Dear fellow Three Cheeses readers: My name is Jocelyn and I tend to bake. I also tend to listen to CBC Radio and do aquafit and dream about my future career paths (publisher, producer, teacher, mayor, mail carrier?) but in between I bake. And if there is ever a reason to bake a cake, it’s a birthday. When I heard that my friend, a pesca-vegan (who says we can’t customize our diet preferences, right?), was having his birthday bash, I nominated myself for the challenge of finding an appropriate cake.
My chosen recipe comes from the Rebar Modern Food Cookbook by Audrey Alsterberg and Wanda Urbanowicz. I became a fan of the Rebar restaurant during my first year at the University of Victoria on Vancouver Island (I recommend the smoked salmon scramble for brunch) and I’ve found their cookbook to be a popular resource for creative vegetarian and vegan recipes.
These brownies are fantastically moist and seemingly rich but less fattening thanks to the coffee and soy milk. For a creamy guilt-free accompaniment, serve with a dollop of no-fat Greek yogurt.
Vegan Fudge Brownies
From the Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook
Makes: 12 (huge) brownies
Cooking time: 35 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups (360 mL) unbleached flour
- 1/2 cup (120 mL) cocoa
- 1 1/2 cups (360 mL) brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp (7.5 mL) baking soda
- 3/4 cup (180 mL) coffee
- 3/4 cup (180 mL) soy milk
- 1/3 cup (80 mL) vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup (120 mL) walnuts, roasted and chopped
- 1/2 cup (120 mL) carob chips (*I omitted these as I couldn’t source them in time)
- For glaze: 7 oz (210 g) dark Belgian chocolate and 5 oz (150 g) vegan margarine
Pre-heat oven to 325 F / 170 C. Prepare a 9×9″ pan by greasing it and then lining it with parchment / baking paper.
Sift together the flour, cocoa, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, stir together the coffee, soy milk and vegetable oil. Combine the wet and dry mixes and stir to mix well. Stir walnuts into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top with carob chips (I passed on these). If you’re making a sheet pan of brownies, Rebar suggests baking for 25 minutes but I found it took closer to 45 minutes in my slightly weaker-than-average gas oven. The cupcakes took about 25 minutes; I made sure to check that an inserted toothpick came out clean. Cool on a wire rack or whatever is available, like a wooden chopping board.
The original recipe calls for the glaze to be prepared by melting the chocolate and vegan margarine in a double boiler, then whisking and pouring over the cake. I opted for a simple, striking decoration and did some icing sugar stenciling! I just printed off the image and text I wanted and used an Exacto knife to carefully cut. If you’re lacking a sifter for the sugar, try loading up a tea ball and shaking it over the stencils. Tweezers were helpful in getting the sugar-coated paper letters off the cupcakes!
Jocelyn is the first contributor to the Three Cheeses. We loved her article! Do you have a favourite recipe to share? Send it to us by emailing it, with some mouth-watering photos, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos in this post taken by Jocelyn.