The Chocolate Torte from Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts Book Review and Giveaway

The Chocolate Torte from Vegan Chocolate

Everything you know about chocolate is about to change. Or atleast everything I knew about it (which wasn’t much really), I packed it up in a tiny box and threw it away. Fran Costigan’s book Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts, will open up a new world of deliciousness and inspire you to make these intricate desserts and win over anyone and everyone and friends of everyone too.

Ever made a ganache that is so smooth and silky that you want to finish the entire bowl. A cake that is so luscious, rich and decadent that you cannot stop moaning, yes moaning with every bite. And all of this without any dairy, eggs, butter, margarine and white sugar. There is no long whipping of the fats and sugar to make a simple cake. Just the wet ingredients emulsified and added to well whisked dry ingredients and done. The oils, fats and sugar are there to make a decadent result but they are all minimally processed and also not used in the large quantities you would see in a usual butter laden dessert. 

The book begins with details about the ingredients, Sweeteners, equipment, types of chocolates. The chapters include Truffles, Cakes(Chocolate Almond Orange Olive oil cake, Brownie pudding Cakelettes, black bottom cupcakes!), Showstoppers(Brooklyn Blackout Cake, Opera Cake, Sachertorte) Cookies, bars, Pies (Brownies, Biscottis, Moon Pies) and Tarts, Creams and puddings (Raspberry chocolate silk Tarts), Frozen desserts (Brownie crumble Ice cream, chocolate Margarita Ice cream), beverages (hot cocoas, smoothies) and master recipes for frostings, glazes, ganaches. The book is laid out beautifully, with a very intuitive recipe flow. On top of that the photographs by Kate Lewis make the book a work of art.
It is a book you want out on your kitchen counter or your coffee table, so it always catches someone’s eye and you can say that That is a freaking Vegan Desserts book! That insanely fudgy looking cake is the most delicious chocolate cake, vegan or not :)

I have to make all of the Ice creams this summer and the gorgeous Chocolate cherry Miroir Cake and the Eclairs!, Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie and just about everything else from this book.



Chef Fran Costigan is an internationally recognized culinary instructor, author, and consultant whose innovative recipes marry healthy eating with sumptuous tastes. Fran uses organic and minimally processed ingredients to make rich moist cakes, flaky piecrusts, delightful cookies and bars, creamy puddings and much more. 

Fran walks you through the technique, processes and tips in each recipe. Hence, the recipes do seem long. That is the only thing to consider about buying this book. A good number of the recipes need a bit of effort and sometimes patience and practice. Believe you me, that it is all worth it To get the very delicious results. 

I made the Chocolate Torte to Live for. It is something to definitely try once in your life. Soft moist and perfectly chocolatey. I also made the Mocha Creme Brûlée. I did not have a blow torch, so I put it in the oven to broil for a few to melt the sugar on top. Hence, a more granulated look to the Brulee (pictured above). My custard/brulee disliking husband ate a good whole lot! 

I mean seriously this Cake(pictured below) stayed in the refrigerator for the week and every time I took a piece I was reminded of how perfect it was and how easily it would impress anyone with any dietary status. And it came out this way even with my cutting the recipe down and not following all of Fran’s rules! I never have my stuff Mise en place :)

Thank you Fran and Running Press for the Review copy.

Chocolate Torte

Recipes reprinted with permission from VEGAN CHOCOLATE: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts by Fran Costigan, Running Press

The Chocolate Torte To Live For

This is the cake that started it all for me over 20 years ago. I worked for many months perfecting the best-ever chocolate cake that just happened to be vegan, and made without any white sugar or palm oil shortening. Gluten-free and no-oil added versions of this cake are found in Vegan Chocolate. Glazing a single layer with Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache Glaze results in a torte that is so pretty, it needs no embellishment.

Note: For a layer cake, simply double all the ingredients.

