Easy Chocolate Cake-Pan Cake

Chocolate Cake-Pan CakeAre you are looking for a simple, vegan cake recipe that is delicious? You, and I, are in luck because I have one. This is adapted from a vintage recipe and the method can’t be easier – you mix and bake in the cake pan. It’s tasty, it’s moist and it’ll will be gone so fast you may want to make two of them.

The cake was initially egg and dairy free so I just had to make it high altitude. I reduced the sugar, baking soda and vinegar while adding more flour and liquid. The liquid called for was cold water, but my chocolate-loving husband wanted more chocolate flavor so I used chocolate almondmilk. I also added mini chocolate chips to keep him happy.

Chocolate Cake-Pan Cake adapted from King Arthur Flour
1 1/2 cups + 2 TBS all-purpose flour
1 cup – 1 TBS vegan sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, or chopped chocolate
1/2 tsp salt
scant 3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup + 1 TBS cold chocolate almondmilk
Preheat oven to 350°F. Measure all dry ingredients into an 8″ x 8” x 2” cake pan. Blend the ingredients together thoroughly with a whisk and scoop out three holes. Pour the vanilla into the first hole, the vinegar into the second, and the vegetable oil into the third. Take the chocolate milk and pour it directly over everything in the pan. Stir all ingredients together with your whisk until they are well blended. Don’t forget to stir the sides, bottom and into the corners being careful not to scrape the pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the sides of the cake start to pull away from the pan. Serve right from the pan.

This cake brings back fond memories of Snackin’ Cakes from the 70s. Do you remember those?

Dazzled by Science

science moleculeHigh altitude baking is fairly simple while still being somewhat difficult. The science is best described by Pat Kendall in High Altitude Baking: “The reason for most baking problems at high altitude is lower atmospheric pressure due to a thinner blanket of air above…This decreased pressure affects food preparation in three related ways.

  1. Leavening gases expand more quickly
  2. Moisture evaporates faster from foods
  3. Water and other liquids boil at lower temperatures

In addition, because the climate of higher altitude areas is usually drier than that of lower altitude areas, flour may be drier and doughs may therefore require more liquid to reach the proper consistency.”

The most troublesome baked goods are cakes as the decreased pressure may cause excess rising which can lead to coarse texture or a fallen cake. To solve this you can do any or all of the following: decrease baking soda, baking powder, or sugar; or increase liquids, flour, or oven temperature. I also cross my fingers on occasion.

This may all be a bit daunting, but I have found that the more I adapt recipes the simpler it seems. Don’t get me wrong – I am still impressed and ecstatic when baked items turn out right!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

red velvet cupcake Nothing says Valentine’s day like red velvet cupcakes, right? I hope not because mine did not turn out red! But they tasted fantastic so I spruced them up with pink and white frosting.

I tried this recipe early in the month so there would be time to perfect them before the holiday. It’s good I did because the first batch came out a bit dry and the texture was off. The second time was a charm. I added extra milk and used vanilla soy for more sweetness, along with more agave nectar and vanilla. Part of the coconut oil was removed in lieu of canola oil. I also used only all-purpose flour to get a better chance at a ‘red’ cupcake but, alas, they just turned a different shade of brown.

The cupcakes turned out moist and were delicious with a vegan buttercream frosting. Although beet-derived food color couldn’t quite make them red, they were fun and flirty for my Valentine.

Red Velvet Cupcake adapted from Babycakes by Erin McKenna
cupcakes
3/4 cup + 1 tsp vanilla soymilk
2 TBS apple cider vinegar
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 TBS baking powder
scant 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup + 3 TBS agave nectar
3 TBS vanilla extract
5 TBS natural beet food coloring
frosting
1/2 cup vegan shortening
1/2 cup vegan margarine
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups organic powdered sugar
1/4 cup soymilk
natural beet food coloring, as desired
For Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 325F. Line two 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Pour milk and apple cider vinegar into a small bowl, but do not stir; set aside to develop into “buttermilk.” In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add oil, agave nectar and vanilla to dry ingredients and stir to combine. The batter will be thick. Using a plastic spatula, add “buttermilk” and mix just until combined. Slowly add food coloring. Pour 1/3 cup batter into each prepared cup, almost filling it.
Bake cupcakes on center rack for 20-22 minutes, rotating the tins halfway through baking time. Finished cupcakes will bounce back slightly when pressed, and toothpick inserted in center will come out clean. Let cupcakes stand in tins for 10 minutes, then transfer them to wire rack and cool completely. Spread frosting over each cupcake. Store cupcakes in an airtight container for up to three days.
For Frosting: Cream shortening and margarine in a stand mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, a cup at a time, until mixed well. Add soymilk and food coloring and blend until light and fluffy.

Do you have a red velvet cake recipe that really turns red?

Happy Valentine’s Day, and happy baking!

Why is there a crater in my cupcake?

cupcake So – you reduced the amount of baking soda and baking powder and there is still a small dimple in the center of your cupcakes. Why? One possibility is the freshness of your leavening agents (those are the baking soda and baking powder).

According to CraftyBaking.com, “Baking powder has a usual useful life of 24 months from the date of manufacture.” To test baking powder for potency, place 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder in some warm water to see if it fizzes.

To test baking soda, put 1 teaspoon in a cup that has 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. If it is still potent it will bubble vigorously. For a plethora of info on leavening agents, click here for more Crafty Baking insights.

It’s also good to know that when baking soda is not neutralized it leaves an odd aftertaste. So, excess or old baking soda will not only affect the ‘rise’ of the cake but also the taste.

If it tastes good and still has a slight dimple, don’t worry – just add a mound of delicious frosting or some sliced fruit. It can only complement your baking.