Category Archives: Vegan

The Best Chocolate Cake You’ll Ever Eat

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This is the only chocolate cake recipe you’ll ever need.  Here’s what I love about it:

  • It’s the moistest, fudgiest, and softest chocolate cake you’ll ever eat.
  • It only takes one bowl! What is better than that?! Separating wet and dry is the worst.
  • This cake is fool-proof.  I’ve made it dozens of times, both gluten-full and gluten-free, and it comes out amazing every time.
  • It’s vegan by nature! Meaning you don’t have to do any substitutions for eggs or butter, like in other vegan recipes.
  • People who have eaten it have told me that this is the best cake they’ve ever had…vegan or not vegan.  You need to try this.


Here’s how I found it. 

A few years ago, my sister went to the Humane Society of the United States Conference in DC for a few days.  She heard amazing people speak and came back with a bunch of free samples, pamphlets, and information.  One pamphlet she passed my way had this cake recipe on it.  

HSUS created this recipe and I’ve adapted it.

Top it with your favorite frosting (I’ve played around with everything from peanut butter to mocha to super chocolate) and have at it!  I promise this cake won’t last long.

Yield: 12 cupcakes, 2 6″ round pans, 1 9″ round pan

Ingredients:

  • Cake pans
  • Earth Balance and flour for pans
  • 1 1/4 c. flour (same amount for gluten-free, plus 1 tsp xanthan gum)
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or any non-dairy milk)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
  • 1/3 c. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Put all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Whisk the dry ingredients together.  Then, add the wet ingredients to the large bowl and mix until combined.

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Vacation’s All I Ever Wanted

I haven’t posted in a while, but it’s not because I have nothing to write about…I was on vacation!  Every summer my mom rents a beach house down on the Jersey Shore for a week; most of my siblings come for as long as they can, and we all get together and play games, hit the beach, and eat tons of food.  We spent a few years in LBI, and then recently switched to Wildwood for the past two summers.

We just got sharked. #bestphotoever

We just got sharked. #bestphotoever

Speaking of eating tons of food, for our trip, my sister, boyf, and I decided to cook a few dishes to take with us to eat while we were there.  We didn’t want to be stuck eating crap the entire week and made some healthy options to snack on.  We made a delish vegan spinach artichoke dip with nutritional yeast as the cheesy element, homemade bbq sweet potato “chips” (they were a little soft, but still yummy) and a cold quinoa salad.  We also planned on making popcorn as a snack.  Sure, Annie ended up bringing a giant bag of kettle chips from Costco, and boyf and I bought a bag of Old Bay Utz Potato Chips (I couldn’t resist), both of which we finished before the week was out, but I was still proud of us for trying.

dairy free vegan forgoodnesscakes

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip…good hot or cold!

I also thought it would be fun to bake some treats while I was there.  The house we rent has a full kitchen, and I thought it would be nice to have some dairy-free desserts to munch on.  I didn’t want to bake the treats before the trip; I didn’t think they would last that many days, and part of the fun was to bake it while on vacation.  So, I came up with a plan.

I decided on two recipes: my super soft, pillowy cinnamon sugar doughnuts (taken and adapted from Ina Garten’s doughnut recipe), and my tried and true jumbo blueberry muffins (taken and adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction, one of my favorite websites).  I ended up pre-mixing the dry ingredients for each recipe before I left for the trip, putting each mix in a ziploc bag.  I then mixed all the wet ingredients together, except for the eggs and the butter.  I figured I would buy eggs and Earth Balance when I got to Wildwood and would finish the recipe there.  I also decided to do that because the muffin recipe instructed me to cream the eggs and the sugar together, and so therefore I wanted to wait until I was about to bake them.  I put the wet ingredients in water bottles because they had the best seals.  I also packed my doughnut and muffin pans and off I went to vacation!

You've cat to be kitten me with this meme.

You’ve cat to be kitten me with this meme.

The results were delicious.  I realized, however, that the beach house did not have mixing bowl!  So, I had to mix the batter in a large pot.  I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to mix sticky batter in anything other than a mixing bowl, but it’s hard to get batter out of the bottom of a pot.  The doughnuts were a little soft and sticky, and I wonder if that’s because the wet ingredients sat together for a long period of time? I also was not used to that oven, so who knows.

