Archive for the 'Cakes' Category

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.


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.



I spent a long time coming up with cheesy titles for this blog post. I had a lot of fun with it. I facilitated other people having a lot of fun with it. I may have eaten too much Tiramisu on an empty stomach and gotten a little hyper and had too much fun with it. But, I think the best names came from my friend Sonja, which included the blog post title above, as well as:


mamma mia! tiramisu!

In case you couldn’t tell, this lovely Tiramisu was made for my lovely mom’s birthday celebration on Wednesday. My mom makes the best Tiramisu ever. I am not kidding around here. Literally, the best ever. It’s delicious and rich and creamy and intensely coffee-like and perfectly mushy-gushy-dense and somehow it still keeps it’s shape. So when I was brainstorming for a fabulous birthday dessert, and I thought of making Tiramisu for her, I felt immediately intimidated. My mom does NOT eat Tiramisu anywhere – at anyone else’s house or out to eat (maybe she would in Italy, I honestly don’t know about that). But, in any case, she only eats her own Tiramisu because she rightly knows that it’s definitely the best Tiramisu around. But once I knew I felt that intimidated, I knew I had to make it; I was up for the challenge. If my mom makes the best Tiramisu then I’ve learned from the best and I could make the best Tiramisu too. Right? Hopefully.

I combined multiple recipes and added various ingredients and amounts and I ended up with a three-day-long project. That tasted INCREDIBLE. She took one bite…and another bite…and then she told me it was really good. And that it was as good as her’s (at least, I’d like to think I heard her say that…). It was delicious and she ate her piece and she ate some the next day and then the next day…So, I definitely say it was a big hit. Like her’s, it is also rich and dense and mushy and still holds it’s shape when you cut it. I was impressed with myself! And it tastes just like you want Tiramisu to taste! The “mascarpone” cream was certainly creamy and it thickened more than I had thought it would. Thank you arrowroot and agar agar! What would I do without you?

If you’re looking to wow your guests or a special someone, I suggest that you make them this Tiramisu immediately, and you will be sure to please!

Happy Birthday Mom! Thanks for giving me the excuse to embark on such a fun project, and for being your fabulous self.

On to the recipe…

“Lady Fingers”/Golden Sponge Cake:

The cake itself was a vanilla Sponge Cake from Hannah Kaminsky’s cookbook My Sweet Vegan.* She uses it as a base for her Green Tea Tiramisu. I made 1 ½ times the recipe for cake batter and baked it in a glass lasagna pan. It is a delicious recipe; a dense (but not heavy) golden cake that certainly holds it’s own – it’s sweet and bright flavor makes it easy to adapt since it pretty much supports any flavor you want it to. I’d say it actually brings out more complex flavors in whatever you combine it with. I’ve used it before for a birthday cake base, and I knew that it would work perfectly as Hannah originally suggested as a “Lady Finger” substitute for vegan Tiramisu.

*If you don’t have Hannah’s cookbook, you could use your favorite golden vanilla cake recipe and it would be just fine. And I stress just fine. Your cake will still be delicious and hazelnutty and totally satisfying! But, if you want a drop-dead-perfect birthday-celebratory cake, go out and buy Hannah’s cookbook because this cake is GREAT and so is the whole book! You’ll be finding excuses to bake her desserts all the time!

“Mascarpone” Ingredients:
12 oz. Toffuti soy Cream Cheese
1/2 cup Toffuti soy sour cream
1/2 cup soy creamer
4 Tblsp. Amaretto
2/3-1 cup powdered sugar (depending how sweet you want it)
4 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tblsp. Agar
2 Tblsp. Arrowroot powder

Bring the soy creamer to a boil in a small sauce pan and then dissolve the agar into it. Whisk in the arrowroot until that dissolves as well. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature (you can put it in the fridge to speed up the process). Combine the cream/agar mix with all the other ingredients and beat in an electric mixer. When the solution is smooth, put it in the fridge to set for several hours.

Coffee/Liquor Dip Ingredients:
1 cup espresso
6 Tblsp. Kahlua
5 Tblsp. sugar

Combine the hot espresso and sugar and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the Kahlua and put in the fridge to cool.

