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Swami SivanandaSwami Vishnu

Vegan Chocolate Cake with Chocolate-Coconut Frosting

from Karma Yogi Dinija Birne

Since she was 15 years old, Dinija Birne has loved baking. Her enjoyment in the kitchen led her to cooking school, although she left before graduating, and her home in Gulbene, Latvia, to travel. This is her way, she says, to “enjoy life and learn many lessons.”

Now 24 and a traveller for the last three years, Dinija has been working at volunteering jobs all over Europe. In January 2019, she arrived in the kitchen at the Sivananda ashram in the Bahamas where her baking skills were discovered. She is now an occasional cake baker at birthday festivities for the ashram’s karma yogis and her cakes, healthy and usually vegan, often filled with fruit, and dusted with poppy seeds or coconut, have been a hit. “I’ve baked at least 15 cakes since I’ve been here,” she says.

Dinija’s Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Coconut Frosting recently made an appearance at a karma yogi birthday celebration. The decorations, she says, are kept simple and classy.

Vegan Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Coconut Frosting

Cake
1 ½ cup sugar
½ cup oil (preferably coconut)
1 cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 cups all purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C)
Oil a medium round baking pan. Dust with flour to coat the pan.
In a large bowl, mix sugar with oil until dissolved. Add milk, vanilla and lemon juice. Mix well.
In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients and sift into bowl with liquid mixture. Mix well. Add boiling water and mix well.
Bake for 25-35 minutes then use cake tester to ensure the center is no longer wet. Let cool, remove from pan and let stand.

Icing
1 can coconut milk (400 mL)
1 cup chocolate chips
⅔ cup peanut butter (if no peanut allergies are present)
Sliced fruit, coconut and chocolate chips for decoration

Using about 300 mL coconut milk, mostly cream and a bit of the liquid, mix ingredients in small saucepan placed in a simmering hot water bath or double boiler. Stir until melted and a smooth consistency. Refrigerate for several hours to thicken

When ready to decorate, carefully cut cake horizontally into two parts with cerrated knife. Stir icing, then spread on bottom layer. Carefully place top on the cake, and ice top and sides.
Decorate with orange slices, coconut or chocolate sprinkles.

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