Vegan Coca-Cola Cake–The Definitive Version (feel free to use natural cola)

Cola Cake

Yield: 1-9 x 13-inch sheet cake

[Special thanks to Go Dairy Free for including this recipe on their website…three times on to see why.]

If you have ever perused a “church cookbook,” as we call them “down South,” then you’ve seen the dairy version of this recipe made with Coca-Cola.  And if you’ve been to a “dinner on the grounds” at said south’ren church, then you’ve surely seen such a cake if not tasted it.

It appears to be a basic chocolate sheet cake, but it is oh-so-much more: dense, moist, and–though it contains a small amount of cocoa–very chocolatey and caramely from the cola.

This is my third and final iteration of trying to veganize this old classic.  Why final?  Because I finally got it.  I posted the previous two versions because I thought I had it each time.  The moistness and flavor of the most recent was spot-on, but it sunk a bit resulting in a layer of frosting as thick as the cake.  Now, this isn’t a huge problem in my book, but, for the sake of keeping up appearances, this latest version is perfection.

And it was an accident.  In hopes of achieving a bit more sophisticated flavor, I wanted to try my recipe with Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa, but all I had was self-rising flour.  The original recipe calls for all purpose flour and baking soda.  But self-rising flour includes baking powder, and that proved to be the trick, along with flaxseed meal: combining both baking powder and baking soda for proper lift that won’t sink.  Because most folks don’t keep self-rising flour around, I converted the recipe based on the generally-accepted amount of baking powder in each cup of self-rising flour.

For the authentic flavor of the original, I recommend using regular natural unsweetened cocoa powder. But for darker color and a richer flavor profile, try the Special Dark cocoa, which is a blend of natural and Dutched cocoas.

2 cups all purpose flour (I use white whole wheat)

2 cups natural sugar (I use demerera)

2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup vegan butter

3 tablespoons cocoa, regular “natural unsweetened” or Hershey’s Special Dark

1 cup natural cola (or if you drink Coca-Cola, by all means)

1/2 cup soymilk

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons flaxseed meal (or flax seed ground finely in a spice or coffee grinder)

Vegan Cola Frosting (recipe follows)

Garnish: pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9 x 13″ baking pan and set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda.  In a small bowl, whisk together soymilk, vanilla, vinegar (to create a curdled “buttermilk”), and flax seed meal.  In a small saucepan over medium-high, heat butter, cocoa, and cola just to boiling, reduce heat and stir occasionally until butter is melted; remove from heat.  Make a well in the center of the flour and sugar mixture.  Pour soymilk mixture followed by butter mixture into the well.  Whisk just until smooth and well combined.  Transfer into prepared baking pan and gently smooth top.  Bake for approximately 25 minutes, checking for doneness with a wooden pick inserted in the center after about 20.  Place pan on a wire rack and make frosting which must be poured over a warm cake.  Smooth frosting over top of cake, garnish if desired with pecan halves, cool completely, and serve.  Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator, but bring to room temperature before serving.

Vegan Cola Frosting

1/2 cup vegan butter

3 tablespoons cocoa, regular or Hershey’s Special Dark

1/2 cup natural cola

1 box confectioner’s sugar

Optional: 1 cup broken or chopped pecans

In a large saucepan, heat butter, cocoa, and cola over medium-high to boiling.  Reduce heat to a simmer and stir occasionally until butter is melted; remove from heat.  Whisk in confectioner’s sugar, one cup at a time, until smooth and completely incorporated.  Stir in optional pecans and frost cake immediately.

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Vegan Buche de Noel–with Chocolate Mousse Filling and Mocha Buttercream Frosting

Finished CakeYield: 12 servings (at least)

Vegans need not a rolled cake if you take advantage of my many experimentations with both ingredients and technique…

I regret that I didn’t have time to experiment with this recipe until after Christmas, but it is so exquisitely beautiful and delicious that I can’t wait a whole year to share.  Plus, a winter log cake should be appropriate at least through February, no?