Topping Ingredients:

Cocoa powder
Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips or Chocolate shavings

To assemble the Tiramisu:

Cut the cake in half horizontally (then you essentially have two thinner layers). Slice these layers into 2-inch long strips that you can handle easily. Pour the Coffee Dip into a wide pan or baking sheet, and set your cake strips (“Lady Fingers”) into the mix to soak up a little. Turn the cake slices over so that both sides have soaked up the coffee/Kahlua mixture. Place a layer of the Lady Finger cake strips into the bottom of a large deep serving dish, making sure there are no empty spots. Pour half of the “mascarpone” over top of this layer. Sift cocoa powder over the “mascarpone” and sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Place another layer of the cake (dipped into the Coffee Dip again) on top, then repeat the previous “mascarpone” steps (pour on top, making sure to cover all of the cake. Sift cocoa on top, and then decorate with chocolate chips). Place the entire dish in the refrigerator and chill for at least an hour or until you are ready to serve.

Rachel’s Gorgeous Birthday Cake

Happy Belated Birthday, Rachel!

My friend Rachel adapted one of my recipes to make herself a birthday cake – and look how gorgeous it is! She loves bright colors and she really knew how to create an all-naturally colored neon dessert. I’m so glad I could provide inspiration for the recipe and so glad she sent me a picture! She used my recipe for Orange Chocolate Avocado Cake but instead of using the orange juice that I put in she used water (like the original recipe calls for), and she didn’t put any cocoa powder in, so that she could still see the bright green hue of the avocado (if you click the link above, there is a photograph of what the batter looked like before I added the cocoa – what a lovely green color!). Rachel told me that she simply substituted extra flour for the cocoa powder (same proportion) and that it worked pretty well but was a little spongy and chartreus-yellow. I think if you wanted to recreate this, and have it be a bit more fluffy, you could add a tiny bit of extra baking powder and a little cornstarch and the consistency may improve. I’m not an expert though, and recipe tweaking always takes a little experimentation.

Rachel also used my recipe for Dark Chocolate Ganache, and she said together it tasted insanely delicious. She creatively decorated her cake with lemons and pistachios, what a great idea!

Here’s Rachel’s cake for inspiration:

Raspberry Blackout Cake

I had the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone (in a vegan manner, of course): A birthday cake and a wedding cake test of sorts. It was Dennis’ birthday, and so of course I was going to bake him something! I sat down with about 13 cookbooks in front of me (while watching Grey’s Anatomy…two of my favorite things, baking and medical dramas). I searched high and low for a cake that would satisfy a chocolate lover. Originally I was looking for something with nuts but this cake caught my eye – and then I remembered I’m also supposed to be wedding cake testing for my friends’ wedding to be held this summer. Their first request matched up with this cake recipe perfectly. I had to choose it, and I’m so glad I did!

I baked a three-layer birthday cake, and had extra batter that I baked into cupcake form for the taste-test. I spread raspberry jam in between the layers of the cake and then drizzled dark chocolate ganache on top of the jam, and then of course spread a thick layer of ganache over the top of the cake letting it spill down the sides. For the cupcakes, I piped raspberry jam into the center, topped the cakes with fresh raspberries, and gave my friends a container of the ganache to spread or dip their cupcakes into when they ate them – the consistency just wasn’t right to pipe on top as I had hoped it would be (however, the next day it was perfect for spreading…Just needed to be cooled completely).

This vegan cake reinterprets a classic complimentary pairing: chocolate and raspberry. Three layers of dark chocolate cake covered with chocolate ganache are balanced by the luscious summer taste of raspberries. The cake is moist and fudgy, holds together really well, and slices perfectly. It wasn’t too heavy (although it was certainly dense), and even just a few bites satisfied all chocolate-lovers involved. The consensus as I interpreted it was that this cake was delicious, a great wedding cake option, but perhaps needs to be a little lighter (not as dense and fudgy), and would be great with a white chocolate frosting on the outside – that’s what I had originally thought, and this taste-test confirmed. It is now on my list to be my next wedding cake experiment! First, to find vegan white chocolate…

Raspberry Blackout Cake Ingredients***:
Adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups plain unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 (10 oz.) jar raspberry preserves (reserve 1/2 cup for the batter)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sugar
Fresh raspberries for decorating

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 8-inch round springform cake pans with cooking spray. If you don’t have springform then use parchment paper rounds on the bottom of two ordinary 8-inch round cake pans to prevent sticking.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Combine the rice milk, oil, 1/2 cup of the preserves, the vanilla, and the sugar in a large bowl and mix with a hand mixer or strong fork. The jam should be mostly dissolved with the rest of the ingredients; some small clumps are okay. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in batches and mix until everything is incorporated. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool in pans.