Makes One 9-inch round layer.
1/2 cup organic whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup organic all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 cup organic sugar, ground fine in a blender
1/2 tsp salt
1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup mild tasting extra virgin olive oil, or any neutral vegetable oil, more for the pan
1/2 cup pure maple syrup, grade B or dark amber
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons any nondairy milk
11/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon chocolate extract (optional)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Position a rack in middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Oil sides and bottom of a 9×3 inch round cake pan with oil, and line the bottom with parchment paper cut to fit. Do not oil the paper.
Place a wire mesh strainer over medium bowl. Add the whole wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to strainer, and whisk to sift ingredients into bowl. Whisk to aerate and distribute ingredients.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk oil, maple syrup, nondairy milk, extracts, and vinegar until thoroughly blended.
Pour into dry mixture and whisk until batter is smooth. (The batter is fairly thin.) Pour batter into pan.
Tap pan lightly on the counter to pop some of the air bubbles. Bake on center rack for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top is set, sides have started to pull away from the pan, and a cake tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs.
Cool pan on wire rack for 5 minutes. Run a thin knife between the cake and inside of pan, and invert
onto rack. Remove pan and carefully peel off parchment paper. Invert again, topside up on rack, to cool
completely.
To protect the layer from cracking, slide a cardboard circle (or another flat surface) underneath. Enclose in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 30 minutes until chilled before glazing.

Recipes reprinted with permission from VEGAN CHOCOLATE: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts by Fran Costigan, Running Press

Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache Glaze

It will take longer to read this recipe than to make it, but its success is all about the quality and taste of the chocolate and following the details in the recipe. As long as you stay within the percentages listed, any premium quality chocolate you enjoy eating is the one to use. The important part is to chop the chocolate very fine and to strain the hot milk. Allowing the chocolate to melt into the milk for the full 4 minutes is not optional. And stir only until the chocolate and milk are emulsified—that is, glossy and smooth. Over-mixing may turn your silken ganache gritty. If the chocolate has not completely melted after the ganache is mixed, bring the water in the saucepan on the stove to a simmer and turn off the heat. Place the bowl of ganache on the saucepan for a few minutes, then stir very gently until chocolate has melted and the ganache is smooth.

Makes about 2 cups

8 ounces vegan bittersweet chocolate (70 to 72%), finely chopped
11/2 cups almond milk or soymilk
2 Tablespoons organic granulated sugar. 18 gms
Pinch fine sea salt
1 1⁄4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons mild tasting extra-virgin olive oil (optional but recommended for sheen)

Add the chocolate to a heatproof bowl and set aside while you heat the milk. Pour the milk into a small saucepan. Add the sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat, whisking a few times to a low boil.
Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat. Pour the hot milk over the chopped chocolate all at once. Rotate the bowl so the chocolate is completely submerged. Cover the bowl with a plate and let stand undisturbed for 4 minutes. Add the vanilla and olive oil (if using) and whisk from the center out only until smooth and glossy. Keep the bowl of ganache at room temperature while you test the final consistency. Dip a teaspoon into the ganache, set the coated spoon on a small plate, and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes. After chilling, the ganache on the spoon should be smooth and should still taste creamy. It is unlikely, but if the glaze is too firm, add a tablespoon of room temperature milk, and repeat the test. Add a second tablespoon if needed. Pass the ganache through a strainer into a bowl. Whisking slowly will speed the process. Allow the ganache to thicken at room temperature for 15 to 25 minutes, or until it will coat a spoon thickly with minimal dripping, but remain pourable. Stir a few times from the outside into the center before glazing.

Keeping: The glaze can be refrigerated in a tightly closed container for up to five days and frozen for up to one month. The glaze hardens when it is cold and will need to be reheated. To reheat, spoon the glaze into a heatproof bowl that fits over a saucepan of barely simmering water. When about two-thirds of the glaze is melted, stir gently until it is smooth. Adjust the consistency as needed by stirring warm nondairy milk into the glaze a little at a time



Here is Fran’s book Trailer! Love the Torte, love the kitchen and that slide out pantry. I need that two way pantry in my life.



The publishers are also giving away one copy of the book to one of the blog readers! This is the perfect gift for Valentines Day or any day I tell you. The Giveaway is open to US residents only. You can also buy the book here

Enter the Giveaway on the Widget below.

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Comments

  1. Susana I. says

    I’m not vegan so I don’t have one, but I enjoy baking vegan from time to time and sharing with my vegan friends.

