This delicious and moist cake is a riff on those vintage chocolate cake recipes that use mayonnaise to replace oil and eggs. And it was my response to a growing mound of oranges from a week of Covid-necessitated bag lunches at the private school where I now teach. With the bountiful apples and oranges, wr joke that they must have an orchard.
As crazy as it sounds, this delicious and moist bundt cake can be completely oil-free if you use an oil-free mayo (and glaze it with something other than ganache). I use Walton Farms no-calorie accidentally vegan (yes, its true!) that I purchase at Harris Teeter.
But that is not the reason to make this recipe. No, its rich flavor and beautiful texture are the reasons why.
Chocolate-Orange Bundt Cake
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups fresh squeezed orange juice
Optional: zest of 1 orange
1/4 cup concentrated coffee or more orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup mayonnaise (I used Walton Farms no calorie mayo)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 10-cup bundt pan. In a large mixing bowl, beat or whisk together all ingredients for about 2 minutes or until smooth and completely combined. Spoon into prepared pan, gently smooth top, and bake 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Invert onto wire rack, cover with a dish towel, and cool completely. Glaze as desired.
If it is extra hot, as it is here in Southeastern Virginia this July, pop these babies in the freezer for a bit before serving. They will cool you right down and perk you right up.
A note about the garnish: I sprinkle my tarts with mini white chocolate chips, but if you don’t have any, just sprinkle with a little powdered sugar for a bit of color contrast. The little bites of white chocolate are nice, but probably not worth making a special purchase. If you use the powdered sugar, be sure to dust the tarts just before serving.
1/2 cup pecans, plain or toasted
1/2 cup shredded coconut (I like unsweetened)
1/4 to 1/2 cup dates or dry figs, stemmed (this may sound like a big difference, but it depends on how moist the fruit is)
Pinch sea salt
Vegan Chocolate Mousse (recipe follows)
Vegan Chocolate Ganache (recipe follows)
12 fresh raspberries, rinsed and patted very dry
Approximately 2 tablespoons mini vegan white chocolate chips or powdered sugar
Garnish: fresh mint sprigs
Place 12 mini muffin cups liners in muffin tin. in food processor, a small one if you have it, process together pecans, coconut, and one quarter cup of figs or dates, and salt. Process until the mixture starts to hold together. If It holds together when pinched between your fingers, it is the right consistency. If not, keep adding figs or dates, one or two at a time. Divide mixture among lined muffin cups and press into bottoms. Fill each with chocolate mousse. (If there is any mousse left over, spoon into a carton and chill, covered, for another use.) Refrigerate for an hour or so and then prepare chocolate ganache, swirling about 1/12 of the mixture in the center of each tart. While ganache is still soft and pliable, press a raspberry gently into the center and garnish with white chocolate chips. Return to refrigerator until chilled through. If using powdered sugar, dust just prior to serving. Serve with mint sprigs if desired. For a quick cool-down treat, freeze the tarts for about a half hour before serving.
Vegan Chocolate Mousse:
8 ounces firm or tofu (if you purchase blocks in 14 ounces rather than 16, use half or 7 ounces)
6 ounces vegan chocolate chips, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (it masks the slightly off-taste of silken tofu)
Pinch sea salt
Optional: 1 tablespoon raspberry liqueur
Vegan Chocolate Ganache:
2 tablespoons non-dairy milk, half-and-half or creamer
1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
Heat non-dairy milk in small cup in microwave or until very warm. Whisk in chocolate chips and let cool until very spreadable, but not warm enough to melt mousse.
For some reason, probably all Pinterest’s fault, I was craving M&Ms cookies and bars. Pinterest can ignite an obsession like nothing else.
But I learned the hard way not to order Unreal brand chocolate-covered peanuts, basically a vegan M&M, from Amazon in July and Southeastern Virginia. They arrived like this.
