Do you ever just feel the need to eat deliciously rich, Bruce Bogtrotter-worthy chocolate cake? Because I do. That’s where this Vegan Chocolate Cake with Vegan Chocolate Buttercream comes in.
One thing a lot people don’t realize about vegan baking is that it’s actually quite easy to veganize a lot of “conventional” recipes with a few simple swaps.
Non-dairy milk for regular milk, vegan butter in place of butter, and an egg replacement (1/4 cup applesauce or canned pumpkin, 1 tablespoon chia seed or ground flax + 3 tablespoons of water, or 1/4 cup silk tofu, to name a few) for the egg, whipped aquafaba for egg whites, etc, and viola! You’ve veganized your desired “conventional” baked good.
Now, it may take a couple of attempts to figure out which replacements you like best, and/or which ones work best for your old favorite “conventional” recipes, but it’s truly not as scary as it sounds, and experimenting in the kitchen, though it can lead to some epic fails, can also lead to exciting new and wonderful creations of your own.
It’s crazy to think I went 27 years without ever making a banana cake. Me. Yeah I know. What the heck.
Sure I’ve made banana breads and muffins a-plenty but never cake! When I realized this I had to change it. Since promises of cake for my birthday fell through for the second year in a row, I decided to make myself a cake.
I actually made this banana cake as a belated birthday celebration cake for a department luncheon, only to realize there was no luncheon this week. Oops. More cake for me I guess!
For Christmas this year, I really wanted to make a special kind of cake. Something that screamed celebration or occasion. I went back and forth over what to make. A Bouche de Noel? A fruit torte? An apple cinnamon spice cake with cream cheese icing? So many options, so few people (at least, at our holiday gathering) to feed.
Eventually, I settled upon the idea of a nut cake. I love a hearty, dense, nut-meal cake. It reminds me of holidays. Growing up I used to always go to my friend Michelle’s house and her mom would always have these delicious walnut cookies covered in powdered sugar and I could.not.get.enough. of them. I LOVE anything made with ground nuts.
I set out of to make a hazelnut cake with a the very clear idea in my mind that it would be a nut-meal cake. And to my surprise, recipes were hard to come by. I did some extensive googling and found many ‘hazelnut cakes’ made with hazelnut liqueur…not ground hazelnuts. Or regular cakes that had hazelnuts on top…or hazelnut liqueur in the frosting.
Those might be all fine and well and good but those were not what I had in mind for my holiday hazelnut cake. I very specifically wanted a cake that contained quite a bit of ground hazelnuts.
My mom also speaks highly and frequently of a hazelnut-meal cake her Italian great aunt used to make, the dense cake made from hazelnuts all grated by hand. That’s what I wanted. No regular cake with liqueur for this gal (also, I hate liqueur).
This cake turned out delicious. Rich, light, and dense, fluffy, sweet and nutty, all at once. The frosting pairs oh-so-perfectly with the cake.
This is not the fastest easiest cake you will ever make. It requires prep work and planning ahead, but I assure you it is worth it. The nutty hazelnut cake offers a rich hazelnut flavor, the dense texture of the nut meal lightened by the oat flour. The ultra-rich deeply chocolatey buttercream elevates the cake from special to spectacular, the flavors reminiscent of Nutella, with far more finesse.
This is most definitely a special occasion cake. It feels festive and delicious. The recipe below with give you two layers, and enough buttercream to cover them both. The photos you see are of a cake that only had one layer, made into two, due to a dropped cake incident and making do with what was available. Didn’t matter tho, still tasted delicious!
I hope you make this and I hope you love it. If you do give the recipe a whirl, be sure to take me on Insta (@katherinebaker4). I love seeing what y’all make!
1 teaspoon almond extract (sub additional vanilla if you don’t have it)
1 cup vegan butter, softened (I like Earth Balance baking sticks for frosting)
3/4 cup cocoa powder
3 cups powder sugar, more as needed
2-3 tablespoons non-dairy milk, as needed
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. If aquafaba is not cold, place in the fridge to chill.
Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat. Toast for 8-10 minutes until lightly toasted brown. Remove from oven and rub hazelnuts with a paper towel or clean towel to remove skins. If you can’t remove them all, that’s okay. Just do your best.
