This will be a lame post visually, because I forgot to take pictures of most of the steps, and of the finished cake. These drawbacks aside, I wanted to post anyway because I did something very unusual here, something, in fact, that I may have at one point said I would never do. I made a vegan cake.
Not just any vegan cake, but one that consisted largely of beets, and had no added fats. And actually tasted decent.
I know vegan baking is this big thing, and the ladies from the Post Punk Kitchen are great, but eh... I'm not anti-vegan, it seems to me to be a perfectly reasonable lifestyle. I am, however, anti packaged substitutions. From fake meat to egg replacers, all these highly processed, hundred-ingredient pseudofoods seem to miss the point. If I were vegan, it would be because I was trying to reduce my environmental impact and simplify my diet. Buying highly processed substitutes for the things I had deliberately decided to avoid seems ood. I realize there are other motives, both those of health and those under the general category of animal rights, but pseudofoods seem to miss the point of every reason to be vegan that I can think of.
All right. I know that sometimes, sense be damned, you just want to eat vegan buttercream or quorn patties and you don't care and you're grateful to anyone who'll just let you have what you want without compromising what you promised yourself or bothering you too much. I understand. I love McDonalds enough that I would go there more often if it wasn't such a depressing place (and so strangely expensive). The point is, I'm not judging. Just because I like whole foods and green vegetables does not mean that I have any disdain for orange macaroni and cheese. But that tastes good. Vegan baked goods? Not usually so much.
If I were vegan, and wanted dessert, I like to think I would try to think of things that better suited my diet. They would be sweet. They would be delicious. They wouldn't be layer cake. Still, see above, I understand that sometimes a person wants what they want. And I cook to make people happy. So, when I found that my friend Elaine was newly vegan, and that she had a birthday, I decided that the fates had converged, and I was going to veganize my Tuesdays with Dorie assignment, a big fluffy devil's food cake.
I went to the Post Punk Kitchen and browsed through their Vegan Baking 101 page, which was very detailed and helpful. It gave me ideas, not only for replacing ingredients, but about how each replacement would act in a finished dish. I then browsed recipes online for a while, ending up on this one. Not only could I make fat-free vegan cake that looked like it had a decent texture, I might have a hope in hell of clearing out some of the beets in the crisper.
I adapted the recipe using my newfound tips from the PPK, pureed beets, mushed in soygurt, and baked the thing. And really, it wasn't perfect, but it really wasn't bad. I liked eating it, and the texture was excellent. Just don't give up sugar, Elaine. I frosted it with a chocolate ganache made with almond milk, and it was very elegant. Oh, and the TWD cake? I made that too.
Beet Chocolate Cake
adapted from FatFree Vegan Kitchen (http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/)
1 large beet or several small beets
1 small container soy yogurt
2 tbsp. water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1.5 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Peel and chop beet (s). Place the pieces in a saucepan with water to cover and boil until soft, then let them cool. Process the beets and liquid into a puree, and put in a 2 cup measure. Make up the rest of the two cups with soy yogurt and whatever else you need (I used a little water and pumpkin puree). Add the 2 tablespoons water, vanilla extract, and apple cider to the beet mixture and mix well.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Oil or spray your cooking pan(s).
Mix the dry ingredients together; then add the beet mixture and stir until well-combined. Bake for 35-60 minutes, depending on the size of pan you use. Remove when a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting and serving.