Archive for May, 2010

Raspberry Maple Madness

The end of May is filled with birthdays. You’ll be seeing many cake posts here soon, as I find time to post all of the birthday cakes that I have made in the last couple weeks, and continue to make. So many friends to love, and bake for! My 25th birthday was last week, and I decided to have a week of celebrations filled with family and friends. I’ve eaten so much good food, gone on birthday-related adventures, and relaxed in the sun so much, that it was hard to find time to post! I’m starting the birthday cake posts with my own birthday cake, which I baked with my friend Julie. It is vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and delicious. So delicious.

Chai Maple Cake Ingredients:
Makes one 9-inch three-layer cake

4 cups brown rice flour
2 cups garbanzo bean flour, sifted
1 Tblsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 1/3 cups canola oil
3 cups water
3 Tblsp. unsweetened nondairy milk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tblsp. plus 1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups maple syrup

Pre-heat the oven to 350º F.

Line the bottoms of three 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper, or grease thoroughly. Set aside.

Combine the brown rice flour, garbanzo bean flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the oil, water, milk, apple cider vinegar, vanilla, and maple syrup. Slowly whisk the flour mixture into the oil mixture until thoroughly combined.

Pour the batter* into the prepared pans and bake until the cake springs back when you press the center with your finger, about 30 minutes. Once the cake has cooled, you can assemble with your jam filling and frosting.

*Beware: the cake batter itself does not taste very good – it has a distinct garbanzo bean aftertaste. I was worried about how the cake would taste after it baked, but in the end it was incredible, and had absolutely no garbanzo taste. So, don’t stress if you don’t like the batter!

Filling Ingredients:

Raspberry Jam, sugar-free if you need it to be. We made our own by heating frozen raspberries in a small saucepan until they were melted. Then, we added a touch of agave syrup, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and a teaspoon of cornstarch to help thicken the jam. It came to a great consistency after it cooled. If you don’t have time to make your own, you can buy it at the store. Then, spread on top of your cooled cakes, place the cakes on top of each other, and frost with Maple Vanilla Buttercream Frosting. Top with fresh raspberries.

Maple Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:

This frosting was dreamy. I didn’t believe I could make a delicious buttercream frosting without powdered sugar, but it’s totally possible! I found the recipe on a website that…dun dun dun…I cannot find again. Dang! I’ll keep looking. I altered it only slightly and when I find the website I will add it back into this post for you – I’ll also make sure to include my additions.

***EDIT***

I found the recipe! Here it is, in all it’s glory. Just click this link. I added about 1/3 cup extra maple syrup, and at the last step I added about 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice. I also added 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, to enhance all the flavors. MAKE THIS ICING. DON’T STOP AND THINK ABOUT IT. JUST MAKE IT. IT’S DELICIOUS. I had some left over and I tasted it tonight, and it was still really good. Really, really good.

2nd Place!

Thanks to all of you who came out to Rock Paper Scissors Collective today to participate in the Second Annual Vegan Cupcake Bake-Off! There were some really amazing cupcake flavors represented, ranging from tomato soup with vegan cream cheese frosting, chocolate with corn kernels, horchata (with a complimentary shot of horchata to drink out of cute straws), to the number one winning flavor which was a lemon-infused cupcake filled with peach jam and topped with a blackberry frosting.

My Coconut Curry Cupcakes won 2nd place! So, I think that officially makes me the second-best vegan cupcake baker in the Bay Area…Can I claim that fame? Well, on this blog, I can! So many people came out – there were about 200 people at the event. I made over 50 cupcakes (and divided them into quarters, for the judges to taste…). I think I imbibed about 2 pounds of lime buttercream frosting, just from the process of making and decorating so many cupcakes — and I have a ton of it leftover! You can look forward to some new posts soon with creative ways to use lime frosting…On that note, I’d better go clean the frosting off the walls and batter off the beaters so I can plan my next few teaching days in a clean kitchen.

Thanks for your support if you were able to come taste-test and vote for your favorite (mine, of course)!

Raspberry Nut Delights

My friend Sari and her mom have made these bars for years – they are always the hit of every party, and a staple at their family’s Hanukkah parties. I personally think they are great for any function, but recently they have struck me as a perfect picnic dessert! These bars are easy to pack and carry (they travel well), and they have such a summery flavor! Take them on a picnic, platter and serve them at your next fancy gathering or tea party, or eat them for plain-old-dessert or even as a snack! You won’t be able to resist the sweet raspberry jam sandwiched between the rich buttery bottom crust and the crispy crunchy topping.

I made two versions of this recipe – one was gluten-filled, and the other was gluten-free. The recipe printed below uses regular wheat flour. However, I have listed the gluten-free flour substitutes below, and if you use the ratios that I recommend, then you will end up with a delightful version that will make any tummy happy. Both versions tasted the same, but the gluten-free version bottom crust was a bit more crumbly than the gluten-filled crust. The bars still held together well though, so no worries!

Crust Ingredients:
2 cups flour
½ cup sugar
1 cup Earth Balance margarine

Filling Ingredients:
1 cup raspberry jam

Topping Ingredients:
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
3 eggs-worth Ener-G Egg Replacer (or other egg replacer of preference)
½ tsp. vanilla
1 ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
¾ cup dried unsweetened coconut
4 ½ Tblsp. flour
3/4 cup oats
¾ tsp. baking powder
pinch salt

To Make The Crust:
Preheat your oven to 350º F.
Mix 2 cups flour and sugar. Cut in the Earth Balance until it is crumbly. Kneed in bowl until fully combined. Pat dough in an even layer into an ungreased 15×10” pan.
Bake until light brown (about 15-18 minutes).
Let cool for 15 minutes.

