Phew...been a while, I know! I have a trillion and a half recipes and photos to share with you, but then my ADHD brain pulls me away from my publishing post and gets me started on new and enticing projects. But this one just couldn't wait any longer. It has been BEGGING me to write about it. I am talking about this super magnificent, ultra rich, packed with lovin' from my kitchen, and ALMOST HEALTHY peanut butter cake I made last month. It's vegan, meaning it's packed with peanut butter as the main fat source as opposed to a brick of butter and bowl full of eggs. It contains VERY LITTLE sugar, so it might work well for a diabetic family member, especially if using a healthier form of sweetener such as coconut palm sugar. It's also gluten-free, but whole wheat pastry flour can easily used if you aren't interested in cutting out the wheat gluten. Oh, and wait. It gets even better. This cake is lustfully covered in CHOCOLATE GANACHE. Peanut butter and chocolate. All creamy and gooey and sexy and creamy. *Cues the food porn music*
Bow chicka bow wow...
I have a new cyber friend who just happens to author one of the BEST vegan blogs I've stumbled across to date, and she also happens in live in my city. Her name is Amber Shea, and her blog, Almost Vegan, is soaked with cookies, cakes, raw foods, and vegan love. I wonder if I can get her to skip on over to my foodie-lovin' house and make some yummy stuff with me here in my humble kitchen... Her recipe was my inspiration for this little fat piece of gluten-free goodness. Well, ACTUALLY I pretty much just copied her recipe and adjusted it so that it contained no wheat flour and also to fit the ingredients I had on hand. This recipe comes together in a pinch when using an all-purpose gluten free flour blend with the xanthan gum already included. Or you can easily just use this awesome mix from one of my tried-and-true favorite g-free baking buddies, Gluten Free Baking Classics by Annalise G. Roberts. You will need to invest in just three different types of flour, and most of them can be located on the cheap at Asian markets.
And quickly before I post the recipe, I do not recommend trying to bake this cake in a full size bundt pan. It's super moist and almost fudgy, so it would work best as mini bundts. (AAANNDD, because it's gluten-free and also vegan and contains no eggs, the batter doesn't smooth out very well, meaning it holds it shape even after baking, resulting in a dense, but MOIST and delicious, product.) Or simply do as I did and bake in mini fluted pans. They kinda look like bundts, except without da hole in da middle. Amber kept it simple and baked her cake in a single round pan, which allowed her to spread her ganache out in a thin layer and then easily garnish with peanuts.
So, here you go.
Peanut Butter Bliss Bundts with Vegan Chocolate Ganache:
- 1 C. all-purpose gluten-free flour (Either use a trusted brand or my favorite homemade mix here)
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/3 tsp. xanthan gum (OMIT if you are using an all-purpose flour that already contains it)
- 1/3 C. sugar (I used coconut palm sugar, but regular brown or white would work just fine)
- 1/2 C. unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 C. vanilla almond milk, unsweetened (I used Silk, it's the richest and creamiest!)
- 1/2 C. creamy peanut butter
- 2 tsp. vegetable oil (I used light tasting olive oil, it helps to loosen up the batter.)
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 C. mini chocolate chips (increase to 3/4 C. if using the regular size)
- 1/3 C. chopped peanuts, for garnish
Here's how I make my chopped peanuts real quick like!
For the ganache:
- 1/2 C. full-fat coconut milk (yes, the stuff from the can)
- 1/3 C. chopped dark chocolate (or just use more chocolate chips)
1. Prepare your cake pan(s). If you are strictly gluten-free and vegan, you can grease the inside of the pan(s) with some vegan margarine, such as Earth Balance, and then dust with some of your gluten-fee all purpose flour. I found that cooking spray works just fine. Just be sure to spray really well.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum (if making your own gluten-free flour blend).
4. In another bowl, whisk together the applesauce, almond milk, peanut butter, vanilla, and veggie oil. Start out by mixing slowly so the peanut butter doesn't push the other less-dense liquids up and out the side of the bowl.
5. Pour the liquids into the dry ingredients and mix very well until thoroughly combined and smooth.
6. Fold in the chocolate chips.
7. Pour batter into prepared pans. Use a spatula to smooth out the top of the batter as best as possible. It's going to be dense and hold its shape some, but that's okay. You'll be flipping the top of the cake down as the bottom anyway.
8. Bake until the center of the cake is set. You can test with a toothpick. There will be some melted chocolate but should be no wet batter.
9. Allow your cakes to cool in the pan(s) for ten minutes, and then transfer to a cooling rack for at least an hour.
10. For the ganache, simply heat up the coconut milk and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring continuously until all the chocolate has melted and blended in perfectly with the milk. You can always add more milk if you want a thinner ganache, but who would want that??
11. Take the ganache off the heat and allow to rest for about 5 minutes. It will thicken up a little bit more.
Then you can simply pour the ganache straight from the sauce pan over the top of the cakes.
12. Allow the ganache to set up for a few minutes, and then garnish with the peanuts.
You can dig in now. Or if you are patient and can wait for the flavors to meld together and become friends, stick these cakes in the fridge overnight and then enjoy the next day. Just pull them out about 15 minutes to bring slightly to room temperature, and then sink your teeth through the layers of chocolate and peanut butter and be prepared to have your mouth begging for more.
Here, I'll feed you a virtual bite:
Thanks again to Miss Amber Shea (who will be a 'Mrs.' soon!) for sharing this elegantly easy recipe which still manages to pack some may-jah flava. Oooh, and before I forget, check out Amber's nearly released cookbook, Practically Raw. Amber is not only a vegan baker, but she is a professionally-trained raw, vegan chef who is now sharing her talents and expertise with us 'regular folk', who may not own fancy-schmancy raw foodist equipment (such as dehydrators for making raw crackers and chips) and teaching us simple ways that we can make gourmet raw foods in our own homes, using the 'cooking' equipment we already own. Can't wait to own my copy! I'm totally cool with giving anyone the link to my Amazon wish list... :-)
Some final notes...
If you are not strictly following a vegan diet and do not wish to purchase things such as almond milk or coconut milk, you can simply use your regular dairy staples like milk and then heavy cream for the ganache. That's totally up to you. But I will say that I love the vegan ganache much better than the regular cream-and-chocolate version. It has a much richer taste, and you can add some vanilla extract to balance out the slight coconut flavor if that's just not your thing.
And some more final notes...
I realize there are many gluten-free all purpose flours on most finer grocery and health food store shelves. But that doesn't mean all of them are good. Better Batter is a true all-purpose flour which can easily be substituted, cup for cup, in most recipes for baked goods. It does contain white rice flour, which I find to be somewhat gritty, so you will want to definitely wait until the next day to enjoy your cakes if using this brand. I have found it takes about a day for the gritty texture to calm its horses in gluten-free baking.
Pamela's Baking and Pancake mix is probably my favorite gluten-free flour mix to use when I don't feel like making my own. I have both products linked to VitaCost.com, excellent site for supplements and gluten-free baking and food products, but Amazon also has a great selection and comparable prices.
P.S. These are the little mini fluted pans I used to bake the cakes!
They are made by Wilton, and you can find them in almost any major craft store in the U.S. And here's a money-saving tip. If you get the Sunday paper, there is usually an ad for JoAnn Fabrics and sometimes Michael's Crafts, and that ad almost always has a coupon for 40% off any one item. If you sign up to receive e-mail from them, you will receive another one of those coupons. So you can easily stock up on these 2-pan sets like I have. Otherwise, check out Amazon for the best online prices.