A congratulatory email from Marie earlier this week cinched it: Peter and I have been married to each other longer than we haven’t. I told him not to buy an anniversary thing. OK, we might pick out a piece of artwork together. A quick Google search of anniversary gifts year by year revealed that one might traditionally expect pearls. However the “modern” choice is diamonds. My bad. I only looked because I wanted to find out what one gives for 60 years: Mom will attend her 60th college reunion in October and I thought faux (diamonds, again, it turns out) would be a fun party favor for her friends.
I don’t want diamonds… really. Truly. Turns out we also decided to cancel dinner plans and instead share champagne as the full moon rose over the ship channel. We also caught some of the Men’s US Open Final, as did many beloved witnesses who gathered in Cohasset all those years ago. When not dancing we cheered on… can’t remember who won 30 years ago. Another Google search.
The menu that night: sauce made with tomatoes and herbs from the garden served over “spun” zucchini and topped with local organic goat cheese, (If you haven’t purchased a Paderno Spiralizer make it your next mouse click), salad with the last of the season’s peaches dressed with a mint vinaigrette. Dessert: Chocolate Anniversary Cake! The ganache icing calls for coconut milk. Our current favorite is SoDelicious “Original” Culinary which we purchase in 11 oz. containers in the Thai food section of the market. (It’s also great as a “cream” for coffee.)
Gluten Free Vegan Dark Chocolate Cake – Serves 6-8
1 1/2 cups (9 oz.) gluten free flour mix (yours, ours, or Trader Joe’s)
1 cup sugar (8 oz.)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (2 oz.)
1 tsp baking soda
1 teaspoon xantham gum
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup warm water or coffee
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 tsp organic apple cider vinegar
1. Preheat the oven to 35oF. Line an 8 x 8 square baking dish with parchment paper and spray or wipe it with a think coat of oil.
2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Whisk to blend.
3. Measure the wet ingredients into a 2 cup glass measure. Whisk to blend.
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to blend evenly, taking care to capture the dry layer at the bottom of the bowl.
5. Turn the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350F for 30 – 35 minutes or until a wooden tooth pick comes out cleanly from the center. The top make feel slightly soft, but the cake will continue to cook/set after it’s out of the oven. Cool completely before icing (2 hours?)
Chocolate Ganache Icing
2/3 cup coconut milk
5 oz. good quality vegan bittersweet chocolate chopped into chunks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract)
pinch sea salt
1. Heat the coconut milk in a small heavy duty sauce pan until steaming – just before boiling. Remove from the heat.
2. Add the chocolate to the hot coconut milk and cover for about 5 minutes.
3. Remove the lid, stir in the vanilla extract and salt and whisk to blend evenly. Evenly spread the ganache over the cooled cake. Give it 15 – 20 minutes to set up enough to serve.
The cake will keep refrigerated for several days, and while it’s delicious cold, is better served at room temperature. Enjoy this special cake; it doesn’t have to be a special occasion to make it!