Important note:  it is far easier and quicker than it may look from these instructions.  And well worth any effort…

After conducting considerable research online, I chose a recipe for Vegan Swiss Roll on the Allergy Mums website (thank you!), filling it with my favorite chocolate mousse and frosting it with my longtime favorite mocha buttercream.  The creator of the “sponge” claims that it doesn’t crack and, indeed, her photo is picture perfect.  However, I found that not to be the case.

Still, my accomplice and good friend, Janie Jacobson, a healthy foods cooking instructor and cookbook author, and I were unperturbed because the luscious frosting hid any cracks completely.

I have now made two of these cakes–one for an impromptu post-New Year’s tea party and the other for a postponed 12th Night Party on Saturday night.  It was a rave both times.  But then I made two more rolled cakes according to another recipe and with considerable experimentation on my part in order to perfect the “sponge” to avoid dreaded cracks.

In terms of decorating, yes, I know about aquafaba, though I confess to not yet trying it, and I was afraid it might not work for the meringue mushrooms typically used to decorate these yule logs. So I devised my own decoration of sliced almonds to suggest shelf-like mushrooms that grow on tree trunks.  Some sprigs of rosemary and cinnamon sticks lend a woodsy note–with rosemary being a surprisingly enticing aroma with chocolate–and a light dusting of powdered sugar suggests a hint of snow.

Someone told me it was the prettiest Buche de Noel she’d ever seen and another that it was my best dessert creation yet. That makes this recipe good enough to share with you.


Vegan Buche de Noel

1 cup soy or other non-dairy milk

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons flaxseed meal

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour (I use white whole wheat)

3/4 cup natural granulated sugar (I use demerera)

2 tablespooons cornstarch

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup canola or other neutral vegetable oil

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Vegan Chocolate Mousse (recipe follows)

Vegan Mocha Buttercream (recipe follows)

Garnishes: sliced almonds, rosemary sprigs, cinnamon sticks, powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a rimmed 10 x 15″ pan with non-stick spray.  Line with one sheet of parchment paper and spray lightly again.  Sprinkle a tea towel with a little powdered sugar in a 10 x 15″  rectangle.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together soymilk, vinegar, and flaxseed meal and set aside to curdle, making a thickened vegan buttermilk.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt.  Make a well in the center and pour in canola oil, vanilla extract, and soymilk mixture.  Whisk together for 100 strokes until smooth.  (Whisking for a portracted time like this will develop gluten and, hence, structure.)  Transfer batter into prepared pan and gently smooth into the corners.  Bake for 12 to 13 minutes or just until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool in pan for 3 minutes and then invert onto prepared tea towel.  Carefully peel off parchment paper.  With a very sharp knife, trim 1/8 inch of cake from all of the edges.  Working from a long side, fold the excess inch or so of towel over the edge of the cake and carefully roll up like a jelly roll.  Tuck edges under and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.  Carefully unroll, avoiding trying to flatten the cake completely.  Gently spread with Vegan Chocolate Mousse.  Reroll and place seam side down on a serving platter, nestling it onto a flattened side from the previous rolling.  Cut off both ends at a diagonal and position cut pieces to resemble sawed off limbs.  Frost with Vegan Mocha Buttercream Frosting.  Lightly drag a fork lengthwise down the trunk and cut branches to resemble bark.  Garnish as desired with sliced almonds, rosemary sprigs, cinnamon sticks, and powdered sugar.

Tent with foil and refrigerate until about 30 minutes before serving time.  Slice with a sharp or serrated knife.


Cake Before Rolling


Vegan Chocolate Mousse

1/4 cup chocolate soymilk

6 ounces extra-firm silken tofu

1/4 cup natural sugar (I like demerara)

4.5 to 6 ounces vegan chocolate (semi-sweet or bittersweet), melted and slightly cooled (basically, half of a bag of vegan chocolate chips which tend to come as 9 to 12 ounces)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon almond or peppermint extract

Pinch sea salt

Place the soymilk, tofu, and sugar to the food processor, and process until very smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the melted chocolate, extracts, and a pinch of salt. Process for several minutes until smooth and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.


