The Perfect Chocolate Cake: Dairy, Egg and Nut-Free
We have officially entered a busy season of birthdays at my house, and that means that this mama is going to be making a lot of cakes in the next few months! So, it seems appropriate after my last week of blog posts on birthdays that I follow up with a special cake recipe that is always requested by at least one of my four children for his or her birthday each year. In fact, this was my son Luke's choice for his birthday this past weekend - as always, it was a hit with both the allergic and non-allergic crowd.
This is an "old fashioned" chocolate cake recipe that my mom found several years ago in a magazine called Cuisine At Home. What initially got her attention was the fact that the recipe is egg-free, but there was still a problem: the frosting calls for sour cream and heavy whipping cream. When I started thinking about how I might alter this recipe to make it safe for my dairy-allergic kiddo, I had to do some investigating. I love Tofutti's non-dairy sour cream for baking, so that was the easy; but after some research and experimenting, I also discovered that silken tofu - pureed into the consistency of heavy whipping cream - was actually an ideal substitution for the cream. Enter these minor alterations, and voila... the absolutely perfect dairy, egg and nut-free chocolate layer cake!
The really interesting kick to this cake is something I don't want you to leave out - instant coffee granuels. I know that some people don't like the flavor of coffee, but I promise you this is so subtle that you wouldn't realize it was there if I didn't tell you. It's that special flavor in this cake that you can't quite put your finger on, but makes it so extraordinary. Don't skim on this unique pinch of flavor!
Dairy, Egg and Nut-Free Chocolate Cake
*3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups hot water
3/4 cups canola oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon instant coffee granuels
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
*While I haven't make this recipe gluten-free, I absolutely encourage you to substitute a g-free flour blend and see what you think! I am confident that this recipe can be further altered to make safe for those with wheat allergies and gluten intolerances.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two, 8-inch round baking pans with dairy-free, non-stick cooking spray. Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl; set aside. In a smaller bowl, combine water, oil, vinegar, coffee granuels and vanilla until coffee is dissolved and mixture is well-combined. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with whisk or electric mixer or until just combined (a few lumps are okay). Evenly distribute cake batter into the two pans and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. Place pans on wire cooling racks for at least 15 minutes, then invert cakes out of their pans and on to the racks to continue cooling.
Dairy, Egg and Nut-Free Chocolate Frosting
1/2 cup dairy-free butter (I use Earth Balance, soy-free)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups of silken tofu, pureed into the consistency of heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup non-dairy sour cream (I used Tofutti brand)
1 teaspoon instant coffee granuels
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in sugar, cocoa and salt; mixture will be very grainy. In a separate small bowl, combine pureed tofu, non-dairy sour cream and coffee granuels until coffee is dissolved and mixture is well-incorporated. Slowly add tofu mixture to the chocolate and whisk over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and the mixture is smooth and hot to the touch, approximately 6-8 minutes. Take frosting off the heat and stir in vanilla. Let cool at room temperature for at least 2-3 hours (you may also put in refrigerator to speed up process); just make sure it is cool to the touch and spreadable before icing cake.
For information on the magazine where my mom initially found this recipe, Cuisine At Home, click here.