Sunday, March 4, 2012

Some Hart For You!

Dear all,

In lieu of more food posts--here's a proxy food post!  To brighten your day!!!  Enjoy (endlessly and endlessly)

My friends and I have decided Hannah can come veganize our kitchen ANY time (despite the fact that she's not vegan).  Yum. Also, I must make a cashew-based cheesecake now. I have a food processor! I can do this!

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Coffee-Infused Chocolate Cake... with Coconut Icing

Today we start off with a family-designed indulgence: my family's secret Chocolate Applesauce Cake... with just a bit of coffee added to give it an extra bounce and richness, combined with a home-concocted Coconut Icing (not of my own design, as noted in its title!).

They're both extremely easy to put together--in particular, this is the chocolate cake for all occasions, whether you're serving it plain (without coffee added), with frozen fruit or fruit preserves (especially raspberry) added to the batter, or topping it with anything from thick frosting to fresh strawberries to chocolate chips and a light icing sugar-water drizzle.  More on those other variations later.  But for now, we have--

Antique Family Chocolate Applesauce Cake (with coffee infusion!)

1 1/2 C flour
3/4 C sugar
1/4 C cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 C applesauce (unsweetened, if possible)
1/2 C water
2-3 tsp instant coffee (or as specified by your brand of coffee)
1/3 C cooking oil
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit (180 C).  Grease and flour cake-pan (8" square or round).  Mix all ingredients together and pour into pan.  Bake 30-35 minutes (don't over-bake! this is a GREAT moist cake!), or until toothpick comes out clean.

Coconut Icing

1/2 C coconut milk
3-4 Tbsp agave nectar
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1/4 - 1/2 C desiccated coconut (as desired)
1/4 - 1 C icing/confectioner sugar (as desired)

Heat all ingredients except for icing sugar on low for 5 - 10 minutes until begins to really thicken.  Add 1/4 - 1 C sugar (as desired) slowly until it forms the desired consistency/texture and taste.

As I said, so moist!  Check out the photos! We topped our cake and icing with some sprinkles of ginger and cinnamon.

We carved out some chunks, and then it looked either like an elephant or a map of Italy.  We couldn't tell which. You're welcome to do the same or make something much more spectacular.


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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Apples, Cakes and Gooey-ness

Hello again!

Many posts all in a row.  Apologies.  But anyway--thought I'd share an award-winning cake (literally--it won me a cute, smiley-face "Mr Messy" oven mit) that's fun for all occasions and sooo low-stress and easy-peasy. Make sure to cook it long enough that it's solid in the center, or you'll have unintended dough goo. It's still tasty and salmonella-free, but it may not be what you were looking for. Make sure to test this one with a long toothpick or knife.

This cake would be: The Apple Crumble Cake, adapted from

The Cake:

1 1/2 C flour
1/2 C sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C soymilk
   + 1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 C applesauce
1/3 C melted Earth Balance / canola oil combination (I use 2 Tbsp EB, 3 Tbsp oil)

3-4 medium apples (med-small work, too!)

The Crumble:

2 Tbsp Earth Balance
3/4 C light brown sugar
1/2 C + flour
1 tsp cinnamon

Peel, core and cut apples into bite-sized pieces.

Preheat oven to 180 Celsius (350 Fahrenheit).  Grease and flour cake-pan (preferably spring-form... this cake is gooey!).  Mix all cake ingredients (except apples) together until there are no lumps; do not over-mix.  Pour batter into the pan.

Assemble the crumble mixture: melt the Earth Balance / vegan butter or margarine over low heat in a pan; once melted, remove from heat.  Add remaining ingredients and use fork or fingers to mix well until both thick and crumbly.

Arrange apple pieces on top of cake batter.  Sprinkle crumble mixture over top.  Bake 40-60 minutes (check with knife or toothpick to make sure centre is not gooey--unless you want it a little under-cooked!).

Voila!  Beautiful--and tasty!  :)

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Holiday Cut-Out Cookies


It's not quite seasonal any more, but I'm going to update this blog with a bit of back-history.

So, in my family, cut-out sugar cookies have always been a staple.  Sticky fingers, floured and sticky rolling pins, overstuffed bellies, raw sugar... that's where the holidays have really taken hold for us.  Cut-out cookies are our go-to for school affairs, work functions and sprucing up the home with seasonal spice.  We use a veganised version of an old Betty Crocker sugar cookie classic--in which lemon extract is the secret ingredient to transform an average sugary delight into one with a zing.

Without further ado! --

Vegan Holiday Cut-Out Sugar Cookies:

*we always double the recipe, for double the fun. You can halve my doubling of amounts if you like, though!

1 Cup soft Earth Balance (or other vegan margarine/butter) 1 1/2 C sugar
1/3 - 1/2 C applesauce (best bet: try 1/3 C first and see how it does--this dough is always pretty sticky!)
2 Tbsp soymilk or other nut/hemp-milk
2 tsp lemon flavouring
3+ C flour (keep more on hand for the rolling & cutting process!)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients together.  Let chill for a little more than an hour 1 hour (until chilled to the touch and a bit less gooey).  Preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit (190 Celsius).  Flour a clean surface and slap a big hunk o' dough down.  Add extra flour as needed until able to successfully roll dough until it's about 1/2 cm - 1 cm thick (or thinner if you want shortbread-like cookies).  Cut into desired shapes.  Place on lightly greased and floured baking sheet, and bake for 5 - 7 minutes, or until the bottoms of the cookies are golden--remember that while the cookies remain cooling on the sheet (before you're able to remove them due to their tender delicacy!), the sheet will remain hot, so they'll keep baking a bit!  So, don't overdo them in the oven.

To finish, ice with fun colours using a simple mixture of icing (confectioner) sugar and small amounts of water + food dye.  The icing mix should be runny enough to smooth onto the flaky cookie surface, but definitively paste-like.  You don't want soupy icing!!!!

Serves: ~3 dozen

Happy icing/baking/holidays!

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Welcome, and Beginnings


Veganism brings a smile to my face. It gets me active and excited, full of zest for life. I'm going on 10 years now, and I feel like I become more enthusiastic and creative all the time (which led me to my recent food processor purchase.... yum!).

Most importantly, veganism has exposed me to all manner of zany, wonderful people, and that's where this story begins. What started out as another crazy night with vegan friends became this project. The evening started off small ("Who wants to watch TV?") and ended up wild ("VEGAN SUNFLOWER MAC & CHEESE! TINY FOOD PROCESSORS! MESS GALORE!"). After the inevitable cake with coconut icing made us full of impossible dreams, we decided to share our madness with the whole world (or, rather, I did). Thus: the vegan food blog.

Now, I am not a professional chef, nor am I a sous-chef. In fact, I'm a recently graduate, intern, and current job-seeker. My pastries will not be perfect, and my crusts will sometimes be burnt. This is an average food blog, for the average person :) There are a million of these, and mine will be no different. It will be an experiment but also a sharing of recipes I've been using and loving forever. I will rip off lots of other people's food blog posts. Mainly, I will catalogue for myself all the things I've made and try to feel witty about them. I will also attempt to improve my food photography -- this I vow!

I will remember my undergraduate campus's Buddhist House here, by borrowing from their fantastic and long-lived communal meal mantra: "Food is good! Every day! Every day! Food is good!" 

These things are true. But this is no ordinary food. This is vegan food. And so the new blog is born!

So say we all! Huzzah!


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