July 20, 2004
Cuckoo for Cocoa Cake

If you've had the good fortune to eat at the Chicago Vegetarian Diner, you may have tried the cocoa cake with chocolate mousse frosting. The cake is richly flavored and hides well it's Vegan origins. I've modified the original recipe to change out the wheat pastry flour for unnatural bleached pastry flour. I've also added a suggestion I haven't tried yet, but plan to try next time out.

The vegan chocolate mousse, which is used as the frosting, is perfect. I've never had "real" chocolate mousee that compares. This recipe makes a big batch. Serve the rest in layers in wine glasses with fresh whipped cream flavored with a bit of vanilla extract.

Cocoa Cake (based on Chicago Diner's Cocoa Cake)
1 ¼ cup unbleached flour
1 cup pastry four, plus a big pinch
½ cup cocoa
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder

1 ¾ cups maple syrup
1 cup water
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 tbsp applesauce or mashed banana*

Oil an 8-inch cake pan. Preheat the oven to 350º F.
Sift the dry ingredients together in one bowl. Mix the wet ingredients in a second bowl with a whick. Slowly add the dry to the wet until lumps have disappeared and the mix is smooth.

Pour the batter into the cake pan, bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out smooth, between 30-40 min. Cool in pan. Run a knife around the edge to prevent sticking. Turn cake over to cool on cookie rack until room temperature before frosting.

Frost with Chicago Diner Vegan Chocolate Mousse (below).

*I have not tried the addition of the banana or applesauce, but the cake tastes like it would benefit from it. If you omit this ingredient, remove the pinch of pastry flour.

Chicago Diner Vegan Chocolate Mousse
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups plain soymilk
2 tablespoons maple syrup
12 oz. drained firm tofu
1 teaspoon orange or mint extract (optional)

Melt chocolate chips in the top of a double boiler or in a metal bowl over a saucepan with an inch of water in the bottom.

Mix the tofu, soymilk, and maple syrup in a blender. Add the melted chips and extract (if desired), blend, and chill. It will firm up as it chills.

Once chilled, use to frost cocoa cake above.

This mousse recipe is close to verbatim from the Chicago Diner Cookbook and I wouldn't change a thing.

If you've never drained tofu, cut the brick of tofu out of its package, and place it on top of three or four folded paper towels. Place three or four paper towels on top of that, a book or other flat hard surface on top of that, and a can of tomatoes on top of that. You don't want to crush the tofu (i.e. don't use the Oxford English Dictionary as the book), but you do want to press the water out of the tofu for 15-30 minutes before you use it.

My spooky black cat likes the cake.

No, he's not missing an ear, he just won't sit still.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at July 20, 2004 11:53 AM | TrackBack Print-friendly version
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