Out of three 5-oz bags, only about 50 of the candies were usable–the rest were a melted, cracked, and clumped mess. The upside is that the candies are a beautiful color and taste delicious, so I would buy them again, just in the fall or perhaps directly from the company.
With enough candies to make a half batch of cookies, that is what I did and it was worth it. Besides, I don’t need a lot of cookies around tempting me, but if you are unable to purchase these candies or the equivalent in the grocery store, you might want to wait until a cooler month unless it happens to be cool where you live. And if the latter, lucky you!
My recipe includes simple directions I learned recently for creating a perfect bakery style shaped cookie every time, provided you make the large variety because it takes two scoops.
However you scoop them, you will love them, if you can prevent yourself from eating all of the dough first!
M&M Cookies (vegan & plant-based)
1/2 cup vegan butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar (I like dark brown)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 to 4 tablespoons non-dairy milk
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
1/2 cup vegan M&M style candy
1/2 cup broken pecans or peanuts
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with Silpat or parchment paper. In bowl of electric mixer, cream together butter, shortening, both sugars, vanilla extract, and baking soda. With mixer on medium to low speed, beat in flour in three portions, with 1 or 2 tablespoons milk in between each, scraping down bowl as necessary. Avoid over beating. With mixer on lowest speed or by hand, mix in chocolate chips, candies, and nuts. Using a one tablespoon scoop, make small cookies by placing one scoop about two inches apart in rows. To make bakery style large cookies, after placing one scoop onto baking sheet, put a second scoop in the center and press down very firmly. Big small cookies for about 8 to 10 minutes and large ones for about 12 to 15, or until golden brown.
As much as I love to bake cakes and cheesecakes, that is just a lot to deal with and there are only two of us here, one of whom eats a dramatically different diet than I do.
So, my latest passion is to try to take all of the flavors that I would have put in a cake or cheesecake and put them into a cookie with far less calories than a slice of cake, far less mess, and ease of tucking into a friend’s purse or hand as a little love gift.
I wanted to make these super simple by rolling them into logs, chilling, and slicing before baking. I learned the hard way that there are too many delicious chunks in the dough for them to slice without breaking apart, so I don’t advise trying it!
1/2 cup vegan butter 1/2 cup powdered sugar 2 tablespoons sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 teaspoon almond extract Zest of 1 medium blood orange or regular orange Juice of 1/2 medium blood orange or regular orange 2 tablespoons cocoa powder 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds, broken or roughly chopped 1/4 cup dried cherries 1/4 cup vegan white chocolate chips Cherry Glaze (recipe follows) Garnishes: orange zest, dried cherries, and/or slivered or sliced almonds
Cream together butter and both sugars. Beat in extracts, zest, orange juice, and cocoa powder. With mixer on low, beat in flour about 1/4 cup at a time, scraping down sides as necessary. Stir in nuts, cherries, and white chocolate chips. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls, place two inches apart on cookie sheet, and press to about 1/2 in thick with the bottom of a sturdy glass. You may need to use a spatula to remove, but you can coat the bottom of the glass with a little cocoa powder.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with Silpat or parchment paper. Slice cookies 1/4-inch thick with a sharp knife and place 2-inches apart on lined baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set and just starting to brown. Transfer to wire rack, cool completely, and ice with Cherry-Orange Glaze. Garnish as desired.
Yield: 1 6-inch layer cake (double recipe for an 8-in layer cake)
I finally created a plant-based Black Forest Cake with which I am completely delighted!
Unless you are a recipe developer–professional or amateur counts–you cannot imagine the research, the brainstorming, and the trial and error–mental and actual–to arrive here. I spent many wee hours on Pinterest obsessing.
There were certain things that I wanted from this special cake and certain things I didn’t. For instance, I didn’t want a buttercream frosting, but I also didn’t want pure whipped cream. A favorite dessert from childhood that combined cream cheese, powdered sugar, and whipped cream topped with a layer of cherry pie filling proved to be the inspiration. My recent discovery of Silk brand whipping cream made this luscious filling and frosting possible.