I could just eat that whole plate right meow.

I could just eat that whole plate right meow.

 

The muffins were yummy as well.  My mom raved about them, and ate an entire muffin in one sitting (sorry, mom.) The muffins were great also because we were able to have some leftover for the 3 hour drive back to New York.

dairy free

Just bursting with fresh blueberries! What a way to start a morning.

Vacation was great, and I’m so glad I was able to bring my baking with me.  I thought it was going to be a lot of trouble and work, but actually having the pre-mixed dry and wet ingredients really sped the process along.  I might try more pre-mixed things in the future…

Getting Ready for Fall

Okay, I know, I know, it’s only the first day of August.

And there’s still a lot of vacation time before school starts back up again where I’ll be lost in the abyss of grading papers, dealing with students, and planning out lessons.

I'm pretty sure I've said this A LOT

I’m pretty sure I’ve said this A LOT.

 

However, recently I sold an order of vegan pumpkin donuts through my Etsy shop, and had leftover pumpkin puree that I didn’t want to go to waste.  My mom wanted some sort of baked dessert for a mid-afternoon meeting she was going to have, so I decided to use the rest of the puree so my ingredients wouldn’t spoil.

I was already making her coffee cake muffins (see my last post) so I didn’t want to make her donut muffins as well…I have this thing about needing to present treats in different shapes/forms, especially if they are in the same order.  So I decided to take my recently discovered vegan sugar free pumpkin donut recipe and play around with it.

I made the batter.  I could have used my donut pan and made actual donuts, but it only makes 6 donuts at a time.  That means to make a full dozen, I have to make 6, wait for them to cook, then take them out of the pan and make the second batch.  I’m exhausted just typing that out.  Why not just get another donut pan? Because I’m lazy and cheap and don’t make donuts that often…well, I guess I do now.

They learned their laziness from me

They learned their laziness from me.

 

Okay, so I made the batter.  Instead of making muffins, I decided to try it in a loaf pan.  Batter is batter, right? So it should be fine. Right?

The dough did not really rise.  It kind of just sat in the loaf pan.  It took a lot longer to bake, also, and I was worried it was going to stay raw on the inside.  (I also made this at 6 in the morning, so half the time I was delirious with sleep, running back and forth from the oven to the couch, allowing myself 10 more minutes of rest each time I checked the oven).

Finally, out it came.  I quickly made a cinnamon spice glaze to go over this dessert which I am now calling Pumpkin Pie Cake.  It was dense and thick like vegan desserts sometimes are, with a very concentrated maple pumpkin taste. It wasn’t light or fluffy like a cake would be. I would say it was more like a brownie, kinda fudgy.  The glaze really saved it-I mixed powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and a little bit of coconut milk and put it in the fridge to harden a bit. It soaked into the cake and gave it a great fall flavor.

Here’s how it turned out:

vegan pumpkin pie cake

Looks like meatloaf…tastes like cake!

Close up of that cinnamon glaze. mmmm finger lickin' good

Close up of that cinnamon glaze. mmmm finger lickin’ good

 

Everyone said it was delicious, and it was pretty tasty.  It really reminded me of fall, and once I sliced it, it looked even  more appealing.  Though I think it bore  a serious resemblance to meatloaf, it is a vegan pumpkin cake that I would definitely make again.

Aren't you just ready for fall?

Aren’t you just ready for fall?

Just Mayo-Just a Perfect Egg Replacer

You did not read that title incorrectly.  I meant it- Just Mayo, Hampton Creek’s completely cholesterol free (and vegan, btw) mayonnaise, is a delicious egg replacer.  (plus I think their logo is super cute)

It's a plant in the egg instead of a chick...because it's made from plants!

It’s a plant in the egg…because it’s made from plants! Get it?

Now you might be saying: hold up.  Why in the world would you ever use mayonnaise instead of eggs?

 

Well, let me tell you.

 

Boyf’s brother, Clip, has been working for Hampton Creek for a little less than a year now and has been boasting of this mayo since he began.  Being vegan, Clip talked of Just Mayo’s delicious taste, its health benefits, and its popularity. He is a top seller of Just Mayo, and can get vegans and non-vegans alike to love this product.  (Okay, shameless plug over).

