Archive for the 'Lemon' Category

Lemon, Chocolate, Champagne, Oh My!

Bria and Dave’s wedding was fantastic and fun – the perfect mix of serious, thoughtful, goofy and joyous. I was honored to bake them their wedding cake and cupcakes! In three flavors, no less! I’m sorry I don’t have the recipes right now as links but you can look them up in my blog archives.

There were three flavors of cupcakes:

1. Chocolate Raspberry (chocolate-raspberry cake with a homemade raspberry filling and chocolate cream cheese frosting)

2. Lemon Almond (gluten-free almond cake with a homemade vegan lemon curd filling and a lemon cream cheese frosting)

3. Champagne (vanilla champagne cake with a white choclate filling and fluffy champagne frosting)

We made at least 200 cupcakes (some didn’t quite make it to the wedding…oops). And they were seriously enjoyed! Just take a look at the happy couple:

Lemon Topped Vanilla Cardamom Mini Cupcakes

Everything is a blur around here, as I am beginning baking up a storm, recipe and flavor testing for my friends’ upcoming wedding cake that I will be baking. We’re still mostly in the idea-stages, but yesterday I baked the first test-cake, and today I’m going to bake the second. I am thinking one cake a day, for the next week or two, until we come up with the perfect combination of flavors, textures, fillings, and frostings. As I whip out the sample cakes, I wanted to leave you with something to drool over. I may have found this picture in my archives, but I can still remember how delicately spicy these Cardamom Cupcakes were, and how perfectly paired the cake was with the tangy-sweet Lemon Buttercream. I don’t have the recipe, but if you add some cardamom to your favorite vanilla cupcake, and some freshly squeezed lemon juice to a buttercream frosting, then you’ll end up with a similar flavor explosion. Perfect for these summer days…

Rosemary Lemon Sugar Cookies

This recipe, for rosemary butter cookies, was originally from my Martha Stewart cookie cookbook. I made it vegan, and added lemon. Crispy and sweet, with the herby rosemary taste light on the palate, all I can say is Thank you, Martha.

Rosemary Lemon Cookie Ingredients:

1 cup Earth Balance margarine, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg’s worth of Ener-G Egg Replacer, blended till frothy
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup almond milk (for brushing)

Beat the Earth Balance and sugar together in a stand mixer or with a spoon until pale, light and fluffy. Add the egg replacer and vanilla and mix until well blended. Add the rosemary, lemon zest, and flour and mix well.

Divide the dough in half and shape them into logs and place on a piece of parchment paper. roll the logs about 1 1/2″ in diameter. Chill in the fridge or freezer for at least an hour (more is fine).

Preheat the oven to 375º F. take the logs out of the fridge, brush with almond milk and roll in sugar. Cut the logs into 1/4″ slices and place on a parchment covered baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack before eating.

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.

Decadent Coconut Layer Cake

I baked this incredibly rich and delicious cake for my friends’ triple birthday party last weekend. It was three layers of moist flavorful coconut cake, with homemade vegan Lemon Curd sandwiched between each layer. The citrus from the lemon complemented the coconut in the cake, which really brought out the tropical flavor nicely. I topped it all with a silky smooth coconut frosting that was a treat for every taste bud!

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Cake Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup coconut flour
1 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
1 2/3 cup coconut milk
1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans.
In a large bowl, combine AP flour, coconut flour, shredded coconut, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together oil, coconut milk, almond milk, sugar, and vanilla.
Create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients bowl, and pour your wet mix in. Stir together, making sure to smooth out any lumps. Your batter will be fairly thick.
When thoroughly combined, gently fold in the apple cider vinegar, making sure it’s completely incorporated.
Scoop batter into prepared pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Frosting Ingredients:
1/2 cup Earth Balance shortening (or other vegan shortening), room temperature
1/2 cup Earth Balance margarine, room temperature
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup dried shredded coconut (for garnish)

Whip together the margarine and shortening with electric beaters until creamy and fluffy.
Slowly add the powdered sugar, alternating with the coconut milk.
When fully combined, add the vanilla and continue beating till the frosting is smooth.
If the consistency is too runny to spread onto your cake immediately, you can refrigerate it for a few hours until it has thickened.
Spread onto your cake and top with dried coconut.

Vegan Lemon Curd!

For months, I’ve been trying to come up with a vegan Lemon Curd recipe. I’ve seen versions in a variety of cookbooks and online that just didn’t do the trick. This recipe ended up being perfect and I’m so happy to have it! The Lemon Curd is tangy and is a great cake filling, so that it will contrast with the sweetness of frosting – I’m using it in a coconut cake that I will post about soon, so keep checking back here to see the final reviews.

