Blooming Best (Practically) Raw Vegan Coconut Cake
with Cream Cheese Frosting

Maybe it’s the warming weather, or maybe it is less patience with the steps required to bake properly and well: mixing, preparing the pan, cooking time, cooling in the pan, turning out of the pan, cooling on the rack, and so on.  Okay, or less patience with most things…

But, regardless, (practically) raw vegan food has been on my mind lately.  I conducted some online research and I bought a couple of (disappointing) cookbooks.  My take-away?  This niche of vegan “cooking” holds great promise, but there is room for fairly vast improvement. So I got to work.

My (Practically) Raw Vegan Carrot Cake was a vegan and omni triumph.  But one of my other favorite cakes is coconut. The challenge, it seemed to me, was how to keep the color of the cake light, like a baked coconut cake, and the favor pure:  no dates, apricots, etc.  

At Whole Foods yesterday, I decided to spin through the dried fruit in bulk.  Eureka!  Turkish dried figs are light in color, yet plump enough to add some moisture and earthy sweetness.  Sweetened coconut flakes and coconut flour–essentially coconut ground to a flour–were no-brainers–and I deemed oatmeal, which provides lots of structure, light enough and neutral enough in flavor to help build the “batter.”   Blanched slivered almonds (use raw if you prefer)–nicely pale in color and not too buttery in flavor–were the perfect nut to use.  One glimpse and I knew coconut sugar was too dark in color, so I bought some powdered sugar which I needed for the frosting, but the cake ended up being sweet enough with nothing more than a small amount of light amber maple syrup.  And a liquid sweetener is nice because of the amount of dry ingredients.

For moisture, I did end up using 1/2 cup applesauce–but it does not impart a noticeable apple flavor–and coconut milk.  A word about the latter:  So Delicious makes an astonishingly thick and velvety coconut milk that they call “Culinary Coconut Milk.”  It is high in calories, so you might consider the “lite” version.  Either way, I would combine a carton of it–about 1 1/3 cups–with canned coconut milk which is not quite so thick and helps achieve a nicer, less dense, batter or, really, for raw cakes, more like a “dough.”   

In short, I do believe I met the challenge.  And I think you will be absolutely swept away by the results.

This cake is so beautiful and beautifully textured and flavored that it would be lovely for a wedding cake…not that I’m planning a wedding or anything…

Note: if you want a raw vegan frosting, substitute something like a cashew buttercream.

Yield: 16 servings

8 Turkish figs, stemmed and quartered
2 cups old-fashioned oats
3 cups fairly thick coconut milk (or a combination of So Delicious Culinary Coconut Cream and soy or other non-dairy milk)
2 cups grated sweetened coconut
1 cup blanched slivered almonds
1 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)
Garnish: 1/2 cup coconut curls

Line 8″ square pan with foil. Pulse all ingredients in food processor, a couple of ingredients at a time, alternating with coconut milk, until a homogenized, but textured, dough-like consistency is achieved.  Press in pan, frost with cream cheese frosting, and garnish with coconut curls.  Cover with foil and keep refrigerated. 

Cream Cheese Frosting

Note: you may have a little left over if you use the 2 cups of powdered sugar.)
8 ounces vegan cream cheese
1/4 cup coconut oil (solid at room temp)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1 to 2 cups powdered sugar (depending on consistency desired)

Process until smooth.

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Blooming Best (Practically) Raw Vegan Carrot Cake
with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 1-8 inch cake

This, my first foray into (practically) raw vegan desserts, may be the best cake, baked or virtually raw, you have ever eaten. I hope that doesn’t sound boastful, but my omni friend said as she chewed, eyes squeezed shut, “This is like church.”  So, it is omni and vegan–and teen and adult- approved.

Note: if you want a raw vegan frosting, substitute something like a cashew buttercream.