Allow hazelnuts to cool completely. Meanwhile, lower oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans generously with oil or melted vegan butter.
Combine oat flour, flax, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Once hazelnuts have cooled, pulse in a food processor until a flour/fine-ish meal forms. Some chunks are okay. It adds texture.
Add hazelnut meal to dry mixture. Whisk well.
Whip aquafaba with an electric mixture until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together oil, non-dairy milk, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract. Stir into dry ingredients until just combined.
Fold aquafaba into mix until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pans. Place in the oven for 20-22 minutes until lightly golden browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean upon insertion and removal. Once baked, allow to cool completely.
Meanwhile, prepare frosting: combine softened vegan butter with cocoa powder and powder sugar. Use an electric hand or stand mixer to beat until light and fluffy. Add non-dairy milk if a thinner texture is desired. Add more cocoa powder and/or powder sugar (up to 1 additional cup) if thicker texture is desired. Personally, I added no non-dairy milk because I wanted a super rich thick and fudgy icing. But if you want something a bit thinner and fluffier, add non-dairy milk, one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is achieved.
And for some reason, I saved the recipe as a draft, started 2 new jobs at the same time, and forgot about to post it.
But enough with my excuses; it’s time to share the recipe. I actually based this cake recipe from the beloved Mary Berry of the Great British Bake Off. Which btw is the greatest show of all times.
I requested to follow Mary on Insta months ago and she never accepted. Oh well. I still gave her cake a whirl, and damn she did not let me down.
It’s super moist and delicate thanks to the non-dairy butter and almond meal, and the cherries add a beautiful sweet-tart ness.
Cherries are one of my favorite fruits ever, so I loved them in this cake. I used frozen for this cake, although Mary Berry’s version used those syrupy jarred florescent ones. I feel comfortable with my choice. I also veganized the recipe. Sorry, Mary.
Give this cake a whirl, and let me know what you think. Tag me on Insta, or comment below.
Vegan Cherry Almond Cake
Prep Time: minutes Cook Time: 30-40 minutes Servings: about 6-8
1 3/4 cups flour all-purpose flour
3/4 cup almond meal
3 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons chia seeds or flax
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
6 ounces non-dairy butter, softened (can sub neutral oil, like canola with varied results)
1/2 cup sugar
zest of one lemon
3/4 cup diced fresh or frozen/thawed cherries, tossed lightly in flour
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2-3/4 cup powdered sugar
Additional 1/4 cup cherries
1/4 cup diced almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch bundt pan.
Dice cherries and toss lightly in flour to prevent them from absorbing moisture from cake. Set aside.
Combine chia seeds and flax with non-dairy milk. Set aside to congeal as an egg substitute.
Combine flour, almond meal, baking powder, and salt. Mix well.
In a separate bowl, whip sugar into softened non-dairy butter with a whisk or an electric mixer. Add juice of lemon.
Add non-dairy milk and chia seed mix into the non-dairy butter mix. Mix well.
Fold the dry ingredients into the non-butter/sugar mixture.
Fold in floured cherries.
Pour batter into pan and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean upon insertion/removal (that’s what she said?).
While cake is baking, prepare icing by combining juice of one lemon with powdered sugar. Add more or less powdered sugar depending on how thick or thin you like your icing.
Drizzle icing over cooled cake. Garnish with diced almonds and cherries. Enjoy!
I seem to be randomly sharing my weekends lately. It’s kinda fun, so I’m going to keep doing it. I love reading these blog posts and I am finding it fun to share them, as well.
My weekend started Thursday night when I picked up Jenn from the airport at 11:55pm. She came to town for a minute for a friend’s bridal shower. I brought Millie to grab her from the airport. Millie was VERY excited to see her Auntie Jenn.
We got home around 12:45am and it was bed time for all of us (once Millie calmed down from the Auntie Jenn excitement).
Friday I woke up early (shocking I know), went to barre, and made buckwheat and oatmeal waffles. Because waffles. I had mine with sunflower seed butter + bananas + other fruit.
Jenn and I went downtown so she could visit her friend who has a newborn and a toddler. I would post pics, but I feel weird posting pics of a baby that isn’t mine without asking. I should ask. Anyways, he was super cute!! Also, god bless all mothers everywhere. Motherhood seems incredibly stressful and exhausting. I’m good with just fur babies for the foreseeable future.
