Absolutely the Best Chocolate Cake Ever

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Basically after everything I bake, I say to myself, okay, no more baking, Sam, because really, it’s just not doing anyone any favors. So many (not everyone [hey if you live close to me please come by and get a piece of cake if you so desire], but lots) of my favorite people kind of live far away, and if I’m not baking cookies, well, it’s hard to mail anything else. Which means that I’m basically eating what I make. And my family, who are happy to eat it, but I know it’s not really *healthy* to be constantly making desserts to eat. Subsequently, I force myself to look only at the cooking/savory sections of cookbooks and not think about potential concoctions of flour, cocoa, sugar, and fat du jour.

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Hah. So I think all these things. And then I find myself feeling a little cabin-fevery, freezing, bored, unfocused.

Then, what happens?!?!!? I’m preheating an oven to 350˚F and greasing some pans and mixing wet separately from the dry and mashing avocado…

Wait. What?

Oh yeah. And I turned it into *THE BEST FREAKING CHOCOLATE CAKE + FROSTING EVER.* Also, it’s whole wheat and vegan, but… you SERIOUSLY would N.E.V.E.R. KNOW!      It’s just …

Absolutely the Best Chocolate Cake Ever

Adapted from Avocado Central

Cake:

6 oz high quality dark chocolate (i used a mixture of Baker’s bittersweet chocolate bars, and leftover dark chocolate bars. I’m a dark chocolate fiend. There’s plennnty of sugar to round it all out, don’t worry).

1/4 cup cocoa powder

3 tablespoons water

1 large Hass avocado

2 cups water

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons almond extract

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1 cup granulated sugar-in-the-raw (or whateva sugar)

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 1/2 cups (or 300 g) whole wheat pastry flour (or all purpose)

1/2 cup ground flax seed (original calls for almond meal, but I was too lazy to make some)

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

Frosting:

Here’s what *I* did, based on what I had on hand. Refer to original recipe for…well, the original recipe.

1.5 Hass avocados

2/3 cup powdered sugar

4 Medjool dates

1 banana

2 small packets of honey (either ‘borrowed’ from Panera, or 2 teaspoons form the jar you bought in honesty)

Several grinds of sea salt or a pinch or two of salt

Lots of cocoa (1/4-1/2 cup, or until it’s chocolatey enough. Original recipe does *not* add enough, for sure.)

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder

Strawberries and whipped cream for serving

Directions for cake:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Grease two 9 inch cakepans and dust with cocoa. Seriously. This will give it an amazing crunchy ‘crust’ (wrong word for cake but that’s what it is).

In a glass bowl, combine the chocolate, 4 tbs cocoa powder, and 3 tbs water and set over a pan of simmering water to melt. Stir and melt chocolate until combined and melted.

In a large, high-lidded bowl, add the avocado, 2 cups water, oil, 1 teaspoon espresso powder, the melted chocolate, almond extract, white vinegar, and the sugars. Tip: use an immersion blender to blend it all up, or food processor, or a whisk + strong arm muscles. Get that alllll good and blended.

In a separate, large bowl, mix flour, flaxseed, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt.

Add wet to dry and mix until just combined; don’t overmix even if there end up being little blobs of unmixed flour here and there. It won’t affect the taste or anything.

Pour evenly into the cake pans (this is where having a kitchen scale reallllly comes in handy) and bake for 45 minutes.

When a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, take out and allow to cool. 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a cake stand + plate (one for each layer) and let cool as long as humanly possible. AKA, like, barely an hour, in my case. In the mean time, do those dishes and whip up some frosting:

Frosting: 

In a food processor, add avocado, dates, and banana and mix for a while until as broken down as possible. Then add the rest of the ingredients and adjust to taste.

Put half the frosting on the middle layer, then put the second cake layer on top and frost the top of this. You really don’t need to frost the entire cake; the cake is supremely moist and delicious and you really won’t miss anything. Plus it lets the “crust” stay nice and crispy and delicious.

