Ok, let me first start off by saying that you know you have the most badass kittens ever when they behave during a food photography shoot while blasting some ZZ Top on the record player (ie. not jump on the kitchen table full of delicately placed reflector boards, powdered sugar and cake crumbs everywhere). They’ll tear up practically everything else in the apartment they can get their hands on (although they haven’t broken anything yet… knock on wood!), whether it be shredding a roll full of toilet paper, a candy wrapper or clothing tag, but when it comes to mommy’s kitchen baking projects, they are practically angels. Sweet little angels.
And then they curl up with me on the couch as I edit the photos and write this blog post. Man, am I the luckiest kitty mama ever or what? I really need to get on sharing more photos of those rascals. Gee whiz. But in the meantime, we have more important issues to discuss. Like this (nearly vegan) Everyday Chocolate Loaf Cake. Very serious, important issues.
I think this is, by far, my favorite photo shoot I’ve ever done. It helps that I finally found some decent photography backdrop equipment and tools (thank you Goodwill and recycled/reclaimed lumberyards!). I finally got around to thumbing through this book From Plate to Pixel by Helene Dujardin a few weeks ago and man, it has me ridiculously inspired. Her food photography is definitely at the highest esthetic level in my opinion, and exactly what I strive to achieve as far as color, depth of field, texture, and style go. I love it. It’s practically my new bible.
I found this loaf cake recipe while fiddling around on Foodgawkerlast night and was instantly frothing at the mouth, and luckily already had all of the ingredients on hand. However I decided to be a bit adventurous and make it almost vegan. Almost vegan because I subbed out the butter for canola oil, and made up my own almond “buttermilk” with apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. But I didn’t leave out the (one) egg. I wasn’t in the mood to fool around with it further. Striving to leave the main integrity of the cake to stand up alone, I didn’t want to compromise the texture or flavor too much. Sometimes I think butter tends to dry out cakes too much, which is part of the reason I have favored vegan baking for many, many years. Canola or coconut oil is always a great option when you crave that moist texture, especially when it comes to loaf cakes. They can dry out pretty fast if you’re not careful. But this turned out wonderfully. The only thing I might change next time I make this is to add some chocolate chips to the batter to enrich the chocolate flavor and add some melty goodness to the mix. Otherwise, I wholeheartedly encourage you to give this a try. There’s a reason it’s called an “everyday” loaf cake–more than likely you already have all of these ingredients on hand to many any day, everyday! Oh, and this would be a delicious snack with some peanut butter spread on top. Jus’ sayin’.
Adapted from the original recipe in At Home With Magnolia
Makes one 9x5x3-inch loaf cake
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 cup vanilla almond milk
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Spray a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with coconut or canola oil, set aside.
- In a measuring cup, pour out your almond milk and stir in the cider vinegar and lemon juice. Set aside to curdle for at least 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine the sugars and the oil on medium speed until combined and slightly fluffy. Add the egg, then the almond “buttermilk” and vanilla.
- Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Fold with a spatula (otherwise you may dust your entire kitchen with cocoa powder!) until well-blended but not over mixing. Scrape the batter down into the bowl, ensuring all ingredients are well incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 55 minutes (may be 50-60 mins depending on how hot/cool your oven runs). Insert a toothpick into cake to check for doneness. Cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes, then invert onto your serving platter. Dust with icing sugar before serving.
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