Chocolate as an afterthought. I baked this cake around four yesterday afternoon. I had only one kind of chocolate on hand, Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa. On the back of the box is a recipe for their Especially Dark Cake, but not a vegan version. I took matters into my own hands and made necessary changes (quite on the fly, I might add, but vegan "challenges" cannot and should not get in the way of a woman's chocolate cravings).
The weather this weekend was so gorgeous, it was scary. July in Missouri and seventies? Global Something is going on. Saturday was a fifteen mile bike ride day. Sunday was let my legs recover day. I love biking, pain and all. Sunday was sit on the porch all day reading. I actually had the gall to make a big pot of chili to celebrate the morning "chill" (in the fifties when we woke up!). Except for the length of the day (still light outside at eight o'clock), you'd swear you were in late September. It's been incredible around here! No complaints. But as I am programmed to do--see the glass half empty, I feel there is going to be terrible pay back for this come winter. Meantime, we'll have plenty of cake.
Here's how I adapted the recipe to my vegan version: I subbed two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil for the eggs, added 2 teaspoons instant decaf coffee crystals to the hot water to give the cake an even more insane flavor punch. I used superfine baking sugar vs. regular or raw sugar, but cut the amount of sugar down to only a cup and a half vs. two cups called for (which I thought a "bit" much). I used coconut milk in place of regular milk and baked my cake in two eight inch cake pans vs. nine. For the frosting, I pretty much stuck to the script, but used a vegan's best friend, Earth Balance Buttery Sticks in place of the butter or margarine called for in their recipe. The result: beautifully moist, intensely dark, super chocolate-y cake. This will not be hanging around for long.
This week is the anniversary of my mother's passing. (This could have something to do with my wanting cake.) In fact, I am sure it does. In addition to dealing with the terrible emptiness/I'm-an-orphan pity that wraps around me when this time of year rolls around (no matter how many years pass), I find the self reflection and memories serve only one purpose--to remind me that I once had a mother. The unconditional, will-be-there-for-you-no-matter-what-happens relationship is like no other. No friend, no sister, no one ever quite fills that void. Daughters without mothers will get this. Daughters who still have their mothers, bitter or sweet as the relationship may be, you'll have to wait your turn to fully understand. All the milestones missed. All the ups and downs I've wanted to share. All the questions I never asked. If she were here today, I'd call and tell her about this cake. She'd love it. Then maybe she'd want cake, too. Then we'd talk about the cakes she most loved, which I know to be Angel Food--a cake I've yet to conquer. Might never attempt given it's an egg-dependent variety of the worst kind. But the cake conversation would go on. My mother was no Betty Crocker. Not by a long shot, she wasn't. But she aspired to be. I have her hand-written recipes and cookbooks to prove it. And I'll treasure them for the rest of my life.
So I guess if you wanted to save this cake for a special occasion, go ahead. But I say, why?
Cake should happen every day.
For the Hershey version of this cake, click here.