11-12 ounces baby carrots or carrot pieces
8 Medjool dates, pitted and quartered
8 plump dried apricots, quartered
2 cups old-fashioned oats
½ cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4-½ teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup walnut pieces
Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)
Garnish: 1/4 to 1/2 cup walnut halves or pieces

Line 8″ square pan with foil. Pulse all ingredients in food processor, a couple of ingredients at a time, until a homogenized, but textured, dough-like consistency is achieved.  Press in pan, frost with cream cheese frosting, and garnish with walnut halves or pieces.  Keep refrigerated.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces vegan cream cheese
1/4 cup coconut oil (solid at room temp)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 cups powdered sugar (depending on consistency desired)

Process until smooth.

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Betsy’s Best Bloomin’ Vegan Cream Cheese Pound Cake…ever!

Yield: 1-10 inch bundt pan

Feeling confident after successfully veganizing my go-to poundcake from years ago (read the backstory and find the recipe here), I decided to try my luck with the Southern Living Cream Cheese Pound Cake that was published in this month’s issue; the one that had me thinking about pound cake to begin with.

I am pleased to announce it was another vegan- and meatatarian-approved success. In fact, Bob said he liked it even better than its forebear. Picking for me would be like choosing a favorite dog, so you please be the judge.

Both have all the characteristics that I favor: a thick-ish, tender-chewy crust and a density that shouldn’t be confused with heaviness. But, if it is possible that this one is even more moist than the other, it is, courtesy the cream cheese which also lends a pleasing and subtle tang.

Veganegg is the key to the rise, the structure, and the texture of my pound cakes. But, almond extract is one of the keys to the cakes’ delectable flavor.  It masks the savoriness of the Veganegg that comes from the black salt which gives the product its convincing sulphery, eggy taste.

3 cups flour (I use white whole wheat)

3 cups granulated sugar (I use organic cane sugar)

1 1/2 cups vegan butter at room temperature (I use Earth Balance)

8 ounces vegan cream cheese (I use Tofutti)

5 Veganeggs (10 tablespoons Veganegg powder whisked until smooth and completely combined with 1-1/4 cups ice water)

1/4 cup vegan buttermilk (1/4 cup soymilk whisked together with 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar; it will curdle and thicken in about 1 minute)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 to 2 teaspoons almond extract

Optional: 1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a-10-inch bundt pan. Place all ingredients in the 4-quart bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer. Beat at low speed for one minte, scraping down sides as necessary. Then beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Transfer batter to prepared pan, gently smooth top, and bake for 1 hour and 20 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on wire rack. Then turn out onto rack and cool completely covered with a dish towel. Store tightly covered.

Continue reading “Betsy’s Best Bloomin’ Vegan Cream Cheese Pound Cake…ever!”

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Betsy’s Best Bloomin’ Vegan Poundcake
…Ever!

Yield: 1-10 inch bundt cake

Toss out all other vegan poundcake recipes–including the other one here on The Blooming Platter–as THIS is my best bloomin’ poundcake…ever!

My search for the quintessential poundcake began in my youth, well before I became vegan, when I was drug to a “dinner on the grounds” at my grandmother’s country church in rural Mississippi.  There, where covered tables set end-to-end stretched over rolling hills under big oak trees for what seemed like as far as the eye could see, I had a religious experience.

That is, I tasted pure heaven in the form of a mammouth poundcake such as I had never before tasted.  Its crust was a little thick–exactly right–and the tiniest bit chewy in contrast to the almost creamy center, dense but not heavy.  It was the Platonic ideal of poundcakes.

Not knowing who made it or how to procure the recipe, I did what any other determined MS high school student would do in pre-internet days: I called the home economist at the local extension service and picked her brain.  I did the same with the home economics teacher at our school, I combed through cookbooks, and I experimented.  But the perfection of this poundcake eluded me for oh, say, a couple of decades.

Then, in February of 2000, Southern Living Magazine published the Two-Step Pound Cake  in their “Taste of the South” column. Ecstatic, I could tell from the photo that THIS was the Holy Grail I had long sought.  And I loved that their test kitchen experimentation had rendered the old, time-consuming method of creaming butter and sugar until fluffy, adding eggs one a time until incorporated, and adding the milk and flour in alternating increments obsolete.

They advocated placing all room temperature ingredients in the bowl of a heavy duty stand mixer and beating for 3 minutes.  And they could not have been more right.  The only change I made to substitute buttermilk for whole milk.

