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!

PBB
Simple Cucumber & Tomato Salad

Simple Cucumber & Tomato Salad

Sometimes you don’t have time to do a fancy recipe, or maybe even just the willpower. But a bear’s gotta eat. So, something simple will have to do.

It’s super simple, and super healthy, and can be made with basic ingredients.

It’s embarrassing calling this a “recipe”, but it seems the best way to describe it to you.

Simple Cucumber & Tomato Salad

A simple salad, just like the title says!
Last updated August 7, 2019.
Prep Time10 mins
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: salad
Author: Plant-Based-Bear.com

Ingredients

  • cucumbers chopped
  • tomatoes chopped
  • onion diced, almost any variety will do
  • fresh dill finely chopped, optional
  • fresh mint finely chopped, optional
  • lemon or lime juice fresh is best!
  • pinch garlic or sea salt

Instructions

  • Chop up some cucumber. I tend to like the Persian cucumbers for this, but I will be making it in the next few days with some huge hothouse cucumbers I got on sale. I like big servings, but have found that about 2 larger Persian cucumbers, or ⅓ to ½ of a large hothouse cucumber is about a serving.
  • Chop up some tomato. Usually I have some Roma tomatoes, as they're often cheap, but anything will do. I use 2 small tomatoes or one large, so I have about 80% as much tomato as cucumber.
  • Dice the onions. Works great with green onions from the whites to the green, or yellow or white onions, too.
  • Finely chopped the mint, or dill or whatever green, fresh herbs you might have around, and sprinkle on top. Sometimes if I don't have fresh dill, just dried will work great as well!
  • Add a pinch of garlic or sea salt.
  • Put a strong splash of lemon or lime juice all over the top.
  • Mix it all up, and store in fridge until ready to eat!

Notes

This is one of those salads that seems to improve if you let it all “marinate” together for a bit.  Making it in the morning for lunch is great!

That’s it! Super simple, and delicious, and incredible on a hot summer day!

PBB
Simple Cucumber & Tomato Salad
Simple Cucumber & Tomato Salad, ready to eat. This one, I got lazy and just used dried dill!