Broccoli Chocolate Cake – Wait, what?

It’s been about a year since I started on the whole foods, plant-based lifestyle, and in that time, I haven’t had much cake. In fact, I don’t think I’ve had any. So, today, it seemed like a good day for some! I searched around online for some chocolate cake recipes that would have no oil, be plant-based, and sounded delicious. And, I finally stumbled across this one from Jeanette over at Vegan Envy. Jeanette’s passion for food, and essentially the same philosophy as me (a WFPB diet) makes her recipes a good fit, and I’ll be checking more of them out!

Jeanette has this easy and amazing sounding Healthy Aqua Faba Vegan Chocolate Birthday Cake: Fat-Free, Whole Wheat. It includes basic ingredients, and used zucchini to help with moisture, and at least pretend it’s healthy. Problem is, I don’t have any zucchini, or any kind of squash, and, I’m under a stay-at-home order in my area due to COVID-19. So, I wondered what else might do! And, I had a lot of broccoli that needed to be eaten before it went bad…

I’m no expert, but I reasoned that broccoli is the dryer, tougher, more flowery version of zucchini. When cooked, it’s a bit mushy, has a relatively light flavor, and seems to contain SOME moisture. So I set to work!

Jeanette’s recipe doesn’t print easily for some reason, as her pictures are so big (but I did appreciate knowing what things SHOULD look like), so I’ve included it below, just re-formatted.

Wet ingredients, including broccoli.
I mixed up the wet ingredients, simply substituting the broccoli for the zucchini.
Mixed up the dry ingredients.
I mixed together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, as instructed.
Wet and dry ingredients, and all of that broccoli, mixed together to create a tasty batter!
I mixed everything together. As I thought that the mixture appeared a bit dry due to the nature of the drier broccoli, I added first 1/2 cup and another (total of 1 cup) of additional soy milk. Next time if I make this with broccoli again, I’ll add 1/2 cup of soy milk, and another 1/2 cup of aquafaba.
Cake batter poured into the baking pan!
Once my mixture looked kind of like Jeanette’s I spread into a 9×13 pan, as I don’t have any cake rounds!
Cake all baked!
55 minutes in the oven, and my toothpicks came out clean and the cake had risen and baked.
Could have risen a bit more, I suppose. Oh well! Time for the cake to cool!
Cake cooling on a towel.
I didn’t use any cooking spray (oil) on my non-stick pan, but did use a teflon baking sheet on the bottom to help get things to not stick. The cake came right out and is cooling upside down on a clean kitchen towel!
Mixing up some chocolate frosting!
Now time to mix up some frosting!
Frosted cake!
All frosted, and looking mighty tasty! Perhaps I should have stacked it!
Cutting a piece of cake, was a piece of cake!
Looks like we’re already diving right in! And it’s delicious looking, and you can still see the little bits of broccoli.
A piece of cake!
You can definitely taste the broccoli, but it’s certainly not unpleasant, any more than the carrot taste in carrot cake, or the zucchini taste would have been, I don’t think.

All in all, an amazing cake, and it’s down-right tasty. I’m sure the sugar in the cake and frosting contribute, uh, slightly, but wow, it was really delicious. You can even see a little green broccoli at the bottom corner!

Thanks to Jeanette for this recipe. I think I’ll be using this again, next time I need a decadent cake!

Whole Wheat, No Oil Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Vegan Frosting

Makes one frosted 9” diameter 29″ circumference two layer cake with chocolate icing filling.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Jeanette Whitten

Ingredients

CAKE INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup non-dairy milk I've used soy or homemade pecan or almond milk (pecans or almonds blended with water in high speed blender).
  • 1.5 cups aquafaba* 2 cans of liquid from beans Save the beans for another recipe. I've used black beans lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas.
  • 2 cups brown sugar Or other dry sweetener.
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups zucchini shredded – two medium zucchini I've also used spaghetti squash (had to adjust the liquid down a touch) but worked great! (PBB: Or broccoli)
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour My flour says “best for bread." I have also used white flour (it was at the lake and I didn't have any whole wheat).
  • 1.5 cups cocoa powder unsweetened The better the quality cocoa, the better the flavour cake.
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda Ensure is well mixed throughout the dry ingredients.
  • 1 teaspoon salt

FROSTING INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup chocolate chips heaping dairy free
  • 1/3 cup non-dairy milk Soy milk is especially creamy and is lower fat than coconut milk. I've had great success with homemade pecan or almond milk. I blend 1/4 cup pecans or almonds with approx 2 1/4 cups water in high speed blender and I don't bother to strain it. Pecan is more decadent, but separates afterwards.
  • 3 cups icing sugar Or powdered sugar.