  2. says

    It’s not chocolate–but–I miss meringue! There must be a way to veganize it–I just haven’t found it yet. Other than that, I’ve been able to veganize anything chocolate because it’s a secret vegan superpower.

  3. says

    I think I’ve been able to veganize all of my favorite chocolate desserts. I guess I do occasionally miss white chocolate, since it’s nearly impossible to find it vegan. But there are plenty of other vegan desserts to keep me occupied :-)

    • says

      Melissa,
      Kosher white chocolate chips are vegan. I use them in a few recipes. Personally, I am not a big fan of white chocolate but it has it’s place. Look for the chips online or buy them as I do, in kosher marts.
      Best
      Fran

  4. says

    I also think you can sub for most anything. I’m lucky that I just love a piece of healthy chocolate to get my fix, lol. Thanks for the giveaway cookbook.

  5. says

    I loved, loved, loved, brownie sundaes! Not that they can’t be made vegan, but I just kinda stopped eating them. Craziness!

    What a beautiful book!

  6. says

    My dad would have loved Fran…he taught me the same things about mise en place, proper measuring and definitely about never apologizing for brilliantly indulgent creations like this Torte. It looks spinningly magnificent…thanks for the recipe!
    so sorry I’m not on FB but the book’s going on my wishlist! Cheers! :)

  7. says

    I miss Boston Cream Donuts, or any chocolate donut for that matter! I know I could probably duplicate a non vegan recipe but I’m just too lazy. I miss being able to go select my favorite dozen and go home with a box!

  8. Mae says

    I can honestly say that there are no deserts that I miss, because I am constantly learning how to veganize and make things from scratch. For Thanksgiving, I made a super easy vegan and gluten-free chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting…and now my stomach is growling. Thanks for sharing this recipe, btw!

  9. Anonymous says

    Hi Richa

    Can i use semi sweet chocolate chips instead of the Bar ?

    Also when u say organic sugar fine ground … do u mean confectioners sugar ?

    Thanks

    - Rupa

    • says

      you can use semi sweet chocolate chips. the ganache will be slightly different with them.

      regular confectioners sugar is not vegan. most white sugars are refined through bone char. I usually grind raw unrefined sugar in the blender, and keep to use in baking.

    • says

      Hi Richa, I have to disagree about the chocolate chips, which are much lower s lower percentage choclate and the ganache will not set and it will not be smooth. In this case, use less nondairy milk. Start with 1/2 cup. Do a test on a teeny spoon to see how the ganache sets up. It may not be as smooth and it will not be as dark. Do not use the sugar. NOW about the sugar, any vegan granulated cane sugar can be used. Organic sugar is always vegan. Confectioners sugar is different as it has a starch added.

  10. says

    Do chocolate croissants count?? Those were one of my favorites, and pretty much the only thing I haven’t been able to find in vegan form (I’m guessing because traditional croissants use so many dairy ingredients!).

  11. Laura J says

    One dessert from my pregan days that I’m trying to veganize is my great-grandma’s “Chocolate cookie dessert” that she made every Christmas, that had oreo crust on top and bottom and was filled with whipped cream, whipped egg whites, and gelatin. At least the oreo part will be easy! :)

  12. says

    Wow this looks amazing! I am going to make that cake for my son’s 6th birthday on Wednesday because his little brother cannot have dairy! I would love to recreate a lemon cream pie into a vegan version! :)

  13. says

    Off the top of my head, I’m really not sure of a chocolate dessert that I miss more than any others. I just miss the convenience of having all sorts of chocolatey treats available in the stores or at restaurants and parties. However, I still have chocolate almost daily so, it’s a good ole fried donut that I miss the most! I used to only eat donuts about once a year but, I’m wayyy past due for my donut fix!

  14. says

    This looks so delicious, I would love to make this for my son on valentines day. If any of you have tried the gluten free version please share. Thank you

  15. says

    I’ve been reading so many amazing things about this cookbook! I’d love to win a copy of it (but if I don’t, I’m sure I’ll end up buying it anyway haha)! I love me some chocolate mmmmmhm :)

  16. Anonymous says

    Can you please suggest the brands for vegan chocolate bar and chocolate chips?
    How can I substitute maple syrup with vegan sugar?

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