Monday, June 13, 2011

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cake With German Chocolate Coconut And Pecan Icing

Dates and cashews provide the creamy base for the pecan and coconut icing.

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Our Annual Celebration!
I know it's a big jump from the raw vegan, gluten free cleanse we did last week to a German chocolate cake, but I'm getting ready for our annual family party. Every year we all get together to celebrate Summer Solstice. It's not that we are into pagan rituals, the family just decided that the end of June was a perfect time to get together. The airports aren't too crowded. There's no chance of snow delays. Our pool is generally warm enough by then for the grandkids to swim. And the date has generally worked out for everyone!
So with this year's party coming up, I thought I'd better decide on a yummy dessert that will please the crowd. The number one concern for me is NO DAIRY. Last year's party coincided with our 20th wedding anniversary and I bought a decadent cake from this very fancy bakery in Sebastopol. Although everyone really enjoyed it, (I must admit, it was delicious), I felt awful after eating it. It must have contained lots of cream and I'm lactose intolerant. So this year, I'm going to make the dessert myself!

Definitely Not Low in Calories
German chocolate cakes have an icing that always includes two ingredients that are pretty high in calories and high in fat - coconut and pecans. Although neither of these ingredients are particularly unhealthy foods, when you combine them with white sugar, evaporated milk, butter and egg yokes (as in the traditional recipe), you can end up with a piece of cake that exceeds 600 calories per slice! So even though my recipe is fairly high in calories, it is made mostly from whole, natural foods and is still half the calories of some traditional recipes. The saturated fat comes from coconut's tropical oil which is not harmful like the saturated fat from butter. And, the cake is cholesterol free and rich in heart healthy nuts!
Dates and cashews make up the creamy base for the icing of chopped pecans and unsweetened shredded coconut and the cake is made with white whole wheat flour. (If you haven't discovered King Arthur's white whole wheat flour yet, check it out. It's as light as white flour yet it has the nutrients and dietary fiber of whole wheat! It's the ONLY wheat flour I use.) 
So although you shouldn't make this rich cake a regular part of your diet, it's a wonderful treat when the family gets together. I hope my family likes it!

Vegan chocolate chips are folded into the cake batter for added richness . 
This vegan chocolate chip cake is delicious even without icing and it's only 161 calories per slice!
Dust with powdered sugar and serve with sliced strawberries!

Vegan German Chocolate Cake
[makes 12 - 16 servings]
For the chocolate chip cake
1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
3 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Sucanat or organic cane sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened, non-GMO soy milk
1/2 cup mashed banana
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
For the coconut pecan icing
1 cup raw cashews, soaked 4 - 6 hours and rinsed
4 medjool dates, pitted and soaked 4 - 6 hours (drained, reserving soak water)
1/4 cup reserved date soak water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 cup dried, unsweetened, shredded coconut - divided
2/3 cup raw pecans, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
Cut wax paper to fit the bottom of an 8 inch cake pan and place in the bottom. Grease the sides of the pan with vegan margarine or olive oil. Set aside.
To make the cake, begin by making a flax egg by combining ground flaxseeds and water in a small bowl or cup. Beat with a small fork until the mixture becomes gooey. Set aside.
Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and mix well.
In a medium bowl, mix the sugar with soy milk, mashed banana, vanilla, olive oil and flax egg with an electric beater (if you have one) until thoroughly combined.
Add this to the dry ingredients and beat again until well blended. 
Fold in the chocolate chips and pour into prepared cake pan.
Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick in the middle and it comes out clean.
Remove from oven and cool in the pan, on a rack, for 5 to 10 minutes.
Turn the cake onto the rack, gently removing the wax paper from the bottom. Turn the cake back over so it is cooling with its top facing up. Set aside until it's completely cool.
To make the icing, add soaked and rinsed cashews, the dates and 1/4 cup of their soak water, vanilla and maple syrup to a food processor with an S blade. Process until smooth and creamy scraping down the sides when necessary.
Add all but 1 tablespoon of the shredded coconut and pulse a few times until it is combined.
Place into a bowl and stir in the chopped pecans.
Ice the cake and sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of coconut over the top. 
Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Per serving (12 pieces): 333.7 calories, 19.7 g fat, 6.6 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 5.8 g protein, 37.6 g carbohydrates and 5.4 g dietary fiber.

Per serving (16 pieces): 250.3 calories, 14.7 g fat, 4.9 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4.3 g protein, 28.2 g carbohydrates and 4.1 g dietary fiber.


Debra said...

Great recipe! I am going to make this for our next Sunday dinner when the whole family comes over. Thanks Joanne.

Dr. Joanne L. Mumola Williams said...

I hope everyone enjoys it!