#AfroVegan Cocoa-Spice Cake with Crystallized Ginger and Coconut-Chocolate Ganache [Recipe]

This past Monday, Uptown Soul Food had the pleasure of hosting a Food Tasting & Book Signing with Chef Bryant Terry. We served three dishes from Bryant’s ‘Spring Salad Buffet Menu’ and every dish was amazing! Although we loved each of the recipes we prepared, I wanted to share this amazing recipe, directly adopted from the pages of Afro Vegan: the Cocoa-Spice Cake w/ Crystallized Ginger and Coconut-Chocolate Ganache. Be sure to check out other recipes in Bryant’s new book Afro Vegan! View photos from our books signing here!

COCOA-SPICE CAKE with CRYSTALLIZED GINGER and COCONUT-CHOCOLATE GANACHE

Nutmeg, Coconut Milk, Avocado, Jamaican Rum, Crystallized Ginger

Yield: 8 to 16 servings

Soundtrack: “Marcus Garvey” by Burning Spear from Marcus Garvey/Garvey’s Ghost

Book: The Other Side of Paradise: A Memoir by Staceyann Chin

Cocoa Spice Cake--Credit Paige Green

Cocoa Spice Cake–Credit Paige Green

 

CAKE

¼ cup coconut oil, melted, plus more for oiling

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon fine raw cane sugar

¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour

¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour

6 tablespoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)

11⁄4 teaspoons baking soda

1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Scant 1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut milk

1⁄4 cup packed mashed ripe avocado (about 1⁄2 medium avocado)

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon dark Jamaican rum

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 ounces crystallized ginger, finely chopped (about 1⁄2 cup)

GANACHE

5 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, finely chopped

3⁄4 cup coconut milk

5 tablespoons raw cane sugar

1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dark Jamaican rum (optional)

12 thin slices crystallized ginger

Whenever I serve this cake, folks can’t believe it’s vegan, and they always get a kick out of it when I tell them that I include avocado to add moisture and natural creaminess. My assistant, Amanda Yee, came up with the idea of pouring a coconut-chocolate ganache over the cake. You can stop there and enjoy chocolaty bliss, or take it to the next level by pairing it with Vanilla Spice Rum Shakes (opposite). (Pictured on page 172.)

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 375°F. Oil an 8-inch round cake pan with 2-inch sides. 

Sift the sugar, flours, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, cayenne, and nutmeg into a large bowl and stir with a whisk until well blended. 

Put the coconut milk, oil, avocado, rum, vinegar, and vanilla extract in a blender and process until smooth (or put them in a large bowl and blend with an immersion blender until smooth). Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients and the ginger. Fold together until uniformly mixed. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread in an even layer. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Slide a butter knife around the edge, then invert the cake onto a rack and let cool to room temperature. 

To make the ganache, put the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Put the coconut milk, sugar, and cayenne in a small saucepan and heat until steaming hot (avoid boiling), stirring often, until the sugar has dissolved. Slowly pour over the chocolate and let stand until the chocolate is melted, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the rum and whisk until completely smooth. Let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until slightly cooled but pourable, about 5 minutes. 

To glaze the cake, pour the ganache evenly over the cake and let stand until the ganache is set, about 30 minutes. Garnish with the ginger slices.

 

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#AfroVegan Book Signing & Food Tasting With Chef Bryant Terry [Photos & Mix Included]

On Monday, April 28, 2014, 70+ people gathered at Soup Factory Studio for the Supper Club to celebrate Bryant Terry’s fourth book, Afro Vegan:Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed. Bryant Terry is a chef, educator, and author renowned for his activism to create a healthy, just, and sustainable food system. In regard to his work, Bryant’s mentor Alice Waters says, “Bryant Terry knows that good food should be an everyday right and not a privilege.”

Bryant is also the author of the critically acclaimed Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine, which was named one of the best vegetarian/vegan cookbooks of the last 25 years by Cooking Light Magazine. Bryant also authored The Inspired Vegan, and he coauthored Grub (with Anna Lappe), which The New York Times called “ingenious.” Bryant is also proud to have served as the “humanities advisor” on the Between Meals cookbook project, which shares the recipes and stories of newly-arrived refugee and immigrant women and explores how they have nourished their families in the US.

The night started out with a food tasting including three dishes from Bryant’s Spring Salad Buffet (p. 198): All-Green Spring Slaw (page 74), Cinnamon-Soaked Wheat Berry Salad (page 102), and Verdant Vegetable Couscous with Spicy Mustard Greens (page 133). After the food tasting, Bryant jumped right into a speech discussing his relationship with food, the inspiration behind his work, history of African American culinary traditions, and more! His talk was very inspiring and moving (as expected).

Check out photos from the Supper Club captured by our photographer Darren Burton (@darrenburton_).

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If you follow Bryant’s work, you know each recipe is accompanied with a soundtrack, movie, or book pairing. Check out the official Supper Club Mix featuring music inspired by Afro Vegan (by Darren Burton). Click here to download the mixtape!

Thank you to everyone who came out to the Supper Club! The Uptown Soul Food team had an amazing time and we hope you all did too! I’d like to extend a special thank you to Ten Speed Press, Impact Hub Philly, Char Nolan, Black Eye Soup Studio, and Big Blue Marble, Darren Burton and Bryant Terry!

Uptown Soul Food Pop-Up Restaurant: The Vision Behind the Return

By Takia McClendon

This weekend, the Uptown Soul Food Vegetarian Pop-Up Restaurant will return to Wired Beans Cafe for a night of “soul food” inspired plant-based cuisine. At $8.00/platter, attendees will have the opportunity to try fresh, creative plant-based food with cultural ties to traditional African American & Caribbean culinary history. The pop-up will start at 6:00PM and end once there’s no more food left to serve. Continue reading

Meat & Dairy: Can Too Much Hurt You?

Study after study, evidence tells us that adopting a plant-based diet will yield the best results for total health and wellness. Yet, more and more Americans continue to suffer from ‘Western’ diseases including cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. In 1997, the American Institute for Cancer Research issued an international report, “Food, Nutrition, and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective”. In conclusion, the American Institute for Cancer reports that “choosing predominately plant-based diets rich in variety of vegetables and fruits, legumes, and mildly processed staple foods” along with physical activity and not smoking can prevent 60-70% of ALL cancers.

None of us like to think that we bring our own misfortunes on ourselves but here are the facts:

How does this relate to diet?

HCAs and PAHs (Adopted from the National Cancer Institute)

Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are chemicals formed when muscle meat, including beef, pork, fish, or poultry, is cooked using high-temperature methods, such as pan frying or grilling directly over an open flame (1). In laboratory experiments, HCAs and PAHs have been found to be mutagenic—that is, they cause changes in DNA that may increase the risk of cancer.

HCAs are formed when amino acids (the building blocks of proteins), sugars, and creatine (a substance found in muscle) react at high temperatures. PAHs are formed when fat and juices from meat grilled directly over an open fire drip onto the fire, causing flames. These flames contain PAHs that then adhere to the surface of the meat. PAHs can also be formed during other food preparation processes, such as smoking of meats (1).

Prevention

Start by incorporating more live foods into your diet (ie. fresh fruits and vegetables) and incorporate more plant-based meals into your daily food routine. If you are interested in adopting a vegetarian diet, check out Healthy Eating for Life, a project of the Food for Life Cancer Project.