Archive for July, 2009



Rustic Mango Pudding Cake

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I got the idea for this bread from Dorie Greenspan’s fan site “Tuesdays With Dorie” where blogging fans choose a specific recipe of Dorie’s to make each week and then they all bake the same thing and post about it. So it’s kind of like baking together, from all over the world! One such recipe and post was for Dorie’s Fresh Mango Bread. It looked moist and crumbly and delicious. So I had to veganize it and try it out! My version was certainly moist and crumbly and delicious, but perhaps a bit too moist and crumbly! Next time I will try to cut down on the wet ingredients a bit and turn the oven temperature lower (and increase the baking time) so that the inside cooks more. The inside was moist and pudding-like, especially with the chunks of gooey mango and chewy raisins. The inside firmed up a bit by the next morning, and it was actually quite a nice soft texture. I liked that the outside had a bit of crunch to it. And the taste! Yum. All the ginger and cinnamon spices were delightful, and the lime juice adds a lovely zing. It’s sweet but not too-sweet, was a great dessert cake (with a scoop of vanilla ice cream it would be divine!), and also was a great breakfast cake. Come on, admit it, you like to eat cake for breakfast, and this one is actually mildly healthy (just forget all the white flour, sugar, oil, etc. But it does have fruit in it! So that counts for something, I’d say).

I’ve written out my adapted recipe below; You can choose to lower the oven temperature or the amount of liquid if you want to.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup plain soy yogurt
3/4 canola oil
2.5 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
2 cups diced fresh mango
3/4 cup moist, plump golden raisins
Grated zest of 1/2 lime
Juice of 1/2 lime
Topping:
1/4 cup of dried shredded coconut
1/8 cup chopped cashews

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease an 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess. Put the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked one on top of the other. (This extra insulation will keep the bottom of the bread from overbaking).

Whisk the soy yogurt and oil together. Add the sugars and continue whisking.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry, switch to a sturdy rubber spatula or wooden spoon and mix until blended — the batter will be very thick (really more like a dough than a batter) and not easily mixed, but persevere, it will soon come together. Stir in the mango, raisins, zest, and lime juice. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle the coconut and chopped cashews on top.

Bake the bread for 1.5 hours, or until it is golden brown and a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean. (If the bread looks as if it’s getting too brown as it bakes, cover it loosely with a foil tent – shiny side of foil facing up). I did this at 45 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before running a knife around the sides of the pan and unmolding. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up on the rack. Let cool completely before slicing.

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Wheat-Free Blueberry Muffins

To finish my epic blue baking week, I give you blueberry muffins!IMG_9946

My friend Freya doesn’t like blueberries. But we had picked so many of them! I had to convince her they would be good, somehow. She said she would only like them if they were in muffins, so that’s what we had for last Sunday’s breakfast. Fresh out of the oven, they were wonderful! They didn’t last longer than that, but I’m sure they would have been great once cooled as well. Freya enjoyed them, as did the rest of the group, which was proved by how quickly the muffins were polished off. And, Freya even enjoyed my blueberry pie, so maybe we’ve got a blueberry convert on our hands 🙂

I adapted this recipe from How It All Vegan, and the original recipe said it would make only 6 muffins, but didn’t say what size. I think they must have been using the Texas-sized muffin pans because I was able to make 12 muffins from this recipe. They were somewhat short, but not abnormally. You can choose how high to fill your tins, the muffins don’t rise too much. Also, you can substitute any type of berry you want in these versatile muffins! Blueberries were very good, but I think raspberry would be quite nice too, or even a mix of berries. Continue reading ‘Wheat-Free Blueberry Muffins’

