Easy Chocolate Cake + {Recipes for the Week of May 21}

by Julie

When life calls for celebrations (summer is finally here!), you need a go-to cake that’s quick, reliable, and easy to “dress up.” (But only if you want to. There’s nothing worse than a cake that insists on getting all dressed up in frills and layers each time before going out.)

A good cake stands alone. I’ve made this chocolate cake–found in this book–a dozen or so times now, and it’s never failed. It’s quick (start to finish = 40 minutes), reliable (even with gluten-free flour, it still comes out light and airy), and easy to “dress up” (I’ve made a chocolate icing for it, layered it with raspberry preserves, or added peppermint extract to it; I’ve even baked the cake in a convection oven and still had it turn out amazingly).

Hope you have a reason to celebrate real soon…

Easy Chocolate Cake (Vegan, Gluten-free)

**Helpful tip: If you have left-over coffee, save it and substitute a cup or so for one of the liquids in the recipe.


3 cups gluten-free flour of choice (mine these days seems to be a mix of Bob’s Red Mill GF Flour Mix and sorghum flour)

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup cocoa powder

3/4 cup oil or Earth Balance

1 1/2 cups dry sweetener

1/4 cup water

2 cups soy milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

To make

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a blender or food processor, blend together the oil (or Earth Balance), sweetener, and water. Add this to flour mixture along with the milk and vanilla, and mix together gently until “just mixed.” Pour into a lightly oiled cake pan and bake for 30 minutes. Test with a fork to see if done. Serve when cooled.

Up next on my list for chocolate cakes to try: this one, sans egg. Doesn’t it look delicious? The beets just lend an incredible color.

Recipes for the Week

Monday, May 21: Otsu (from 101 Cookbooks)


grated zest of 1 lemon
fresh ginger, cut into a 1-inch cube, peeled, and grated
1 tablespoon honey
3/4 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup unseasoned brown-rice vinegar
1/3 cup shoyu sauce (wheat-free soy sauce)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

12 ounces dried soba noodles (or rice noodles if you prefer)
12 ounces extra-firm nigari tofu
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 small handful of cilantro sprigs, for garnish
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Tuesday, May 22: Tortilla Salad (from 101 Cookbooks)


3 cups cooked beans, room temperature or warm
1/3 cup toasted sunflower seeds (or pepitas)
1/4 cup favorite vinaigrette, or to taste

2 cups / big handfuls of chopped cauliflower (stems, leaves, florets), boiled in a bit of salted water for just 20 seconds, then drained under cold water

2-3 big handfuls of tortilla chips
1 small (watermelon) radish, sliced paper thin
1/2 avocado, sliced

Wednesday, May 23: Carrot, Dill, and White Bean Salad (from 101 Cookbooks)


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon fine grain salt
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots

more olive oil for cooking
2 cups sliced carrots, cut 1/4-inch thick on deep bias
3 cups cooked white beans
scant 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons brown sugar (or honey)
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Thursday, May 24: Lemon-Walnut Quinoa & Chickpea Salad (from Love and Lemons)


2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups of arugula or other leafy greens
3 or 4 radishes, sliced
1/4 cups sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chives
1/4 cup basil
salt and pepper to taste

lemon walnut oil dressing:
2 tablespoons walnut oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 clove of garlic, minced
salt & pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon honey (or agave or brown rice syrup)