Yummy Chocolate Cake (that happens to be vegan!)

It’s another baking day!

Today I thought I’d share a very special recipe: My grandmother’s chocolate cake! I grew up on this cake, and it just screams birthday to me, especially when topped with her homemade butter-cream frosting.

My Grammy has always had a vast collection of cookbooks, and I think this recipe is originally from the Covenant Cookbook – Covenant being a church she attended. She started baking this cake after my Pop-pop had a heart attack, and chose this recipe because it’s low in cholesterol. It wasn’t until I was baking it for a birthday last week that it clicked: this cake is also vegan! That’s right – no eggs or milk in this cake!

Grammy’s Chocolate Cake is a very rich, dense chocolate cake, perfect with a tall glass of cold milk. It’s not overwhelmingly chocolaty, and so it goes with all sorts of toppings. I’ve paired it with vanilla, butter cream, chocolate, and peanut butter frostings, and have left it unfrosted and simply dusted it with powdered sugar.

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I’m sorry that I don’t have a picture of the actual cake part. I was too busy eating it to photograph it!

Without further ado, here’s the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 3 c. sifted flour
  • 2 c. sugar
  • ¾ c cocoa
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. brown vinegar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. oil
  • 2 c water

Preheat oven to 350°. Sift dry ingredients in a bowl. It is important to sift the dry ingredients. This is a dense cake, and the sifting keeps it from becoming too heavy. Make a well in the middle. Add liquids and mix well. Pour into a greased and floured 9” x 13” pan. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes. Do not over bake! When a toothpick inserted comes out clean, it’s done. Cool and then frost.

Hope you enjoy this tasty, vegan, low-cholesterol chocolate cake 🙂

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Works in Progress

Aside

Today is just a little peek at what I’ve been working on.

First up is a finished embroidery of an adorable owl! The design in my own making. I wanted to play with different stitches, so I whipped up this little guy. He’s made up of split stitch, stem stitch, back stitch, satin stitch, a generous sprinkling of french knots, and a few others!

Not quite typical owl colors...this fellow won't blend in!

Not quite typical owl colors…this fellow won’t blend in!

He’s not technically finished, because so far he’s just perched on a scrap of fabric. I don’t want to just display him on the hoop or in a frame, but I’m on the fence of what sort of project he should adorn…

The other work-in-progress is a crocheted top! The pattern I’m using – ripple-lace v-neck top – is by Christine L. Walter and featured in Interweave Crochet, spring 2008. The finished top should look like this:

(c) Interweave Crochet, Spring 2008

(c) Interweave Crochet, Spring 2008

I am not, however, using the suggested yarn. I’m working it up in Caron’s Simply Soft in Pagoda (I would call it deep aqua. I guess that’s why I don’t do yarn marketing…) . I love the drape of Simply Soft, and I think it should be a decent substitution for the cotton/milk fiber blend suggested in the pattern.

This is what I have so far: the back piece up to the armhole shaping.Image

There are two things I love about this pattern. One, the main body is worked in alternating rows of single crochet, half-double crochet, and double crochet. I find this breaks up the strong horizontal effect of a double crochet top. And two, the ripple-lace at the bottom! I mean, look at it!

Sooo pretty!

Sooo pretty!

Anyway, that’s what’s kept me busy, crafting-wise, this week! Check back next Thursday for an update on the top.

Ribbon Poofs Bobby Pins

Today's project, tucked into my braid.

Today’s project, tucked into my braid.

Are these decorative bobby pins not adorable?! I was looking to add little touches of color and whimsy to my hair, and, given that I use bobby pins frequently, they were the natural choice! As far as embellishment, I was less sure. I looked all over the internet for inspiration, but didn’t see anything that quite spoke to me. So I came up with my own! Hence, these Ribbon Poofs!

These are fairly straight forward, and can be customized easily. So here goes!

Materials:

  • various fabric ribbon scraps, at least 5 inches long
  • scissors
  • needle and thread
  • bobby pins

Directions:

  1. Select your ribbon. I used chiffon ribbon and cotton lace. I like the chiffon best, but play around to find what suits you! Keep in mind, the longer and/or wider the ribbon, the fuller the poof.

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    The top poof is chiffon ribbon, about 8″ long and 3/4″ wide. Below it is one made with chiffon ribbon with a thick border, about 7″ long and 1.5″ wide. The bottom poof is cotton lace, about 9″ long and 3/4″ wide.

  2. Cut a length of thread twice the length of your ribbon and thread it through your needle. Knot the ends together so you’ll be working with two strands of thread.
  3. Work a loose running stitch along the edge of the ribbon. As you go, keep pulling the thread so the ribbon gathers against the knot. When you reach the end of the ribbon, or a fullness that you like, proceed to step 4.

    As the running stitch moves left, the ribbon gathers on the right.

    As the running stitch moves left, the ribbon gathers on the right.

  4. Now you need to wrangle the poof into order. Poke, prod, and twist until the gathered edge is all together and the unstitched edge faces out. For the next steps, you’ll hold the poof by the unsewn edge, keeping the gather facing your sewing hand.

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    The gathered edge is all together and facing up.

  5. Once your poof is arranged, stitch through the gathered edge a few times in different directions. This ensures that the poof will stay, well, poofy!

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    Now that the gathered edge is stitched, see how tight it is? The ribbon has become a poof!

  6. To attach the poof to bobby pin, hold the poof against the loop at the end of the pin and make a series of stitches that go through the bobby pin, back through the poof and up back through the bobby pin again. You want the poof well attached, so make at least 5 passes with the needle.010
  7. Knot off your thread and trim the end. Congratulations! You know have a ribbon poof bobby pin!

Once you get the hang of these, you can make them in a rainbow of colors and ribbons. Here are a few variations to try:

  • Hold two different colored ribbons together. Think green and red for Christmas, or black and orange for Halloween!
  • Make a poof in a light-colored ribbon and then dip the edge in a darker dye to get an ombre effect.
  • Sew multiple poofs onto one bobby pin, either in a clump at the tip, or down in a row.

I’m sure you can come up with more ideas! If you make your own variation, I’d love to hear about it; share in the comments!