Instructions

CAKE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C). Lightly spray two 9” round cake pans.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the non-dairy milk, aquafaba, brown sugar and vanilla.
  • Shred zucchini (or other squash substitute) in a food processor or with a grater.
  • Stir in the shredded zucchini. I used a spiralizer to make 2 cups of zucchini, which I then quickly chopped into small pieces, and then a small food processor to make the other 2 cups. I wanted some zucchini wetter and some more dry. You could food process all the zucchini instead.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the whole wheat flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and then add to the zucchini mixture, stirring until completely combined.
  • Pour evenly into the two cake pans.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • The cakes should rise nicely, the top might feel a bit tough, but the frosting softens it up.
  • Let cool completely. Run a knife around the pans and turn upside down onto a cooling rack or towel.

FROSTING INSTRUCTIONS

  • While cake is cooling, make the frosting by putting the chocolate chips and non-dairy milk in a microwave safe glass bowl and microwaving in 15 second increments until chocolate is gooey but not a liquid. Add the icing sugar 1 cup at a time.
  • Stir frosting with a fork or whisk until it is completely smooth.
  • Add additional non-dairy milk one tablespoon at a time if required to reach smooth and desired spreading consistency.
  • Once cake has cooled, generously spread warm frosting on the bottom layer to get a nice thick middle layer of icing. I put the first cake upside down and the 2nd right side up so the two flat bottoms meet in the middle. Place the 2nd layer of chocolate cake on the 1st and spread the chocolate frosting over the top and sides.
  • The frosting spreads easily when it is warm, and then cools and stays in place. Microwave for 10 seconds if it becomes too thick to spread. This picture is from the next day… after sitting on the counter under a cake lid. Frosting is still holding up well!

Notes

*Aquafaba is the liquid in a can of beans, for example chickpeas or cannelloni beans, or the cooking liquid from making your own beans. The aquafaba replaces the protein that eggs normally provide. It strengthens the walls of the bubbles, and makes the cake fluffier.
Zucchini Substitution: Spaghetti Squash. (PBB: Or broccoli!)
Non-Dairy Milk Options: Soy or homemade Almond or Pecan milk.
Rectangle Option: 9″ x 13″ rectangle cake (not layered) – cook 5-10 min longer, until a toothpick inserted in the middle, to the bottom comes out clean.
Serving Suggestions Birthday candles!! Party hats!! Family and Friends!! A scoop of non-dairy ice cream!

Happy baking!

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Guacamole Hummus (Among Us!)

Today I started the morning with some no-oil waffles. They’re from the Seven Secrets Cookbook, and are quite amazing.

And, if you have a non-stick waffle iron that isn’t gunked up from years of oil baking on it, you’re all set to have something delicious.

I also started a batch of my No-Oil Whole Wheat Bread. Today I added about an 1/8 cup of flax seeds to my dough once it had begun to knead, and so far, at least it looks interesting!

No-Oil Whole Wheat Bread with flax seeds.

Finally, I was almost out of hummus, so I blended up another batch. But, I added in some fresh avocado I needed to use up, and some cilantro. That gave me a sort a “quacomole” flavor for my hummus, with a nice green tint! And, delicious, if I do say so myself.

"Guacamole Hummus"
“Guacamole Hummus (Among Us!)”

I hope you enjoy some great food this weekend!

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No-Oil Hummus (Among Us!)

No-Oil Hummus (Among Us!)

It’ll definitely take me longer to write this recipe out for you than it did for me to whip up my latest batch of hummus in my high speed blender! Since I’ve become plant-based, I’ve made sure to have plenty of healthy snacks available, just in case I get the munchies, and to help me stay true to my ideals! So, I usually have lots of fresh fruits, frozen fruits (frozen blueberries make an amazing cold snack), raisins (that aren’t soaked in sunflower oil), and, well, hummus! I’ve bought hummus in bulk for years from Costco, but, upon inspection, it’s filled with oils and sometimes other ingredients I can’t pronounce.

So, I’ve started making my own, because it really is so easy, there’s a billion variations, and, it’s pretty cheap, too! I’ve started taking my hummus to parties and events, along with a big bowl of sliced and diced veggies, and it’s been a big hit! In fact, I’m starting to get a little bit known for it!

No-Oil Hummus (Among Us!)
Fresh No-Oil Hummus (Among Us!)