Eight years later, I became a vegan. Determined to veganize my go-to poundcake, I failed utterly.  The 3/4 cup of buttermilk was no problem thanks to unsweetened soymilk and vinegar.  It was those six eggs.  No egg replacer did the trick.  Eventually, I found a recipe online that I tweaked and published here, one that is hugely popular with readers.  But it is made in a loaf pan, calls for tofu, and is very close to, but not quite, the chosen one.

This past weekend, going to couple friends’ home for a Cuban feast on Sunday evening, I wanted to take them a gift to thank the woman, Barbara, for remaking a quilt of Bob’s that had come unstitched.  I knew she wouldn’t take money and, for some reason, I wanted to make a big beautiful poundcake.  I think the most recent issue of Southern Living–to which I mostly subscribe for Rick Bragg’s “Southern Journal” column–had planted the seed because they featured yet another “best” poundcake, this one a cream cheese variety.

Feeling confident, something told me that a commercial product fairly recently available in our area might be the missing link: Veganegg.  I could not have been more right.  I made the recipe with just the slightest tweaks and this cake baked up perfectly, rising and not falling; turned out of the pan without so much as a stutter; and cooled into a dome of perfect.

Something told me it was going to look perfect on the inside and taste even better so, though I insisted the cake was a gift and that Barbara should not serve it, she insisted that she wanted to try it, and I was secretly glad–and a little relieved–that it looked as beautiful inside as out and it’s texture and flavor were exactly right.  It was utterly addicting and comforting in that sitting-under-a-cotton-towel-on-grandmother’s-kitchen-table-with-the-back-door-open-on-a-summer-day kind of way.

To make Veganegg, you simply whisk together 2 tablespoons of the powder with 1/4 cup ice water.  For six eggs, I used 3/4 cup powdered Vegan Egg and 1 1/2 cups ice water.  However, I reduced the buttermilk in my recipe from 3/4 cup to 1/2 cup because, while eggs are almost 1/4 cup of liquid, they aren’t quite, so the Veganegg yields a bit more egg mixture than if I had used eggs.

Also, because Veganegg is colored with turmeric and flavored with black salt for that sulphery, eggy flavor that is just right in savory dishes, it is a little strong in sweet ones.  So, I added an additional teaspoon of vanilla and a half teaspoon of almond extract to neutralize that flavor.  I wouldn’t change a thing.

This poundcake is beautiful unadorned, but if you want to guild the lily, as I did for Barbara’s gift, you might consider my simple approach: I purchased a white platter from the thrift store, wrapped the cake in wired ribbon that I tied in a bow, and slipped a thrift store shot glass in the center into which I placed a couple of mini-peach roses from our garden.

Pretty enough for the magazine that inspired it.

Note: due to the volume and heft of ingredients, a stand mixer with a 4 quart bowl is highly recommended for this cake.

Betsy’s Best Bloomin’ Poundcake

Place ingredients in 4-quart bowl of a heavy duty electric stand mixer in order listed:

4 cups all purpose flour (I use white whole wheat, which will lend a slightly darker color)

3 cups sugar (I use organic cane sugar, which will also lend a slightly darker color)

1 pound vegan butter, room temperature and softened (I use Earth Balance)

1/2 cup vegan buttermilk (I whisk together 1/2 cup unsweetened soymilk and 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar)

6 Veganeggs [3/4 cup Veganegg brand egg replacer (shake well before using) and 1 1/2 cups ice water whisked together to completely combine]

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2-1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Oil and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.  (I use Baker’s Joy with oil and flour combined in a fluted style bundt pan.) Beat ingredients at low speed for 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.  Then beat at medium speed for 2 minutes or until smooth and creamy.  Avoid over-beating.  Transfer into prepared pan and bake for 1 1/2 hours or until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto rack and cool completely.  When cake is mostly cool, cover with a dish cloth.  Slide onto a serving platter, decorate as desired, and serve.  Cover any leftovers tightly.

