Usually when I get a new cookbook, I look for baked goods and sweet treats to make. While Simple Fare: Fall/Winter is full of savory dishes and beautiful photography, I was pulled in by this simple vegan chocolate bread, one where I would have the ingredients on hand on a typical day. I brought it to work and some people snatched second servings, praising it for its taste and texture. I believe the word "silky" was used. I found myself just a little sad that I'd decided to share.
The recipe includes one version plus two variations. The original encourages serving with crème fraîche and cyprus flake salt. I couldn't find crème fraîche at the store, and looking for recipes online sent me down a rabbit hole where I discovered that technically one could never make crème fraîche that could truly be like the French version. Later I discovered that the earlier volume of this cookbook, Simple Fare: Spring/Summer has a recipe for a homemade version. Regardless, I did not have this on hand. Variation 1 says to use mascarpone and sel de guérande to replace the two ingredients, both also difficult to find (although I have made mascarpone from scratch before.) Inadvertently I used Variation 2 without realizing it, (butter/cinnamon) because my husband had picked up a small round of cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger butter. The slices of this loaf are fine without any topping, if I'm being honest, but any one of these combinations truly takes it over the top. (Also I should note that while the loaf recipe is vegan, none of the suggested toppings are. The cookbook does not tout it as a vegan recipe, it was just something I realized as I went along - I triple checked that I didn't need eggs.)
1/3 cup (75 ml) coconut oil, plus more for greasing
1/4 cup (25 g) unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 cups (190 g) all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups (250 g) sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup (60 ml) brewed espresso, cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp distilled white vinegar
3/4 cup (180 ml) good quality store-bought or homemade crème fraîche
Cyprus flake salt
Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C.) Lightly grease a 9x5 inch (23 x 12 cm) loaf pan with coconut oil and line it with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper with more coconut oil and lightly dust the pan with cocoa powder, tapping out the excess.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a medium bowl, combine the coconut oil, espresso, vanilla, vinegar, and 1 cup (240 ml) water and mix until incorporated. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs, but not raw batter. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan on a wire rack. Once cooled, remove the loaf from the pan. Cut into slices, and dollop each slice with crème fraîche and sprinkle with flaky salt to serve.
Replace crème fraîche with mascarpone and cyprus flake salt with sel de guérande.
Replace crème fraîche with butter and salt with cinnamon.
This post is sponsored by ABRAMS Books, as part of the ABRAMS Dinner Party. All experiences and opinions are my own!