My brother and I grew up with a Mom that baked. There was no such thing as not having cake in the house, and it was always fresh and there was always plenty. Mom didn’t store her cakes in the fridge as I do. Hers, I guess, never lasted long enough to make it to the fridge. Mom had two sisters and each had a specialty. Mom’s younger sister prided herself in being able to recreate the fancy dishes that were served in restaurants while Mom’s older sister enjoyed reproducing the recipes that were brought with the family from the “Old Country”, from Poland from where the family emigrated to America in the early 1920’s.
Mom’s specialties were cakes, cakes of all kinds: apple cakes, banana cakes, nut cakes, yeast cakes, cheese cakes, sponge cakes, cakes with cinnamon and raisins and cookies that she made especially for the holidays. With the exception of one that was labeled “Bubbie’s (Grandma’s) Apple Cake”, I have no idea what the origin was of any of these other recipes.
All of these appeared… and disappeared frequently during my childhood, but there was one that Mom made only twice a year, once for my brother’s birthday in the winter and once for mine in the summer. It was presented each year at the appropriate date until both my brother and I grew up and moved away. It was a chocolate cake, so rich and moist that nothing that I have ever tasted since my childhood can compare to it.
This had become my go to recipe whenever I wanted a chocolate cake as the basis for anything to be decorated. But Mom’s original recipe included eggs, an ingredient that I cannot use for vegan cakes. I’m sure that Mom never dreamed of a cake made without eggs and that she never heard the term vegan, but that’s what I’m about to share with you.
I’ve taken Mom’s basic super delicious moist chocolate cake and made it vegan. And for good measure I’ve added some of Chef Yener’s orange paste. Chef Yener gives instructions for using lemon paste in the important notes section of his Butter Cake Recipe which I previously incorporated into my “Make it Vegan – Vegan Lemon Cream Cake Recipe” that appears on yenersway. Since he notes that the lemon paste would work just as well with oranges and since orange flavor goes very well with chocolate I decided to team up the two:
- 2 cups flour
- 11/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup cocoa
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup applesauce
- 3/4 cup oil (canola is best)
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup orange cream (orange and sugar after being processed together)
- 1/2 cup of hot water
- 1. Mix all the liquid ingredients together.
- 2. Add in the dry ingredients one at a time mixing and blending together after each addition.
- 3. Add in the flour last and mix only until all the flour has dissolved. This cake can even be mixed by hand with just a fork and a bowl.
- 4. Bake in 2 eight inch round parchment lined baking tins in a preheated oven at 180 degrees celcius for 30-40 minutes. For “An Octopus’s Garden” I used one eight inch tin and one 6 inch tin. Test for doneness with a toothpick pricked in the center.
- 1. See Chef Yener’s recipe for lemon paste which can be found in the Important Notes section of the Butter Cake Recipe on this site. I substituted one orange for the lemon, weighed it prior to cooking, and then added an equal weight of white granulated sugar. I then processed the whole mixture until creamy.
- 2. I added several tablespoons of this orange cream to the recipe that I use for crusting American “butter cream” (I use margarine to keep it vegan.). Not only did it add a delicate orange flavor, but it also produced an orange tinged and flecked “butter cream” that was just perfect for my coral reef cake. The added benefit, of course, was that I achieved the hue that I wanted without adding lots of “E” loaded food colorings.
- 3. If there is a dome in the center of the cake after baking, press down gently and smooth using a piece of parchment paper while the cake is still warm. The dome will disappear.
- 4. Remove the cake from the tin with the parchment paper that it was baked on. Leave the parchment attached until the cake has completely cooled.
Just an added note: I learned to do the star fish and the green coral at the side of the cake from Chef Yeners tutorials 🙂