Decorate with strawberries (I removed the stem, then I cut each in half lengthwise, then again, to make hearts!). Serve with some whipped cream if desired and more strawberries!!

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It was actually kind of funny, in a “what a funny coincidence” kind of way. Today, my parents took my brother back to school. I was working on some grad school stuff and then decided to take a study [baking] break as I am wont to do. I made the cake (with only a few minor mishaps, including a little bit of a sea salt explosion and quick thinking of what I could replace almond meal with). I was thinking, how nice would it be to have some strawberries alongside? (chocolate covered strawberries are probably tied for favorite dessert in the world, the other being chocolate lava cake, and the other being strawberry short cake, and other being mint chocolate chip ice cream…) I decided I’d forgo them since we didn’t have any. I had just finished frosting the cake when parents walked through the door, my mom holding a Costco-sized container of strawberries!

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Such perfect timing.

Since I’ll be in India for my birthday this year, my mom had been secretly planning to give me some early birthday presents tonight. I had no idea but decided to bake a cake anyway… funny how things work out!

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Anyway.

This cake was like, I can’t even describe it, the freaking BOMB. Moist. Delectable. Crunchy, crispy edges, super moist. The frosting was the perfect consistency, and you can’t really taste the espresso but I think it definitely brought out the cocoa-y ness of the chocolate like it is supposed to do. Definitely recommend the strawberries as an accompaniment. You canNOT taste the avocado at all! It’s so, so, so, so, so, so good. I literally outdid myself. I really can’t believe how delicious it came out. Seriously, you’ll never need another cake recipe again. Drooling. Dying. Loving this.

Now I’m watching “Failure to Launch” for like the 27th time (it never gets old for me, one of those movies) and mellowing out the sugar/chocolate rush. Hey, I ran and walked in this bitter icy cold this morning. Chocolate cake is totally my dinner. I’ll go back to writing my lit review tomorrow. 🙂

Other chocolate cake recipes:
Beet Chocolate Cake (with peanut butter saucy frosting)

German Chocolate Cake (Vegan)

Chocolate Pudding Cake

Chocolate Chunk Cookie Cake (vegan)

I have been eyeing this recipe for a while now.

Why I waited so long I have no idea. It’s full of [homemade] chocolate… and not to mention garbanzos, whole grain oats, dates, my new favorite ingredient–coconut oil, and a few other ingredients that are just baking standbys (baking powder, salt, etc).

If you’re sitting there gagging inwardly to yourself after reading that sentence, I dare you to have the same reaction after seeing this photo.

Huge chocolate chunks in a deliciously tender-yet-gooey cake base. Not too sweet; perfect for bitter-chocolate lovers and for those looking to lower their sugar intake (just 1/4 cup sugar in the cake and a bit of agave in the chocolate). Filling enough for breakfast; decadent enough for dessert. Especially when warmed and topped with vanilla [banana] ice cream.

Plus, I got to use my spring-form pan — and it worked out beautifully!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

Adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie

1 cup old-fashioned oats (rolled, not instant or steel-cut)

1/4 cup granulated or raw sugar (I love Sugar in the Raw)

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Two 15-oz cans garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed

300g pitted dates, soaked in water for a few hours until soft

1/4 cup applesauce

2/3 cup unsweetened Silk

3 tablespoons coconut oil

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup chocolate chips or your own chocolate: 4 tablespoons coconut oil (melted) + 1/2 cups & 1 tablespoon cocoa + 1 tablespoon agave, mixed, spread in about a 1/4 inch thick layer, chilled, then later broken into huge chunks (recipe also from Chocolate Covered Katie)

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease (I used PAM) a 10-inch springform pan or two 8-inch round pans. Add all dry ingredients (the first 5) in a large food processor, process until oats are ground, and remove and set aside.

