Currently enamored with: the idea of baking bread after reading a NYT piece + a recipe based off of Tartine’s country bread as well as the arrival of Josey Baker Bread in the mail today (aside: I miss the Mill‘s chocolate chip cookies more than anticipated and the recipe is in the book! Yip.); the sunshine; drinking a lot of coffee on Sunday mornings; the new project I delved into over the weekend; slices of this chocolate loaf.
I was on solo baby-minding duty for some days (and nights; oh, we mustn’t forget the nights) last week so to reward myself I grabbed what miles I could on the treadmill (welcome to my new life, which does not currently include trail running) and stayed up too late reading with cups of rooibos tea (worth it). I also decided that I must have, that I absolutely needed, a sweet for my late mornings after the stamina of the 8a bowl of oats faded but it wasn’t yet time for lunch. A friend very kindly brought me some pastries on Friday but while they were lovely and hit the spot the weather had been funny. Lots of fog. A bit cool. Almost San Francisco-like if you squinted hard enough. The kind of weather that called for a dark, fudgy, rich bit of chocolate.
I have a standard vegan chocolate cake that I’ve been making for years, probably since the first one I ate in my brother’s second-floor Philadelphia apartment kitchen over 10 years ago. For whatever reason I really remember the Saturday afternoon he made it: It was a chilly fall day and we’d driven up from DC for the weekend (or maybe just the day) and were just hanging around like we all used to do back when we weren’t madly busy with all the stuff we do nowawadays (ie exercise, garden, children, projects, etc.). He whipped up this cake in a flash, the oven turning the kitchen warm and cozy. I was so amazed that one could leave out the eggs, the butter, the milk and still end up with a darn good chocolate cake. Not news, I know, but to 22-year-old me it was a revelation.
Since then I’ve been making that vegan chocolate cake for vegans and non-vegans and also just because I like the recipe so much. And, it is solid. Sometimes I don’t feel like dealing with dairy nor do I feel like taking out the mixer and this one more than fits that particular bill. I’ve topped my versions with a peanut butter glaze, a vegan buttercream, a butter buttercream … I rely upon it for a quick dessert that always satisfies.
Still, one can often do with an update, non?
It was with my standby vegan chocolate cake recipe in my mind that I created this chocolate loaf cake. I had a few small requests: I didn’t want anything fussy and I didn’t want to make a frosting. I also wanted something more geared toward morning consumption — hence the loaf rather than a true cake (of course I’ve also eaten slices topped with nutella (!) after dinner but the original impetus remains). I packed it with whole grain flours, used olive oil for the fat, slipped in a few bits of chopped chocolate. It was perfect: hearty, sturdy, oh so chocolatey, and just right for those foggy mornings of April’s waning days.
As soon as I can get my hands on some whole wheat bread flour (and rye flour, and good yeast, and maybe also some kamut) and make a sourdough starter we’ll be diving in very deep to the world of homemade bread. Very deep indeed, I have no doubt, as we’ve yet to find stellar bread here. Once we get into a rhythm and have that starter really good and thriving, I’ll make the ‘raddest homemade pizza the world has ever known’ (see p. 149) and all my dreams will come true. And after all of that … well, who knows what else?
Whole Grain (Vegan) Chocolate Loaf
As always, replace the whole wheat pastry flour and/or spelt flour with all purpose if that’s all you have. A non-dairy milk or plain water can be swapped for the coffee, but I love the coffee note in there and would be loathe to miss it. Top a slice with nutella, almond butter, peanut butter, or just savor as-is.
Makes 8 servings.
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
3/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coffee
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
optional: 1 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate or bittersweet chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350 F. Grease a standard sized loaf pan with vegetable soil.
In a large bowl, whisk together flours, cocoa powder, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together coffee, olive oil, and vanilla.
Dump the wet ingredients all at once into the dry and whisk until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely before serving.