So, I was on the horns of a dilemma — it was the proverbial 11th hour and I had to come up with a vegan dessert for a “FakesGiving” (a.k.a. early Thanksgiving). I did happen to be near a Trader Joe’s and thought that they surely would have something pre-made that was vegan. No such luck! After circling the same aisles about 10 times (what’s the definition of insanity: trying the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome…) I came to the conclusion that I was just wrong. “Back to the dairy counter,” I thought! And sure enough, they had vegan butter, vegan cream cheese and coconut creamer. I already had some vegan flax eggs in the freezer. I knew I could do something with those ingredients.
Once at home, I looked up cheesecake recipes and found one on the KRAFT website that was adaptable (at least I hoped it would be).
Put crust in the bottom of the pan and bake for 10 minutes
After the pan has cooled own, add the filling
Bake at 325 for one hour
Remove from oven and once the cake has cooled, refrigerate for at least one hour (longer is better).
Take sides off of pan and remove the cake using a large spatula.
I made a ganache by combining a large amount of vegan butter with 2 large chocolate bars (broken into bits), some triple sec and a little salt in a large metal bowl and then poured scalded coconut creamer over the mixture. Just as with any ganache, you stir til it is cooled and all the pieces are incorporated.
I have conquered one of my own, personal, Betes Noir. I have journeyed deep into a culinary jungle, found what I was looking for AND…come out UNSCATHED. I have made a cake that is vegan and gluten free! Voila! This feeling is not dissimilar to the one I had after making a delicious Beef Wellington, although the dishes are POLAR opposites.
I may LOVE Cake, but I ADORE Icing! So making cakes is something that I enjoy, despite the fact that I don’t bake very often. I have been long fascinated, however, by the concept of vegan and gluten free baking. I did a little research and found that the concept of veganism goes back a long way (some 2000 years), but the term was coined in 1944 by Vegan Society Founder, Donald Watson. Similarly, going gluten-free, emerged as a dietary treatment for celiac disease in the 1940s.
So, both of the concepts have been around for a very long time, but, you knew THAT!
On to the cake-making! Since I don’t have any cookbooks that are specifically vegan or gluten-free, I went to the web to find a recipe. I found a site, the Minimalist Baker, (https://minimalistbaker.com/) with tons of great recipes, and decided to adapt their recipe for a Gluten Free Birthday Cake (Vegan). While their dessert was chocolate, I decided to make a Coconut Cake. To my way of thinking, Coconut Cake is very festive, and reminiscent of The Holidays.
I also used some different ingredients, substituting:
Coconut milk for Almond Milk
Coconut flour for Oat Flour
Almond flour for Almond Meal
and, made some other small changes.
Not being completely familiar with the different properties of all the ingredients, I was not sure if it would wind up being a delectable dessert or a big old brick. But, it seems that I lucked out and, using the Minimalist Baker’s directions as a guideline, made a most excellent sheet cake!
Here’s the recipe:
HOLIDAY COCONUT CAKE (VEGAN)
1 hour 15 mins
1 cup (240 ml) unsweetened plain coconut milk
1/4 cup coconut creamer
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
4 flax eggs (4 Tbsp (28 g) flaxseed meal + 10 Tbsp (150 ml) ice cold water)
1 Tbsp (7 g) baking soda
1/2 cup (120 ml) canola oil
1 TBSP agave nectar
2/3 cup (133 g) sugar (half cane sugar and half coconut sugar)
1 1/2 cups (369 g) unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup (110 g) almond flour
1/2 cup (45 g) coconut flour
1 1/2 cups (240 g) Pillsbury Gluten Free Flour
3 large scoops Earth Balance
1 lb of organic powdered sugar
1/3 can coconut cream (or full-fat coconut milk*)
Coconut Creamer to taste
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
Gluten Free Coconut
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and butter 1 sheet cake pan
2.Measure out coconut milk in a liquid measuring cup and add vinegar. Stir and let curdle while moving onto the next step. This adds a nice little tang to the batter.
3.Prepare flax eggs by mixing ice cold water with flaxseed meal in a large mixing bowl and let rest for 5 minutes.
4.Next, add baking soda to the coconut milk vinegar mixture and stir. Set aside.
5.Add the oil, cane sugar, and agave nectar to the flax egg and beat/whisk to combine.
6.Next, add applesauce, vanilla, and salt and beat/whisk to combine. Then add coconut mixture and whisk again.
7.Lastly, add baking powder, almond flour, coconut flour, and gluten-free flour and beat/whisk to combine, making sure no large clumps remain.
8.If the batter appears too thick, add a touch more coconut creamer, but it should be perfect. It should resemble a semi-thick batter that’s pourable.
9.Bake cake for 30-40 minutes (cupcakes for about 28-35 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out completely clean and the edges appears dry. (Time will vary if you subbed ingredients, as well as depending on the size of your pans.) Mine baked in 31 minutes.
10.Let cake rest in the pan for 15 minutes, then carefully run a butter knife along the edges and invert onto a cardboard cake board. Let cool completely.
(I used a cake board because I am going to serve the dessert on a platter.)
In the meantime, prepare your Coconut Icing.
11.Combine Icing ingredients in a mixer — start with the Earth Balance, gradually adding the powdered sugar. Alternate canned coconut cream and sugar, adding salt, extracts and coconut creamer to taste. Whip the mixture at the highest speed until it’s fluffy and delicious!
12.Ice cake and sprinkle with coconut.
NOTE: I absolutely LOVED using the canned coconut cream in the icing! It
extremely calorie-laden (100 calories per 1/4 cup), but adds such a nice, rich
texture! I mean this is COCONUT CAKE…..!!!