Recently, Clip gave me a few jars to try.  In addition to their regular tangy mayo flavor, Just Mayo also makes Chipotle, Garlic, and Sriracha flavors, which I have yet to taste.

This is my fridge right now, plus some giant containers.

This is my fridge right now, plus some giant containers.

I quickly found myself with an excess of mayonnaise.  Now there’s a sentence I never wanted to utter.  (I’m not huge on condiments…I HATE ketchup.) Coincidentally, my mom was ordering some sort of breakfast item for a morning meeting she was having at her office, and I was out of eggs.

Clip and his gf told me that they had made cake with Just Mayo as an egg replacer, but hadn’t ventured out into any other type of baked goods. In their experience, the mayo made the cake super moist, but a bit oily.  Just Mayo’s website also offers a chocolate cake recipe, but no other baked items.  I was determined to experiment.

So I put two and two together…and made coffee cake muffins with Just Mayo instead of eggs! I googled the ratio of mayo to egg and found that 3 tablespoons of mayo can substitute one egg.  (I’m not sure who discovered that, but pretty cool).

I used Mark Bittman’s recipe for coffee cake muffins.  The best part was making the brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter mixture and mixing that INTO the batter as well as putting it on top of the muffin.  Mmm. I love Bittman.  Never been disappointed with any of his recipes.

Doesn't this guy look like he knows about food??!

Doesn’t this guy look like he knows about food??!

The batter looked whipped almost, like mousse.  Chocolate mayonnaise mousse.

The result?  Delicious, dense, tangy vegan coffee cake muffins. The mayo worked like a charm, binding the batter and producing a muffin that was not too heavy (like I often find vegan muffins to be).  I’m not sure if telling non-vegans the secret ingredient is appetizing, so I’m keeping it a secret.  Knowing that the mayo was there, I could definitely taste the tang from the vinegar, but still delish.

Just look at the inside of that muffin. So moist, so delicious.

Just look at the inside of that muffin. So moist, so delicious.

vegan coffee cake muffins

Close up of that brown sugar/butter/cinnamon topping. mmmm

Vegan coffee cake muffins

Here they are all on the counter.

Have you ever made anything with mayo? Share your story!

 

Sweating for Sweets

This week it was hot.  The temp outside was 92.5 degrees.  As I was typing this, I was sitting directly in front of my fan, cold drink very close by, trying not to touch my computer too much because it was as hot as a heating blanket.  Even the kitties were sleeping spread out so as not to touch themselves. Poor babies.

Too much fur to be curled up on a day this hot

Too much fur to be curled up on a day this hot

 

Thankfully, the rain came through and cooled everything down.  However, my problem this week was that during this heat wave I had an incredible itch to bake something.  I had completed my weekend of 6 dozen cookies, and I wanted to try something else. Pie had been next on my list of desserts to make, but I desperately did not want to use my oven.  What could I do?

Boyf suggested a no-bake dessert.  Usually in my experience, no bake is either something you make with pre-packaged ingredients that you just put together (no thank you, preservatives), or a dish made with cream cheese or cream (we all know how I feel about cream).  Also, a lot of vegan no-bake desserts I see are not really desserts at all; they are “healthy” cookies made with dates, dried fruit, or oats, and don’t always satisfy that dessert craving.

Thus began my online research for no-bake desserts.   I didn’t see anything too interesting.

And then it hit me.

SLOW COOKER.

I have an entire cookbook of just slow cooker recipes, and it has a dessert section! It actually is Crock Pot’s recipe book…now with “Splash proof pages!” I also just happened to have a bag of frozen mixed berries that was rapidly getting freezer burned.  How fortuitous! I decided to make a mixed berry cobbler…in the crock pot!  My first crock pot dessert ever! And it was vegan!

Woooooo!

Woooooo!

I love my slow cooker, but sadly it doesn’t get that much use.  I’ve made a few things in there, but the problem I have with the slow cooker is that you have to plan in advance to cook in it-you need at least 6 hours for something to cook, and I can’t think that far ahead. Usually boyf and I figure out dinner an hour before we are ready to eat.

The other issue I have with the slow cooker is that I KNOW everything made in there produces a weird smell.  Boyf tells me I’m nuts and that I’m just traumatized from all those times growing up when my mom made weird beef stew in her slow cooker.  But I KNOW it to be to true.  I was nervous that whatever I made would have that same odor.

