Memories of a July 4 Weekend with a Dear Friend, Her Cake Pan, and Dark-Chocolate Black-Bean Fudgy Cake Squares

Terri’s Cake Pan
Time to Sample!

My friend, Terri, passed away more than several years ago. Like me, she had a love for vegan cooking and an equitable adoration for kitchen gadgets/equipment/tools. One of the beautiful items she left to me was this 9’x13’ metal cake pan with a green lid, with “Vegan Goodies” and pinecones/leaves etched into the top. It’s beautiful; and whenever I pull it out to bake in it, I am immediately brought back to fond memories of Terry.

As a sidenote, I’ll share one of my favorites with you. In 2010, we took the 7 hour drive up to Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, New York for their July 4 Pignic. It was an idyllic weekend communing with all the beautiful farm animals that have been given a second chance and the ability to live out the remainder of their lives in peace, knowing love and compassion and no terror…a very different life from whence they came, factory farming. The weather was warm with a cooling breeze. We spent two full days on the farm and enjoyed their vegan barbeque and a couple of talks given by their more-than-adept staff.Evenings and early morning leisurely (vegan and delicious) breakfasts were spent at The Ginger Cat in nearby Rockstream, New York, in the Finger Lakes region. Gita Devi, the Innkeeper, is a lovely woman whose mission is to rescue stray and feral cats. However, a story lies within how Terri and I came find out that piece of information.

On our first night driving to the B&B after a long, wonderful, yet tiring day at the Farm Sanctuary and into Ithaca for some dinner, I was driving on a dark road when we noticed glints of eyes up ahead in the headlights. Curious, we pulled over and noticed it was several very small kittens sitting in the middle of the road. As we approached, they scurried away, down inside a marshy ditch alongside the road. So, Terri and I being Terri and I, we lied down on the ground alongside the ditch and started talking sweetly to the reeds that were gently blowing in the wind hoping that the kittens would come to us. After what seemed to be hours, but in reality was about twenty minutes, this teeny tiny kitty, crouching cautiously be onward, came out and came up to me. She immediately allowed me to pick her up as she began purring. We knew what we had to do. Terri went into the car with the kitty while I stayed alongside the ditch, doing more of the same, hoping some others would return, but to no avail. After about an hour, we drove back to the Ginger Cat.

But oh, what to do with the kitty? We certainly couldn’t leave her in the car alone nor could we bring her in. It was getting to be around 11:30 at night, so we decided that we would both sleep in the car with the kitty until daybreak. Terri went in to the Inn and grabbed some water and kibble (Gita had several cats at the B&B, so there were some bowls of it around); and we set up camp. It was a long night without much sleep, but Fifi (as we came to call her) settled in, taking turns on our laps, until around 5:30 am, when outside lights were turned on and Gita walked out, asking what in the world were we doing in the car. We showed her Fifi, and immediately without hesitation, she asked why we didn’t wake her when we got back. Then she told us about her dedication to rescuing cats. We brought Fifi inside, Gita set up a beautiful bed in our room for her, and provided us with bowls of kitten food and water. We ended up bringing Fifi back to South Jersey with us; and she stayed with Terri. Fifi was happy. She never tried to run outside. During the last bit of time that Terri had, Fifi (along with Terri’s other two cats) stayed at her side; and when the time came, a lovely couple adopted Fifi.

Since then, every Fourth of July, I am reminded of my friend Terri with love, kindness, fondness, and missing her. I find extraordinary comfort in taking out her baking pan and whipping something up in it, as she would so often do.

So, in loving honor and memory to you, Terri, I am offering up a Dark-Chocolate Black-Bean Chocolate Cake Squares recipe that is a perfect fit for your pan. I hope you are looking down with shining approval.

Perfect Baked Every Time in Terri’s Pan

Ingredients

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1-2/3 cups vegan cane sugar

½ cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup cooked black beans drained, and rinsed

½ cup coconut oil

¼ cup water

¼ cup Aquafaba (garbanzo bean liquid)

3 ounces dark chocolate bar, melted

2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup chopped walnuts

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Prepare a 9”x13” cake pan by lightly spraying/coating with oil or vegan butter.
  • In large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  • In blender or food processor, process all wet/moist ingredients until smooth and creamy.
  • Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients; and stir until just combined.
  • Add walnuts and stir to incorporate.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake 25-30 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before slicing/serving.

NOTE: If you want to ‘jazz’ up with recipe, top with dark chocolate ganache. You might even want to top the ganache with a touch of unsweetened coconut.

An important aspect of sharing original recipes is to give proper credit to the author(s) of the recipe(s). I hope that you enjoy using these recipes and making them your own; but please do so with that integrity in mind. With much gratitude. Linda

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