Meatless Monday – Chocolate Stout Cake

Last night friends hosted a lovely backyard dinner party.dinner view a

The group was a mix of friends from church and neighborhood. At what became the first annual dinner two years ago, they toasted us off on our Costa Rica sabbatical. At this third annual dinner, neighbors we met two years ago have become friends with whom we look forward to spending an evening. And, sadly, last night we toasted friends who will soon relocate.dinner host

Our hosts prepared the meat and desserts, and guests brought a favorite dish and a bottle of wine. I made cauliflower soup topped with homemade croutons as a warm start to the meal. As I said here, it looks like caramel and tastes like comfort.dinner soup pots

I also made mini chocolate stout cupcakes as a not-too-sweet little bite to end the meal as our gourmet hosts served pot de creme and apricot trifle. I typically make this recipe as a bundt cake, but for this occasion I wanted a simple finger food. I also skipped the ganache and instead topped each cake with a few chocolate chips–just right.

Vegan Chocolate Stout Cake
Makes 1 bundt to serve approx. 12 or 48 mini cupcakes

Cake:
2 flax eggs (1 Tbsp ground flax + 3 Tbsp water = 1 flax egg)
½ c + 1 Tbsp plant milk + 1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 c stout
1 c vegan butter
¾ c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ c white whole wheat flour
½ c whole wheat flour
1 c unbleached sugar
½ Tbsp baking soda
¾ t salt

Ganache:
16 oz non-dairy semisweet chocolate morsels
1 c plant milk
2 Tbsp unbleached sugar
2 Tbsp liquid sweetener, such as maple syrup or agave
¼ c vegan butter

For cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray and dust it with cocoa powder.

Prepare flax eggs in a small bowl and set aside. Add lemon juice to plant milk and set aside.

Bring stout and butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and milk in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Pour cake into prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer cake to rack; cool 10 minutes. Turn cake out onto rack and cool completely.

For ganache:
In a 2 qt saucepan bring milk, sugar, and syrup to a boil over low/medium heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Do not scorch/scald. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to mixture, whisking until smooth. Transfer ganache to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened but still pourable. Spread ganache along top of completely cooled bundt cake so that the chocolate runs thickly down the sides and interior of the cake. Alternately, you can serve ganache on the side and allow guests to add some to their slice.

Notes:
Perhaps the world’s most common stout, Guinness has traditionally been made with isinglass, a derivative of fish bladders. In November 2015, The New York Times ran an article stating that Guinness will be going vegan, but they didn’t specify a timeline.

I say “unbleached sugar” because refined white sugar processed in the US may have been bleached using animal bone char. Check labels and read this Huffington Post article.

I ❤ coconut milk for baked goods! It seems to make them lighter and fluffier than other plant milks. Use what you have, but if you have coconut milk, use that. (This recipe uses coconut milk, not cream, but you could use cream. Let me know if you try it).dinner stout cake

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