First off, I’m not picky on my chick peas or garbanzos. I’ve tried at least a dozen brands, and I’ve not seen that it makes any difference. So, now I buy canned garbanzos in bulk from Wal-Mart, which usually has a can for under $0.50 or at another local grocery store that is having a sale. I’ve also tried to take dried garbanzos and soak and cook, but I haven’t yet perfected that, and, it makes a simple tasks take hours, although I like the thrifty ideal!

No-Oil Hummus (Among Us!)
Hummus on a home-made No-Oil Corn Chip.

And, while not going to go too deep into it right now, don’t throw away that “bean juice” or “aquafaba” that isn’t needed in the recipe. You can use it in my No-Oil Whole Wheat Bread recipe and host of other things, and it makes a great substitute for eggs in certain other recipes and such. Simply freeze a jar of it, and it’ll last forever. (In fact, one of my former plastic 32 oz. jars of tahini has been repurposed into the aquqfaba freezer jar!)

Hummus is also great for so many things, other than basic “dip” snacking. I’ll often use it as a “mayo” or spread for bread, sandwiches, on salads as a dressing, and more!

So, without further ado:

No-Oil Hummus (Among Us!)

The Plant-based Bear's take on a classic, creamy, and smooth Middle Eastern dip!
Last updated Oct. 11, 2019.
Prep Time20 mins
Course: Appetizer, Dip, Sauce/Spread
Cuisine: Greek, Lebanese, Middle Eastern
Author: Plant-based Bear

Ingredients

  • 2 15 oz. cans garbanzo beans or chick peas
  • 4-5 Tbsps sesame tahini see notes
  • 8-10 Tbsps lemon juice fresh, if possible
  • 4 cloves garlic adjust to preference
  • 1 to 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin heaping
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp Frank's RedHot Seasoning Blend Powder heaping

Instructions

  • Open one can of garbanzo beans, drain and add to blender. Save aquafaba (bean juice) for later on, or other recipes. Just don't waste it!
  • Open 2nd can of garbanzo beans, drain about half (or more) of the liquid, and add to blender. See notes at bottom before you pour it all in!
  • Add 4 generous tablespoons of tahini to blender.
  • Add lemon juice to blender. Yes, 8-10 tablespoons is a lot of lemon juice! If squeezed fresh, you might use closer to 8. Bottled, closer to 10. Even more than 10 is okay, but might make hummus get more runny, so you can decrease the aquafaba in the recipe.
  • Add all other ingredients to blender.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Pour into airtight storage container and chill before serving. (Although some warm pita bread and fresh-made warm hummus is kind of amazing, too! Just don't eat it all at once!)

Notes

Lemon juice really gives a great flavor to hummus, so if you’re worried about it getting too runny, it’s better to decrease the amount of aquafaba you’re using than to decrease the lemon juice.  Starting out with very little liquid other than the lemon juice, and adding just enough aquafaba to make it blend is a good method! And, in my opinion, it’s almost impossible to have too much lemon juice!
Get tahini at an international market and look for the jars that have as little English as possible on them. Look for “100% sesame seeds” and nothing else. Tahini, once initially stirred, should be a thick, runny liquid, not a paste.
No-Oil Hummus (Among Us!)
Freshly blended No-Oil Hummus (Among Us!)

The heaping tablespoons mentioned in my recipe just mean that I wouldn’t be stingy with the ingredients. I think you CAN overdo things like the chili powder, and even though I like garlic, 6-8 cloves is really too much! Other than that, season to your personal taste.

And then there’s Frank’s RedHot Seasoning Blend! I picked up a large jar of this one day at Costco on a close-out, and when I thought to try it in my hummus, I’ve never looked back. It really is perfect for hummus, giving it just a little zip that it needs, without making it “spicy.” You could also put a pinch of cayenne or increase the chili powder slightly, but Frank’s really does something nice to it!

Frank's RedHot Seasoning Blend
Frank’s RedHot Seasoning Blend adds the perfect bit of zip, without getting too spicy.

Finally, this is a basic recipe. I almost never make my hummus exactly like the recipe, unless I’m taking it to a party! Lots of things can be added to bring originality and a new take, such as: bell peppers, olives (green, black, and kalamata all make it amazing), fresh parsley, fresh mint, fresh cilantro, jalapenos, banana peppers, green chilies, and more. For most of these extra ingredients, I’ll blend my hummus to completion, then add my extras, blending just briefly to break them up, without pulverizing! One extra note about bell peppers: green or red give some color, but peppers are largely water-based, so might make your hummus slightly more runny. You might decrease the aquafaba in your batch at the beginning, first!

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