I just baked a fluffy, delightful hunk of a chocolate cake. And while my kitchen is currently filled with the sweet fragrance of cocoa, nevertheless our neighbourhood almost always wears this scent. The reason being is that we live next door to a chocolate factory. On a good day, (also known as a windy day) it is especially chocolaty smelling. It’s a Willy Wonka dream come true, minus those super creepy Oompa Loompas.
I live in an old industrial neighbourhood in Toronto, better known as the Junction Triangle. The area is outlined by railway tracks that form a long, triangular-shaped border. Although the neighbourhood had primarily been the home to old factories and its workers, today many of these old buildings have been converted into lofts and artist studios.
Initially, I was underwhelmed about moving to this neighbourhood. As an onlooker, the area appears dirty and scaled with decades of neglect. And to be honest, the area does possess these characteristics. But amongst the layers of dirt and soot, there are many sparkling gems.
In the last several years the area has been altered by construction. This is partly due to a peeked curiosity in the area. One huge reason is affordability, as Toronto has become an extremely expensive city to reside in. While the area is no longer a total steal to invest in as it was a few years ago, it’s still less costly than most of Toronto’s neighbourhoods.
Before the area changes and gentrifies too much, I wanted to share with you just some of the Junction triangle’s charm and quirkiness. While change has brought new shops and a collection of amazing restaurants and cafés to the hood, deep down I hope that the area won’t shed all its character. Above, I have included some photographs I took of the amazing street art that covers our rail path. Such incredibly talented artists.
Dear chocolate scented neighbourhood,
I would like to celebrate and salute your unconventional beauty by eating cake – chocolate cake that is. ♥
Milk & Marigold girl
Gluten & Dairy-Free Chocolate Layered Cake
Prep Time: 10 -15 minutes Baking Time: 30 – 35 minutes Yields: Two 9inch cakes (8 slices)
Author: Milk & Marigolds
1¾ cups brown rice flour
¾ cup of pure raw cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1¾ cups sugar
½ teaspoon of xanthan gum
1½ teaspoon baking powder
1½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups coconut drinking milk
½ cup of sunflower oil
1 teaspoon vanilla abstract (pure)
½ cup of crushed pecans (for topping)
½ cup of vegan butter or butter
⅔ cup of raw cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2½ cups of icing sugar
½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
¼ cup of unsweetened coconut or almond milk
Hard Caramel Crown topping:
½ cup (125g) of white sugar, melted in a pan
1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease two round 9inch pans.
2. Wisk the flour, sugar, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt together until evenly dispersed.
3. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until smooth.
4. Pour the cake batter into the tins, equal parts.
5. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
6. While the cakes are baking, prepare the icing. Begin by melting the butter.
7. Wisk the butter and cocoa powder together, and then add the vanilla extract, followed by the milk and icing sugar. Mix until smooth. Add more milk if a thinner consistency is desired.
8. Remove cakes from the oven, and allow them to cool before transferring them to a drying rack.
9. While the cakes cool, prepare the hard caramel topping. In a medium pan, add ½ a cup of white sugar and melt it at a medium heat. Carefully swirl the caramelizing sugar using a wooden spoon. Once the sugar browns and starts to lightly bubble, turn the heat down to low. Take a metal spoon and scoop up some of the melted caramel and drizzle over a curved metal surface or on parchment paper. Be very careful to not burn yourself as the drizzle gets very hot. After a few minutes, peel off the drizzle design.
10. Once the cakes have cooled, take one cake layer and flip it so it sits bottom up and ice it. This allows for a flatter and easier surface to work with, especially when assembling the second layer.
11. Flip the remaining layer so it is also facing bottoms up. Then carefully place the layer on top of the iced layer.
12. Using a flat metal spatula, place some icing on the top of the cake working to smooth it out from the center out to its edges.
13. Then ice the sides, one small section at a time until covered. Smooth over top edges if needed.
14. Top your cake with the hard caramel crown and crushed pecans.
Copyright © 2014. Milk & Marigolds