When the cakes have cooled fully, spread one layer of cake with a thin layer of the preserved raspberry preserves (give the preserves a quick mix with a strong fork to get a spreadable consistency); spread or drizzle a layer of chocolate frosting on top of the preserves. Place the other layer of cake on top and spread its top with preserves. Carefully spread the chocolate frosting over the top, then ice the sides. I like to put a circle of fresh raspberries around the circumference of the top. If you happen to have a decorating bag and tips around, you can alternate a rosebud or star flourish with a raspberry, and a few raspberries in the center will finish it off. Makes 12 servings.

***Make 1 1/2 times the recipe above if you want to make a three-layer cake as I did.

Chocolate Ganache-y Frosting Ingredients:
3/4 cup almond milk
6 Tblsp. Earth Balance margarine
10 oz semisweet chocolate chips

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the almond milk to a low boil. Add the Earth Balance and melt, turn off the heat, and stir in chocolate chips until smooth. Let sit for at least 1 hour. It should still have a pourable consistency at this point. If you want a spreadable consistency then refrigerate for an hour (If you refrigerate it for more than a few hours, it sets too much to spread easily, so you will need to reheat it, then let it sit at room temperature before using.)

A New Photo, An Old Recipe

A friend took this photo of the Persimmon Cake I made for Christmas Eve Dinner, and I just got a hold of it*. I realized this picture showed the cake better than I was able to portray it, and I wanted to post it up here for you all to see! Here it is, waiting to be eaten on the drinks and dessert table, while we were all eating the delicious feast that was served first. If you want to see the recipe and the original pictures that I took, you can access that post easily here. It is a cake that is definitely not to be missed, as it was deliciously spicey, moist with a perfect crumb, and could be served for nearly any occasion, year round!

*Picture taken by Nova Tanaya Ray. Thank you!

Something Fruity, Cakey, Alternatively Sweetened

Those were the only requests made by my friend Rachel for her birthday cake. Actually, she suggested a loaf-type-dessert, but I thought that since it was her birthday after all, she should have something that more closely resembled a cake! I’ve always loved this recipe, which originated from The Candle Cafe Cookbook, and is for their Lemon-Poppyseed Muffins. However, as I made it this time with my baking buddy Julie, I took out the cane sugar (substituting date sugar instead), added extra lemon zest, and doubled the whole recipe to fit into a large bundt cake pan. I’ve never baked with date sugar before, and I wasn’t sure exactly how it would react in a cake – the results were fabulous. I barely noticed a difference from how the original recipe tastes, except for a slightly “darker” flavor, a little bit like I had added a touch of molasses. It’s nice to know that you can substitute a totally natural sweetener for the highly processed white cane sugar that is in so many baked goods, making them a little more nutritious as well as ethically healthy (i.e.: animal-friendly).

Personally, I loved this cake as it was (and I love it so dearly in muffin form too!), with tons of crunchy poppy seeds in every single bite, but I was told that it would be extra delicious with a lemon glaze drizzled over. I would do this right after taking the cake out of the oven, and as the cake cools it will create a crispy crunchy sweet top. …And after writing this post and looking at my pictures again, I’m wishing I had an extra slice leftover to nosh on right now!

Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins Ingredients:
Makes 12 muffins (double this recipe if you’d like to make a bundt cake)

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (or a combination of 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour and 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour)
1/4 cup date sugar (you can easily substitute 1/4 cup of cane sugar, if you want, and you will be back at the original recipe!)
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt (fine grained)
1/2 cup Earth Balance margarine, slightly melted
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup almond milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup poppy seeds
3 tsp. grated lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a muffin tin, line tins with cupcake papers, or grease and flour a bundt pan.

Sift the flours, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl and whisk to mix. In a separate bowl, whisk together the margarine, maple syrup, almond milk, and lemon juice until foamy. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and mix until the batter is smooth. Fold in the poppy seeds and lemon zest.

Pour the batter into the muffin tins or bundt pan, dividing evenly and spreading flat across the top. Bake on a center rack of the oven for 20-25 minutes for muffins, or 55 minutes for a cake – make sure to do a toothpick test by sticking a toothpick into the center, and if it comes out clean you can take the pan out of the oven. The muffins are best served while warm, but if you choose to make the cake then leave it to cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes before extracting it. Take your cake out of the pan and let cool completely before eating.