Vegan Mocha Buttercream Frosting

1/3 cup vegan butter, softened

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon instant coffee dissolved in about 2 teaspoons of water (I have also used a Starbucks espresso pod, torn open, and sprinkled in undissolved which works beautifully)

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

3 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

2 to 3 tablespoons non-dairy creamer (soy, coconut, etc.)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter with coffee and cocoa powder.  Turn mixer off, add 1/3 of confectioner’s sugar and a tablespoon of creamer, and beat until creamy.  Repeat with remaining confectioner’s sugar and creamer, ending with last third of sugar scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.  Adjust consistency with additional confectioner’s sugar or creamer as desired.  Beat in vanilla until incorporated.   If a darker color is desired to contrast more with almonds, add more dissolved coffee, cocoa powder, or both.



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Barbara’s Vegan Chocolate Tart with Pistachios (plus peanut butter version)

Barbara's Chocolate TartYield: 8 to 12 servings (it is decadent and rich, so a thin sliver may do the trick)


This recipe began its life as No Bake Chocolate Cake (which is really more of a terrine) at 101 Cookbooks.

But, my enterprising friend, Barbara Gelpi, simply poured the mixture into a crumb crust–homemade or purchased, plain or chocolate–and voila!: the densest, richest, most delectable tart imaginable with not a bit of tofu in sight.

Though I happen to love tofu, the absence of it removes all the soy, to which some folks are averse, while also removing the need for a food processor.  Considering that my new dog Patsy “retrieved” the blade from the counter where it was draining and ruined it by chewing up the plastic part only–thank goodness–that is a good thing.

Barbara and her husband, Juan, joined me in the preparation of a delectable vegan Moroccan meal last night, so Barbara’s addition of a pistachio garnish was perfectly fitting and tasty, and the green was such a pretty contrast with the warm reddish-brown of the chocolate.  But use any nut you like or no nuts at all.

This tart is sure to become a staple and all of your friends will ask you to bring it when they invite you for dinner.  Heck, they may invite you to dinner just so you’ll bring the tart!

8 ounces vegan chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)

1 cup almond milk

1/2 teaspoon allspice, cinnamon, chili powder, etc.

2 teaspoons espresso

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 crumb pie crust

Optional topping: 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pistachios or your favorite nut

Melt the chocolate on the stovetop or in the microwave.  Heat the milk with the spice of your choice, the espresso, and the salt just bubbling.  Whisk the chocolate into the milk.  Allow to cool and thicken a bit, and then pour into crust.  Sprinkle with nuts,  and chill a couple of hours or until cold throughout and set.  It should be firm enough to slice beautifully.  Note: to make peanut butter version, melt 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter with chocolate and sprinkle top with coarsely chopped peanuts.

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Vegan Layered Fudge and Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies with Chocolate Ganache

Layered Fudge and Pumpkin Brownies--horizontalYield: 1-8×8″ pan of brownies

These are the perfect fall treat: chocolate always understands and pumpkin is just the perfect personification of everything appealing about autumn.


Brownie Layer:

1 box or bag of brownie mix that calls for only 1 egg, and contains no dairy products in the mix (I use Marie Callender’s “Restaurant Style” 10-0unce Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix, sold locally at our Dollar Tree)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon espresso powder or instant coffee

1/4 cup canned pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda


Pumpkin Cheesecake Layer:

3/4 cup canned pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

4 ounces (1/2 cup) vegan cream cheese

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt


Ganache Layer:

1/2 cup non-dairy creamer (like soy or coconut)

4 to 5 ounces vegan chocolate chips

Spray a metal 8 x 8-inch baking pan with non-stick spray.  (Optionall: cut a 3-inch wide strip of parchment paper long enough for ends to overhang sides of pan, press into bottom and up and over sides, and spray again with non stick spray.)  Make brownie layer: in a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients until well-combined and then whisk for 50 strokes.  Spread evenly into prepared pan.  Make pumpkin layer:  place all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.  Gently smooth pumpkin mixture over the top of the brownie layer, spreading to cover.  Using a skewer or a knive, make narrow zig-zag lines through both layers from side to side, turn pan one-quarter turn, and repeat to make perpendicular lines.  Bake for 25 minutes or until brownies are set and no longer glossy on top.  Cool completely on a wire rack.  In the meantime, make ganache: heat creamer in microwave or a saucepan until very hot or just begining to bubble (about 1 minute or so in microwave).  Whisk in chocolate until melted.  Allow to rest at room temperature while brownies cool; mixture will thicken as it cools (speed process by refrigerating for a few minutes, if desired).  Gently pour and spread ganache over pumpkin layer of brownies.  Refrigerate for a couple of hours or until set before slicing and serving.




