dessert

Featuring Frugal

Cake Side ViewHave you ever seen a cake that made your knickers get all in a bunch?

This post started out a long time ago, with this cake, however it was a dare last week that made me pull it out of the draft archives. Nick at Frugal Feeding made a fantastic Mushroom Orzotto, and in his post, taunted me thus: “If you are food revellers of vegan ilk, it may prove a little tricky to create a genuinely satisfying orzotto – without the presence of starch or dairy fat thickening without altering the flavour entirely could prove tricky.

Mushroom OrzottoMushroom Orzotto

Tricky? Um, I simply subbed 1/2 C. cashews blended with 1 C. water and 1 T. nutritional yeast (cashew cream) and used a “knob” of homemade vegan butter instead of the dairy variety. Oh and I used whole wheat Orzo. Pretty sure I wasn’t missing anything flavor-wise. In fact, these are the sort of dishes that makes my husband ask if we’ve gone off the vegan diet. Fantastic recipe Nick! Next time I’ll be doubling it.

Hasselback PotatoesNick’s Hasselback Potatoes.

The first time I ever saw Hasselback potatoes was on Frugal Feeding. Lets just say, I was more than impressed with the sexy rendition of my favorite root vegetable and have made these several times since.

Sweet Potato & Parsnip SoupRoasted Sweet Potato and Parsnip Soup

Then there was the time that I arm wrestled Frugal into participating in the Virtual Vegan Potluck. I don’t think he or his readers ended up disappointed, especially since Nick ended up taking home the prize for best soup with the lovely Roasted Sweet Potato and Parsnip Soup. I knew you had it in you my friend 🙂 Besides, how can you not win everyone over with all those lovely roasted veg? Even the PPK thought the Virtual Vegan Potluck was cool enough to put it at #28 on their top 100 list for 2012! I hope you’ll join us again in May.

Roasted VeggiesLovely Roasted Veg!

Now back to that cake. As I said before, this is exactly the type of cake that makes me swoon.

Cake Side & Top ViewFrugal’s Apple and Walnut Cake with Black Treacle (Molasses) Icing

I made a double layer 9 inch cake instead of using the 20cm cake tins. I didn’t have any batter leftover for cupcakes like Nick did in his recipe.

Demystifying Metric Measures & Vegan Substitutions: If you don’t have a kitchen scale, I’ve weighed the ingredients on my kitchen scale and then measured them to take the guesswork out of it for you. Normally I wouldn’t include a blogger’s full recipe, but the online measure substitution tools weren’t entirely accurate and caused me to make a mess out of my first cake. I don’t want the same to happen to you. (Don’t worry, I asked Nick for permission). Go to his recipe for the method, but do preheat your oven to 150° celcius (302° farenheit) before starting and give your 9 inch tins an extra five minutes in the oven.

Apple and Walnut Cake with Black Treacle (Molasses) Icing

Ingredients for the Cake:

  • 300 grams organic all purpose flour = 2 cups + scant 1/2 cup (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 140 grams dark brown sugar = scant 2/3 cup
  • 50 grams golden caster sugar (I used organic unrefined sugar) = scant 1/4 cup
  • 250 ml sunflower oil = 1 cup + 3 tablespoons (I used half the amount and subbed 1/2 C. applesauce for the rest, because, as my daughter said when I was measuring it out “mom, you don’t use that much oil in a whole year’s worth of cooking”)
  • To substitute for the 4 eggs in the recipe: use 1 cup silken tofu, 2 t. apple cider vinegar and 1 t. baking powder blended all together in a blender, (vinegar and baking powder mimics the rise that eggs give in baking)
  • 3 grated apples (leave skins on)
  • 100 grams chopped walnuts = 1 cup
  • 2 t. Mexican vanilla (addition) because I simply have to put it in everything I bake at the moment

Cake top view

Ingredients for the Icing:

  • 100 grams homemade vegan butter or earth balance = about 1/2 cup
  • 50 grams dark brown soft sugar = about 1/4 cup
  • 1 Tablespoon black treacle (molasses)
  • 1 t. Mexican vanilla
  • 200 grams vegan cream cheese = about one 8 ounce container of vegan cream cheese OR or 2/3 block extra firm tofu, pressed overnight to remove extra liquid. If you are using the pressed tofu (like I did) instead of store bought vegan cream cheese, add 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and 2 Tablespoons lemon juice to the recipe.

Combine all in food processor until silky smooth. To the tofu haters: if you make the icing in advance and let it sit for a few hours in the fridge before icing the cake, the tofu flavor in the icing becomes completely indistinguishable as it absorbs the flavors of the other ingredients. I swear it tastes just like I used real cream cheese.

