The Best Chocolate Cake Ever…That Just Happens to Be Vegan and Gluten Free

I know what you’re thinking. The cake pictured above cannot be good for you. And there’s certainly no way it tastes good if it’s vegan and gluten free to boot. It simple cannot. Admittedly, that’s what I feared too. Fortunately, I thought very, very wrong. This practically healthy, fiber-rich cake from baking godsend, Vegan Divas even got my dessert-averse boyfriend and sugar-tooth lacking father sneaking seconds. Since I served the cake at a gathering to celebrate Robert Burns, known as Burns Supper, celebrating his January 25th (1759, folks) birthday, I adorned it with some crafty candles (dork alert). Fair warning: The decadent, dark chocolate-y smell of the fragrant cake might transform your guests into a must-eat-cake coma, so delay serving at your own risk.

Ingredients
6 ounces unsweetened dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1 1/2 cups organic coconut milk or vanilla soy milk, gently heated
1 tablespoon bourbon vanilla
1 14-oz can organic pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cup organic golden brown sugar
1/2 cup GF almond flour 
2 tablespoons tapioca or potato starch
1 tablespoon dry Ener-G Egg Replacer
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon or ginger

Instructions:

Place the chocolate pieces in the Vita-Mix (or a high speed blender container); add the heated hemp milk. Cover tightly- use caution with hot liquids. Turn on the mixer to high. Blend until chocolate pieces are melted. Add the vanilla extract, and pumpkin puree. Cover. Blend a minute.

Add the brown sugar, almond flour, tapioca, egg replacer, xanthan gum, sea salt, baking powder, cinnamon or ginger. Cover. Blend on high for a minute. Turn it off (unplug it for safety if you have kids nearby). Open the top and using a plastic spatula scrape down the sides if any flour is sticking to the sides- if you’re using a food processor instead, do the same. Cover. Plug back in.

Blend for another minute or two until the batter is creamy and smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan (valentine’s tin can) ; scrape all the batter out with a smallish silicone spatula. Smooth the top evenly.
Bake in the center of the oven until the cake is firm- anywhere from 50 to 60 minutes. Check the cake sooner if your experience indicates that flourless cakes and pies bake up quicker than 50 minutes; also, if your experience is that these types of recipes bake longer- check at 50 to 55 minutes; and follow your instincts. The center will be the last to cook- it shouldn’t be wiggly.
Cool the cake on a wire rack. The top will collapse a bit- no worries. When the cake has cooled, cover and chill it at least two hours before serving. The longer the better. 

Chilling creates a dense fudgy cake.

Serve with chocolate sauce, a few ripe berries, a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, or a few fresh mint leaves.

Don’t think you can pull it off yourself? Fear not! Order the delectable cake here for Valentine’s Day, along with a wide variety of other Vegan Divas’ pastries and goodies.

Serves 8 to 10. (Or in my case, devoured by six with a side of So Delicious Dairy Free Almond Milk Ice Cream which I don’t think any of my guests would have been able to guess it was vegan, too)

Whoops, got the candles wrong…

Ah, there we go. Much better.

Easy Ooey Gooey Gluten Free and Vegan Brownies

Some days you just really want a brownie.

You’re food shopping and just thinking about that brownie. And then you’re at the gym, thinking about that brownie (And that 40 minutes on the elliptical will only erase half of its calories, oh well!) Finally, it’s 6:45pm and you’re ready to make dinner, but you can’t really focus on it because, well, you’re still thinking about that brownie. That day was yesterday. I decided to experiment with Cup4Cup’s gluten and dairy-free brownie mix. Even though I don’t follow a gluten free diet, Cup4Cup was created by chef Lena Kwak while working at the renowned Thomas Keller’s (Yes, that Thomas Keller. Per Se’s Thomas Keller) French Laundry, so I figured it’d be good.

The back of the bag has a simple (I’m talking even a 10-year-old could do it) recipe that requires only buttery spread or coconut oil (I used Earth Balance’s Organic Coconut Spread which is great for baking), water and eggs (ick!). In lieu of eggs, I made a flax “egg” with three tablespoons water and one tablespoon flaxseed meal for each egg the recipe called for. Tip: To avoid the ends getting slightly tough (whoops!) add a little extra coconut oil or butter.