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Vegan Spiked Banana Mocha-Cherry Sippers

Banana Mocha-Cherry SipperYield: 4 snack size servings

When the temperatures rise, cool off with these sweet and refreshing shots of some of my favorite tropical flavors: banana, chococlate, coffee, and cherry.  And for adults only: a hint of Creme de Cacao.

This is my sixth and final entry in the fun “Savory, Sweet, Sippable”  Go Dairy Free and So Delicious Dairy Free  Snackable Recipe Contest to celebrate the release of the FREE Snackable eBook.  Each contestant was allowed to enter two recipes in each category, so I had fun working my way through from Savory to Sippable over the last few days.

My repertoire is a little light on beverages, so this was a fun excuse to “beef”–not!–it up.  Plus, it made for a nice little afternoon pick-me-up!

These Spiked Banana Mocha-Cherry Sippers would taste delicious drunk from a boot (!), but I love them served in little *jars (or shot glasses) on a long rectangular white ceramic plate with a summery napkin and cute paper straws (find these in the “$1” bin section of Target).


Vegan Spiked Banana Mocha-Cherry Sippers

1 small banana, peeled, quartered and frozen

8 ice cubes

12 maraschino cherries

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder or decaffeinated coffee

2/3 cup So Delicious Chcocolate Coconut Milk

1 tablesoon Creme de Cacao (optional but delicious)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in a blender container (I use the Nutri-Bullet) and blend until smooth.  Divide among 4 small glasses or* jars and serve with cute paper straws.  (*Note: many decorative glass jars like the ones pictured are NOT safe for food consumption, so read labels carefully.)


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Vegan Twilight Brownie Bites with Peanut Butter-Cream Cheese Frosting (nuggets of Twightlight bars–think vegan Milky Ways–tucked inside the best brownies ever)

Twilight Brownie Bites

Yield: 2 1/5 dozen brownie bites

Voila!  My third recipe in the trio of treats I have created so far using Go Max Go vegan candy bars (no dairy, eggs, hydrogenated oils, trans fats, artificial ingredients, or cholesterol).

Sometimes I feel that my creations are gilding the lily since the candy bars are so good on their own–7 different and delicious varieties–but when the occasion calls for something different than a candy bar, I encourage you to give these a “go”!

These dark-as-midnight brownie bites conceal hidden nuggets of Go Max Go “Twilight” bars–think vegan versions of Milk Way bars–beneath sweet fluffy swirls of peanut butter and cream cheese goodness.

1/4 cup vegan butter

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 cup granulated sugar (I use demerara)

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (I use white whole wheat)

2 1/4 teaspoons cornstarch

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

3 Go Max Go “Twilight” bars

Vegan Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)

Garnish: Additional “Twilight” bars, whole peanuts, and mini vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line miniature muffin tins with 30 miniature cupcake liners.  Place butter, oil, and sugar in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for about 45 seconds.  Whisk together until sugar is almost dissolved, microwaving another 10 seconds if necessary.  Add all remaining ingredients except frosting and garnishes, whisk to combine, and then whisk an additional 50 strokes.  Spoon by heaping teaspoon into prepared mini muffin tins; each should be about 2/3 to 3/4 full.  Bake for 10 minutes or until set.  Cut each Twilight bar into 12 equal pieces with a sharp knife, place one piece on top of each brownie bit and gently press to partially submerge.  (Save remaining slices from third bar for garnish.)  Cool completely, frost with Vegan Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting using a piping bag, if desired, and garnish with “Twilight” bar pieces, peanuts, and mini chocolate chips.

Vegan Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

2 tablespoons vegan butter

2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

2 tablespoons vegan cream cheese

2 tablespoons smooth natural peanut butter

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

Approximately 2 cups powdered sugar

Approximately 2 tablespoons coconut or soy creamer

Combine butter, shortening, cream cheese and peanut butter in the bowl of electric mixer and beat on high speed until fluffy.  Add extracts, 1 cup of powdered sugar, and 1 tablespoon creamer, and beat until creamy-fluffy.  Repeat with remaining powdered sugar and creamer, adjusting amounts, if necessary, to achieve desired consistency.