Wanting a deeply chocolate, very moist, and somewhat subtly complex flavored cake, I experimented quite a bit. I wanted the rich fudgyness of a brownie, but more of a cake like consistency. And ultimately, though I love cherry liqueur, I didn’t want the cake to taste too boozy. You can certainly brush the layers with cherry liqueur if you choose But I put a small amount in the batter along with some concentrated coffee and “buttermilk” because cakes made only with coffee, water or other thin liquids, line soda, don’t quite have the structure that I desired. The cake is sturdy, yet moist.
For decoration, I love chocolate shavings and chocolate curls, which are traditional on Black Forest Cake, but I didn’t want this to be fussy, so I used simple chocolate-dipped fresh cherries and toasted slivered almonds.
What can I obsess about now In the wee hours of the morning?
Cake 1 cup all-purpose flour 3/4 cup granulated sugar 1/3 cup cocoa powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/3 cup vegetable oil 1/2 cup non-dairy milk curdled with 1 to 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar 2 tablespoons concentrated coffee 2 tablespoons cherry liqueur or more concentrated coffee 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon almond extract Whipped Cream & Cream Cheese Filling/ Frosting (recipe follows) Approximately 3/4 cup canned cherry pie filling 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds 6 fresh cherries, pitted and halved 4 cherries with stems intact, dipped in about 2 tablespoons vegan chocolate chips melted for 1 minute in microwave
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 6-inch cake pan or spray with baking spray. Place metal mixing bowl and whip attachment in freezer for preparing filling.
In large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. Make a well in center, add wet ingredients, and whisk together for about 50 strokes until smooth. Transfer batter to prepared pan and bake approximately 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on wire rack and then invert. Cool completely covered with a dish towel. Using a serrated knife, cut cake in half horizontally. Place bottom layer on serving platter, spread with half of filling, and top with half of cherry pie filling. Place second layer on top and repeat. Decorate with cherry halves, toasted slivered almonds, and chocolate dipped cherries. Store in refrigerator.
Whipped Cream & Cream Cheese Filling/Frosting 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese, softened at room temperature for an hour or so 1/2 cup powdered sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup Silk brand whipping cream
Place cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla and well-chilled mixing bowl and cream together until smooth. With mixer on medium-high, slowly drizzle in whipping cream. Filling should be sick, but it will likely not be stiff enough to pipe through a pastry bag.
I think of these cookies as deeply southern and deeply satisfying with their bourbon and pecans. And anyone who has had a chocolate bourbon pecan pie knows that those three flavors are a trifecta. The molasses and maple syrup are not enough to make the cookies taste like molasses or maple cookies, only enough to give them rich deep caramel notes. And the macadamia nuts strike another buttery note. My super simple method for shaping the cookies will yield that sought-after bakery look.
1/2 cup softened vegan butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup pecan butter (you may substitute almond butter, but nothing replicates the flavor of pecan butter)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup natural sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 teadpoon baking soda 1 teaspoon sea salt
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour or white whole wheat
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
1/2 cup broken pecans
1/2 cup halved macadamia nuts
18 pecan halves
Preheat oven to 350° and line 2 baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper. In large bowl of electric mixer, cream together butter, pecan butter, vegetable shortening, both sugars, molasses, maple syrup, bourbon, and vanilla extract. With mixer on low, beat in baking soda and flour, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.
Using a small scoop (2 tablespoon), make nine mounds of dough on each cookie sheet, using half of dough. To get that bakery look, place another scoop of dough right on top of first scoop pressing down slightly. Repeat for all 18. You will have a scoop or mound nestled inside another. Press a pecan half firmly into the center of each double mound, pressing down slightly. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheet on wire rack and then store in an airtight container.
You knew it was coming, right? A chocolate version to add to my growing repertoire of single-serving microwave cookies.
