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Chocolate help? - and recipes in return
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So, my 31st birthday is tomorrow, and we've decided to be radical: we're going to make a different kind of chocolate cake this year! (OK, I know, we're not being that adventurous...but really, for us, it's a big step.) For the last several years, we've used exactly the same recipe, which is a vegan chocolate cake recipe that tastes perfectly nice...but it's time for a change. This year, we've got a ton of excellent (and already-well-proven) egg replacement that works well in baking, and I have on hand a whole list of recommended vegan substitutes for dairy cooking ingredients (even including stuff like buttermilk and sour cream), so we've decided to branch out. We'll make absolutely the nicest-looking, most intensely chocolately chocolate cake recipe we can find, no matter what the ingredients are - we'll just find a way to substitute vegan replacements for any dairy/egg items that are included.

But...I've been going through all of our (admittedly limited) store of cookbooks, and I can't actually find any appealing-looking recipes! Since I never actually used to cook chocolate cakes before we got together (heck, I didn't even cook before we got together!), I don't have a nice fallback dairy recipe to pull out. I have been looking on various internet recipe sites...but there are SO MANY recipes there, and I have no idea how any of them actually work! So here's my plea...does anyone have a chocolate cake recipe you particularly love? And if you do, would you be willing to share it here? If so, I'll be eternally grateful!

In a very small pre-emptive payback, I will share my two favorite recipes that I've found recently, sadly neither of them chocolate: a truly delicious (dairy) recipe for blueberry muffins that really works (even when veganized, as I can say because we've cooked it both ways); and a recipe for white bean and roasted garlic soup, which we've cooked at least 3 times in the last month because we love it so much:

White Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup
(ever-so-slightly adapted from the recipe in Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Vegan With a Vengeance)
Makes 4 medium-sized portions
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 medium-size onion, chopped
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • A few dashes fresh black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 stock cube dissolved in 1 liter/1-3/4 pints water
  • 450g/1 lb cooked cannellini beans, drained (or else canned beans, drained and rinsed)
  • 1-1/2 tsp dry sage
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • At least 2 heads of roasted garlic (the more the better, as far as I'm concerned!)

In a stockpot over medium-high heat sauté the onions in th olive oil for 5-7 minutes

Add the salt, black pepper, cumin seeds and dried sage; sauté for 1 minute. Add the stock, beans, sage, and bay leaf, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Add the roasted garlic, let simmer at least 15 minutes. Add lemon juice just before serving.

To roast the garlic:
Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Peel off as much of the garlic's papery outer skin as possible, but leave the cloves of garlic clustered together on their stem, and don't peel off so much that the inner garlic cloves are exposed. When ready, put the heads of garlic in the oven for about thirty minutes, on a normal, unoiled baking tray. After 30 minutes, remove from oven and, when cool, squeeze the garlic out or peel the skin away from each clove.

If you try either of those recipes, enjoy! :) And if anyone can help me out with my birthday chocolate fix, I will be very, very grateful.

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