20 December 2008

Vegan Carob Cake with Fudgy Carob Frosting

From Vegan Carob Cake

Here's the recipe I promised from my last post. It's based loosely on the Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting in The Angelica Home Kitchen cookbook.

Caveats: This is a time consuming recipe, especially the frosting part. Things will look very weird at several points in the recipe. Trust me, it will all work out just fine. I wish I'd taken photos of the weird stuff, but I didn't. So here's a weird-ish photo to show you what I mean:

From Vegan Carob Cake

See how the top of the layer looks lumpy? Well, it's even lumpier going into the oven. Don't panic at all about this. There's some real magic that goes on between the apple cider vinegar and the rest of the cake. It leaves it all moist and wonderful. Besides, no one will see the lumpishness. The frosting takes care of it.

Speaking of the frosting, there is definitely enough to cover your cake lavishly. You can definitely be generous when you're smearing it on.

OK. Now for the recipe.

Vegan Carob Cake with Fudgy Carob Frosting

Serves 12

Cake Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup carob powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup oil (I used grapeseed.)
2 cups agave nectar (I know this sounds like a lot, but the original called for 3 cups of maple syrup -- an expensive recipe, for sure. Still, it's a LOT of cake.)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar (Don't omit this ingredient, whatever you do!)
2 tablespoons vanilla
2 cups filtered water

Frosting Ingredients:

6 tablespoons agar flakes
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup carob powder
3/4 cup agave nectar
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 1/2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
6 tablespoons almond milk (or whatever non-dairy milk you prefer)

Cake Directions:

1. In a large bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients. Give them a stir for about 2 minutes, until all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
2. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, mix the wet ingredients for 3 to 5 minutes, until they are well combined.
3. Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture. Here's where things are very weird. It's going to be extremely lumpy. Don't overmix this no matter what your head tells you. Mix until the dry ingredients have been moistened -- about 3 minutes.
4. Let the cake batter rest a few minutes while you preheat your oven to 325 degrees F and oil and flour your two 9-in. cake pans. You definitely want to line the bottoms of your pans with a circle of parchment paper as well. Trust me on this. The cakes WILL stick if you don't.
5. When the pans are prepared, pour the batter into the pans. Don't be concerned that there is a lot of batter, it won't over flow. However, feel free to put the pans on top of a cookie sheet with a lip.
6. Bake the cakes for 35 minutes or until a tester comes out with just the barest of crumbs. Do NOT open the oven for the first half hour. This important for the lump-killing abilities of the cider vinegar. You will regret it if you don't leave the layers alone.
7. Cool the layers completely before frosting.

Frosting Directions

If you thought the lumps were weird, strap in -- it gets much weirder.

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the agar and water until the agar has dissolved. If you haven't yet worked with agar, you're looking for something akin to a mucous-y consistency. Sorry, but that's probably the best comparison I can think of at the moment. Feel free to add yours in the comments.
2. Whisk in the carob powder, agave nectar, salt, and vanilla, mixing well as the mixture simmers. Make sure you get all the lumps of carob because these will show up later if you don't.
3. In a little bowl or a liquid measuring cup, dissolve the arrowroot in the non-dairy milk.
4. Add the arrowroot mixture to the saucepan, and continue stirring until the whole thing thickens a bit. It doesn't take long -- only about a minute.
5. Pour the mixture into an oven-to-table-to-refrigerator pan or baker, then chill it in the refrigerator until it sets. This could take up to an hour. Play it safe and leave it in there for an hour.
6. Just when you thought you were done... Take the set almost-frosting out of the fridge and cut it into 1-in. squares. Load the squares into your food processor or blender and puree until smooth. This may take a few minutes. It took about 10 minutes for mine to get completely smooth. However, there were lots of air bubbles in the frosting that you can see in this photo:

From Vegan Carob Cake

7. Gently remove the cake layers from their pans and place one layer upside down onto your cake plate. Using an offset spatula, spread the frosting generously on the top of the layer. Gently place the second layer on top of the frosting, then generously frost the top and sides until the cake is completely covered in luscious frosting.
8. Enjoy!

From Vegan Carob Cake


Anonymous said...

Looks fabulous! I've made agave-based frosting like that and always think it's so much work. . .until it's done and I can eat it! I bet this was heavenly.

Deb Schiff said...

Thanks Ricki! It was worth the work, especially for the love letter (in the previous post). :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, this is great recipe, i made it last Monday on my wife's birthday and voila... everybody amazed with the cake. I add 1/2 tsp of organic imitation of chocolate, no alcohol or caffeine, it came out superb, thanks for your recipe. Do you have a good recipe for strawberry cake? Thursday is my daughter's birthday. see ya..

Deb Schiff said...

Thanks, Anonymous poster. So glad to hear yours was a success! :) I do not have a recipe for strawberry cake. Sorry. Good luck with yours!

Simonika said...

Thank you Deb for having this recipe here. I'm playing with it right now - cake is in the oven~
I'm using just the cake part, instead of frosting I am going to layer them with jam and cottage cheese mixed with carob. I want to say that there's really nothing weird-ish about these processes. it is what it is and the knowing that you've put only the best ingredients in it makes you trust its any kind of looks. It is good =)

RobynLiz said...

Thank you for the recipe! My cake came out wonderfully! Unfortunately, I couldn't get the icing to turn out. I think I didn't have the heat high enough when I was trying to dissolve the agar flakes. A picture of that mucous-y consistency may have been helpful. However, we liked it without the frosting and thought it might be nice with a cherry pie-type filling on top. Thanks again!

Deb Schiff said...

Hey RobynLiz,
Sorry your icing didn't work. It was really tricky. Glad the cake worked, though.
I was thinking that next time, I'd use some kind of fluffy white icing since it was really over the top fudgy this way.

Anonymous said...

Made cupcakes. They came out wonderful and didn't stick at all.

Deb Schiff said...

Excellent! Glad to hear it.

Sofia said...

Hi there,

I really wanna bake this cake for my vegan friend.
I just have a question as I don't want to mess it up:
Is it really 2 tablespoons vanilla extract?

Every other recipe says 2 teaspoons.

Thank you very much

Deb Schiff said...

It is indeed 2 tablespoons. The carob flavor is very heavy, so the cake needs a lot of vanilla. The original recipe calls for 4 teaspoons, and I tinkered with it a bit, and used even more. If you're wary, just use 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon. That way, you'll be going by the original (although I changed more than that from the original). Best of luck!

Sofia said...

Thank you very much!
Will definitely try it :)

Megan said...

I made the cake and it was delicious! I have a question for next time. Is there anything you can use in place of the agar flakes? It was almost $9 for a 6oz bag! It used most of the bag.
When I was mixing the batter, I set the timer so I would not over mix, but it did over flow a bit in the oven. Maybe the pans were too small? I found out something interesting along the way. Agave is sold by weight and not volume, so a 23 oz. bottle is only 2 cups, 16 oz. I had to go back to the store before making the frosting!
Everything was well worth it, and even the non-vegans loved it!
Next time I going to try cupcakes.
Would cupcakes use less frosting?
Thanks for the recipe!

Deb Schiff said...

Hi Megan,

Sorry it's taken a bit to get back to you on your comment.

First, so glad you enjoyed the cake!

I don't know what to use instead of agar, sorry!

Perhaps you used 8-in pans?

Cupcakes do use less frosting, that is, unless you use a little of the frosting as a filling (which I like to do).