Then we went to Anodyne Coffee (the best coffee in MKE IMO) and walked around the lake front for a while. Milwaukee is so underrated. #hiddengem
After that, it was back home. Jenn left shortly after to meet some friends for lunch. I was feeling anxious about getting some stuff done so I opted to stay home and #werk. Millie sat outside with me and modeled an awesome new sticker I got from Made Wild.
Around 4:30, Jenn came and picked me up and we headed to TJs to buy some stuff for a cake she was making for a bridal shower.
We came back and got crackin’ on the cake. We made two layers vanilla and two layers banana. While cakes were baking, I made us some dinner with random things we had around the house. Going out seemed stressful because we were pretty tied to the cakes.
I made us a build-a-bowl sort of thing with my favorite marinated tempeh, black rice, cauliflower rice, baby kale, avocado, cilantro, green onions, roasted Japanese sweet potatoes, cashews, pineapple, and a spicy peanut sauce. We ate around 8:15pm with my mom and the meal turned out to be really yummy and totally hit the spot.
Have you had Oriental/Japanese sweet potatoes before btw? They are AMAZING. They’re purple on the outside and white on the inside. They taste like chestnuts and I’m pretty sure they are what the potato emoji is representing. I like to bake them whole and gobble them up. For the bowls I sliced and tossed them in turmeric, cumin, and cayenne and roasted them up. YUM.
After dinner, we set the cakes out to cool, and started getting ready for bed (we were tired) and it was lights out by 10:00pm. #partyanimals
Saturday I got up at 5:30am (classic me) and got Jenn up at 7:00am (per her request) to finish the cakes. We whipped up some cream cheese frosting and nutella buttercream. Millie got caught in a powdered sugar shower and ate a bunch of the floor. Then we assembled the cake.
Jenn decorated it all fancy to make it look like a birch tree, which was the theme of the shower.
Around 9:30am she left for the shower and then I ran a bunch of errands, ate bowl leftovers for lunch, and laid down (I wasn’t feeling too well) for several hours.
That night, we headed to a bonfire/BBQ at a friends house for a birthday celebration of sorts. It was a good old time with warm weather, lots of laughs, and lovely people.
Around 12:30am we headed home (eep) and it was straight to bed!
Just a few short hours later at 4:00am, it was time to leave for the airport. I dropped Jenn off and was back home by around 5:30am. I napped for another two hours (until around 7:30am) and then took Millie to the park. I snapped this photo as she happened to turn around and sniff her butt. My dog is the weirdest. Like does anyone else’s dog do this? Anyways, eventually I went to a barre class to finish out the morning.
After lunch, I did some work. Then, I headed out to Panera with my mom. It was quite an event. A tire blew when we were getting gas before dinner and we ended up walking to Panera.
Panera literally messes up my order every single time. I double checked to make sure they had my order right and went up the the prep counter like a frickin’ crazy person to verbally verify they were going to give me a salad without chicken.
Then, my salad came with chicken. Like it does every time. In fact, a girl working said something like, “I feel like every time I’ve seen you here they mess up your order.” And I was like “yeah.”
And then I’m in this awkward position where my order is covered with chicken and it’s all mixed in and they have to make me a new one and I feel like a whiny bitch. But like also, I don’t eat chicken and don’t like chicken shreds touching every inch of my salad.
They then always give you the option to take home the salad or have them throw it away. Let’s just say my dog has eaten a lot of chicken salads this summer. Oh, Panera. I love you but get your sh*t together. Thanks so much.
Then we Uber’d home since the car was not going to make it. By that point, it was somehow like 8:30pm, so I enjoyed some ice cream and an early bed time.
And in case you care…
I’m happy to report the car is now all better with shiny new tires.
Also! I’m exciting to announce I’ll be starting a content internship with The Global Foodbanking Network this summer and continuing it for the rest of the calendar year :). Stay tuned.
Fun week ahead! I have 2 recipe posts planned, and a trip to Chicago in the works!
Before yesterday, I had never in my life gotten a car wash. True fact. It was something someone always did for me in high school, and then when I was in college, I rarely drove because that’s just not something that happens at NYU. I actually used to chuckle when people asked me if I had a car “out there.” I’d be like HECK NO and I don’t want one.
