a cake. Place one cake, centered, on the cardboard round. The frosting helps hold it in place.

Using an icing spatula, spread about 1 cup frosting evenly onto the top of the first cake. Place the second cake on top of frosted bottom layer and spread about 1 cup frosting on top. Cover sides of cake with remaining frosting.

Inside me lives a skinny woman crying to get out, but I can usually shut her up with cookies!

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