Midnight Mocha Cake

Sunday was my friend Julie’s mom, Joan’s, birthday. She is a really special Mama, so we wanted to make her something she would truly enjoy. She loves deep dark rich chocolate and she loves coffee, so a combination of the two was in order. At about midnight on Saturday night, we decided to make a delicious, simple, and quick chocolate cake that usually uses 2 cups of water (but we added 2 cups of cold coffee instead). The cake is dense and fudgey, and tastes like a perfectly brewed chocolatey mocha with an espresso kick. We were too tired to finish the cake that night, but we woke up early Sunday morning to frost the cakes, in our pajamas (as you can see in the following pictures).

We decided to emphasize the cake’s coffee flavor by spreading a thick Coffee-Chocolate Ganache in between the two layers. The ganache was also very simple, and was made with melted semi-sweet dark chocolate mixed with heated soymilk that was dripped through coffee grounds. The ganache ended up soaking into the bottom layer of the cake and making a super fudge brownie-like cake consistency and still stayed gooey in the center between the cake layers.

Julie and I whipped up a light Vanilla Buttercream (similar to the frosting recipe here, although in this case you would omit the almond extract) to spread on the top and sides of the tall cake. We sifted cocoa powder thickly on top, and then piped some extra Ganache into a swirling pattern on top. We dusted the whole thing with a light sprinkling of edible gold powder.

Mocha Cake Ingredients:

Dry Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
7 Tblsp. cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

Wet Ingredients:
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Tblsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups cold coffee
2/3 cup plain applesauce

1/2 cup semi-sweet dark chocolate chips, melted

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the sides and bottoms of two 8-inch springform pans.
Mix the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
Mix the wet ingredients in a large bowl, stirring to make sure everything is thoroughly combined.
Sift your dry mix into the wet, and stir with a large wooden spoon until fairly smooth (it’s okay if there are a few lumps. You don’t want to over-mix or the gluten in the flour will develop and make your cake’s structure tougher than it should be).
Gently stir in the melted chocolate.
Divide the batter into the two pans evenly, and put in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, then check to see how the cakes are doing. Stick a clean toothpick into the center of the cake, and pull out to see if it comes out clean. A few crumbs stuck to the toothpick are alright.

Christmas Persimmon Cake, x2

Remember the Persimmon Bundt Cake that I made a few weeks ago? Remember how cinnamony-spicy-delicious I described it to be? And, do you remember how I suggested that it would be a perfect cake for Christmas? Well, every year I celebrate Christmas Eve at a dear family friend’s home and we have a huge decadent dinner and sit around the Christmas tree and usually we open Poppers, decorate gingerbread houses, and this year we lit candles and had a lovely Winter Solstice moment. I was asked to bring a festive dessert, and the first thing I thought of was revisiting this Persimmon Cake. Wilbur, who does the bulk of the cooking for the holiday, is an amazing chef. I knew I couldn’t compete with his savory dishes, and even his desserts are out of this world. I wanted my cake to be a little more complex than the bundt cake sprinkled with powdered sugar (although that simple cake was incredibly tasty as it was!), so I came up with a Nutmeg Frosting that complimented the combination of spices already in the cake.

One of my favorite people to bake with is my friend Julie, because first of all, she is a great baker! And to top it off, she is creative, open to taking pictures at each step of the way, and generally super. Together we have brainstormed, drawn out plans for, and baked some amazing desserts, including White Chocolate Champagne Cupcakes, White Russian and Strawberry Daiquiri Cupcakes, Piña Colada Cupcakes, Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes, Lemon-Apricot Scones, and Bran Muffins. Did anyone else just notice a theme? If you were paying attention, you may have figured out that the two of us really like cupcakes! However, on Christmas Eve Day I needed a little help baking (and some good company!) and Julie came over like the good friend she is – even though I wasn’t making cupcakes! Because they are so sweet, we made an extra cake for her housemates to share. We simply doubled the original recipe, and then divided the batter between four pans (two 8-inch pans for Julie, and two 9-inch pans for me). Then, we baked the cakes for about 45 minutes (after the first 30 minutes, I checked the cakes with a toothpick inserted into the center every 5 minutes to see if they were done). After they cooled, we dolloped the center with huge spoons of frosting, and spread it out generously. We layered the cakes on top of each other, and slathered the tops with more frosting. Mmm. This cake is pretty sweet on it’s own, so it didn’t need frosting on the sides – This also allowed us to see the intense red color of the cake before slicing into it.

I made the cakes a little more festive by adding some red holly berries on top (not edible, but beautiful).

Nutmeg Icing Ingredients:

1/2 cup Earth Balance margarine, room temperature
1 cup Tofutti cream cheese, room temperature
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

To make the frosting, cream together the margarine and cream cheese until just combined. Add the powdered sugar half a cup at a time, mixing in each addition until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla extract and spices, and whip until fluffy and smooth. You can add more powdered sugar to reach your desired consistency, or add spices to change the flavor. Spread onto you fully cooled cake. Enjoy!

