Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Spicing Up Life

Peace in 1944 Vegan Spice Cake
It's certainly been a while since I've posted, but that doesn't mean I have abandoned cooking! This winter term has been dominated by directing a production of The Diary of Anne Frank for Oregon State University. This beautiful production took a great deal of focus, dedication, time, and energy (as all productions do). I was fortunate enough to be working with an extremely passionate and hard working group of students and, I really believe this is a show we can all be proud of. That all being said, one of my tasks through the rehearsal and performance process was baking "Miep's Spice Cake" that is eaten on stage every night. While purchasing a cake is usually the option, we were faced with the dietary challenge of a vegan in the cast. Rather than bother hunting down a suitable (and cost effective) ready-made vegan cake in the store, I developed this recipe. I probably baked this cake twenty times in the past few weeks. Moist and delicious, the cast ate it over and over again. They started asking for the recipe . . . so here it is. I named it "Peace in 1944" cake because that is what the icing was supposed to say. Feel free to omit the icing completely, it's delicious either way. One of the tricks to a vegan cake is finding the right substitution for eggs which act as a binder and a leavening agent. I found this vinegar and baking soda substitution to work very well for this recipe, plus the vinegar adds a slight tang to the recipe.

- 1/2 c. sugar
- 1/4 c. vegetable oil
- 1/3 c. canned pumpkin
- 3/4 c. flour
- 2 Tbsp. plus 1/2 tsp. baking powder, divided
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 Tbsp. white vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. all spice
- 1 tsp. ground cloves

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Lightly grease an 8" round cake pan with vegetable shortening, dust with flour and tap out the excess. Set aside. In small prep bowl dissolve vinegar with two tablespoons of water. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin, sugar, and oil until smooth. Add flour, spices,  salt, baking soda, and 1/2 tsp. of baking powder and whisk together until well combined. Working quickly add the remaining two Tbsp. of baking powder to the water and vinegar mixture. It will bubble. Pour into batter and quickly whisk. The batter should become lighter and fluffier. Pour batter into prepared baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until cake is cooked through. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before decorating and/or eating.