Sunday, November 7, 2010

Vegan Maple Turtle Cake


It is world Vegan month...so I thought, what better way to celebrate, than make a decadent vegan cake!  What first came to mind was a turtle cake...decadent layers of gooey caramel and chocolate laced with pecans and sandwiched between moist chocolate cake...the type that makes you drool just thinking about it. This cake would be inspired by one I had as a child.  My Mom used to take me to a restaurant in St. Paul called Cafe Latte which is famous for their turtle cake, and it is pretty magnificent with all of it's layers.  I always had to have a nice big piece when she took me there.  But of course theirs is not vegan, so I wanted to create my own veganized version of this fabulous cake that tasted just as decadent, and gooey in every way. 

I already had a dark chocolate cake recipe that I was going to use, and a delicious chocolate  fudge frosting, but what was in question was the caramel.  I wanted a maple caramel...I had added maple to the other components of the cake, maple sugar and extract in the cake layers and maple in the frosting.  But I had never made a vegan caramel before, and I was going to try.  I didn't have a specific recipe, and my first attempt failed.  I burned the sugar, and it separated from the coconut oil I had used in place of butter creating a cement like mess in my stockpot...and making me very very frustrated.  But me not being one to give up started over with a new recipe.  This one used coconut milk in place of the heavy cream, and earth balance in place of the butter.  I had my fingers crossed and was praying that it would turn out as I finished it off with the coconut milk...and it did!  It was delicious!  I had forgotten how good home made caramel could be! 


I assembled my cake, and I was so anxious to dive in that it only sat for about as long as it took me to take the photos of it.  It was heavenly...decadent, rich, gooey, the toasted pecans mingled in with the brownie like cake and fudge frosting with the salted maple caramel!  Party in my mouth!  You definately could not tell that it was vegan.  The maple was definatley a good choice to pair with the pecans and chocolate.  If you need a decadent dessert, this would be a must...and I guess you could use store bought caramel if you don't want to deal with making it, just add a little maple extract and sea salt.  Happy Vegan Month!


Vegan Maple Turtle 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 sea salt

1 cup maple sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup coconut milk, lite or full fat
1 Tbsp maple extract
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp cider vinegar

Salted Maple Caramel:
2 cups maple sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup light agave nectar
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
2 T. Earth balance butter
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp maple extract
2 tsp sea salt

Frosting:
1 1/2 cup agave nectar
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp coconut milk
1 1/2 cups sifted cocoa powder, or more if needed
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp maple extract

2 1/2 cups toasted pecans

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, salt, and sugar in a large bowl to blend well. Whisk oil, coconut milk, maple 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. Keep chilled until you are done assembling the cake.
To make caramel, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the sugar, agave nectar and water to a boil, stirring well at first to dissolve the sugar. Turn down the heat to low and cook until the liquid is deep amber in color, about 15-20 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally to ensure even cooking. Remove the pan from heat. Very carefully (the mixture will bubble), stir in the coconut milk, earth balance butter vanilla, maple extract, and sea salt until smooth. Let cool until it is a thicker constency before using on cake (it gets thicker as it cools).
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 scatter with about 1/2 cup of toasted pecans and drizzle with a heaping 1/4 cup caramel.  Top with a another cake layer and repeat. Top with another cake layer, another frosting layer, pecans, caramel, then the top cake layer. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and the sides of the cake, and arrange whole pecans decoratively on the top of the cake.  Drizzle with caramel, and let it drip down the sides.

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

85 comments:

  1. I totally agree with Caroly, just beautiful! I would love a big slice with a cup of cafe au lait. Bravo, well done! Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe.

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  2. WOW!!! I really want a slice of this.

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  3. I didn't even know this cake existed. I live under a rock. Thank you so much for sharing, it looks stunning!

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  4. Beautiful! The frosting sounds especially yummy yummy yummy!

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  5. Yum! I've made vegan caramel before, but yours sounds so much better. I'll have to try that recipe!

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  6. A beautiful cake for autumn--it looks so gooey and delicious with all the caramel and icing too! ;-)

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  7. The cake looks so amazing! What a way to indulge a sweet tooth!

