Crazy cake¹. Now that sounds a lot more interesting than chocolate vegan cake, right? Please don’t
run navigate away! I promise that this vegan and gluten-free cake is completely unlike many — most? I hope it’s not most still — alternative-ingredient cakes out there. It’s moist, light instead of dense and absent of any off-putting chewiness. And, of course, tasty — perfect for an afternoon snack. All this while being the most simple-to-prepare cake (with the exception of a boxed mix, of course).
Sure, you need all the usual gluten-free flours, but nothing special — like egg replacer or coconut oil — is required for the vegan half of the equation. The cake gets its lift from a combination of natural, unsweetened cocoa powder — not Dutch-process, just regular ol’ Hershey’s — white vinegar and baking soda, while the moisture comes from water, canola oil and sugar. See, nothing fancy!
If you want to go ahead and frost it, by all means, do. However, all that’s really needed is a light dusting of powdered sugar on top of each square. Is that crazy-easy or what?
Crazy Cake (Chocolate Vegan Cake)
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Baking Time: 35 – 40 minutes
Serves: 8 or more
- 46 grams (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) millet flour
- 46 grams (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) garbanzo fava flour
- 60 grams (1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon) potato starch
- 24 grams (3 tablespoons) arrowroot starch
- 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 144 grams (3/4 cup) evaporated cane juice
- 27 grams (1/3 cup) natural, unsweetened cocoa powder²
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder³ (optional)
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
- 227 grams (1 cup) water
- 76 grams (1/3 cup) canola oil
- 5 grams (1 teaspoon) white vinegar
- 5 grams (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract
- Powdered sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 325°F. Get out an 8″ square baking dish and set it aside — do not grease or line with parchment! (Whenever baking soda is involved, you really need to be ready to get the batter into the pan/oven as soon as the wet and dry ingredients are mixed.)
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together millet flour through salt. In a small bowl or 2-cup measuring cup with spout, stir together water through vanilla extract. Once oven’s preheated, pour wet ingredients into dry, and whisk until batter is smooth. Immediately pour batter into pan, level top and place in oven. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pan on a cooling rack for at least one hour before cutting into squares — first run a small, offset spatula around the edges to loosen (also helpful for removing individual pieces of cake). Serve squares with a dusting of powdered sugar on top. Store unsliced cake (seriously, just keep it in the baking pan) covered at room temperature; consume within a few days.
¹ This is what the R.I.S.D. cafeteria called their version — Chloe happily introducted me to it her freshman year there.
² Do not use Dutch-process cocoa powder. If you’re unsure whether yours is Dutch process or not, look at the ingredients — if it says alkalized, it is Dutch-process cocoa. Hershey’s natural, unsweetened cocoa powder can be found at most grocery and big box stores — whatever you do, don’t confuse it with the Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder, it’s Dutched!