Pick-Your-Own Blueberry Pie

IMG_9911The next item in my unintentional blue-baking series was a delicious blueberry pie. It all started when my friends wanted to get out of New York City, and drive up to the countryside to see trees! I am generally very excited about trees, so I was definitely not opposed to this idea, and hopped in the car. We drove up near where our college was, did the required walking around, seeing buildings that had been important to us, eating a baby-sized burrito from the local burrito stand, and feeling weirded out by being on campus…Then we ventured out into the farmlands and picked bucketfuls of blueberries to take home and share with all the other city kids so they could have a taste of “wilderness”. Picking the blueberries was fun and we got very muddy (more country to take home to the city!), and certainly ate a lot of blueberries before they ended up in our buckets. Yum. Here is a photo of some of our bounty:IMG_9895What to do with all these tart juicy blueberries? Bake them into a pie of course! I usually use my dear friend and pie-guru Wilbur’s never-fail crust recipe, but I didn’t have it on hand this time…I braved a cookbook, and found a crust that looked good in Vegan Planet which they use in their Brandy Apple Pie recipe. I made it using white spelt flour, and it came out just right: Buttery, flaky, moist, and delicious. I pricked the bottom crust with a fork half a dozen times, and moved onto the filling. I forgot to measure the amount of blueberries that I used, but basically I just filled up the pie crust till it was nearly overflowing with berries! This was approximately 4 cups of berries. I sprinkled these blueberries with 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/2 cup sugar, 3/4 tsp. cinnamon, and about 1/4 cup of spelt flour to help it hold together. I piled this mixture inside the crust, making a huge dome, and put a full top crust on top. After pressing the edges together and pricking the top with a fork (in a pretty pattern…We made an “X” but you can choose your own!), it was time to put this baby in the oven. With the oven preheated to 450 degrees, I stuck the pie in, but immediately turned the temperature down to 350 so the pie gets a blast of heat but the insides get more slowly cooked. Make sure to put your pie on an upper rack of the oven, and a large pan on the rack underneath your pie as a catchment system for any drips. My pie dripped a lot, so we ended up with sweet blueberry syrup that could be poured over ice cream or pancakes. Bake your pie for 50-60 minutes, and take it out when the crust is nicely golden.

We let the pie cool for about an hour, and then sliced and ate it with big scoops of vanilla soy ice cream. It was a little goopy when we first ate it, but the next morning the filling had set better. It was delicious for breakfast!

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Blue Corn Chocolate Chip Cookies

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On my way home from my vacation in Holland, I stopped in New York to visit friends. Of course I had to bake while I was there! The funny thing was, and I didn’t think of this till now, was that everything I made was blue! That’s a fairly uncommon color for baked goods, but it just happened that way…The first thing I made, I baked with my friend (and old roommate!) Erin, and we made chocolate chip cookies with blue cornmeal in them. They were tender and chewy, and had a nice grainy crunchy texture because of the cornmeal. The dough was blueish-purple with tiny specks of blue, and when they baked they retained a similar color, although got nicely browned on the edges. The dough was particularly tasty, and though this recipe makes a small batch, Erin and I certainly consumed a lot of dough before the cookies even made it into the oven!

We were baking also for a friend who is wheat-free, so we used a white spelt flour that they had on hand. My experience with spelt flour is that it works very similarly to regular all-purpose wheat flour, sometimes coming out a little heavier once baked. This white spelt though was no problem, and worked just how I think AP flour would have baked too. Feel free to substitute AP flour in yours if you don’t have spelt on hand though, the conversion should be the same.

Ingredients:
1/3 cup plain soy yogurt
1/2 cup Earth Balance (room temperature)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup blue cornmeal
3/4 cup white spelt flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped mixed nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Use an ungreased cookie sheet, set aside.
Cream Earth Balance and sugar together, then add vanilla and yogurt. Now add the blue cornmeal, flour, and baking powder; mix well, fold in chocolate chips and nuts.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Makes 1 dozen cookies, plus a little batter for eating raw (the benefits of being vegan!).IMG_9856

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

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Tara did it again! The powers combined of Jesse’s favorite flavors (and mine too!) plus Tara’s ice cream making genius, there was clearly no going wrong this time. The deep and dark richness of the chocolate was brought out by the coconut milk, which really just lent it’s flavor and texture to the smoothness of the ice cream – you couldn’t taste it directly. It worked very well with the peanut butter, creating a smooth cream that was undeniably out of this world. We also found some Soyatoo Whipped Rice Cream (vegan whipped cream in a can!) at the store, and made a warm caramel sauce, and busted both of those out for ultimate ice cream sundae galore!

Ingredients:
1 cup of coconut cream
1 cup non-dairy milk (we used soy, but any of the richer non-dairy milks could work too, like almond or hemp milk)
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4-1/2 cup smooth peanut butter, depending on your flavor preference
1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate

Blend all ingredients together. It should have the consistency of a thick smoothie. Taste and make sure you like your combination of chocolate and peanut butter, and adjust accordingly. Add the chopped dark chocolate at the last minute so it doesn’t get blended completely. Then you simply place this mixture in an ice cream maker, and follow your ice cream maker’s manufacturer’s instructions. Top liberally with vegan whipped cream and caramel sauce, and you could even throw on some rainbow sprinkles and a cherry if you’ve got them on hand! This would also be great as a milkshake, if you make the ice cream and then blend it with a bit of extra non-dairy milk.

Three Layer Lemon Carrot Cake

IMG_9752For Jesse and Tara’s roommate Paul’s birthday, he requested a carrot cake with cream cheese icing. I have a great stand-by recipe, and it is one of my favorite cakes to make, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to make it for him.

