Thursday, June 23, 2011

Vegan Chocolate Torte

I’m an omnivore; always was, always will be. A thick juicy steak? Yes, please. Sashimi? I’ll definitely eat it. Cheese, eggs, milk, cream? Love them dairy products. I have considered becoming vegan in the past, but I could never follow through. I’d think about the poor fish that were farmed for the sole purpose that we could dissect them in science class, or watch some Youtube video about the unfortunate chickens that are used by KFC and then I would think about becoming a vegetarian. And then I really thought about how that meant I would have to give up eating any dairy products or meat, and I’d give up before I’d even started.

Becoming a vegetarian would be a lifestyle choice that I would maybe like to achieve one day. And this Vegan Chocolate Torte is one step closer to vegetarianism. 

Baking vegan desserts that taste good is no easy feat. You can’t use eggs, butter, milk, cheese, or cream. Making a vegan cake is totally within my scope. One time, I had forgotten to add the egg to the Chocolate Cupcakes that I was making. Besides drying out more quickly, they had tasted fine. However, making creamy vegan desserts is difficult when you can’t actually use milk or butter or cream.

The last vegan dessert I had tried to make was a vegan cheesecake. The “cheesecake” tasted exactly like tofu, which is used in many vegan recipes, and it wasn’t creamy or rich enough. That was the last time I ever used tofu in desserts. The secret in this recipe: avocadoes! Avocadoes are most definitely healthier than heavy cream and creamier and richer than tofu.

To the discerning palette, there is a slight deviation in taste from traditional pudding (thanks to all those avocadoes), but when you consider that the vegan torte is so much healthier than one made with cream, you’ll get over it. The pudding-topping is so good that you’ll lick the spatula anyways. At least I know I did.

Click below for the recipe.

Vegan Chocolate Torte

Crust ingredients:
  • 1 cup + 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup + 1/3 cup cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder (Arrowroot powder is basically a thickener; you can find it at your health food store.)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons canola oil
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup 
  • 2 cups avocado flesh (approx 4 medium avocados), pitted and scooped out
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter (or almond butter)
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder (Arrowroot powder is basically a thickener; you can find it at your health food store.)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 3 tablespoonscocoa powder, sifted


Preheat oven to 375F. Butter and flour the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, arrowroot powder, sugar and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the wet crust ingredients (oil, maple syrup, milk). Add wet to dry and stir well.

Spread the cake batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes at 375F. Do not over-bake or your cake will be dry! Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling by placing all filling ingredients (except chocolate) into food processor. Process until smooth, pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl. This can also be done in a blender. 

In a small bowl set on top of a pan of gently simmering water, melt the chocolates. Pour the chocolate into the food processor and process until smooth. Scoop the topping into cake pan on top of crust. Smooth out as much as possible and then place in the freezer for about 2 hours to firm up. Serve immediately after removing from the freezer with fresh raspberries.

Unfortunately, because of the avocadoes, this isn't a dessert that can sit outside of the freezer for long periods of time. Place leftovers back in the freezer, well wrapped. It should last about a week or two. 

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