People often ask me how my love for baking started. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment in time when it flourished, but it had something to do with striving to be vegetarian and vegan at the time, thus getting into vegan baking. Vegan baking opened up my world to endless possibilities and experimentation that made the kitchen into my own chemistry lab. I loved substituting flax seed meal and applesauce for eggs, canola oil for butter, and dairy-free milks mixed with vinegar for “buttermilks”. Why not bake with cheaper, “healthier” and easily-accessible ingredients on hand? To me, it was a no-brainer.
My very first post here on The Baking Bird was this vegan no-bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Pie. It was pretty much the start of it all. Literally.
I have unconsciously distanced myself from vegan baking the last few years mainly due to branching out and learning the basic chemistry behind baking with butter, eggs, and milk. I’m not afraid of dairy, never really have been, I just enjoy the fact that baking vegan requires a little creativity to achieve the same, if not similar, effect. I like the challenge. I like the process. I (usually) like the end result. And this particular recipe is no exception. I had never made a pudding cake before and was intrigued. A pudding cake is basically two desserts in one–while baking, the cake-ish part rises to the top while a pudding-like creamy consistency forms beneath (check this recipe out if you’d like to try a seasonal apple pudding cake! That’s next on my list…). What’s not to like about that? This vegan chocolate base recipe is not only super easy to make, but a good starting point to experiment with different spices and flavors (ahem, pumpkin or peanut butter mixed in, perhaps?). In the end you get a light fudgy brownie sundae, since the chocolate pudding sauce is already included on the bottom and it’s like whoa. Just add a little whipped cream (vegan or not) and you’ll be in good shape.
- For the cake:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- ½ cup vanilla soy milk
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- For the pudding:
- ½ cup white sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup cold water
- Heat the oven to 375°F. Grease or spray with non-stick cooking spray an 8″x8″ baking pan.
- Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt through a fine-meshed strainer into a mixing bowl.
- Combine the milk, coconut oil, and vanilla. Pour the liquids over the dry ingredients, and stir gently with a spatula just until no more dry flour is visible. Scrape this batter into the pan and smooth the top.
- For the pudding layer, combine the white sugar, brown sugar, and cocoa powder in a small bowl. Pour over the cake batter and shake the pan to evenly distribute the sugars.
- Pour the cold water over the sugars. Do not stir. Put the pan immediately into the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. As it bakes, the cake will rise to the top while the pudding forms beneath. The cake is finished baking when the edges of the cake turn dark brown and crispy, and when the top of the cake is shiny and dry to the touch.
- Let the cake cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Scoop slices of cake and the pudding beneath into individual bowls and top with ice cream. Leftovers will keep refrigerated for up to a week and can be reheated for 20 seconds in the microwave.