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Adapted from the King Arthur Flour Co's recipe. The original was a wartime ration cake, so it's egg and dairy free.


This recipe is: Egg and dairy free (ergo vegan, assuming you check your margarine)
This recipe could be: gluten free, but I haven't tried it - success might vary depending on your flour mix
This recipe requires: very little equipment, but it will help if you have two mixing bowls. The original recipe linked above has instructions for preparing it all in the pan you cook it in, but that's actually more fiddly.



US measures for dry ingredients.

1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp espresso powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tablespoon white vinegar (I actually used an Aus tablespoon instead of a US one, with no ill effects)
80ml vegetable oil
236ml boiling water
About another 80ml cold water

Mix together in a bowl: flour, sugars, baking powder.

Mix together in a different bowl: cocoa powder and esspresso powder. Add boiling water and stir until melted. Add vanilla, vinegar, and oil.

Pour wet mix into dry mix, stirring until combined. If the texture ends up too much like cookies and not enough like cake, add the cold water.

Pour into a greased and lined round cake tin, of 8 or 9 inches across.

Bake about 30 min at 180 degrees C.

When cool, ice.



2 tbsp dairy-free margarine, or softened butter (my mother reports that many dairy-free margarines make poor icing, but I had decent luck with Weight Watchers brand)
2-3 tbsp cocoa powder
Icing sugar. Lots of it.
Some boiling water.

Assuming your margarine is softer than butter but not melted, place it and the cocoa powder in a small bowl. Add about 1/2 a cup of icing sugar, to start. Add about 1/4 cup of boiling water and mix vigorously with a knife. This should form a paste. If it is too gluggy add more water. If it is too thin, add more icing sugar. Continue in this vein until you have icing.

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