This is my version of Joan's Grandmother's Cake from The Compassionate Cook (put out by PETA)in 1993. It's one of my favorite little vegan cookbooks and it's even printed on recycled paper. I'm not sure if it's still sold by PETA or not -- perhaps check out their website. In the meantime I'm going to give you my version plus the exact one from PETA so you can decide which suits you better. I don't think you can go wrong with either one. I should have called this "As Easy as A Cake Mix Recipe" because it couldn't be more simple and foolproof. The frosting I made is called "Quick Fudge Frosting" and it's from another of my favorite old recipes books (circa 70's) called "The Betty Crocker Kitchens". The only change I made was to use soy milk instead of milk -- other than that it's the original recipe. It has a nice glossy look to it and it's a very sturdy frosting that won't come off even if you cover it with saran wrap. Great for potlucks or other to go places. I got a bit carried away and then melted some vegan chocolate chips in the microwave -- put that on top of my nice glossy frosting and then got sprinkle happy! It's okay but probably less is more and now you can't appreciate the pretty glossy frosting. Sometimes I don't know when to quit! Anyhow next time I'll keep it simple! Less costly as well. Do you love my retro metalware on which I photographed my cupcakes? I do -- they're circa 50's/ early 60's -- called Gourmates by Glo-Hill and they were made here in Canada. I've got quite a few pieces and am amazed at how pretty and classy they still look 50 years later!
1-1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tbsp. cocoa plus 1 tablespoon instant coffee
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tbsp. melted earth balance margarine
3 tbsp. pureed prunes (baby food works great)
1 cup cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla (organic frontier is great)
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Preheat oven to 350F.
Mix all the dry ingredients lightly together, then sift into a large mixing bowl. I like to sift this mixture as that way you are assured there will be no lumpy cocoa bits or nasty little bits of baking soda to bite into!
Into your melted margarine add the pureed prunes and 1 tsp. of vanilla and mix well.
Pour your cup of cold water to which you have stirred in the 1 tablespoon white vinegar into your dry ingredients along with the melted margarine mixture. Stir together. Divide evenly amongst 12 muffin tins (I used my muffin liners) and bake in the center of your oven for about 18 minutes. Remove and cool on wire rack before frosting.
Veggie Prairie Girl Rambles
The above recipe is my version of Joan's Grandmother's Cake -- I am giving you the original recipe below along with my comments as to why I made some minor changes to suit my preferences. You decide which version appeals more to your style of baking.
Uses 1 cup of white sugar ( I use half white and half brown as brown sugar really enhances the taste of chocolate -- at least I think so)
Uses 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder (I like a deeper chocolate flavor so again I used 4 tablespoons and added the 1 tablespoon of instant coffee because once again the addition of the coffee further enhances the chocolate flavor)
Uses 5 tablespoons of oil or melted margarine (I used 3 tablespoons melted margarine plus the 3 tablespoons of prunes so I could justify the fat required (2 tablespoons) in my icing! False sense of justification I'm sure but so be it :)
Has the option of adding 1/2 cup of semisweet chocolate chips. That would be too much chocolate for me!
Original version is baked in a 9" square pan for 30 - 35 minutes. I prefer cupcakes because that way I can serve 12 instead of 8 and plus they are easier to sneak out of the freezer one at a time!
Directions for Original Version of Joan's Grandmother's Cake:
Using a fork, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, and baking soda in a 9 inch square baking pan. Stir in the vanilla, vinegar, and oil or margarine.
Pour the water over the mixture and stir well. If you are using chocolate chips, sprinkle them over the top of the batter, then bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Serves 8.
P.S. This version is also very delicious and obviously slightly faster than mine plus less clean-up as she mixes it straight into the baking pan!