I’ve just never been a fan of driving, nor have I ever been particularly good at it. Some people enjoy it; it not my piece of cake. Cake is my piece of cake, thank you very much.
Back to the carwash. So, I finally get my car washed for the first time EVER at the ripe age of 24 and feel super adult and whatnot, and manage to somehow almost die and get my car totaled in the process. During a carwash. I kid you not. It was a highly stressful two minutes full of James-Bond worthy car-escape-ism, fast running, dramatic yelling of “STOP IT’S AN EMERGENCY” and returning to my car and saving my cute little car’s butt just in the nic’o time. It was a stressful two minutes, to say the least.
Anyways I decided to listen to “Shake it Off” like a basic bitch, go to Target to walk around, space out and calm down. I even treated myself to an iced coffee with soy milk, just to prove how basic I could be, in case anyone had doubts. I proceeded to realize it was beautiful out, and took my dog to froyo. Any time life feels a bit off, I look at my dog and feel like life is going to be okay because she’s so damn cute.
The nice weather had sunny vibes had me craving spring. The stress of the day had me craving sugar. I wanted something fresh and light. I wanted an old favorite, Lemon Olive Oil Coconut Cake. This was the cake I made for my sister’s bridal shower. *excuses self for nostalgic moment/sigh* She digs it. So do I. Somehow it’s still one of my most “viewed” recipes according to stats. Probably because it’s darn tasty.
Lately I’ve been on such a kick of making new things that I haven’t made this old favorite in quite some time. But yesterday felt like the day. And so, I revisited my old recipe, revamped it a bit, and veganized it, which was super easy to do because the only thing that needed changing was nixing/replacing the eggs. It’s as light, luscious, fluffy and lemony as ever, and a seriously good recipe to place in your arsenal for crowd-pleasing entertainment, especially in the spring and summer months.
I made this cake two ways yesterday, to make sure I gave you guys the best vegan-ized recipe possible. My result was that both cakes were delicious. And then I had two cakes. Because kitchen experiments are my piece of cake. And for those of you love driving, I’ll leave that to you, and stick to cookies. Peace out gurlscouts. Happy Spring/Easter/Passover, etc. 😎
makes 2 9″-inch round cakes, 2 9×9″-inch square cakess, or one 9×13″ sheet cake
1 1/3 cups olive oil
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups coconut milk or almond milk, unsweetened (can use ‘lite’ canned coconut milk, or out of a fat-free out of a carton, like the kind you put in cereal. both work!)
1 1/2 teaspoons cider (or any) vinegar
zest of 2 large lemons (about 3-4 tablespoons)
juice of 2 large lemons (1/4-1/2 cup)
*note, you can make this as lemony or as plain as you desire, by increasing or decreasing lemon juice and zest within given ranges
2 cups all purpose flour
could also sub 1 cup cake flour & 1 cup all-purpose flour
gluten-free: use 2 cups gluten-free flour blend, or oat flour with varied results
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cup shredded coconut
whipped cream, powdered sugar, and/or fresh berries for serving (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a small bowl or measuring up combine almond/coconut milk and vinegar. Allow to sit, at least 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine olive oil and sugar and whisk together. Zest lemons and place zest aside. Juice lemons and place juice aside n another small bowl.
3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine. Add lemon zest and whisk again.
4. Add half flour mixture to olive oil and sugar mixture, and fold gently with spatula. Add half non-dairy milk and vinegar mixture. Repeat with remaining half of flour mixture and remaining half of non-dairy milk mixture. Pour into 2 9″-inch round pans, 2 9×9″-inch square pans, or one 9×13″ pan.
5. Bake for 25-35 minutes until lightly golden, fragrant, and/or cake begins to pull away from sides of pan, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out clean upon removal.
6. Serve with powdered sugar, whipped cream, and/or fresh berries.
Mmmm Starbucks. Even the mention of the house of that blessed green goddess gives me the warm fuzzies. Nothing frosts my cookie more than their iced coffee with soy milk or their soy lattes. They just have the best soy milk there. Anyone else agree with me? Love it. It’s perfect.