Spicy Christmas Fuyu Persimmon Bundt Cake

I know, I know, I promised more holiday cookie recipes, but this sweet and spicy cake I made on Saturday was so good, I have to share it with you first! In the next few days I pinky-swear to post pictures and recipes for holiday cookies, so don’t fear! Keep checking back 🙂

The Fuyu persimmons are a non-astringent variety of persimmon (it won’t dry out your mouth, I promise). They are flat, and not pointy like the other type. You want to eat them while they are still firm and crunchy like an apple, and you can eat them peeled or unpeeled. They are very sweet. I love them! It was a good thing we had so many of them growing on our tree outside, although when I made this cake I doubled the recipe and used up every single persimmon we had left! I’m already looking forward to next year’s persimmon tree harvest so much! Previously I posted a recipe to make Dried Persimmons and for Persimmon Granola, and typically the only recipes I’ve found elsewhere for using Fuyus in are for salads, salsas and chutneys. A few years ago, I blended some of the Fuyus up and put them in cookies, and they tasted sweet and very autumn-like, especially because of their beautiful orange color. So, I thought, why not put them into cake? My mom found this recipe online, and it’s originally from an old Sunset Magazine. I’ve adapted it a bit, to make it vegan and a little spicier.

This cake has a near-gingerbread taste, although it has no ginger in it to speak of…Although, it does have a lot of other spices! The cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom really give this cake a wonderfully spicy holiday touch, which was perfect because I brought it to a Christmas party this past Saturday. (Can I just say, I had two Christmas parties to attend on Saturday, and I heard about a few others that were being held at the same time – Hello people, it was only December 12th, two weeks before Christmas! And it was the second night of Hanukah! Goodness, Christio-normative world!). But I say all this with a grin and an eye-roll directed purely at myself, because I actually really do enjoy Christmas celebrations, especially ones like the cozy, warm, beautiful, and delicious party thrown this weekend by one of my colleagues. And I have many more to look forward to in the coming weeks, which makes me wish I had more persimmons to bake with!

Because of the persimmon’s brilliant orange color, the cake had a deep reddish-orange hue:

Fuyu Persimmon Cake Ingredients:

3 firm Fuyu persimmons peeled and chopped (3 cups)
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup Earth Balance, softened
1 2/3 cups sugar
2 eggs-worth of egg replacer (I used Ener-G, but I think it would also work to substitute cornstarch mixed with water, or ground flax seeds)
3 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. pure vanilla
2 cups flour (I used 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour and 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt cake pan.
Blend your persimmons till smooth. Add baking soda and blend till well combined, and then set aside while you mix the other ingredients together.
In a large bowl, beat the Earth Balance with the sugar. Add your egg replacer, lemon juice, and vanilla and beat until fluffy.
Stir in the fuyu mix (it should be much firmer than before, more like a jello-consistency).
Sift together flour, baking powder, ground cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. Fold the dry mix into the wet.
Pour (or spoon, because the batter is thick) into prepared bundt pan. Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake tests clean.
Wait until the cake is cooled to invert and take it out of the pan. Dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with an orange glaze.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Whipped Coconut Topping

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving holiday yesterday, filled with family and friends, and of course lots of delicious food. Based on my own experience, I suspect that you stuffed yourselves, although hopefully not as much as I did! But, however full I felt last night (and still this morning!), I always enjoy looking at more food, so here is a sample of what I made and ate last night.

For our feast, I made a Pumpkin Cheesecake and topped it with a rich Whipped Coconut Creme. It tasted quite delicious, although definitely more like a pumpkin pie than a cheesecake. I think if I had used a Vitamix or a more powerful food processor, I could have gotten the filling to have a more even consistency (like the one in the original recipe’s picture, here), but nonetheless it tasted great. It had a wonderful pumpkin taste, and the pecans in the crust complemented the fall flavors very nicely. We had a little bit of extra crust dough that I baked separately, and it ended up thick and tasty as a simple shortbread-like cookie on it’s own. The coconut creme was from a recipe in Sweet Freedom, for a sugar-free, gluten-free, soy-free vegan whipped cream. Dolloped on top of the pie, it was rich, sweet, and certainly very creamy, but not as light and fluffy as whipped cream should be. Our consensus was that it would have been very good as a fruit tart filling, and next time I make one I will definitely use this recipe!

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