Anyhoo, I was determined to make something, and the cobbler sounded like a good idea. Setting up the ingredients was not difficult at all.  I mixed the berries with corn starch (I didn’t have tapioca like the recipe required, but read online that corn starch would be a good replacement), sugar, and lemon zest, and put that all in the slow cooker.  Then I mixed flour, brown sugar, baking powder, coconut milk, and melted butter, and put that in scoops on top of the berries. Then, (and here’s the best part) I set it on low, and left the kitchen!

3 binge-watching episodes of Scandal, here I come!

3 binge-watching episodes of Scandal, here I come!

 

I wasn’t sure how it was going to come out.  Would the cobbler topping get that same crispy, flaky, melt in your mouth texture you would get if it was baked in the oven?  What would the consistency of the berries be like? One thing I knew (and it’s my rule of thumb…or rather, tongue): if the batter tastes good, the product should taste good!  The batter was so good I was literally licking the bowl clean. So I was hopeful.

4 hours later…

It ain't pretty, but it sure tastes good!

It ain’t pretty, but it sure tastes good!

It wasn’t the prettiest thing I had ever made.  The dough topping looked a little dry and rubbery, and was thicker than I thought it was going to be.  It took up most of the slow cooker. The dough didn’t get brown like it would have in the oven, but the taste of the dough was pretty good.  It wasn’t that sweet (there was only brown sugar in the dough, not white sugar), but it went well with the berries. The berries were (to quote Guy Fieri) MONEY. Sweet but not too sweet, soft and smooth, but not too much liquid.  It probably would have been amazing with a scoop of ice cream, but all in all I would say pretty successful for my first slow cooker dessert.

Have you ever made any dessert in your slow cooker?

You win this time, milk.

Hellooooo Summer!

Today I am officially off from work for the summer..one of the many perks of being a teacher!  Yes, I’ll miss the kids, my co-workers, yadda yadda yadda, but I am ridiculously excited to not have to wake up at 5:50 every morning!  To celebrate this wonderful time of year, I got an iced coffee, picked up my latest copy of Food Network Magazine, and treated myself to a pedicure!

I was just settling into the pedicure chair.  My feet were soaking in a tub of warm, swirling water, my iced coffee was cold and refreshing, and I had a thick magazine on my lap.  It was going to be a perfect hour.

This month’s issue of Food Network Magazine looked delicious.  The cover promised recipes for an “All American Cookout”, “Cool Summer Desserts” that were “so easy!” and over 100 new dishes that I couldn’t wait to try.

 

Doesn't that look delish??

Doesn’t that look delish??

So I flipped open to the recipe index, looked at the selection of dessert recipes offered,

 

…and I got mad.

 

Of the eight recipes listed, only two looked like desserts that could easily be dairy-free.  The other six were mostly cream based.

 

In fact, Food Network published a “Cookies and Cream” section, with three cake recipes that utilized pre-made cookies and some type of cream.  There were three options: a chocolate hazelnut icebox cake, a gingersnap and coconut cream cake, and a lemon berry icebox cake.  These all looked amazing, and recipes that I would be dying to try.  However, upon further inspection, I realized that all three would be ridiculously hard to replicate dairy free.

I'm Not Angry Cat Meme

Now let me just say one thing: I don’t expect all food magazines everywhere to cater to my dietary restrictions.  I get that most people are not lactose-intolerant (though it does affect 40 million Americans according to a recent study).  However, this is 2014, people! At this point in food culture, there should be substitution suggestions or alternatives for those who at least want to eat healthier.

All three recipes called for multiple cups of heavy cream.  I get that summer is a time for cream: ice cream cakes and cones, banana cream pie, strawberry short cake etc. It’s hot out, and people want refreshing desserts that don’t sit in their bellies like rocks.  Plus, realistically, bakers refrain from using their ovens in the summer.  That makes sense.  (Not everyone is willing to make cookies and sweat like me).

Just made these last night...vegan chocolate chip cookies!

Just made these last night…vegan chocolate chip cookies!