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  8. I don't know if I need a decadent dessert, but I sure do want one! Your recipes are always so inspiring. I have so many vegan friends, and I am glad to have a source for so many great treats! I love the coconut in this delicious cake. Thanks for sharing my sweet friend! I hope your week is full of joy.

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  9. wow! it looks amazing! I am gonna give it a try :D

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  10. That looks so good. Not in the least bit dry. Great recipe!

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  11. This cake looks amazing! I just want a huge slice and a nice glass of milk. Thanks for sharing :-)

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  12. Just sinful! Do I need to say I want it? ;) All that maple is just wonderful.

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  13. Oh my god, that is so absolutely gorgeous! It's making my mouth water!! I need to make this very soon.

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  14. wow, this looks so great... I hear vegan cakes are very nice and moist...but have not tried one yet. Now's my chance, I guess! :)

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  15. What a stunning cake! I would definitely have to make quite a few trips to the gym after eating a piece of that!

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  17. This is one of the most delicious-looking cakes I have ever seen!!

    When I first saw the photo of this cake, I immediately thought to myself... "How awesome would that be if it was vegan?!" And then I saw that it IS!

    This would be perfect for Thanksgiving!! :

    I know what I will be making now...

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  18. Wow...What a fabulous looking cake. Just love your photo!I like the healthy ingredients you used...

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  19. Amy, I just saw this in the sidebar of another blog on the F.B. gadget-it looks amazing;) Me wants a slice...!

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  20. What a gorgeous cake. It looks delicious. Beautiful job. Have a great day:)

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  21. Oooh- that is so wrong, it's right!

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  22. well, this might just convert me over to the vegan side....it looks so delicious!!!

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  23. Wow. I've got my keyboard all wet with drool now. Well done.

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  24. Vegan cake! My favorite. Happy Birthday to me. . .

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  25. This looks so amazing! I love maple syrup, being French-Canadian and all... bookmarked + can't wait to try it!

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  26. This looks AMAZING! I so wish I had a piece right now!

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  27. wow i thank you for veg n vegan recipe as i am a vegetarian and on the look out for veg dishes..

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  28. I love this! Going to work out a version that is gluten-free. Up for the challenge.

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  29. Stunningly scrumptious looking cake! Did you use canned coconut milk or So Delicious coconut milk beverage for the cake? I've been using it in place of milk in all of my baking, and I'm sure it would work for the cake part of this recipe. But you said "coconut milk" for the cake and frosting and "full-fat coconut milk" for the caramel, so I'm not sure what you mean.

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  30. I always used canned full fat coconut milk such as thai kitchen. Just be sure to mix it well before using!

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  31. Amazing! My family would think I was the best mom/wife in the world if I made this. Well, hopefully they think that already...but this cake would really seal the deal!

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  32. this is going to turn out a gem-find for vegans. but for me too though i'm no where close to being a vegan. thank you for sharing!

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  33. I want to make this, but don't have any maple sugar (not even sure where I'd buy it!). Can I use regular sugar for the caramel?

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  34. Yum!!! I love cakes. This looks so different and interesting. I am looking for a unique dish and thanks to you. I will try once and present it on Christmas. Hopefully, I can manage it.

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  35. Nice Cookies!!! I always loved mint flavour. Its so refreshing. I cant wait to try them especially if they are melting ones. Thanks for the info.

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  36. Wow, what a cake!

    We would love to feature it on MapleSyrupWorld!

    Give us a shout!

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  37. I would love to try this recipe, but I am allergic to coconut. Any suggestion for what I could use in place of the coconut milk and oil?

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  38. You could use a non-dairy soy creamer for the coconut milk, and another type of oil such as almond or canola for the oil.

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  39. This is a fantastic recipe. Thank you so much for sharing, it really looks delicious. I have a vegan recipe for orange cake with only 7 ingredients you might want to take a look. http://dreamsofcakes.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/egg-and-lactose-free-orange-cake-with-only-7-ingredients/

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  40. 2 T. Earth balance butter.
    that is, how much?
    sorry for my english is not goog ;\

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  41. Looks like all your hard work really paid off. That cake looks delectable.