These cookies are all are ideal when you have a craving that needs satisfied pronto with almost no mess to clean up. Plus they won’t leave you with a whole batch hanging around testing your willpower.
Vegan Microwave Chocolate-Walnut Cookie
1 tablespoon vegan butter (I use earth Balance), melted or not (melted is a little easier to mix)
2 tablespoons Demerara sugar
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour (I use white whole wheat)
2 teaspoons cocoa powder ( I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
1 teaspoon non-dairy milk
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 drops almond extract
2 tablespoons broken walnuts (or other nuts) + 1 walnut half for garnish
In a very small bowl or cup, mix together the butter, sugar, flour, and extracts with your fingers. Mix in the nuts. Shape into a cookie about 1/2 inch thick in the center of a microwave-safe plate. Microwave for about 60 seconds. Check for doneness in center. If it needs a bit more, microwave for another 20 to 30 seconds. You can enjoy it warm and it will be somewhat soft, or you can let it cool a bit and it will be firm enough to lift.
Note: all microwaves are different, so you might want to start out with just 45 seconds and continue to cook in 10 second increments. Cook’s choice.
Let’s be honest…this is an outrageously delicious occasional splurge, not health food, despite being vegan. I have reduced the calories by using Skinny Pop, Stevia Baking Blend and Smart Balance Light, but I am not going to share the calorie count because it is still alot. Make a batch and enjoy a little to satisy your craving, but then share small bags with friends, as I did.
4.4 ounce bag Skinny Pop popcorn
1 cup roasted and lightly salted cashew halves and pieces
1/2 cup roasted and lightly salted almonds
3/4 cup Smart Balance Light (made with Flaxseed Oil–other SB are not necessarily vegan)
1 cup Stevia Baking Blend
2 tablespoons molasses (not blackstrap)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup vegan dark chocolate chunks or chips
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper, parchment paper, or Silpat and set aside on wire rack. Combine popcorn and nuts in large roasting pan.
In medium saucepan, combine Smart Balance, Stevia, molasses, corn syrup, and sea salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Drizzle over popcorn and nuts, stir to combine, and bake for 50-60 minutes, stirring every 15. Spoon onto prepared baking sheet and cool completely.
Melt cocolate with oil in microwave safe bowl in microwave in 30-second intervals, whisking after each. Transfer melted chocoalte to sandwich bag, seal, snip corner, and drizzle over caramel corn in a zig-zag motion. You may alternatively use a reusable pastry bag fitted with circular tip.
Let sit at room temperature about 3 hours or until chocolate is set. Store in an airtight container or sandwich bags.
Single Vegan Microwave Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookie!
It is ready in under 5 minutes, including 1 and 1/2 minutes of microwave cooking time.
It took three attempts over three days, but I finally got it right. Recently I posted my recipe for a single vegan microwave chocolate chip cookie, but wanting something with some more healthful ingredients in it, I decided to try an oatmeal version.
Bob, my fiercest critic and greatest supporter, said the first one tasted good – a far cry from his “not bad” – but crumbled into a heap. So I tried it again and created an oatmeal-chocolate chip pancake.
Today’s version, however, was perfect: delicious, cookie-like in texture, and sugar-free because I made it with stevia, though you could use Demerara sugar if you prefer.
2 tablespoons flour (I use white whole wheat)
2 tablespoons old fashioned oats
2 tablespoons Stevia or Demerara sugar
1 tablespoon vegan butter
1 teaspoon Chia or flax seed meal
1 teaspoon non-dairy milk (I use soymilk)
2 drops vanilla extract
1 drop almond extract
1 tablespoon vegan dark chocolate chips or small chunks
1 tablespoon broken walnuts
In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients with your fingers. Pat into a cookie shape about 1/2 inch thick on a microwave-safe plate. Cook at full power for one and a half minutes. Depending on your microwave’s power, you might have to adjust cooking time. Sprinkle with a few grains of sea salt and let cool slightly before devouring.