January 27, 2012

National Chocolate Cake Day

"Let's face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does for me.” - Audrey Hepburn

It's National Chocolate Cake Day!

And supposedly we owe this to a Harvard-educated doctor with deep pockets and an Irish immigrant with a sweet tooth. Which sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it’s actually the early origins of chocolate cake. Sometime in the mid 1700's, Dr. James Baker met a man named John Hannon who excelled at making chocolate. They converted an old mill in Massachusetts, turned their ground cocoa beans into a thick syrup then poured into cake shaped molds. They were attempting to make a beverage of sorts, but lucky for us, made cakes instead.

So, interestingly enough, the first vegan-made baked good I ever ate was a chocolate-peanut butter birthday cake.

And. It. Was. Heavenly.

I was sixteen or seventeen, and a friend's older sister had come home from college. She was the first legit "hipster" I think I ever met (actually, she was probably part of the first wave of reviving that subculture in the late 90's/early 00's)  and neither she nor any of her friends "ate animal" because "it was cruel and unnecessary."

It was a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting decorated with peanut butter cups. The cake was not only vegan, but it was entirely organic.  As we sat down to eat it (with a glass of soy milk) I remember devouring my piece and even uncharacteristically asking for seconds (I was a pig in my own home, but a very polite girl in the home's of my friends . . . now all bets are off).  I never thought twice about the fact that it didn't contain milk or eggs. It really was one of the best pieces of cake I had ever eaten in my life. And proof that not everything we eat absolutely has to contain crap (i.e. animal [by]products) it doesn't actually need.

So try your hands today at making a chocolate cake today without the use of eggs or dairy. Try beets or avocado as part of your wet ingredients, and flax seed as your binder and leavening agent!

Oh, and side note: if you Google the phrase "eating chocolate cake" there are loads of photos of people standing with chocolate cake looking entirely surprised that it's there (thus the reason for today's ridiculous photo).

Happy National Chocolate Cake Day!