Next, in a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients except the chocolate. Add some of this mixture to food processor (which is now empty) a bit at a time, processing until very smooth. You may need to remove some of the processed wet ingredients to have enough room to properly process the remaining wet.

Once all the wet is processed, add the dry ingredients to all of the wet in the food processor and process until combined and smooth. (See original recipe if your food processor is smaller).

Remove, add to a bowl, and add the chocolate. If using homemade, stir quickly as it will begin to melt a little as soon as it hits the batter.

Pour into greased pan(s) and bake for 35-40 minutes, until looking golden on top. Let cool 15 minutes, remove. Serve warm (or warmed for 15 seconds in the microwave per slice) with ice cream if desired.

This was so delicious. Chickpeas have a great texture in this and lend themselves to a nice, flakey crust on top but gooey inside. The chocolate chunks are friggin’ to die for. Frosting? Unnecessary! Ice cream? … Almost unnecessary! The cake is definitely delectable on its own for a snack, but when warm with ice cream dripping down, it’s insane. Yes, this is definitely not on the list of sweeter desserts, but can easily be made into one (see original recipe). I enjoyed the less-sweetness as it allowed me to taste the ingredients more and just enjoy it more.

Why I decided to blog this at 7 in the morning before I’ve had breakfast, I can’t tell you.

German Chocolate Cake (vegan)

It took 21 years, but it happened.

I FINALLY enjoy the taste and texture of coconut.

And just in time for my dad’s birthday.

German Chocolate Cake (Vegan)

Adapted from Fat Free Vegan

frosting

1 cup plain unsweetened soymilk
1/3 cup coconut milk (I used regular)
1 1/4 cups raw sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water until smooth
8 oz unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped pecans

Mix soymilk, coconut milk, sugar, and vanilla in a medium saucepan and add the cornstarch mixture. Cook over medium-high heat and stir stir stir until the mixture boils and thickens–you’ll think nothing’s happening and then like MAGIC it’ll thicken into a beautiful viscous sauce. Cook about a minute and then take off the heat, and stir in the coconut and pecans.

Allow to cool for about 10 minutes (mixture should still be warm) before spreading on cake.

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I used this chocolate cake recipe, also from Fat Free Vegan, and added a few chocolate chips for good measure.

I divided the mixture into two 9″ cake pans, cooked for about 32 minutes, and they made two beautiful shallow cakes; the frosting was the perfect amount to cover everything and the middle. I also frosted the cakes when they were still a bit warm, which trapped the steam and caused the cakes to taste very moist, decadent and rich.

This cake came out AMAZING. So good. And pretty easy, too. The frosting was the perfect level of sweetness to combat the darker chocolate flavor of the cake, which was a beautiful dark color due to the imperceptible beets (secret ingredient!).

Yay for my first full day back home! Successful mall shopping day, and then relaxing yoga class after (2 helpings of) bday cake. Happy birthday, Daddy!

Chocolate Pudding Cake


Never mind my little red slipper in the corner. There are much more important things to discuss…

…such as rich, velvety, chocolate pudding cake. Served warm, with a gooey molten chocolate syrup that forms beneath the tender, brownie-like cake layer, that can only be reached once you crack through the crispy, crunchy brown sugar topping. Oh, and to get to the chocolate bit at all, you must of course fight your way through a scoopful of cool, vanilla ice cream that is slowly melting into the chocolate crevices.

This has become my favorite dessert. It has surpassed all others, including red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, chocolate chip cookies, tiramisu, ice cream cake… it’s so simple, so easy, and so. freakin. delicious.

The top bakes to perfect crunchiness, while the bottom remains molten. In the last minute or so of baking, the bottom began to bubble up through the top… which meant that I could commence renewed salivation for this delectable treat.

Chocolate Pudding Cake

Adapted from Tasty Kitchen (saw the pin on Pinterest!)

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoons salt

7 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, divided

1 1/4 cup sugar-in-the-raw, or granulated, divided

1/2 cup unsweetened soymilk

1/3 cup melted butter

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 1/2 cup steaming hot tap water

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, three tablespoons of cocoa, and 3/4 cup of raw sugar.

