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:

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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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