Cake Slice

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WOOHOO MOFO! Plus- Extra Snappy and Soft Ginger Cookies

Not sure if I’m going to be kicking myself, BUT I’VE SIGNED UP FOR VEGAN MOFO!!! “What is MOFO”, you ask? Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but it’s not an acronym for any foul swear words (you dirty birds). It’s an October-blog-fest where vegan bloggers bore you to death blog your socks off all month long. Are you ready?!?

So while you are all waiting to be blown away by a month of vegan radness, I have this tasty little tidbit for you.

Extra Snappy and Soft Ginger Cookies

Adapted from this recipe here at Thom’s vegan blog Don’t Switch off the Light

Ingredients: 2 C. whole wheat pastry flour, 1/3 C. unsulphered molasses, 1/3 C. raw sugar, 1 t. baking soda, 4 t. dried ginger, 1 t. grated fresh ginger, 3/4 t. ground cloves, 1 t. ground cinnamon, a smidgen of cayenne pepper, few grinds of black pepper, 1/2 t. sea salt, 1/4 C. coconut oil, 1/2 C. soy milk, 1 T. vanilla, small bowl of vegan powdered sugar for rolling the dough in.

Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl

combine wet ingredients in a small bowl (or measuring cup).

Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mix until combined.

Measure out cookie dough by rounded tablespoons and roll into balls. Roll each ball in the powdered sugar until completely coated. Place cookies onto a baking sheet and flatten each cookie with the bottom of a measuring cup.

Does anyone’s baking sheet look as gnarly as mine does?

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Once cooled store in an airtight container so that the cookies will remain soft.

Prepare yourselves for Monday!

Insane Chocolate Layer Cake

What would you do if you had cause to celebrate but you couldn’t just go out and buy any old cake? I mean I could have picked up a specialty vegan cake at City Cakes or Cake Walk, but I’ve tried their not-so-amazing cupcakes, so a 45 minute drive didn’t seem worthwhile for something I wouldn’t LOVE.

So instead, you make the awesomest plant-based cake. Ever.

Okay, well maybe it wasn’t really the best one ever, and this other cake probably wins the healthiest cake contest, but mine was pretty dang tasty.

Insane Chocolate Layer Cake:

This cake features a simple chocolate cake base, layered with chocolate cheezcake ganache, topped with coconut whipped creme and adorned with figs.

For the cakes: 3 C. whole wheat pastry flour (blend it again through your power blender to get it extra fine, I used extra finely ground kamut berries instead of wheat), 2 C. water, 1 C. unsweetened applesauce, 1 C. raw agave, 2/3 C. cocoa powder (I used raw cacao), 1 t. baking soda, 1 t. salt, 2 T. vanilla, 4 T. apple cider vinegar.

Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil two 9 inch cake rounds, dust with cocoa powder. Set aside. Combine flour, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt in a large bowl. Then combine water, vanilla and agave in another bowl. Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture and stir til just combined. Add the 4 T. apple cider vinegar and stir until swirls start to form in the batter. Immediately pour batter into the cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cakes rest for 10 minutes before turning out on a cooling rack. Let cakes cool completely. This cake IS NOT made with buckets of white flour, white sugar and loads of fat, so it’s not very sweet or rich, so the batter may not taste like you think it ought too, but the finished product is delicious.

For the Chocolate Cheezcake Ganache: 1 1/4 C. raw cashews, 1/3 C. agave 1/4 t. salt, 1/2  C. dairy free dark chocolate chips, 1 T. lemon juice, 2 T. Cocoa Powder (I used raw cacao), 1 box lite silken firm tofu, 2 T. dry pectin (the kind you use for jam making), 1 C. boiling water.

Method: Place cashews in power blender, grind to a fine powder (if you don’t have a powder blender, soak the cashews for a few hours and skip this step), add agave, cocoa powder, lemon juice, chocolate chips, pectin and salt. Pour the boiling water over the other ingredients and blend until fully combined. Add the box of tofu and blend again. This mixture will be hot and will need to cool in the fridge for a few hours before using.

For the Coconut Whipped Creme: 1 can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated for at least 3 hours.

Method: Open the can, pour off the liquid and save for use in a smoothie, scoop solidified coconut creme into a chilled bowl and whip with beaters or whisk until light and fluffy. See the Veggie Witch method here, I only used one can of coconut as opposed to her 2 cans and didn’t sweeten the creme.

Fresh Figs for decorating

Assembly: Slice the two cakes in half width-wise into layers using a long serrated knife. You will have 4 layers now. Put First layer on a plate or cake platter, spread 1/3 of the cheezcake ganache over the top of the cake. Carefully place the next cake layer on top of the ganache. Repeat until you reach the top cake layer, for the top of the cake, frost with the coconut whipped creme and adorn with sliced figs. This cake MUST be kept covered and refrigerated or the ganache will melt and start to slide everywhere (as it clearly did in my photo shoot).