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I made my step-father the most amazing cake for Fathers’ Day.  I prefer to make cakes rather than buy them as grocery store cakes are one, not vegan; and two, made with white sugar.  I swear the longer I don’t eat white sugar the more sensitive to it I become.  I can hardly tolerate desserts made with it any more and am shocked at how sweet I used to like my treats.  I prefer to make my own white sugar free vegan treats.

Fortunately, my step-father loves of vegan treats.  He’s been heard to say the vegan desserts are the best and he gets a light in his eye when I suggest baking a cake.  He requested chocolate for Fathers’ Day so I hauled out my go-to baking book.  It’s The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes by Kris Holechek.  Ms. Holechek doesn’t exaggerate: these are the best baked goods I’ve ever tasted.  She has a recipe for The Blackest Forest Cake that I made before and my notes say it’s amazing.  I took a look and thought I’d make it again but the contents of my cupboard convinced me to try an experiment.  Twenty minutes of prep and forty minutes of baking later I ended up with something I’m going to call Kate’s Double Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake.  I’ll have to come up with something shorter but that works for now.

I have had past experiments tank.  My baked goods usually turn out okay although I’ve had a few I wouldn’t make again and, though the cake layers smelled good while baking, I doubted the wisdom of attempting an experiment on a holiday.  I’d committed and it was chocolate after all…how bad could it be?

The answer?  Absolutely fabulous.  This cake is incredible.  I added chocolate chips to the batter just before baking and they add a fun contrasting texture to a rich, moist cake.  I put a layer of strawberry fruit filling on top of the fudge frosting between the layers, then topped the cake with the rest of the strawberries.

I did cheat here: I used canned strawberry pie filling rather than making my own fruit filling.  If I hadn’t decided on this recipe on the fly I would have made my own fruit filling/topping as I think it would have resulted in a stronger strawberry flavor.  You can’t beat fresh, right?  Not that I’m complaining: this cake is amazing.  I’m surprised at how good it is.  The secret might be the coconut sugar.

I use coconut sugar in most of my recipes.  It can add a toffee-like flavor to cookies and I believe that, because it isn’t overpoweringly sweet like white sugar, it lets the chocolate shine in this cake.  Coconut sugar can be a bit expensive but I find deals on Amazon.com or Vitacost.

Want to try it?  The recipe is below.  These ingredients aren’t the cheapest but are well worth using for a special treat.  Try it.  Make changes.  If your changes are tasty, let me know!

Kate’s Double Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, sifted

3/4 cup Hungarian High Altitude Flour (if you don’t have to worry about altitude, use all-purpose flour), sifted

1 1/2 cups organic coconut sugar

3/4 cup organic cacao powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp Himalayan pink salt

1/2 cup plus 2 TBSP plain non-dairy yogurt

1 cup unsweetened almond/coconut blend milk

1/2 cup oil

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup boiling water

2 cups non-dairy chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans and then line the bottoms with wax paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  In a separate bowl, mix yogurt, milk, oil, and vanilla.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and thoroughly mix.  Add boiling water and mix to combine.  Fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Divide the batter between the two pans.  Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 30 to 45 minutes.  Cook cake in pans 20 minutes and then run a thin knife around edges and turn onto a cooking rack to cool completely.  Note: I find baked goods usually take 10 to 15 minutes longer than the original recipe directs.  I baked for 30 minutes and then checked every five until the cakes were done.
  4. Make fudge frosting.

Fudge Frosting

2/3 cup chocolate chips

6 TBSP Earth Balance vegan margarine

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1/8 tsp salt

6 TBSP milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

You will also need a can of strawberry fruit filling

Combine chocolate chips and margarine in a saucepan and whisk over low heat until completely melted.  Resist the urge to dip fruit in the melted chocolate and scrape into a mixing bowl.  Add the sugar, salt, milk, and vanilla.  Put frosting in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to set before using.

Build the cake.  Put the bottom layer on the cake plate and cover the top with a layer of fudge frosting and 1/3 of the strawberry filling.  Place the second layer on the top.  Frost cake with remaining icing and top with remaining fruit.  Carefully cover cake and put in refrigerator until ready to eat.  Store cake covered in refrigerator.

Tip:  Put the layers on separate cooling racks.  It will be much easier to turn them out on the cake plate.

If you have the time and a star tip for cake decorating, run a border around the bottom and top of the cake.  It will frame the fruit topping and keep it from running off the sides of the cake.  Here’s an article on making your own piping bag.