I know that you can use various vegan substitutions for heavy cream: the most popular being coconut cream, but I have to wonder if there would be a prevalent coconut flavor in anything you make with that.  Other substitutes include silken tofu (I have trouble digesting too much soy), avocado or cannellini beans (both of which do not sound super appetizing in desserts), or cashew cream, which okay maybe I could get behind. *see full explanation here*

Regardless, this one section of the magazine angered me and I kept flipping through, hoping that there would be some sort of dessert suggestion I could make for the summer.  The only other cake recipe that Food Network Magazine offered was an ice cream cake.

As an old coworker of mine would say when dealing with frustrating students: anger.  Rage.

Mostly I just feel left out.  Yes, I could go to Whole Foods and spend a ton of money on a small amount of vegan ice cream, but it’s not the same.  When will mainstream food magazines catch up to those of us with dietary restrictions?

Maybe it’s time I cancel my subscription.

 

For now, I’ll stick to baking my own stuff.

 

Baking Fail: A look into Vegan Baking

Let me just start by saying: I am not a vegan.  Though I am thoroughly against the cow and any products it may produce, I do not adhere to the strict vegan practices of some of my friends and family members.

I do eat meat and eggs (though some of my family members would disagree, stating that because eggs are found in the dairy section of the supermarket, they are considered dairy as well.  This is not true.) I also enjoy a good vegan restaurant now and again, though sometimes I feel like there is just a little too much food science going on to produce certain dishes.  I cook a lot of vegan dishes as well.

Because I am dairy free, a lot of recipes I come across are vegan.  Rather than suggesting dairy-free substitutes, a lot of dairy-free recipes omit animal products all together.  I appreciate those recipes because the egg substitutes are already provided in the ingredient list: oil, canned pumpkin (see my delicious pumpkin donuts below), peanut butter, etc.  I don’t have to worry about how cookies are going to stay together or if a cake will rise or fall because the recipe has already figured it out for me.

Vegan doughnuts

Canned pumpkin is the egg substitute here!

However, there are times in my baking where I find a recipe I really want to try and have to figure out how to make it vegan.  Such was the case with a recipe I found on the back of the Trader Joes Gluten Free Oats bag for gluten free peanut butter oatmeal cookies. (See recipe here).

Boyf and I decided to make them one night, and we didn’t have any eggs.  We had used flax seeds to replace eggs before in other recipes, and wanted to try it for this one.  For those of you who don’t know, flax seeds mixed with water should produce a consistency in baking similar to the egg (read more about that here).

Boyf mixed the flax seeds with water, I prepared the wet and dry ingredients, and into the oven they went. We hoped for the best.

 

We were severely disappointed.

 

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

See how stuck together they are?

 

Not only did the cookies not hold together, but also they spread to the very edges of the cookie sheet.  We couldn’t figure out what had happened- the taste of the cookies was delicious, but it was thin and had a chewy, stick-to-your-teeth consistency.  Not what I was hoping for.

PB 2

Not my best work.

Maybe we didn’t let the flax seeds stand in the water long enough? Boyf followed the directions on the flax seed bag, but maybe the proportions weren’t correct?

I did some internet research and found this list of substitutions from PETA.org: http://www.peta.org/living/food/egg-replacements/ and the next batch of cookies I made, lemon sugar, I used the oil, baking soda, water combo, which seemed to work.  The cookies puffed up, were moist and a little dense, and had great flavor.

Lemon Sugar

There we go, this is much better.

 

Have you ever had bad luck with egg substitutes? Leave some comments!

food to glow

feel good food that's good for you

The Neighborhood

society online's social conscious

Baking my butt(er) off

Brought to you by For Goodness Cakes!

The Cake Crusaders

...on a quest for cake

snouting

Definition: Exploration of the world using your nose

sherights.wordpress.com/

she thinks. she says. she writes.

TIME

Current & Breaking News | National & World Updates

knit the hell out

More obsessed with each passing stitch.

Y&Y Decor

Interior designs by Tiffany Brooks

New York Post

Your source for breaking news, news about New York, sports, business, entertainment, opinion, real estate, culture, fashion, and more.

simplydelicious

~savoring the little moments that make life big~

GoanImports.com

Learn Goan and Indian Recipes

Olive Sundays

Melbourne Food Blog

The Educated Nanny

My experiences as a nanny