Yesterday, we gave one of my friends, Tina a send off luncheon as she is leaving our area for a new opportunity! I've know Tina for many years, we've weathered the ever changing climate of global regulatory affairs together. In 2007, I think we were together with each other more than we were with our families! :o). One of Tina's greatest accomplishments and for which I admire her the most isn't professional, but personal. Over the last couple of years, she has lost over 50 lbs! She totally shook up her lifestyle from exercise to the food she eats. Tina became committed to a Vegan diet which means consuming no animal products. In an omnivore world, this can sometimes pose special challenges such as when you want to make her a special treat!! Lucky for me, our friend, Lisa came up with the idea to make something with two of Tina's favorites, chocolate and peanut butter! I took that idea and came up with a chocolate cake wrapped in peanut butter frosting and then covered in a glossy ganache, Heaven!!
This cake took me about 2 hours from start to finish which includes cooling time. Since Vegan ingredients aren't as readily available in the local mega-mart, I did take a special trip to a small nutrition store. The variety of ingredients there was amazing!
The chocolate cake is Depression/Crazy/Whacky cake. There is no wheat, egg or dairy in this cake. You mix the dry ingredients in a 9x13 pan.
Then, you make three wells in the pan to which you add oil, vanilla & vinegar.
After that, you pour 2 cups of water over it all and mix well! I then evenly divided the batter between 2 prepared 8 inch round pans.
Bake for 35 minutes in a 350*F oven or until a fork comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for 10-15 minutes in the pans before turning them out onto racks to cool completely (30-45 minutes).
While the cakes are cooling, set the vegan butter out to soften. The frosting is just a few simple ingredients creamed together.
Start by creaming together 1 cup of vegan butter and a jar of organic peanut butter. Then slowly incorporate 4 cups of organic powdered sugar. The mix will be very dry at this point. You will add the almond milk one tablespoon at a time until you get to the desired fluffiness (6-7tbps).
When the cakes are cool, generously frost the top of the bottom layer so you have a nice thick middle of sugary goodness.
Place the top layer on and frost the entire cake. I reserved a 1/2 cup of frosting to write a message on the cake.
After the cake is frosted, you can make the ganache. Start by heating water in a double boiler. You can make a double boiler with a sauce pan with a stainless bowl topping it.
Add all the ganache ingredients into the bowl when you hear the water boiling in the sauce pan.
Stir constantly with a rubber spatula and in 4-5 minutes, you will have a beautiful glossy ganache.
Remove from the heat and let cool for 7-10 minutes before pouring over the cake. Otherwise, you'll melt the frosting! When it is cool, slowly spoon the ganache over the cake and let it overflow a bit, but don't entirely cover the sides.
Let the ganache set up for about 15 minutes before removing parchment paper from the base. You may also write on it now if you wish!
3 Cups GF multi-purpose flour
6 Tbsp. cocoa (unsweetened)
2 Cup white sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. white vinegar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
10 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Cup water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix first 5 dry ingredients in a 9 x 13 baking pan. Make 3 depressions in dry ingredients. Pour vinegar in one depression, vanilla in the other and the vegetable oil in third larger depression. Pour water over all. Mix well until smooth. Evenly divide the batter between 2 greased and floured 8 inch round pans. Bake on middle rack of oven for 35 minutes. Check with toothpick to make sure it comes out clean. Cool.
Peanut Butter Frosting:
1 cup Earth Balance Non-Dairy Buttery Sticks, softened
2 cups organic Creamy Peanut Butter
6-7 tbsp Unsweetened Almond Milk
4 cups organic Confectioners Sugar
1 10oz pkg vegan chocolate chips
1/2 cup coconut or vegan milk
1/2 tbsp vegan butter
1 tbsp corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
Start by heating water in a double boiler. Add all the ganache ingredients into the bowl when you hear the water boiling in the double boiler. Stir constantly with a rubber spatula and in 4-5 minutes, or until all the ingredients are melted together. Remove from heat and let cool before using.