This one was pretty epic, so it deserves its own blog.
It all started out with a simple recipe. Actually there was nothing really simple about this recipe – from trying to find the ingredients to the process itself, this was an experience from start to finish.
In my town I have an H.E.B. supermarket which has a good selection of health conscious food. I found my vegan cheese there, and my agave nectar. It’s a little more pricey for these things but at least I can invest in the items I’ll use more than once.
Let’s hope that’s the case for the coconut oil – which cost nearly $5 for the only sized container that they had. And I only needed one tablespoon. I see a recipe hunt in my future.
I also found the chocolate chips but turns out the bag was really small so I didn’t have *exactly* the right amount by almost 1/4 of a cup.
This will come to play later on in our tale.
The only things I couldn’t find were the unsweetened coconut flakes and the vegan butter. So it wasn’t *completely* vegan or *completely* sugar-free – but when you consider by how much I will say it was close enough.
It kinda had to be.
So I started this ambitious project yesterday evening. I followed the recipe as much as was possible with the lack of chocolate chips, and tried to beat the ingredients until they were creamy.
It never got creamy.
I beat n’ beat n’ beat n’ beat but it still stayed… for lack of a better word… chunky.
I grew ever more concerned until I put the almond milk in at the very end, when it finally began to look something like icing should look.
But I never could get all that tofu fully processed with the mixer.
By the time I was finished with the icing I was finished with cooking altogether as my back let me know exactly how unhappy it was with the entire affair, and has given me grief ever since. I kinda thought maybe I wouldn’t continue to make the cake at all. Figuring all the work that had to go into it and worrying it would not turn out left me pretty discouraged over the how the whole thing was shaping up, frankly.
And I was pretty scared to even take a taste.
Finally, a bit later, I reached in and grabbed some on my finger to find that even with the bits of tofu, the icing tasted like really rich dark chocolate icing. Kinda bitter, exceedingly rich – and nothing tofu-y at all, just a little more chewy in spots than I expect icing to be.
Bolstered by this knowledge I trudged through the cake making process earlier tonight. My back still made quite the protest but I said screw it. I was going to get this sucker done and over with. I made peace if it didn’t turn out, that’s okay. That is the basis of an experiment week. Not everything is going to turn out great.
Not all of my old recipes with meat and dairy worked either. That’s just how it works with new recipes.
I broke out my mini food processor to see if I could get the tofu a little less block like. I was overjoyed to discover that when pulsed enough it actually does turn creamy (er) after all.
My enthusiasm began to quickly wane when I began adding more ingredients and I realized that this wasn’t batter. It was Spackle. It got thicker and thicker and I realized there were no wet ingredients to smooth it out.
When I turned the bowl out to “pour” the batter into the baking dish, it landed with a thud.
I then began to smush it out with the back of a plastic spoon to spread it evenly into the pan, growing more and more convinced I was baking a brick not a cake.
I put it in the oven and began the timer (which was essentially telling the hubby to tell me when 35 minutes had passed), and hoped for the best. I thought, well if it rises like most cakes do it won’t look like I had to literally lay it out like mortar.
Thirty five minutes passed and I pulled the cake (?) out of the oven.
It didn’t rise.
But the toothpick did not break trying to insert into the center, so I felt some relief. I let it cool and then spread out the chunky icing over the top. A pretty cake, it ain’t.
Tentatively I cut myself a piece.
Gingerly I took a bite.
I’m happy to report that despite it all… the cake actually did turn out pretty good taste wise. There’s still a matter of texture for the icing but it tastes so rich and so chocolatey you can’t even tell it was once a block of tofu, or that it was missing any chocolate chips. Overall it turned out resembling a dark chocolate brownie.
I even gave my darling carnivorous hubby a bite and he said it was good aside from it being a bit bitter (ala dark chocolate bitter), and that was nothing a glass of milk couldn’t cure.
Now I’m just waiting for my tofu-hating son to take a bite. This will truly test the recipe.
But ultimately the verdict is in. This will definitely be a recipe I will try after I buy a bigger processor and make sure that I have enough chocolate chips to melt and make it creamy and more cake like.
I may even throw some nuts in the icing so that any texture variances will go – for the most part – unnoticed.
And that’s the tale, my lovelies.
Here is my Very Ugly but Pretty Tasty Almost Very Nearly Sugar-Free Vegan-ish Chocolate Cake:
Tofu hatin’ son comes home from his friend’s and I tell him to go have a piece of chocolate cake. He goes in, and I try to tell him how ugly the cake is but he’s already shoved a piece into his mouth. So he comes out, says how it’s “pretty good” and I tell him, “It’s made with tofu.”
Immediately my sworn-off-Tofu son exclaims a very loud, very emphatic expletive whereupon Steven and I nearly fell off our respective couches dissolved into uncontrollable gales of laughter.
That was worth it all right there.
(and he’s on his second piece… so there ya go)