Baking for Lacto-Vegetarians – An Eggless Chocolate Birthday Cake
Two of the guys who work for me are strict vegetarians whose diets prohibit eggs. I always bake a cake or cookies to bring to the office on the birthdays of my staff and because it must be something the entire department can enjoy, several times a year I am challenged to create delicious baked goodies without cracking a single egg.
I had previously taken for granted eggs and their wonderful cooking properties but now I understand they are responsible for much of the texture and quality of baked goods. They give cookies their chewy goodness and provide leavening power in most cakes. Without eggs, there would be no soufflés. Custard wouldn’t be custard were it not for eggs and their magical coagulation properties (coagulation; what an ugly word to describe the smooth silkiness of the custard’s curd).
No wonder many of the eggless cake and cookie recipes I’ve tried over the past years yielded mixed results. But this particular chocolate cake with fudge frosting is the never-fail, always-loved number one winner, not just for vegetarians, but for anyone. An added bonus, it is incredibly quick and easy to make.
The cake is from an old recipe going back to World War II when fresh ingredients such as butter, eggs, and milk were strictly rationed or even unavailable at times. Originally called War Cake, and later, Crazy Cake, it has appeared in countless cookbooks, magazines and newspapers over the past century.
You may think that with its lack of rich dairy products it is a compromised cake, but far from it. It’s delicious! Moist and spongy with a tender crumb and a rich chocolate flavor, no one would ever guess its humble disadvantaged beginnings.
The chocolate fudge frosting is a practically instant recipe. It does contain some milk and a bit of butter (my vegetarian birthday boys do consume dairy products) but I imagine if you wanted to make this for a vegan, you could use appropriate substitutions. It is the easiest frosting ever; no spreading required. Just boil a few ingredients together and pour over the cake for a beautiful, thick glossy frosting that remains smooth and creamy for days.
I get requests for the recipes for this cake and frosting every time I serve it.Crazy Chocolate Cake
3 cups flour
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups cold water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Combine the wet ingredients in another bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and beat well. Pour into an ungreased 9x13 inch baking pan.
Bake for 35 minutes. Allow cake to cool before frosting.Chocolate Fudge Frosting
1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup milk
1 cup milk chocolate chips
In a medium saucepan bring sugar, butter and milk to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate chips until melted and frosting is smooth. Pour evenly over the cake that is still in the pan. Allow to cool.Tags: chocolate cake