There was a minor mishap because we used a pan that was too big for the amount of cake batter that we had, and our two layers of carrot cake were quite thin. Instead of stressing out about it too much, we decided that it was a great opportunity for us to make a third layer! Paul chose a lemon cake layer to go in between the two carrot cakes, and that sounded perfect!

I used a sponge cake recipe from Hannah Kaminsky’s My Sweet Vegan for the lemon layer, but I added a bunch of freshly squeezed lemon juice and lemon zest. This layer ended up looking fantastic! The top was beautifully browned, and was crisp and crunchy, and had a lovely split in the top-center so you could see the lighter yellow cake underneath. However, when we cut into the finished cake to eat it, this layer was quite gelatinous. It seemed a bit undercooked, but unlike most raw cake batters it was the consistency of a heavy lemon custard, more like a lemon pie or something. I had been the recipient of a cake made from this recipe for sponge cake before, and it had worked out perfectly and was fluffy and beautiful…I had imagined that the added lemon juice this time would react with the baking soda and would puff the cake up even more. However, I think we either added too much lemon juice (so there was too much liquid overall) or  else our baking times and temperature were incorrect. We hadn’t wanted to burn the top while baking so maybe we just had the oven temperature too high? It wasn’t what we had envisioned, but it still tasted nice anyway, especially with the cinnamon flavors in the carrot cake and the lemon zest that we added to the cream cheese frosting.

This is the crispy top of our lemon cake. Isn’t it pretty?IMG_9719Here is my carrot cake recipe. I’ve had it for years and it never fails to be moist and delicious! It’s easy to change it or put different mix-ins into it, depending on what flavors or textures you want. I’ve made it into many successful cakes and cupcakes and it’s always a hit! This makes a thick 9×13-inch cake, or else two 9-inch round layers.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 mashed bananas**
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup canola oil
1 Tblsp. vanilla extract
3 cups grated carrot
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon (or use mostly cinnamon and add a bit of nutmeg and ground cloves for added flavor)
Depending on what flavors I want, I often add liberal amounts of: chopped nuts, raisins, grated coconut, or chocolate chips.

**Sometimes I also replace some or all of the bananas with applesauce. I use a ratio of 1/2 banana = 1/3 cup applesauce.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round pans, or one 9×13-inch sheet cake pan.
Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl, and the wet ingredients in another bowl. Combine and stir until just mixed.
Bake for about one hour but check often after cake has been in the oven for 45 minutes. It should be firm to the touch but moist inside.
IMG_9737Cream Cheese Icing Recipe:
*Note: Usually I just make it up as I go along, but this is a good starting point. On the top and sides of our cake, we used a basic cream cheese icing, and in between the layers we used a lemon cream cheese icing (we just added lemon zest and a bit of juice to the cream cheese icing we had already made).

Blend the following ingredients with an electric beater till extremely creamy:
8 oz. Tofutti cream cheese
2 Tblsp. Earth Balance (or other non-dairy margarine)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2-3 cups powdered sugar (add until you get desired consistency)

Candy Bars

IMG_9690Vegan candy bars are often hard to find. Tara and I really wanted to make something that would fulfill our sweet/salty/chocolate/chewy/crunchy needs, so we thought a lot about how to create those flavors all in one candy confection. Though small, these candy bars packed a punch, and definitely were worth all the work we went through to put them together! Next time, I will try to find a mold in the shape of a rectangular chocolate bar, so that our finished product looks more smooth and precise. However, the handmade shapes we created were fun and original, even if somewhat gloopy.

We made two types of candy bars. We had gone through all combinations of flavors, and drawn out diagrams of how each candy bar would be built. Some were simple, others were incredibly complex with layers and layers of wafery-thin cookies and balls of peanut butter and some sort of vegan nougat that we never quite figured out how to make. Eventually we abandoned these complex plans and decided to fulfill our intense Snickers needs…One of our candy bars started this way, and so it had a home-made shortbread cookie bottom with gooey caramel and salty peanut filling layered on top. We covered the whole thing in dark chocolate. After the chocolate set and hardened, it had a great crispy outside shell and the caramel was nicely stringy and chewy. The salty-caramel combination was devine!

Our second type of bar was also delicious. We sandwiched layers of almond marzipan, dried cranberries, and pistachios between two thin shortbread cookies, and covered the entire sandwich with rice-milk based white chocolate. Drizzled with dark chocolate and sprinkled with pistachio pieces, this was a sweet confection that blew my taste buds, and was very pretty! Each bite made me want more.IMG_9700


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