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Vegan Jokerz’ Wild Cookies (Pieces of Jokerz Candy Bars–think vegan Baby Ruths–Encased in Peanut Butter and Mini-Chocolate Chip Dough)

Jokerz Wild Cookies--Horizontal 1Yield: 2 dozen cookie balls

I am slowly working my way through a box of seven different candy bars from the good folks at Go Max Go Foods, makers of vegan candy bars that will remind you of some of your childhood non-vegan favorites, but are no mere knock-offs.

As if the flavors and textures alone weren’t enough to tempt, their commitment to ethical and non-GMO sourcing is the icing on the cake, er, the coating on the candy bar.

In this recipe, cookie dough and Jokerz candy bars “complete each other” like Batman and his nemesis for a wildly delicious double dose of peanuty, nougatey, chocolatey goodness.


2 Go Max Go “Jokerz” candy bars, sliced lengthwise and then across to create 12 pieces each

1/2 cup vegan butter

2 tablespoons crunchy “natural” peanut butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup powdered sugar + 1/2 cup additional powdered sugar (for rolling)

3/4 cup all-purpose flour (I use white whole wheat)

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup mini vegan chocolate chips or 1/2 cup chopped peanuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.  Slice each candy bar lengthwise and then across to create 12 pieces each.  Using an electric mixer, cream together butter, peanut butter, and vanilla.  Beat in 1/4 cup powdered sugar until fluffy.  With mixer on low, mix in flour and sea salt followed by chocolate chips or peanuts.  Shape generous tablespoons of dough around each candy bar piece to form a ball and place cookies about 2-inches apart on prepared baking sheet.  Bake for approximately 8 minutes or until set and light golden brown, watching carefully during the last minute or two.   Avoid over-baking or they will split open and the candy bar will ooze out.  Cool for 5 minutes.  Place remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar in a shallow bowl and roll each cookie in it to coat.  Place cookies on wire rack to cool completely.  Roll again in powdered sugar before serving, if desired.




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Cleo’s Vegan Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream Treats

Go Max Go Cleo's Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream Treats--VerticalYield: 4 treats

If you think peanut butter cups are good, try peanut butter cups topped with layers of creamy vanilla ice cream and decadent chocolate ganache for a frozen peanut-topped treat.

If she’d had to chose, Cleopatra certainly would have chosen these over Mark Antony!

The Good Folks at Go Max Go Foods sent me a bounty of bars recently, so stay tuned for more creations and visit them on Facebook!

2 packages Go Max Go Cleo’s peanut butter cups (each package contains two cups) or the vegan peanut butter cup most readily available in your area.

1 pint vegan vanilla ice cream, softened and stirred until creamy

1/4 cup vegan soy or coconut creamer

1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

Garnish: 4 large peanuts or 2 teaspoons chopped peanuts

Line 4 muffin tins with 4 muffin liners and place one Cleo’s peanut butter cup in the bottom of each.  Top each with 1/4th of the ice cream, smoothing the tops.  Freeze.  Meanwhile, heat soy creamer to just before simmering on top of stove or in microwave.  Whisk in chocolate chips until smooth.  Cool to room temperature and top each ice cream treat with one-forth of the ganache, smoothing the tops. Garnish with one large peanu tor 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped peanuts.  Refreeze for at least 2 hours.  To serve, remove each treat from the muffin tin, which may require a knife to pop it loose.  Peel off muffin liners and discard, serving on top of fresh liners, if desired.  Allow to soften slightly before serving with a small sharp knife for the initial slice through the bottom.

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Blooming Vegan Brownies: My VERY BEST Moist & Fudgy Brownies

Very Best Moist Fudgy Vegan Brownies 5Yield: 1-8″ pan or 9 to 16 brownies (to double, I recommend baking in 2-8″ pans, rather than in a 9 x 13″ pan)


Stop!  Toss out any other brownie recipes. Seriously, this is the only one you’ll ever need!

