And then there was cake

I mentioned in my previous post that we camped for three days at Stone Mountain. Most of our camping trips fall within the long weekend, three to four day range:  long enough to explore an area, especially when we live a couple of hours’ drive from several similar sites, and only half a day from the ocean; and short enough that I don’t feel guilty ditching my marathon training runs.

The part that many people tell me is a challenge for them when camping – food – is something we have fun with. The longer we plan to camp, the more creative we get. There are portable foods: granola; spring rolls; baked cubes of tofu and polenta. There are the foods that keep well in a big chest cooler: cold brewed coffee; little pots of yoghurt studded with chunks of frozen fruit; jars of plant milk; more jars of tabbouleh, Nicoise potato salad, lentil pilaf. And of course, things to be cooked over coals, on skewers or a small cast iron skillet: jars of just-add-milk pancake mix; foil packs of root vegetables; Dandies marshmallows; Field Roast sausages and tofu dogs.  We have it down to a science.

The one thing I couldn’t figure out how to pack for this trip? My husband’s birthday cake.

Once we returned home, my daughter and I whipped up two nine-inch rounds of our go-to multigrain chocolate cake, crumb-coated them with espresso-spiked frosting, lit some candles and declared it a party.

Multigrain chocolate cake

This recipe has been around for ages, referred to as wacky, war, and depression-era cake. Traditionally made with all purpose flour, I prefer to make it with a blend. The buckwheat and oat flours have a sweet, milky flavor, and the rye gives it a nice malty undertone.  For frosting, I use whatever vegan buttercream recipe is in the nearest cookbook (or pops up first in Google). This recipe yields one cake – double (or triple!) if you plan to make a layer cake.

3/4 C spelt flour (whole or white, your choice)
1/4 C rye flour
1/4 C buckwheat flour
1/4 C oat flour
1 C raw/turbinado sugar
3 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine grain salt
1 C water
1 T apple cider vinegar
1/4 C mild-tasting oil (sunflower, safflower, canola…)
1 tsp almond or vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 / 175 C degrees and position a rack to the center position.  Lightly oil and dust the bottom of your cake pan if you’ll be eating it out of the pan; line with parchment if you’ll be transferring it to a serving plate and/or using it in a layer cake.

Sift all of the dry ingredients (flour through salt) in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center and add the wet ingredients.  Stir to combine, pour into your cake pan, and bake 25 minutes, or until the middle is set and the cake is beginning to pull away from the edge of the pan.  Allow to cool completely before frosting.  Tastes best after a few hours when the flavors have had a chance to meld.

Yield: 1 9-inch round or 8×8 inch square cake

Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: 30 minutes

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