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This recipe makes about two cups worth of Lemon Curd. It’s delicious. You can certainly use it for anything you’d like; I’d eat it on toast, muffins, scones, or, as it was quite thick, I could see using it also as a filling for Lemon Bars! For that, you might have to let the mixture boil for an extra minute so that it thickens even more – but remember to stir with a whisk the whole time so it doesn’t burn!

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup cold water
1 3/4 cups white sugar
4 Tblsp. cornstarch
3 Tblsp. thinly grated lemon zest (I used 3 large lemons to get this amount), divided
2 Tblsp. Earth Balance margarine
3/8 cup (6 Tblsp.) unsweetened plain almond milk

Combine the lemon juice, water, sugar, cornstarch, and 1 Tablespoon of the lemon zest in a blender. Blend for a few seconds until mixed well.
Pour mixture into a saucepan and add the rest of the lemon zest. Whisk quickly while pot is over medium heat. You want to make sure you are stirring constantly until it comes to a full boil.
Stop stirring and let the lemony liquid boil on its own for 1 minute. It should thicken and turn somewhat clear.
Add almond milk and Earth Balance, and stir in well with the whisk.
Remove pot from heat. Cool the curd in room temperature air, then you can refrigerate it in a covered container until you want to use it.
It will continue thickening as it cools. This should last about 2 weeks while refrigerated and covered.

Rustic Lemon Ice Cream Sandwiches

I saw an amazing looking ice cream sandwich on the cover of this month’s Gourmet Magazine. The ice cream looks decadent and creamy, with a fruity blackberry sauce swirled into it; I was inspired. I wanted to create something different, but something that would still carry over into that creamy and sweet, yet mouth-puckering at the same time flavor combination. And with the added crunch of the cookie slabs on either side of the sandwich, I thought I would be in heaven! So many textures and tastes in each bite. Mmm!

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First, I created a lovely lemon ice cream. It was not too sour, and I used almond milk as it’s cream base so it had a nice creamy texture. My dad and stepmom recently went on vacation to Alaska, and they brought me back a lovely gift of Raspberry Rhubarb Syrup. The jar says it is great on pancakes but I decided that it would be even greater as an addition to this lemon ice cream. I swirled it in after I took the ice cream out of the ice cream maker, gently stirring so that it didn’t get completely combined, and you could still taste all the elements individually. Divine.

Although this ice cream certainly didn’t need to get any more complex, and was perfect on it’s own, I baked the same cookies as I had seen in Gourmet Magazine. I made a few adaptations in order to make them vegan, and was very happy with the result. They were pleasantly sweet, yet not overpoweringly so – they were a little like a butter cookie, and allowed you to taste the complex ice cream easily. I baked the cookies a bit longer than the recipe called for, so my cookies came out crispier, but it was such a nice crunchy outside to enjoy with the lemon ice cream softly sandwiched between.
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Lemon Raspberry-Rhubarb Swirl Ice Cream Ingredients:
3 cups plain unsweetened almond milk, divided
2 Tblsp. arrowroot powder
1 cup sugar
1 Tblsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tblsp. lemon zest
1/2 cup Raspberry-Rhubarb Syrup (or other fruity syrup – you can even thin out a fruit jam or jelly by heating it over the stove and adding small amounts of water slowly and stirring well until you get a thin sauce-like consistency)

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup almond milk with arrowroot powder, and set aside.
Mix the remaining 2 3/4 cups of almond milk with the sugar in a saucepan and cook over low heat. Once this mixture begins to boil, remove from burner, and then immediately add the arrowroot cream – You want to make sure that the almond milk-sugar combination is not still boiling before adding the arrowroot, or this will make the arrowroot’s properties ineffective. It should cause the liquid to thicken noticeably.
At this point, add the vanilla extract.
Refridgerate mixture until chilled, approximately 2-3 hours, and then add your lemon juice and lemon zest. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. After being churned in your ice cream maker, pour the ice cream into a airtight container. At this point, place spoonfuls of the Raspberry-Rhubarb Sauce (or whatever type of fruity sauce you choose) on top of your lemon ice cream, and stir it gently in. You don’t want to fully combine it, just swirl it in. Close your container tightly, and place it in the freezer for a few hours until hardened. Eat it plain or make the Cookie Slabs (recipe below) and make into sandwiches!

Cookie Slab Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup Earth Balance margarine
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 Tblsp. ground flax seed, mixed well in a small bowl with 3 Tblsp. water, to form a jelly-like consistency
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12×17 inch cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a small bowl. In another bowl, beat together Earth Balance and brown sugar, until pale and fluffy. Beat in the flax mixture, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients in two batches, mixing until just combined.
Spread batter on your prepared pan, and into a thin, even layer with an offset spatula.

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Bake until golden brown but still tender, 10-12 minutes. Cool completely on the pan, for about 30 minutes. The cookie will continue baking on the pan while cooling, so it will get slightly harder than when you took it out of the oven.
When completely cool, transfer cookies to a cutting board, and use a sharp knife to cut your cookie into even-sized pieces. I got 16 pieces out of mine.