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  42. HOLY delicious!!!!! Can't wait to try this one!

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  43. Happy Vegan Month! That cake is seriously amazing!

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  44. What can I substitute for maple sugar? I don't even know where to buy this in my country and I read that maple sugar is twice sweeter than cane sugar. The cake loos really good!! Thanks!

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    1. Actually cane sugar will work just fine. Maple sugar is a little sweeter, but not 2x. You won't even notice the difference.

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  45. For the past few years my son has requested Cafe Latte's turtle cake as his birthday cake. Since we went vegan almost a year ago that cake is no longer an option. I found your recipe and made this cake today for his 12th birthday. The whole family loved it!! It was chocolate decadence. Although my caramel didn't turn out as thick as I would have liked it (don't think I let it simmer long enough) it was one of the best cakes I have ever baked. Thank you so much for the recipe!!

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    1. So glad you enjoyed the recipe :)! I much prefer this one to the cafe latte one now since it is slightly less sweet. Happy Belated Birthday to your son! Hope it was a wonderful day!

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  46. I'm allregic to coconut...& by products...milk, oil all of it. Can I substitute regular milk or something else?

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    1. Of course! Or if you wanted to keep it vegan, a non-dairy soy creamer.

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  47. I've bookmarked this page to make this for a family gathering!!

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  48. This must have taken forever to make. So decadent. It's so decadent, it gives me a tummy ache when I see it. Mmm...

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    1. Not too bad just the amount of time most of my cakes take ;).

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  49. Will you marry me? =D

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  50. Do you think I could use coconut flour instead of whole wheat flour?

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    1. I would use quinoa flour if you are looking for a gluten free flour. Coconut tends to absorb liquid, so the proportions would be different and it may not turn out.

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  51. Hi Amy! Could I use regular unbleached all purpose flour for this?

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  52. Yes I was looking to make it gluten free Amy. Have you used quinoa flour before? I did alittle research and one woman said it tastes funny unless you toast the flour at a very low temp first. Any thoughts on that?

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    1. I have actually, and I do not find that it tastes funny. A little nutty, but not in a bad way and you will not taste it in a chocolate cake. I have had success with it in cakes and cookies, they tasted good!

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  53. Thank you! Is there a certain brand you use? I think I'm going to order is off nuts.com cus it's alot cheaper than the Bob's brand at the grocery store.

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    1. I meant the quinoa flour..

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    2. I actually buy the Bob's brand because I work at a health food store and get a discount. I am sure the other stuff works just as well though ;).

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  54. This looks really good!!!!

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  55. Would an almond flour work??

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    1. No, it would be to heavy. If you are looking for a gluten free flour I would use quinoa flour.

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  56. I made this for my moms birthday, and OH MY GOSH everyone loved it!! I used the caramel from this recipe on my own vegan chocolate cake recipe, put the caramel in the middle layers with some dried shredded coconut and the toasted pecans, and chocolate frosting on the outside. It was like a super delicious (clean) version of a German chocolate cake! Definitely recommend this recipe :D

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    1. So glad you made it your own! Yum! Your version sounds delicious, I love German chocolate :)!

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  57. I just made this for my husband's birthday and it is divine!

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    1. Awesome :)! So glad you enjoyed it!

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  58. Its really simply awesome! However, is it possible to prepare it RAW?

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    1. I'm sure it is with raw chocolate cake, raw caramel, and raw fudge. Maybe someday I will revamp it raw ;).

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  59. Have you ever tried making this with maple syrup instead of maple sugar? What are your thoughts about maple sugar?

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    1. No, because I only made it once, and now I am a raw vegan so I don't bake anymore. I do not think maple syrup would work, it would create extra moisture. It is essentially the same thing as maple sugar, just not dried, so why not just use the sugar?

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  60. This one Amy!! Oh my goodness....DROOL! I want to make my mom this one for her birthday party on Sunday. Could you be any more tallented? WOW!

    - Mandy @ MandysHealthyLife.com

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    1. Awesome! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did :)!

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  61. Hi! How does this store? Counter? Fridge?

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    1. I would store it in the fridge and it keeps a week.

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