Vegan Chocolate Torte (Dear Click and Clack: My car went "Pop" then "Hiss" so I baked a torte--seemed to help me, but not my car! Why?)
I do my best to not panic. Famous last words. Sunday I was out and about, trying to cram in a few errands, leaving DH at home to "rest" and have his own down time. He'd had a busy week. So list in hand (I always have a list, can't live without my lists), I was out the door. I try do my "Sunday Shopping" before noon--when "church" folks hit the roads because once all the praying's over, seems the shopping begins. (Which totally blows my mind, but that's for another blogger to discuss.) Anywho, list in hand, I was heading down the highway, when suddenly, Pop and Hiss and Gurgle, Gurlge, Gurgle. Typically I would not have heard such goings on because I would be listening to music--really loud, singing to myself. As it so happened, I had the new Adele CD in the car (LOVE it!), but had not yet hit play, so my ears were privvy to the mechanisms of my dear eight year old car. I knew immediately something really bad had just happened. Worse, I was on the highway. So I changed lanes--got over to the right hand side, thinking, well, I could at least coast to a stop--then call hubby (hands free--always hands free--safety first). I called hubby after realizing as I tried to change lanes that to even do so--change lanes that is, I had to literally use my ENTIRE upper body strength to get the car over! OH, WTF?! Phone call placed, panic now definitely in voice, I am like, "Honey, uh, there's a problem." Well, to say this is a new conversation--I mean, one where I call home in a bit of a tizzy over my car, is an understatement. In the last thirty days alone--three such calls have been placed, all having to do with my car, and all on DH's day off! First, there was: Honey, my tire has a crack in it. New tires put on car. Second, there was: Honey, my car won't start. New battery replaced. Third, and most recent: Honey, I don't have power steering and have to turn my car using my whole body: I'm heading toward the car dealership NOW, could you please come get me! New power steering pump thingy needed. LOTS of money--lots. Sigh.
So given my depression I now found myself in, I turned to cake. I had a great time shopping the Borders closing sale--so much so, that my cookbook collection grew in a very good way. I added a cookbook I'd been wanting for ages now: The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. I am fixin' to school myself on being an even BETTER cake maker than I already am. (And I'm not boasting here, I just know I'm pretty good with cake is all.) One caveat to my baking from this cookbook is managing the vegan substitutions. (As is the case with ALL vegan baking.) It's not like I'm doing savory where easy-peasy vegan seitan or tempeh seems to suffice nicely for just about any "meat" recipe that calls for it--that's so yesterday. Nope. I find my biggest challenges coming in the form of taking something I am dying to BAKE and finding just the right chemical conversions to at least have something somewhat edible and tasty and bakery store quality. (Which is always my goal in my baking: Could I sell this in a bakery? I'd love to open a bakery someday. . .or have one open up next door so I could just take some of my vegan goodies over to share.)
Rose is pretty famous for her cakes. She is the cake queen, if you ask me. She is also bread queen (I recently made English Muffins using her recipe from her bread book. Best. English. Muffins. Ever.) I'd been fawning over the Rose's Bread Bible cookbook for years. I already owned another cookbook by her: Rose's Heavenly Cakes. Yum--so glad I got the Bread Bible. So glad.
Anyhow, I set out reading The Cake Bible yesterday afternoon--couldn't really do much else now could I? Don't have a CAR! I plan to read this cookbook cover-to-cover--taking in as much as I can, hopefully doing vegan diligence to all things cake. What I love about this cookbook is NOT it's color photos (because this cookbook isn't about that--lots of words and stuff here, just an FYI)--I love the measurements given. Measuring takes all the "worry" out. I bought my baking scale over a year ago and I swear that thing is used nearly daily in this house. Best twenty bucks ever! That whole "exact science" thingy really speaks to me. I may have missed my calling. Perhaps instead of English, I should have explored science. But I really only aced one science class in my life: geology. I loved studying rocks!
I will now guide your curser to Rose's website where nearly all cake recipes from her lovely cookbook reside. Now, you won't have the luxury of tapping into the wisdom contained within her text by just taking my word for it and setting out yourself to make this cake. But let me say--I am an official fan!
This chocolate torte's official name is: Perfect All-American Choclate Torte. If you go here, then scroll down, you will find a link for the recipe. For vegan changes, sub for egg--use Ener-G Egg Replacer. Some folks don't like the EER. I happen to love it. I am not a huge fan of the goopy flax seed or of the tofu. Sometimes the silken tofu is fine for subbing for eggs, other times, not so much. Replacing an egg in any recipe can be tricky, but I think it worked beautifully in this one. In place of the 4 egg yolks, use 6 teaspoons egg replacer, whisked together with 4 tablespoons warm water. Whisk this well. And measure this! I weighed my liquid egg amount and it came to exactly 2.5 ounces as was specified for the egg weight. In place of the unsalted butter, use unsalted margerine "sticks" and make sure the margerine is at room temp. Measure the same amount she calls for. The other substitutution I made: I used King Arthur Cake Flour. The unbleached kind--and be sure to sift this first--and weigh it! I mean it, follow the directions and you will be just fine. I also put my sugar through my food processor to make it finer. Really important step. A fine sugar is able to do what no chunky sugar can. Just trust me on this. The recipe is so well written and so perfect, that all you must do is follow her directions--to the precise measurement, and you will have a lovely, moist, dense, chewy, amazing dessert and something that will instantly lift your spirits and cause you to forget your car repair bill, at least for a moment anyway. And, you might want to know--I had this for breakfast this morning. Even betterer. Still no car.