Another Starbucks menu fav is the Cranberry Bliss Bar that makes its delicious carby sugary appearance during the holiday seasons. Red cups and holiday themed baked goods? You better believe I buy into that. I’m a sucker for all things holiday and festive and cozy. Turns out despite all my sarcasm and outward angst, deep down I’m secretly a softie easily persuaded by good marketing.
I’ve had a desire to make Cranberry Bliss Bars for a few weeks, ever since I had a bad day at work and stopped at Starbucks after (SOML) and saw them sitting there in all their million-ingredient-$2.45-per-bar-glory.
Mmm. Cranberries. Cakieness. Cream-cheesy icing. A genius flavor combo that my body wants and needs. And the baker inside me just lives to recreate in my own kitchen.
So on the last day of the year, I set out to make my very own Cranberry Bliss Bars. I added coconut because I’m cray cray for coconuts, but you can leave all the coconut ingredients out if you desire, by nixing the shredded coconut, and subbing coconut flour for oat flour and coconut oil/butter for nondairy spread. I think the coconut was a lovely addition though, and encourage you give it a whirl.
What really ties these babies all together is the wee bit of orange zest in the frosting. I highly recommend you do NOT skip this addition. It adds such a brightness and tanginess to the cream cheese frosting; it is truly the mystery element that seals the deal and the reason behind the addictive nature of these babies.
Make and enjoy a whole pan of unknowingly vegan and gluten-free Coconut Cranberry Bliss Bars for yourself and/or your loved ones. Wishing you a sweet and delicious 2015, xoxo, K-Bakes.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
makes one 9×9″ pan; serves about 12
Ingredients – Bars:
1/2 cup coconut butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cup oat flour
1/2 cup coconut flour (or sub additional oat flour)
1 tablespoon chia seeds or ground flax + 3 tablespoons water
1 cup almond or soy milk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup dried cranberries
Ingredients – Frosting:
6 ounces non-dairy cream cheese (I use Trader Joe’s; I find it better than several expensive brands!)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)
zest of half an orange (optional)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×9″ baking sheet with parchment paper and/or grease lightly. Set aside. Remove cream cheese substitute from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature by setting aside for later. Place chia or flax in a small bowl with water, and allow to congeal, at least 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, melt 1/2 cup coconut oil in a large microwave safe bowl. Add sugar and brown sugar and mix well.
3. In a food processor or blender, pulse oats until a fine flour is formed. Add to bowl with coconut oil and sugar. Add coconut flour if using, as well as baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add chia/water mixture. Mix gently until just combined and a batter is formed.
4. Fold in cranberries and shredded coconut. Pour batter into pan and bake for 25-35 minutes until golden, fragrant, and/or the sides of the cake begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and/or a toothpick comes out clean upon removal from the center of the cake.
5. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. You can speed this up in the fridge or freezer if you desire. Meanwhile, prep frosting. Take softened cream cheese and place in a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons solid (unmelted) coconut oil. Add vanilla extract. Add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well with an electric beater between each addition. Fold in orange zest and coconut shreds.
6. Once cake has cooled completely, cover with frosting using a spatula. Sprinkle additional dried cranberries and coconut shreds if desired. Cut into bars and EAT with a nice latte or cup of tea and feel just like you’re at Starbucks. 🙂
I LOVE IT. Anyways, I don’t always share my Spoon stuff on my blog (if you want more Spoon, I usually do archive my pieces under the “Published” tab), but I really think this is a fun quick piece on 30 Foods that Surprisingly Vegan. You can read the piece published on Spoon here, or you can poke around below. Enjoy !
The Home-Style Butter Cream, Caramel, Classic Chocolate, Vanilla, Coconut Pecan, Dark Chocolate Fudge, Lemon Supreme and Strawberry Cream varieties are all vegan. Cheers to vegan buttercream! Now hand us the spoon.
3. Duncan Hines Cake Mixes:
In Classic Carrot, Moist Deluxe Butter Golden, Classic Yellow, Dark Chocolate Fudge, Devil’s Food, Fudge Marble, German Chocolate, Red Velvet, Swiss chocolate, Coconut Supreme, Lemon Supreme, Pineapple Supreme AND Strawberry Supreme all contain no dairy or eggs. Some people may get finicky about food dye sources, but for most, all of the above are vegan-friendly. Swap out the eggs and butter/oil for a can of soda or sparkling water and you’ve got yourself the fluffiest vegan cake you could ever want.
