Makes 12 servings
What You Need:
For the cake:
1 cup vegan dark chocolate chips
1 14-ounce package extra firm tofu, drained
1 cup vegan margarine
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup pumpkin pureé
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup fresh pomegranates, for garnish
For the whipped cream:
2 cups coconut-milk creamer
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons agar-agar flakes
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
What You Do:
1. For the cake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a 9-inch round springform pan and 9-inch round parchment paper with nonstick spray. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add chocolate and margarine, cook, whisking to combine until melted. Into a food processor, add tofu, melted chocolate, and margarine and process for about 30 seconds until combined. Add sugar, cocoa powder, and squash, and process for about 1 minute or until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, water, baking powder, and baking soda. Add mixture to batter and process until combined.
4. Transfer batter into prepared pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until cake has risen tall, top has set and becomes less shiny, and edges look dry but still jiggle.
5. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around top 1/2-inch of edge to loosen. Cover pan with a kitchen towel and allow cake to cool completely at room temperature. Once cool, cover pan tightly with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.
6. For the whipped cream, in a one-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, bring creamer and salt to simmer. Whisk in agar-agar and continue simmering for 5 minutes. Whisk frequently until agar-agar is dissolved.
7. Pour agar mixture into a small bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover bowl and refrigerate for 3 hours or until creamer is solid.
8. Chop solidified creamer into pieces. Into food processor, add creamer, powdered sugar, vanilla, and almond extract. Process for 5 to 6 minutes or until smooth and fluffy, scraping down the sides as necessary. Transfer cream to a medium bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight or until thoroughly chilled. Store cream in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
9. To serve, run a thin knife around sides of cake pan, remove sides, and invert cake onto a serving plate. Remove parchment paper and slice cake into 12 servings. Top with whipped cream and pomegranates and serve.
Chef’s Tip: For a cream suitable for piping, add an additional tablespoon of agar-agar. You will likely need to process the mixture longer to remove any graininess. For serving during the holidays, add 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract to the whipped cream, and garnish the cake with crushed candy canes for a festive presentation.
Betsy DiJullo is the author of The Blooming Platter Cookbook: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes and the blog The Blooming Platter.