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Place a 1/2 cup-sized scoop of ice cream onto half of your cookie pieces, and top with the remaining cookies. Squish slightly to flatten ice cream scoops, but be careful not to snap your cookies in half! Wrap individually with saran wrap, and place in freezer to harden.

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Lemon Ginger Sunshine Shortbread

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I had a young friend over at my house last night, and to keep him occupied, my mom and I baked some citrus cut-out cookies. Or, actually, it was to keep ourselves occupied, as Dylan was happy enough following the dog around the house and watering the flowers in the garden…In any case, there was lots of rolling and cookie-cutter-cutting to do, which was quite amusing to my 2 1/2 year old buddy. We made a huge mess (flour was “snowing” all over the counter, the floor, his hair, the dog…) but we had some amazing giggles and huge toothy smiles caught on camera so that was quite rewarding!IMG_0166

I believe that baking is inherited (see the “About Me” section of my blog for my own baking story), and since my grandmother measured things with “tea glasses” (who knows what size they were), when she bakes my mom therefore doesn’t measure things at all! So this recipe is a little approximated, since it is what I could piece together after the ingredients were all mixed together.

Ingredients:
6 oz. Earth Balance, cut into small pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/2 medium sized lemon, juiced
1/4 tsp. dried ground ginger
1 2-inch long piece of fresh ginger, finely grated

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and rub in the Earth Balance with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.
Stir in the superfine sugar, ground ginger, fresh ginger, and lemon juice, and bring the mixture together with your hands to make a smooth, firm dough.
On a lightly floured work counter, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/2 an inch. Stamp out sunflowers (or whatever shape you want) with a cookie cutter measuring about 1 1/2 inches across.
Arrange the cookie dough cut-outs on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10-13 minutes, until the cookies are a light golden color.
Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool. Top with Lemon Icing, or sandwich together.

Lemon Icing:
1/4 cup Earth Balance
1-1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 medium sized lemon, juiced

Cream together the Earth Balance with the confectioner’s sugar, and when combined well and fluffy, add the lemon juice. You can add more sugar to reach your desired consistency.

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)

Earl Grey Lemon Chrysanthemum Cupcakes

IMG_8901This was another recipe I made for my new paid gig! It was really fun to come up with this recipe, I had a lot of inspiration from my friend Tara who made very involved Cup O’ Tea Cupcakes (Earl Grey cupcake with Lavender Buttercream (it also had homemade fresh coconut, lemon-rind, and blueberry ice cream, and white chocolate topping, as well as crystallized lavender blossoms. She’s amazing!)), and so I wanted to make my own Earl Grey cupcakes. Here’s my take on the Cup O’ Tea Cupcake!

I made an Earl Grey cupcake, adapting my favorite basic cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World…Simply, I steeped Earl Grey tea bags in my almond milk before using in the recipe, and threw in some ground tea leaves as well as lemon and orange rind into the batter (then you get pretty dark dots of black tea and yellow and orange zest sparkles in the cupcake!). Since lemon and tea go together so well, I decided on a Lemon Buttercream frosting, and piped that on the top in a pretty design. From above, the frosting resembled chrysanthemum flowers, so that’s how the cupcakes got their name…I also added a chocolate topper, which was melted chocolate that I drizzled onto parchment paper and refridgerated until it was hardened, then I broke up the drizzles into pretty shapes and placed them on top of the frosting for an elegant (but easy!) look.

Here’s my recipe:

Cupcake Batter Ingredients:
1 cup almond milk
5 Earl Grey tea bags
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
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
Pour almond milk into a small saucepan. Heat on the stove until nearly boiling, then place 4 of the tea bags in the milk, and remove pot from heat. Cover and let tea steep for 10 minutes. When fully steeped, whisk in the vinegar, and set aside for a few minutes to get good and curdled.
Beat together the almond milk mixture, oil, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Open the remaining tea bag, and in a spice grinder, grind the tea leaves till they resemble a fine powder. Add 1 1/4 teaspoons of this Earl Grey powder to your dry mix. In two batches, add the dry mix to the wet, and mix until no large lumps remain. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 20-22 minutes, till a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cupcakes sit in the pan for 5 minutes to settle before transferring to a cooling rack, and let cool completely before frosting.

Lemon Buttercream Ingredients:
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated vegan shortening
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance)
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1/8-1/4 cup almond milk

For the frosting, cream together the shortening and margarine until well combined and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes. Add the lemon juice, and zest, and continue creaming. Slowly add the almond milk until the frosting reaches your desired consistency, and beat for another 5-7 minutes until fluffy. Spread or pipe onto the tops of your cupcakes in whatever design you choose.


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