4. Jell-O Instant Pudding Mix
Vanilla, Chocolate, Lemon, Pistachio, and Banana Creame are all vegan! Add your favorite non-dairy milk and you’re good to go.
5. Smucker’s Marshmallow Ice Cream Topping
As marshmallows contain gelatin (made from cow hooves), lots of vegans pass them up. But now vegans can rejoice – Smucker’s has made a gelatin-free version AKA vegan marshmallow fix is possible.
6. Taco Bell’s Bean Burrito (minus the cheese)
No lard in these beans, bitches!
7. Taco Bell’s Cinnamon Twists
For after the lard-free burrito.
8. Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
For your soy milk, almond milk and non-dairy ice cream delight.
9. Chipotle Sofritas
Which honestly everyone should try.
10. Betty Crocker’s Bac-O’s Bacon Flavor Bits
We’re not sure if this is something to celebrate or be very, very afraid of.
11. Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
Ahh, the buttery taste of vegetable oils.
12. Ritz Crackers
Another food that prides itself on butter flavor, yet has none. Pass us a sleeve with some soy cheese, please!
13. Unfrosted Pop-Tarts
In Brown Sugar, Blueberry and Strawberry. Because Pop-Tarts are important.
14. Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets
A great shortcut to a delicious vegan dessert or appetizer.
15. Lindt Excellence Cocoa Bars in 70%, 85% and 90%
16. Famous Amos Sandwich Cookies
In Chocolate, Oatmeal Macaroon, Peanut Butter and Vanilla.
17. Goya Flan
Yeah, another thing we’re not going to try to explain.
18. Nutter Butters
19. Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars
In Apple Crisp, Cinnamon, Peanut Butter, Pean Crunch, Roasted Almond AND Maple Brown Sugar. We are so darn excited it hurts. Bring on the crumbs!
20. Nabisco Original Graham Crackers
We suggest you pair these with some of that chocolate frosting mentioned above. #yum
21. Krispy Kreme Fruit Pies
In Apple, Cherry and Peach. PIE ME.
22. Thomas’s New York Style Bagels
In Blueberry, Cinnamon Swirl, Everything and Plain. Because carbs. And tofu cream cheese.
23. Super Pretzel Baked Soft Pretzel
Glorious, glorious salty carbs.
24. Chocolate Chip Teddy Grahams
Delicious and vegan. And so darn cute we can BEARly stand it.
25. DQ Star Kiss Bar
A non-dairy ice cream bar at Dairy Queen. Paradoxical, but we dig it.
26. Sara Lee’s Frozen Pies
In Cherry and Apple. We’ll take both.
22. Mast Brother’s Chocolate
No dairy in most varieties. WIN. WIN. WIN.
27. Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookies
Spicy sweet perfection. Pro tip: dip in almond butter.
28. Trader Joe’s Pound Plus Chocolate Bars
Dark Chocolate, 72% Dark Chocolate and Bittersweet with Almonds. We love you Trader Joe’s.
29. Trader Joe’s Soft-Baked Snickerdoodles
Again, we love you Trader Joe’s.
30. Ghiradelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix
Just sub an egg substitute like a tablespoon chia seeds and some almond milk or a few tablespoons of apple sauce and you’re seconds away from gooey vegan brownies.
Once upon a time a few years ago I randomly saw someone on TV make a grape cake. It was a quick, mini-cooking segment on a morning talk show. I can’t even remember who was hosting the show, who made the cake, or where I was when I watched it. All I can remember is that for years, the idea of making a cake with grapes has appealed to me. <— [unintentional pun]
This happens a lot. I have a hugeee baking bucket list. I’ll want to make something for years sometimes before it actually happens. For example, I wanted to make rainbow cookies for probably 3 year before it actually happened. But then it did. And it was awesome.
Anyways back to grape cake. It’s been on my baking bucket list for years. I believe the original one that I saw had ricotta and eggs and stuff. But I wanted a light, fluffy cake you could eat for breakfast. So I did my own lil twist on the grape cake by adding the lovely flavor of ALMONDS.
