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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Healthy Chocolate Cake and Other Baking Exploits

Hey. Amid working on my zine, avoiding reading, breakdowns, and boring salad after boring salad, I did bake something I wanted to share with you guys. I've been pretty good with the sugar intake lately but one night G and I both really just wanted something sweet. I hadn't planned on baking beforehand, so I just worked with what I had on hand and with a few ingredients I wanted to get into.
I had purchased almond meal from Trader Joe's (I always write Trader Hoe's..which makes me laugh) a loooong time ago with hopes of linzer cookies and perhaps some Almond-Apricot cupcakes from VCTOTW (been a long time since I mentioned that acronym) and those might still be in the works but my first instinct is always chocolate. I did want to keep with the low, naturally sweetened baking and always, always, lower fat - which is great because chocolate is so forgiving. I worked around the chocolate cake recipe in The Joy of Vegan Baking and here it is with my adaptations:

Healthy Chocolate Cake
1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c. almond meal
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1/2 oz. (1 large square) 100% cocoa, melted (this is what I used)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 TBS. canola oil
1 TBS white distilled vinegar
3 mejdool dates, pitted and mashed well
1/2 c. agave syrup
3/4 c. cold water

-Preheat oven to 350. Lightly oil, or line with parchment paper, an 8 or 9 inch cake pan.
-Sift dry ingredients together. Create a well in the center and add wet ingredients in. Mix until just incorporated. It may be a little lumpy, but that's okay.
-Pour into your prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
-Cool on a wire rack and top with fresh fruit or powdered sugar, if desired. I ate it plain.

This is such an easy recipe. It's definitely not super sweet but the dates make little appearances in a bite that are moist and delicious. Sarahfae wrote about how to make date paste and use it on her Addicted to Veggies blog here. I only read this post after making the cake - I simply chopped up a bunch of dates and sprinkled them into the batter. I'd also like to try another variation with almond extract as well as vanilla. Almond meal makes the cake very moist but doesn't impart much flavor. Anyway, let me know how you guys enjoy it, if you do try it.
I also finally made a Sarah Kramer calendar recipe after eschewing her previous two months' recipes. March is a recipe for Sassy Sandwich Bread, which I can totally get down with, especially when the band rep for the month is the Beastie Boys or, as she depicts them, the Yeastie Boys.

With the help of yeastie, this bread only has to rise for an hour and 15 minutes, which is nice when you totally just want some soft, tasty fresh bread to sink yr teeth into. It was tasty stuff, too. I did sub half Whole Wheat flour in. My only complaint is how sticky the dough was, but oh well. Sarah Kramer has redeemed herself. I definitely want to make it again.
More baking stuff-wise, I interviewed (tried out?) for a job as a vegan pastry assistant, which was a huge step in itself in me actually leaving the house and doing what I said I would. I might have screwed up here and there but it sounds like an awesome job...I'll let you know if it works out.
Another reason I haven't posted so much of late is that G and I have been busy planning another dinner party for his dad - it's tonight so I'm gonna go run to start prepping and cleaning and FREAKING OUT AHHHH jk jk


  1. I may have to try this cake...maybe a single-serving, though...with 1 date!

  2. The cake looks bombalicious! haha! I hope you are ok. No more breakdowns ok?


    THAT bread looks AMAZING!!!!!! I wanna eat it all!!

    Oh yum. I'm drooling.

    Over bread...I'm so lame.

    Thanks for sharing!!!

  4. The cake and the bread both look awesome! I'm definitely bookmarking the cake recipe, and I hope you gave the interviewer the link to your blog so he/she can see all the great stuff you bake...vegan pastry assistant sounds like a great job: Good Luck!

  5. i got so excited when i read that youwent for a job as a VEGAN pastry chef assistant!!that would be so awesome for you! i really really hope you get it Maud. chocolate cake looks good:)

  6. I'm sure the dinner party was lovely, pictures or not! That bread looks amazing, so squishy! I have the calendar so I'm sure I'll be making it soon...

  7. Okay, now I'm a bit grouchy! I was already signed in, wrote a nice loooong comment to you, clicked on "post comment", then blogger to took me to the sign-in page, eliminating my comment! Grr. Hmm. Soooo, what I was saying was - are you making your own "zine"? It's great that you can eat healthy and have a chocolate cake! I also think it's great that there's even a job opening for a vegan pastry assistant. Tell us how the dinner party went! That was about it, I guess.

  8. Well, good luck with the job situation. That sounds totally cool. If this one doesn't work out, you should keep looking in that direction. Sometimes I think about what I would possibly do whenever I go back to work (ONE day, let's not think about that yet)...and it's hard to come up with anything that I'd really want to do. Things like that sound interesting, though.

    Your baking efforts look like they paid off!

  9. What a cute little loaf of bread! Just enough to make one sandwich. Can't wait to make it.

  10. Good luck with the job! Sounds like a way cool job!
    That cake looks so yummy. I haven't had the time to bake, but I did make some fast brownes last night....I was haveing a bad chocolate craving....ha I'll blog about them later. :o)
    That bread looks delish also! I'm all about bread.

  11. Aimee, let me know if you do! I'd love to see this as a mini muffin..and to see how far you can stretch that one date ;)

    Carissa, thanks :) I am certainly trying.

    LS, it WAS pretty delicious but there was CAKE in this post too, ya know!

    Rose, I actually did give them the link but now I feel so unprofessional and unpolished! I'm trying to remember how many times I mention drinking!

    Michelle, yeah, I almost went to another bakery for a job interview but the idea of potentially working with milk and butter and eggs really freaked me out. This vegan place was really cute though!

    Dianne, I'm trying to salvage leftovers photos!

    Blessed Mama, thanks for trying again :) Yup, I've been making a food zine for about 3 years now. Let me know if you'd ever like a copy! And yeah, I'm pretty happy about the available vegan jobs in the city...even if I don't get them personally.

    Jenny, I know how you feel. I'm so all over the board trying to narrow down my interests to get a job. I will keep trying, but it's hard without any previous experience, ya know?

    Shen, I'm already imaging what you're going to put on that sandwich! Yves bologna with pickles on the side? I just ate it straight up!

    Michelle, thanks, we'll see how the job sitch goes. Chocolate in any form is great for a craving, especially brownies.

  12. Very impressive for a cake with only 1 tablespoon of oil! I'm always leery of low-fat baked goods because they tend to have texture issues, but that crumb looks gorgeous.

  13. Thanks, Hannah! Oh man, I feel like YOU seeing my horribly lit, messy photos put me to shame! It was totally the dates that make it look like that, I think.

  14. Oh, yes, I would LOVE a copy! Did I miss a post where you wrote about it at length? Do you have contributors? How did it get started? You can reach me at my e-mail on profile, if you want. Tank Ewe!


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