Saturday, October 2, 2010

Vegan Mocha Almond Layer Cake


 I really enjoy making layer cakes...the whole process, all the steps involved I actually find enjoyable.  What I enjoy the most of course is the sampling of the excess trimmed from the layers and licking the excess frosting from the bowl, but there are artistic elements involved as well.  There is something calming to me about decorating the cake and admiring the finished product with all of it's towering beautiful layers of goodness!  Which is exactly why this weekend I decided I needed to make one!  But I didn't want to end up in a sugar coma from too much refined white flours and sugars, so it was time for me to get creative and come up with a layer cake that would be kind to my system, but still be scrumptious! 


Chocolate was going to be included for sure this time, because I was in the mood for it.  I haven't made a vegan cake in years but I decided that this would be the perfect time to do so, and I had a great vegan chocolate cake recipe!  It is actually adapted from the Moosewood Cookbooks, but has my own spins on it since I never leave recipes alone.  What I love about it is it takes minutes to mix up and pour into the pans if you have all the ingredients ready, and bakes in 20 minutes.  An idiot could make this, as it is really hard to mess up no egg whipping and beating of air involved...and if you baked the same recipe in a 9 inch pan and had one layer it would be really simple. 


I wanted this to be a mocha cake, so I added my leftover morning Alakef Highlander Grogg coffee to the batter instead of water, and added a little coffee extract.  I also threw in some cinnamon for good measure.  The layers were delicious, and if I were tasting this cake and didn't know any better I would not be able to tell it was vegan!  I wanted a decadent gooey fudge like frosting, so I blended together creamy almond butter with agave nectar and cocoa powder with some coconut milk to smooth it out even more.  It was so good...lucky there was enough to finish frosting the cake, because I "sampled" so much of it!  It was like fudge...nutty chocolaty goodness.  I topped the cake off with crunchy toasted almonds and voila!  Heaven...well, at least eating it was.  Almost like a stacked brownie with fudgy goodness that melted in the mouth.  Hard to believe this cake was vegan, and wouldn't have had I not made it myself!  Every chocolate lover should try making this cake, and if the idea of layers scares you, bake it in a 9 inch round pan and frost the top and sides. 


Vegan Mocha Almond Layer Cake
Makes 1 6 inch 4 layer cake

2 6 inch cake pans

Cake:
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use ghirardelli)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup maple sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup cold strong brewed coffee
1 Tbsp finely ground good quality coffee beans
2 tsp coffee extract
1 tsp pure almond extract
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp cider vinegar

Frosting:
1 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup toasted almond butter
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp coconut milk, or more if needed
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, or more if needed
1 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp coffee extract

1 cup toasted sliced almonds
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and position rack in center of oven. Line two six-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides with parchment paper. Coat parchment paper and pan sides with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and sugar in a large bowl to blend well. Whisk oil, coffee, ground coffee, coffee extract,  almond extract, and vanilla extract together in small  bowl to blend well, then whisk into the flour mixture until well blended.  Whisk in cider vinegar and stir quickly (pale swirls will be in the batter, which is the baking soda reacting with the vinegar, which allows the cake to rise since there are no eggs). Transfer cake batter to prepared pan and bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Cool cake completely in pan on rack, about 1 hour. Cut around sides of pan to loosen. Turn cake out onto platter; peel off parchment paper. Let cool completely, then place in the fridge to chill until very cold to make slicing easier (since cakes with no eggs crumble easier).  When chilled, slice cakes horizontally in half so that you have 4 layers. To make frosting, whisk all ingredients together in a medium bowl until very smooth, adding more cocoa powder if the frosting is not thick enough, or more coconut milk if too thick. Place a layer of cake on a plate, and spoon about 1/2 cup frosting over, almost to the sides, then top with another layer and repeat. Top with another cake layer, another frosting layer, then the top cake layer. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and the sides of the cake, and sprinkle almonds over the top of the cake, and at the base.

*if you would like a 4 layer 9 inch cake, double this entire recipe and bake in two 9 inch cake pans.


17 comments:

  1. This looks amazing!!! I can't wait to try it. Was it moist?

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  2. It was as moist as a non-vegan cake surprisingly! I think it was the coconut oil that kept it that way.

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  3. Wow! I'm lost for words.. wow.. :D

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  4. I adore making layer cakes too. You feel so accomplished when you finally lick off the last bit of frosting from your knife/spatula. This cake looked so moist, and the almonds on top are a lovely touch! They not only look pretty but they add a crunch to each bite. Thank you for sharing with us tonight!

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  5. Congrats on your Top 9 and on a spectacular vegan cake. I have yet to make such an extravagant cake. I want a slice now! :)

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  6. It looks amazing. I would never think it was vegan.

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  7. Wow, this looks great!! I may have to whip it up for my next get together.

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  8. Wow this looks great! Now if only my vegan best friend liked chocolate.

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  9. Hello, I haven't had any chance to say thank you for being an online friend on Foodbuzz. Thank you :)

    What a talented cook you are. This look superb!

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  10. This looks so good! I have to make a birthday cake for my employee.... now I have found it!!!

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  11. I really like your recipes - this one sounds great. I'm always on the lookout for something for my vegan customers.

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  12. Loving your website! This cake looks awesome and I am definitely going to make it!

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  13. Beatiful! So decadent and moist looking.

    Is pastry flour different from regular flour? and where do you get it?

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  14. Awesome! I need to try this recipe myself!! Loooooove chocolate cake.

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  15. FFFFfff, that looks good! T-T

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  16. i follow the paleo diet and wanted to know if I could sub almond flour for the whole wheat flour. it's been a while since I baked a vegan cake, but I have baked many almond flour cakes with success. this just looks too good to pass up- even if it flops, I still wanna try it.

    -joanna

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    1. You could try it, but it may not rise as well because almond flour is so dense.

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