I added almond extract, which I believe was a solid idea. In fact, I think this makes the cake. I went a step further by adding some leftover almond flour I had. This gave it a heartier texture of sorts. I dug it. If you’re not really into almonds, don’t have almond flour, or just want a plainer, simpler cake, feel free to omit either the almond extract, flour, or both. For those of you who are as nuts about nuts as I am and want them in this cake, go ahead and add.
The grapes in the cake were very interesting. They got all cooked and juicy and played the same textural component chunks of apples do in apple cakes. Except it was a nice different surprise with a grapey flavor. Warm grapes are delicious, as it turns out (at least they were when I ate this fresh out of the oven and/or when I heated the cake up in the microwave later. Another thing I highly recommend).
Instead of butter or non-dairy butter, I decided to use olive oil as my fat, to give it a luscious flavor and super moist texture. One of my favorite cakes ever is this Lemon Olive Oil Cake I made a while back for my sister’s bridal shower. Fun fact that post is my most-viewed post on kbaked.com. Dang now I want that cake. [Whispers to self, “Soon, my pet, soon.”] <—-did I just talk to myself on my blog? #awkward.
In other news, you can and should make this cake. As far as cake-making goes, it’s super fast and easy. And it’s something different. Like DQ. Except DQ isn’t really that different. In fact, it’s pretty commercial and standard. Still delicious though. But not as #trendy or fun to talk about or healthy as this cake.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
makes one 9 inch round cake
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup almond milk
3 tablespoons orange juice or lemon juice
1 teaspoon vinegar (any kind will do)
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup almond flour (can make in food processor with raw almonds) or 3/4 cup more all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons almond extract (optional)
1 cup fresh grapes
powder sugar for dusting as garnish (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a small bowl, combine almond milk and vinegar. Allow to curdle for at least 10 minutes. This is your pseudo-buttermilk.
3. In a large bowl, whisk olive oil and sugar. Set aside.
4. In another bowl, combine flours, salt, and baking powder. Whisk together until well combined. You can also sift if you’re fancy / your heart desires.
5. Add half of the flour mixture to the bowl with the olive oil & sugar mix. Fold in gently. Add half almond milk + vinegar mixture, orange or lemon juice, and almond extract. Fold gently until well combine. Add remaining half flour mixture and mix again until just combined.
6. Wash and dry grapes well. Pick them off the stem. I suppose you could leave them on the stem, but that would be a hassle later on.
7. Pour batter into one round 9 inch pan. Sprinkle 3/4ths cup grapes evenly on top of batter, leaving the other 1/4 cup aside. Place in the oven for 20. Add remaining 1/4th cup grapes by gently pressing them into semi-cooked batter. This step is optional, but will give you some grapes peeking out of the cake instead of having all of them sink. If you want them all to sink, that’s cool too. All up to you!
8. Bake for another 10-12 minutes, until the cake is fragrant, has browned, and a toothpick comes out clean upon removal from the center of the cake.
9. Dust with powdered sugar if you’d like. Eat and enjoy the grapey olive oily goodness !
It’s like deconstructed Nutella in a cake form. Yes, you heard right. Hazelnut + Chocolate. One of my favorite classic combinations, along with bananas + peanut butter and iced coffee + soymilk. Some things are just made for each other, ya feel me?
I made this cake for my mom’s birthday. For a long time she’s continuously spoken of this one hazelnut cake her aunt made. She said she would grate the hazelnuts by hand and make this nutty, slightly dry cake and serve it with whipped cream. Can you imagine grating that many hazelnuts? Me either. Thank goodness for food processors.
Back to mom’s birthday: I wanted to make a cake because I love reasons to make a big cake and bake something that feels special that I normally wouldn’t make. I mean, I could bake big grand cakes all the time, but then I’d just constantly have giant cakes around they’d feel like special. Also, fancy baking ingredients like hazelnut and high quality baking chocolate can get expen$ive.
So I love to pull them out for a special occasion, like Pita’s day of birth. I wanted the cake to be a surprise, but then she found hazelnut shells on the floor and knew what they were. Fail boat on my behalf. Also, epic nut shell identification skills on her end.
I was a wee bit nervous about making this cake because I’ve never made it before and kind of made the recipe up as I went. Lucky for me, it turned out epicly. The cake is very nutty and has the slightest nutty grainy texture that works really with with the buttercream and ganache.
