Death by Chocolate

This past weekend we celebrated D’s and his mom’s birthday.  Celebrations started on Friday and ended on Sunday, visiting with all sides of the family.  I think he had a nice time.  I asked him what he wanted to do and we did it.  When I asked him what he wanted to do on his actual birthday, he told me he wanted me to make Italian Beef (simple) and maybe a dessert or something that Mini Me could also have.  After all, we don’t need a crazy 3 year old to be going on a jealous rage that she can’t eat cake when we are enjoying it.  So, Thursday night came, and Mini Me and I started making a cake.  She absolutely LOVES to help me in the kitchen.  Loves to help measure things, mix things, and just be with me.  I am flattered by it.  And because I was making a Vegan/Allergy Friendly cake, she got to taste every ingredient along the way.  I may have, too.

She's a great helper!

We first made the cake.  While it was baking, we moved onto the mousse, and then the ganache.  Once the cake was cooled completely, I spread the mousse between the two layers of cake, and added a thick layer to just the top of the cake. I let that set overnight in the fridge (in this awesome Wilton Cake Caddy) while the ganache also set.  Before the birthday boy got home from work, I spread the ganache evenly on the top of the cake and the sides with a large icing spatula (like this one), and put it back in the fridge until it was time to serve.  Please remember, if you do make this cake, that it needs to be refrigerated for the mousse and the ganache.  Don’t worry, it won’t dry the cake out, I PROMISE!

Let me tell you… This cake is ABSOLUTELY amazing, and you would have NO idea that it was vegan.  None.  I wanted to eat the whole thing.  I likely had too much of it over the weekend… Just sayin’.  I might as well own up to my indulgence.  It was totally worth it, though!

Kate’s Triple Chocolate Cake

100% Vegan!

Vegan Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour (all-purpose)
  • 6 Tbsp. cocoa (unsweetened)
  • 1 cup Truvia Baking Blend (or 2 Cups Sugar)
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. white vinegar
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 cups water

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Prepare cake pans (I used these 8″ round aluminum cake pans from Wilton, and the Wilton Bake Even Strips which help the cake be more consistently level as it bakes)
  3. Mix all dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl
  4. Make “wells” for vinegar, vanilla, and coconut oil and pour each into a “well” (one should be big enough to hold coconut oil)
  5. Pour water over the top
  6. Mix with hand mixer until smooth
  7. Divide batter evenly into prepare cake pans
  8. Bake on center rack for 32-38 minutes, testing with a toothpick to be sure cake is done
  9. Remove and let cool on cooling racks for 5 minutes before removing cakes from pans to cool completely

Dark Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe Haas avocados
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 6 Tbsp. cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 3 Tbsp. almond or cashew milk (I used chocolate cashew milk)

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients into a blender (I used my single serving Ninja cup) or food processor and blend until smooth.

(Seriously, its that easy!)

Vegan Salted Milk Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag dairy free chocolate chips (I like Enjoy Life or Chocolate Dream)
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 tsp sea salt

Directions:

  1. With a double boiler or a sauce pot with water topped with a glass mixing bowl, melt and combine all ingredients together until smooth.  I whisked along the way with a small whisk to be sure that it was completely smooth.
  2. Let set for at least 3 hours in the fridge before using as an icing.

(This also makes a great dip for fruit while warm!)

Enjoy this super fudgey cake!  It is my favorite cake I’ve actually ever had – saying a lot considering where I work!

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No, Mommy… You can’t go run. I want pancakes.

Sunday morning.  The first morning in a week that the temperatures have been over 20 degrees.  This means… RUNNING!!!  I’ve been waiting for this morning for a week.  The arctic temps here in Chi town have been insane.  Time for them to move on and make someone else miserable (sorry if you are that someone else).

Going to bed last night, I triple checked to be sure I had my alarm set so that I could wake up and get a run in around 7am.  I wasn’t planning a long run, just a quick 30 minutes out getting some fresh air, shoes to the pavement, enjoying the “me” time.  Alarm went off, I got up, slowly started getting myself to wake up enough for my brain to tell my feet to move one in front of the other, and suddenly I hear…”MOOOOOMMMMMMMYYYYYYY!!!!!  MOMMMMMMMYYYYYYYYYYY!!!” coming from the room next to mine.  Mini Me was awake.  I suppose I can’t really complain when she sleeps 12 hours, but darn it… I wanted to be out the door when she woke up.  I go in, give her wake-up snuggles, and asks if she wants to hang out with me while I finish getting dressed for my run.  She looks at me all innocent and says, “No, Mommy.  You can’t go run.  I want pancakes.”  I explained to her that she can get up, have some milk and a banana while I was running and when I got back I would make her pancakes.  Told her I would be gone for 45 minutes, max.  She seemed ok with this rationale.

I finished getting dressed, getting my new ear buds in (thanks to my bro-in-law) and my runner’s pepper spray (thanks to D and mom-in-law… we have coyotes around here), and get to moving.  Finished my run at a pretty good pace, and entered the kitchen, knowing that Mini Me was probably getting hangry at this time.  If you don’t already know this, a hangry three year old is no good.  I am pretty sure that is how wars start.

Enter… Pancakes.  Now, as a quick reminder, Mini Me is allergic to eggs, milk, peanuts, fish, and shellfish.  Baking is constantly difficult, and breakfast foods are one of the most difficult things to work around.  But a few years back, I was lucky enough to stumble across a Banana Oatmeal Pancake recipe from the Colourful Palate.  These have been a lifesaver for me!  I did alter the recipe slightly from theirs, making them less gummy and a bit more toddler approved.

Chocolate Chip Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

Chocolate Chip Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

Ingredients:

IMG_7344

  • 1.5 cups quick cooking oats
  • 0.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp sea salt
  • 1.5 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • Mini Chocolate Chips (mine are allergy free)
  • Canola Oil Spray or Coconut Oil (for pan prep)

Directions

  1. IMG_7342Blend all ingredients until combined, except bananas and chocolate chips.
  2. Add bananas and blend until smooth.
  3. Pour batter onto a hot skillet or griddle prepared with spray or coconut oil (I use my electric skillet because I can fit more), and sprinkle chocolate chips onto the pancakes as desired.  Wait until bubbles form in the center of the pancakes and flip to finish.

Recipe will make around 12-15 medium sized pancakes.

IMG_7341        Chocolate Chip Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

After all was said and done, Mini got her pancakes.

BONUS – these refrigerate and reheat really well for quick grab and go breakfasts during the week!