Sunday, April 18, 2010

Stress, Sugar and Warm Chocolate Cake (veganized)

I have written before about my love of all things sweet. Part of the joy of this vegan trip has been discovering new ways to bake the goodies that I love, without the animal ingredients. It has been a bit like a quest for me. My favorite thus far? ...Sweet Potato Brownies. Cutter loves the Double Chocolate Oatmeal cookies. The all around family fave has to be the Vegan Seven Layer bars.

Until tonight that is. I may have discovered the most delicious vegan goodie ever:

The Best Chocolate Cake.
(that is really it's name)
I am typing the recipe right now for you because some day, some time, you are going to want some chocolate cake. You will make this, and then you will thank me!
The Best Chocolate Cake
Cake Ingredients:
1 and 1/4 Cup Flour (I used cake flour and added an extra 2 TBS of flour)
1 Cup White Sugar
1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Cup Warm Water
1 tsp Vanilla
1/3 Cup Veg Oil (sub in applesauce instead if you are looking to go healthy... but why bother?)
1 tsp Vinegar
Glaze Ingredients:
1/2 Cup Sugar
4 TBS Earth Balance (or margarine)
2 TBS Nondairy Milk (I used Vanilla Almond Milk)
2 TBS Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
2 tsp Vanilla
(I added one cup of Sweetened Coconut to the glaze, just for kicks!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry cake ingredients together in bowl. Add wet cake ingredients to dry, and mix very well. Grease 8x8 inch cake pan and pour batter on in. Bake for 30 min, or until knife comes out clean from the center. Remove from oven and cool for two hours.
After cake has cooled, proceed with cooking up your chocolate glaze. Combine all glaze ingredients in small saucepan. Heat on medium, stirring constantly until mixture begins to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for two minutes. Pour on cooled cake immediately, spreading glaze over cake quickly. Now... bust out a glass of some cold Almond Milk and ENJOY! :)
... Enjoy it like it is your last bit of sugar for awhile.
Oh wait, that is me. I spent my Sunday night cooking up some stinkin' good chocolate cake because I am saying bon voyage to sugar for awhile. 4 weeks to be precise. I need a break from sugar. Some may call it a detox, but I look at it more like a vacation from sweets. I do this from time to time. Mostly because sugar, when I abuse it, does crazy things to me.
I am the type of gal who uses sugar sort of like an addict uses crack. I use it to make me feel better when I am down, I use it to decompress after a stressful day, I use it to celebrate... the list goes on and on. There is always a good reason for a sweet treat, right?
I have noticed that during especially stressful times in my life I am more inclined to lean on sugar to get me through. It sort of provides me with an escape from reality. Why feel stressed when I can feel a sugar rush? See, I told you I sound like an addict.
I once told my drug addicted clients that the only way I could understand their addiction was to try and keep myself away from chocolate. It is HARD, I just can't seem to say no. Good thing my drug of choice is sugar, not meth, eh?
Anyhow, lately I have been feeling stressed and have noticed a sharp increase in my sugar intake. It snuck up on me too. One handful of chocolate chips can so easily turn into a batch of cookies or a scoop of delicious coconut ice cream. Before I know it I am eating dessert with breakfast, lunch and dinner. I am not to that point yet, but I am beginning to see a full blown sugar relapse on the rise, so I am getting taking a break now.
The funny thing about sugar, as I have learned from past sugar vacations, is that the more sugar you eat, the more you want it. Take sugar away for a couple of days and you barely notice that it is gone. I am not saying that a cookie no longer looks good, but I no longer think about that cookie as a mandatory addition to my meal. The first couple of days are hard. It really does sort of feel like a detox, but make it through the first week and you are golden.
So, as I sit here, about to enjoy my second piece of chocolate cake, I embrace the gift that is sugar, but am firmly aware of its power to destroy, even you, vegan sugar.
Dear Sugar baby,
It is time to put you back in your place. Thanks for helping me through this stressful time, but you are becoming an unhealthy crutch. I will reconnect with you again soon. Like in four weeks...
Sincerely your friend and foe,

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