The cake itself is not too sweet, and had a substantial texture that all worked well with the frosting. I choose chocolate frosting/filling because mommy loves chocolate and so do I. Duh. I actually used ganache for the filling instead of buttercream, but honestly it kind of got outshined by everything else. I’d skip this step and just use frosting for the middle layer if I made it again. But if you want ganache for the filling, I am not going to stop you.
But truly, this frosting is kind of thick and really chocolately/rich/dense the way a ganache would be. Except it’s lighter and fluffier still, like buttacream. #bestofbothworld, always
So here is the recipe. It’s perfect for a sophisticated Nutella lover or lover of anything chocolatey and nutty that tastes awesome. I included instructions/ingredients for both a vegan and non-vegan version. Make whichever you want. Both will be delicious.
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
Servings: 8-10 [2 layer cake with single layer filling and frosting]
Ingredients – Cake:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or butter substitute [Earth Balance or coconut oil] at room temperature
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs or 2/3 cup applesauce, 1/2 cup soy yogurt and/or 3 tablespoons chia or flax + 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 cup milk or non-dairy milk (i used almond)
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups hazelnuts
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Ingredients – Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or butter substitute [Earth Balance or coconut oil] at room temperature
8 ounces baker’s chocolate, melted and allowed to come to room temperature
4-6 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 to 1/2 cup almond or regular milk (no exact measure – something you just gotta eyeball as you go until you get the consistency you want!)
1 cup hazelnuts, chopped (for garnish)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place hazelnuts on a large baking sheet and toast 10-15 minutes until browned and fragrant. Transfer to a clean kitchen towel or paper towel and cover them for about a minute, allowing them to steam. Next, rub the skins of with the towel or your fingers. This is putsy and a bit messy. But just remember: cake is your reward.
2. Allow hazelnuts to cool. Meanwhile, place almond, soy, or regular milk in a cup with vinegar and allow to curdle for at least 10 minutes (it’ll be good to go by the time you’re ready to use it). This is your pseudo-buttermilk.
3. Cream room-temperature butter or butter substitute until fluffy, about 2-4 minutes. Slowly add sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down the sides after each addition. Add eggs one at a time, or slowly add egg substitute [2/3 cup applesauce, 1/2 cup soy yogurt and/or 3 tablespoons chia or flax + 1/2 cup non-dairy milk]. Continue to beat until light and fluffy.
4. Place flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and whisk until well combine.
5. Place cooled shelled hazelnuts in a food processor and pulse until a semi-fine powder. It won’t be a super fine powder, so don’t aim for that. If you over-pulse, it will turn to nut butter, so use cation. Pulse slowly. If it gets nut-buttery, scoop out the nut-buttery bottom, and continue to pulse remaining nuts.
6. Add pulsed nuts (lol?) into the flour mixture and whisk until nut powder is evenly distributed. It will be a little grainy. That’s okay.
7. Add 1/3 the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture. Add half of the pseuedo-buttermilk. Mix gently with a spatula. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture, and the rest of the buttermilk and mix again. Dump remaining 1/3rd of flour mixture into the bowl and continue to mix gently until just combined.
8. Pour batter into 2 greased round 9-inch cake pans. Pop into the oven on a middle shelf for 20-25 minutes, until slightly golden, fragrant, and a toothpick inserted into the center is clean upon removal.
9. Allow cakes to cool completely. Meanwhile, make your buttercream. Take 1 cup room temperature butter or butter substitute and beat with an electric mixer or kitchen-aide mixer until fluffy.
10. Chop baker’s chocolate and melt in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between each increment, until just melted. Pop into the fridge until cooled slightly, about 5 minutes.
11. Add 2 cups powdered sugar to the butter and whip until well combined. Add cocoa powder and a tablespoon or two of milk or milk substitute.
12. Once chocolate is no longer hot (lukewarm will work), add to the buttercream mixture and continue to mix. Add an additional 2 cups powdered sugar and continue to mix until well combined. From here, add up to 2 more cups powdered sugar and a few tablespoons milk as needed until desired consistency is reached.
13. Once cake has completely cooked, frost as desired. I placed a layer of frosting on one layer, placed the second on top of it, then frosted the whole top and sides.
14. Chop hazelnuts and garnish as desired. I sprinkled allll over the top and sides because I love the added crunch of nuts on frosting. Yummies.