Spread jam over slightly warm crust.
Reduce oven to 325º F.

To Make The Topping:
Beat brown sugar, egg replacer, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add nuts, coconut, flour, oats, baking powder, and salt and stir.
Spread evenly over jam.
Bake until top is brown and center is firm to the touch (about 35 minutes).
Let pan cool and firm up, then slice into squares to serve.

***Gluten-Free Flour Substitutions***
Use Instead of the Wheat Flour in the Bottom Crust:
1 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup sweet white sorghum flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup millet flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1 tsp. xanthan gum

Use Instead of the Wheat Flour and Oats in the Topping:
4 ½ Tblsp. white rice flour
3/4 cup gluten-free oats

Coconut Curry Cupcakes

These sweet Curry Cupcakes have a thick Coconut Filling inside, and a tangy Lime Buttercream frosting piped on top. A sprinkle of chopped peanuts and a Thai basil leaf round out the ultimate cupcake experience. I can’t even describe how incredible these cupcakes are. A delicious meld of savory and sweet, they are the brainchild of myself and my dear friend Kiernan. There is a Vegan Cupcake Competition being held at the Rock Paper Scissors Collective in Oakland, and this seems like an event that I am destined to enter! In order to participate, I had to submit a recipe by email, and then the collective members would choose 10 recipes to enter the actual contest which will be held on May 22nd. So I had to come up with a creative cupcake flavor to submit, and then I sent them the recipe…We dreamt up about a billion different unusual cupcake flavor combinations, but when a “Thai cupcake” was mentioned we stopped short. Kiernan spent last summer in Thailand, and my favorite kind of food is Thai. So obviously we know a lot about Thai food (oh goodness, we know probably know very little between us…So let’s get this straight: This is not going to be an “authentic” Thai cupcake. I have no idea what that even means. But it is drawing on the common flavors found in Thai restaurants that I felt could combine nicely into a sweet vegan cupcake…Like, no fish sauce, obviously). Anyway, Kiernan and I knew this cupcake was going to be the way to go. And it was.

Last week I submitted the recipe, and today I received an email announcing that these cupcakes were chosen to enter the competition! So if you want to try one of these babies without having to make it yourself, please come down to Rock Paper Scissors in Oakland, California, on Saturday, May 22nd from 2-5pm. Everyone who comes gets to be a judge! You will taste-test every cupcake, and then submit your votes for the best one/s. I’m going to encourage you to vote for my Coconut Curry Cupcake! Thank you in advance!

If you can’t make it to the event, I’ll give you the recipe now:

The savory aspect of the Curry Cupcake was in theory too savory for many people; however, when they had the opportunity to try it, they realized that it’s not savory at all! The cupcake is actually quite sweet, with a hint of curry flavor in it. You could add a little fresh ginger to the batter to give it an extra punch but it really doesn’t need it, especially when combined with the Coconut Filling and Lime Frosting. The Thai basil leaf on top really makes the cupcake feel authentically Thai – which obviously it’s not, so I’m not sure where I’m going with that.

Curry Cupcake Batter Ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. curry powder (or to taste)
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
Whisk the almond milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside for a few minutes to get good and curdled.
Beat together the soy milk mixture, oil, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl.
Sift in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and curry powder, and mix until no large lumps remain.
Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Transfer to a cooling rack, and let cool completely before filling and/or frosting.


Coconut Crème Filling Ingredients:

1 can whole-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened, dried coconut

Put coconut milk in medium sized bowl. Whisk on medium-high speed in an electric mixer until thick (about 8-15 minutes, depending on your mixer).
Add powdered sugar and dried coconut and combine thoroughly. It should have a thick texture, like a thick pudding. Add more dried coconut if you need to thicken the filling.


Tangy Lime Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:

1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening (Earth Balance brand is good)
1/2 cup Earth Balance margarine
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 cup unsweetened almond milk
zest from 2 limes
juice from 2 limes

Beat the shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy.
Add the sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes.
Add the vanilla, almond milk, and lime juice, and beat for another 5-7 minutes until fluffy.
Add the lime zest and combine thoroughly.

Topping Ingredients:

1/4 cup crushed peanuts
1 small bunch Thai basil, de-stemmed


To Assemble Cupcakes:

Make a hole in the center of each Curry Cupcake by poking with your finger. Very gently press the sides and bottom of the hole to make it a littler larger. You’ll want the space to be able to fill in with lots of Coconut Crème Filling.

Fit a pastry bag with a large round tip, then fill the bag with Coconut Crème Filling. Fill only halfway to make handling the bag easier.

Fill each cupcake with Coconut Crème, trying to get as much filling as possible into the cupcakes. Cupcakes should feel noticeably heavier.

Fit a second pastry bag with a large round or star tip, and fill the bag halfway full with Tangy Lime Buttercream Frosting. Pipe the frosting in a spiral around the cupcake top, starting from the outside and working in and up. Alternatively, you can spread the frosting on top of your cupcake.

Sprinkle crushed peanuts over each cupcake. Top with one or two Thai basil leaves.


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Vegan, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free Maple Raspberry Cake

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free Maple Raspberry Cake

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free Maple Raspberry Cake

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