So it's my birthday today. It's also the anniversary of the "War on Terror." Almost one quarter of my life aligns with this "war." Whatever your political persuasion may be, it's definitely worth thinking about peace. And check out all the bloggers on the March 19 Blogswarm while you're at it.
It's hard to claim chocolate as anti-war; thousands gallons of oil are used to produce and ship it around the world and it's such a bourgeois item. BUT food is community. Food brings people together. Food defines relationships. Food brings peace. Imagine Iraqis and Americans and Africans and Europeans sitting down to a meal together. Somewhere, in between the shared culture of nourishment, positive conversation occurs, opinions are challenged, expanded.
I made this cake last Thursday for my family's get-together dinner for my birthday. My family is composed of die-hard omnivores (heavy on the meat & potatoes) and conservative political philosophy. The act of us sitting down to a vegan meal and talking peaceably amongst ourselves is almost unheard of. We do not agree about food, politics, religion...pretty much everything. But I would like to think that the cake contributed to an enjoyable night over all.
And yes, I made my own birthday cake. But really, I got to make what I wanted! Chocolate cookie crust with a mocha cheesecake layer, topped with super dark chocolate mousse, piped with cream cheese frosting. All vegan. I don't have any cross section pictures because I ate it too fast. It was that good. And easy, all things considered.
Eat peace--try a vegan diet for a day, if you aren't a vegan, eat locally grown produce or meat so that you don't waste oil in the shipping process. Dine for peace--engage the ones you eat with in meaningful, constructive conversation. Create peace--think about the energy you are pouring into the food you cook or bake. It's feeding others or yourself; be positive, reap the peaceful results!
Ridiculous Uber Chocolate Thing
each recipe modified or taken from different sources including but not limited to Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and the internet
For the Chocolate Crumb Crust:
12 chocolate graham crackers, crumbled
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3-4 tbsp chocolate soy milk
Crumbled the graham crackers into a bowl. Drizzle the vegetable oil on top, stir to cover cracker crumbs. Drizzle the soy milk into the crumb mixture and combine with your hands. Pat the mixture into an 8" springform pan.
For the Mocha Cheesecake:
2 ounces unsweetened baker's chocolate
12 oz soy cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 12 oz package cups silken tofu (Mori-Nu)
1/2 cup chocolate soy milk
1/3 cup double-strength coffee
2 tsp vanilla extract
Melt the chocolate in the top part of a double boiler.
Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, beat together the cream cheese and the sugar until light. Add 1 cup of the tofu, beating thoroughly.
Add the remaining tofu and the soy milk to cheese, sugar and tofu mixture. Pour the melted chocolate slowly into the cheese mixture and add the coffee and vanilla. Mix to blend ingredients thoroughly.
Pour the mixture into the prepared crust and bake for about 45 minutes, or until edges of the cake are puffed up slightly. Cool in the oven with the door cracked open, then cool to room temperature.
For the Chocolate Mousse:
1 12 oz package extra-fim silken tofu (Mori-Nu)
1/2 cup chocolate soy milk
2 tbsp agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 oz semisweet chocolate (I combined 4 oz unsweet with 8 oz semisweet)
Crumble the tofu into a blender. Add the soy milk, agave, and vanilla. Puree until completely smooth.
In a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips. Once melted, remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the chocolate to the tofu and blend until combined.
Pour the mousse on top of the chilled cheesecake. Chill for one hour (or until the mousse sets/hardens) before decorating or serving.
For the Cream Cheese Icing:
1/4 cup vegan cream cheese
1/4 cup Earth Balance
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Cream the cream cheese and Earth Balance with a mixer. Slowly add the powdered sugar until the frosting is the consistency you want. Add the vanilla.