Chocolate is magical. The cocoa industry is not. There are hordes of dirty, dirty skeletons in the closets of many in the chocolate industry, and most people haven’t got a clue what really goes on behind the scenes. Hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children work in hazardous conditions, live well below the poverty line, and are often working in forced labor situations (yeah, as in slavery) to bring the world its favorite treat.
It is never cool to pay unfair wages and enslave workers. Universal truth. It is even less cool to sit idly by while this happens. So whether it’s a rally demanding Hershey, the largest chocolate manufacturer in North America, to be more responsible in sourcing its cocoa, or reaching for that Fair Trade Certified chocolate bar at the store, to simply educating ourselves about where our stuff comes from and at what cost, the reality is we can all stand to be more responsible consumers.
So when I see a chocolate company like TCHO, which describes itself as being the “direct, transparent connection between the farmers and the consumers, from the pod to the palate, from high concept to sensual experience,” I think yes please, I would like to buy your chocolate and support you and everything you stand for. TCHO is hip and exciting and yes, their chocolate is on the pricey side. But this is damn.good.chocolate. And every bite of their Fair Trade Certified goodness comes complete with a clear conscience and the knowledge that you are making the world a better place.
Now there’s a good reason to bake a cake!
P.S. If you live in San Francisco, you can check out the TCHO factory at Pier 17 and see firsthand their whole operation (it’s the only chocolate factory within SF city limits). They give FREE TOURS that come complete with a chocolate tasting.
Vegan Yellow Cake
Recipe from Vegan Thyme
1 1/2 cups sugar (I used turbinado)
1/2 cup Earth Balance
1 cup unsweetened soy or almond milk
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon tumeric (the secret to making the cake yellow)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer mixed with 6 tablespoons warm water (equivalent of 3 eggs)
Preheat oven to 350.
Lightly spray and flour a 9 x 13 cake pan. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and turmeric together. In a separate bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar. Add the vanilla extract. Add the Egg Replacer mix–about a tablespoonful at a time. Mix until well incorporated. Add the flour in three increments, alternating with the milk–beginning and ending with the flour, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Spread cake mix into prepared pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle of cake comes out clean.
Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Vegan Chocolate Frosting
Recipe from Vegan Piggy
2 C. Earth Balance, room temperature
12 oz. vegan semi sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
3 T. plain soy or almond milk
2 t. vanilla
5 C. powdered sugar
Beat the butter in a stand mixer until fluffy for about 2 or 3 minutes. Slowly add melted chocolate with mixer on low. After chocolate and butter are well combined, add vanilla, milk and sugar. Beat at medium low until just combined. This makes enough to frost 2 8-9 inch cakes.