Recently, one of my students brought the darkest, most beautifully textured brownies that I have ever seen to a meeting.  I resisted as long as I could and then took a tiny pinch for the sake of research and just about swooned.

When I remarked on how deep and darkly fudgy they were, she explained that it was her use of cocoa powder instead of melted chocolate.  But, in fact, it was the amount of cocoa powder, because my formerly “best” brownie recipe calls for cocoa powder, as well, and they are no comparison…and they have one-third less cocoa powder in them!

She was only too happy to share the non-vegan recipe, one she had found online that claimed to taste like “box mix brownies.”  That is nothing to brag about, in my opinion and, fortunately, these are vastly superior to a box mix.  I knew the recipe would include eggs and, indeed, it called for 2.  Normally, subbing other ingredients for eggs is no problem in cakes, pancakes, etc. But in something like a perfect brownie in which the texture is absolutely critical, it can be very tricky indeed.

My first attempt was an epic fail.  I created something sort of like oily fudge–not much like a brownie–and not nearly as good.  I ended up scooping up spoonfuls of the mixture which, even after cooking, was more akin to a truffle mixture, forming it into balls, inserting a pecan half, and rolling in powdered sugar.  Not bad, but not what I was going for.

So, knowing I would have to work harder on the egg substitute, I scanned a long list of alternatives, none of which sounded quite right, as I’m not a huge fun of Ener-G egg replacer, flax seed egg replacer, etc.  I also didn’t want to use an ingredient like applesauce, as I felt its tanginess would clash with the chocolate.  And, while I love banana and chocolate together–think banana split–I didn’t want that pronounced banana flavor.  But I liked the idea of the moisture and consistency of both applesauce and bananas, and it occured to me that pureed pumpkin might be perfect, as it’s mellow flavor wouldn’t be too assertive and its warm color would only enhance the deep, rich brown of the chocolate.

So I made up my own substitution using pumpkin plus leavening.  For each egg, up to 2 in a recipe, substitute 1/4 cup canned pureed pumpkin, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon bakng soda.  My addition of a  pinch of Cream of Tartar helped activate the baking soda.  I don’t know if the Cream of Tartar is really necessary, as it is actually an ingredient in baking powder which I also use in the recipe.  But, the brownies were so good that I hesitate to make any changes.  One day I will probably try it without the Cream of Tartar and will adjust the recipe if that ingredient seems superfluous.  The cornstarch, called for in the original recipe, absorbs mositure, prevents baking soda and acids from reacting too quickly, and lends tenderness to baked goods.

The results were spectacular!   I have removed my old brownie recipe here on The Blooming Platter and hereby pronounce Blooming Brownies my go-to most-favorite brownie recipe of all time.  And I hope you agree!

6 tablespoons vegan butter

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar (I use demerara)

5 tablespoons vegetable oil (I use canola for its neutral flavor)

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree

1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I use white whole wheat)

1 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon Cream of Tartar

3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips, small chunks, or a combination (you may use about half semi-sweet chocolate and half dark chocolate if desired)

Optional garnish: powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray the bottom of an 8-inch square pan with non-stick cooking spray and line with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit.  In a microwave-safe bowl, heat butter with sugar just until butter melts.  Remove from the microwave and whisk to combine.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then whisk in oil, vanilla, cocoa powder and baking soda.  Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand-held mixer) and, on low speed, mix in pumpkin puree, just until combined.  In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and Cream of Tartar. Add to chocolate mixture and mix on low, againt just until no flour pockets remain.  Remove bowl from stand and fold in chocolate chips and/or chunk.  *Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake about 28 minutes or until brownies are set (begin checking at 25).  Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 45 minutes before cutting or serving.  Sift powdered sugar over the top before serving, if desired.  Store any leftovers well-covered, but not refrigerated. Note that because of the pumpkin in the batter, after sitting, the powdered sugar will turn slightly yellow, so it’s best to sprinkle only what you are serving.

*Important note: when I make these brownies, a thin “slick” of moisture seems to separate and rest on top prior to baking.  Simply press a paper towel onto the surface of the batter to absorb it before baking.  Discard paper towel.

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