You know how it's super fun to cook for people who really appreciate your food? Well, my aunt's boyfriend Ed is a really sweet guy - and I'm not just saying that because he likes my desserts so much. Whenever we have family dinners, Ed is always a little coy about inquiring into dessert... trying to suss out what I've made this time. Once, in summer, I just made a big plate of watermelon - and poor Ed was so disappointed, especially since he's allergic to watermelon! Oh no. I felt so bad.
Well, not this time. When my aunt told me Ed's birthday was coming up, and that he really loves chocolate (smart man!), I got to work scheming right away.
Little Yummers, official inspector
I made a double batch of my favorite chocolate cake - which is the Low Fat Vegan Chocolate Cake from Joy of Cooking (of all places!). I sub out half the oil for applesauce, and then I usually add 2-3 extra tablespoons of cocoa powder. I also subbed out 1 tsp of vanilla for 1 tsp of chocolate extract - just to go overboard on this chocolate explosion experience.
Then, for the filling between the two layers I made the Hazelnut Chocolate Mousse from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. Friends, that stuff is CRAZY GOOD. I love it so much. Especially because it also has hazelnut liquer in it, which gives the whole thing an excellent zip-iti-doo-dah! If you haven't tried it, please address that situation.
For the ganache, I used a recipe I really love from Simple Treats - it's got instant coffee granules in it, which I love - and I also find the texture really easy to work with. The combo of the coffee-chocolate in the ganache and the hazelnut-chocolate in the filling, and the chocolate-chocolate in the cake was absolutely glorious. Our friend Janet said "I think this is the best cake I've ever had." And of course, Birthday Boy Ed was happy too.