Stir in the milk, melted butter, and vanilla, and mix until thoroughly combined. Pour into an ungreased 8-inch baking dish. You could use a clear glass dish or for a nice contrast, a white Corningware dish of similar size (I used a 1.8 L dish).

In another bowl, combine the remaining sugar (1/2 cup), the brown sugar, and remaining cocoa (four tablespoons) and sprinkle evenly over the batter.

Pour the hot water over all, and do not stir it (no matter how much you want to). It will look strange and watery, but sometimes strange circumstances lead to perfection.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until center is set; it was difficult to tell, so I just took it out right at 40. It’ll pretty much be good when it looks like it’s done, and there’s no raw egg to worry about.

Unfortunately, this will be piping hot and will need to cool. I managed to hold back about 10-15 minutes before scooping it out.

Serves 10 normal people or 5 chocoholic, sweet-toothed people. (I am the latter.)

Spoon some banana soft serve (or regular vanilla ice cream) on top and serve. You could drizzle some chocolate pudding on top of the ice cream… but I like to try to prolong the melting as long as possible. The best is getting a little bit of ice cream… and a little hot pudding cake.. on the same spoon… and eating at the same time. Any OCD you have about your food touching, please try to forget and enjoy the deliciousness that is this dessert.

Chocolate Cake with Beets and Peanut Butter Banana Saucy Frosting

I made a cake.

A chocolate cake.

An almost vegan chocolate cake with beets in the batter and tofu in the frosting.

For no reason.

Except that it was the 158015th day of rain this year and I had cabin fever.

Good thing it was … so, so good.

PS: Make the frosting first, so it can chill in the fridge while you make the cake.

Chocolate Cake with Beets

Adapted from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen

1 can of beets

water

unsweetened apple sauce

thick Greek yogurt

2 tbsp. water

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

1/2 cup cocoa

1/2 cup + 3 T raw sugar

1 tbsp. cornstarch

2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Rinse off the beets. Puree with your tool of choice (food processor, blender, immersion blender) with 1/4 cup water until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Oil or spray your cooking pan(s). I used 2 round cake pans.

Put the pureed beets into a 2-cup measure. I added about 1/2 cup-2/3 cup apple sauce to finish the jar and then a few dollops of greek yogurt (maybe 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup? Eyeball it. The original recipe did not include this, but I think it made the cake super good and fudgey. Add the 2 tablespoons water, vanilla extract, and apple cider to the beets and mix well (I re-immersion blendered it).

Mix the dry ingredients together; then add the beet mixture and stir until well-combined. I also added some chopped chocolate chips. Bake for 35-60 minutes, depending on the size of pan you use: more for small, deep pans and less for a 9X13 pan. I used two round cake pans and I think it took about 35 minutes or so. Test by inserting a toothpick into the center; it’s done when the toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely before cutting and serving.

Banana Peanut Butter Saucy Frosting

6 oz silken tofu

1 banana

2 tbsp. natural peanut butter

1/4-1/3 cup agave nectar, to taste (less was more for me)

1/4 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. lemon juice

Crushed peanuts

Blend all ingredients except the crushed peanuts in a food processor or blender until smooth. Refrigerate until needed. The sauce will thicken in the fridge, so it’s best to give it time to chill if you plan to sandwich it between layers of cake. (Mine was actually kind of thin. Not sure if adding more tofu would give it some more thickness). I put some in the layer and sprinkled the peanuts in it, then spread the rest of the sauce over the top of the cake and sprinkled more peanuts on it.
Makes 8 servings.

This is not a cloyingly sweet cake, but through the rich chocolate flavor there is a subtle sweetness. It is deliciously dense and moist, almost like you’re eating a little meal than a dessert, due to the whole wheat flour, undetectable beets, and yogurt.

Suddenly rainy days don’t seem so bad anymore.