A Recipe for Your Valentine

by Linda DeStefano

February includes the romantic holiday of St. Valentine’s Day (also known simply as Valentine’s Day). Sweets are a common gift. Here is a recipe for a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, which is easy and should please anyone who loves sweets and loves chocolate. It also is a gift for the animals as it contains no animal ingredients (no eggs, no dairy). Dairy cows and their babies suffer a great deal, and egg-laying hens do too (and the male chicks are killed as they can’t produce eggs).

I won’t pretend that this recipe, especially with the frosting, is healthy – too much sugar and fat – but it is a satisfying, occasional treat. The next time I make it, I’m going to try using date sugar instead of cane sugar because, according to Michael Greger, M.D., date sugar and molasses are the only two healthy sugars. Molasses flavor would be too strong for a cake, but I think date sugar (which has a mild flavor) would work well. I buy date sugar at Green Planet Grocery on W. Genesee St. in Fairmount. See nutritionfacts.org for health tips from Dr. Greger.

My friend Lisa Dwinell brought this recipe to my attention.

Crazy Chocolate Cake

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2 tablespoon of white or apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup of sugar (try date sugar)
1/3 cup cocoa powder (plain – no sugar or other ingredients in it)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 cup canola or other mild-flavored vegetable oil
1 cup water
2 teaspoonful of vanilla or almond abstract

Mix all ingredients at the same time except the vinegar. A whisk works nicely. Then add the vinegar and stir. IMMEDIATELY put in over preheated to 350 degrees. Bake about 20 minutes. Place cake tester in middle of cake to see that it is not liquid in the middle. The batter fills one square tin (about 8 1/2 x 8 1/2) or one round tin. Grease the tin with oil or vegan margarine (such as, Earth Balance).

I use chocolate frosting from The Compassionate Cook.

3 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 teaspoon vegan margarine (such as Earth Balance)
1/4 cup hot water (start with cold and then heat in kettle or pan rather than using from the hot water tap)
2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Over very low heat, melt the chocolate and margarine together. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the water. Slowly stir in sugar until creamy.

Allow the cake to cool before frosting it.

This cake is an example of tasty vegan cooking. Vegans eat no animal flesh or animal products (particularly dairy and eggs) but do eat veggies, fruits, grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and all the many dishes made from them.

Vegan eating is good for the environment, the animals, the reduction of world hunger, and for your health. If you want to learn more and even have free personal counseling as you try vegan eating, go to veganoutreach.org and find the Vegan Mentor Program.

There are many sources of vegan recipes online, such as, findingvegan.com

There are also many cookbooks. Here are a few below, all of which can be ordered at barnesandnoble.com. If you are like me and don’t like to order online, you can order directly from the Barnes and Noble in Syracuse at (315) 449-2948.

Dairy-Free And Delicious by Bryanna Clark Grogan & Joanne Stepaniak. Besides recipes, there’s a lot of information about how to eat a healthy diet without dairy. Even for those who are not vegan, this is helpful for people with dairy allergies.

The Compassionate Cook: Please Don’t Eat the Animals by Ingrid Newkirk

The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook by Joanne Stepaniak

For those who want both vegan and gluten-free recipes, there is The Gluten-Free Vegan by Susan O’Brien.

If want to join a local organization which has vegan socials (vegans and non-vegans welcome), contact Syracuse Vegan Meetup, https://www.meetup.com/Syracuse-CNY-Vegan-Meetup/, and/or People for Animal Rights.

You’ll find Syacuse Vegan Meetup on Facebook and Instagram Or contact Marybeth at mfishman4282@gmail.com

You can contact People for Animal Rights at (315)488-PURR (7877) between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m., people4animalrightscny@gmail.com or PAR, P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse, NY 133215-0358. PAR also has films and speakers on a variety of animal rights and environmental protection issues and puts out a physical newsletter twice a year.