 

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Vegan Pumpkin Ale Spice Cake
with Salted Pecan Caramel Glaze

pumpkin-spice-cake-with-salted-pecan-caramel-plus-slice

If gingerbread and pumpkin cake got together on a booze-infused evening, this “baby” is what they would conceive.

Moist and deeply spiced, it is a carnivore-approved hit with one and all, regardless of dietary preference.  I adapted a favorite spice cake recipe of mine that called for natural cola, substituting pumpkin ale, adding pureed pumpkin, and otherwise tinkering.  I enjoy it with a little dollop of Coco Whip as a fluffy contrast to the richness of the cake.

Pumpkin Ale Spice Cake

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I use white whole wheat)

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup granulated sugar (I use demerara)

1/2 cup real maple syrup

1/2 cup molasses (dark or light, but not blackstrap)

1/2 cup unsweetened soymilk (plain would also be fine)

1 15.5 ounce can pureed pumpkin

1 cup canola oil (or other mild vegetable oil)

1 cup pumpkin ale or hard cider (I used Harpoon Pumpkin cider)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking soda

Salted Pecan Caramel (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a bundt pan.  In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients, except baking soda, make a well in the center, and add all wet ingredients, except ale.  Whisk to completely combine.  In a small bowl or cup, whisk soda into ale.  It will fizz up.  Quickly whisk into batter until completely incorporated.  Transfer the batter into prepared bundt pan and bake for approximately 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove to a wire rack, and cool for about 15 minutes.  Loosen around all edges with a knife, being careful not to slice into the cake.  (I use a plastic knife, as my pan has a non-stick surface, but I still grease and flour it!)  Place serving plate over the top of the pan and invert the cake onto the plate.  Let cool and then glaze if desired.  I recommend letting the glaze soak into the cake overnight before serving.

Salted Pecan Caramel

 1 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

6 tablespoons vegan butter

1/2 cup plain soy creamer (or your favorite non-dairy creamer)

1/8 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)

Optional: 1 tablespoon rum, brandy, favorite liqueur

1/2 cup pecans

In a heavy-bottomed 2 quart saucepan, heat sugar and water over medium-high.  Whisk vigorously as it begins to melt.  Once the mixture is boiling and amber colored (if you use demerara, it starts out amber colored), whisk in butter until melted.  Remove pan from heat, count to three, and slowly whisk in the soy creamer, salt, and optional alcohol.  When smooth, allow the caramel to cool for a couple of minutes and then transfer to a small cup or bowl and let cool until a thick pourable consistency.  Drizzle or spoon over the cake.  You may either stir the pecans into the mixture before drizzling or sprinkle them over after the cake is glazed.

pumpkin-spice-cake-with-salted-pecan-caramel

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Orange Mini-Cakes with Bourbon-Pecan Caramel & Orange Buttercream–A Memorial Birthday Cake for Mama

Orange Cake with Caramel Filling and Orange Buttercream Frosting 3Yield: 8 mini-cakes (2 1/2-inch diameter)

[for recipe, skip to bottom]

Monday, the day I went live with The Blooming Platter’s fresh new look, would have been my mother’s 83rd birthday. But sadly, she has passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on October 2.  My mother and I were different enough to challenge and occasionally frustrate each other, but similar enough in some of our views–you should have heard us get going on theology–and many of our passions to have long been joined by the apron strings even across the miles from Virginia to Mississippi.

Even in our shared interests, we often took different approaches.  An illustrated essay I wrote entitled, “The Sacred Canon,” was published by Alimentum in June 2015 and paints a picture of my complex mother and some of her culinary dogma in which I took great delight even as it occasionally annoyed me.

I’m not sure that my mother had a favorite birthday cake.  Besides Creme Caramel,  I think her favorite dessert was ice cream–I remember from my childhood that she voted for Baskin Robbins’ “Jamoca Almond Fudge” for family ice cream outings (my sister and I always begged for Dairy Queen)–and she ate a small dish with Hershey’s syrup every night of her life in recent years, sitting with my father in their bedroom, each in his or her blue chair, watching a British mystery, many of which I sent them on DVD.  She claimed she had to have “food” to take her evening handful of pills.

But, I associate her with citrus flavored cakes, possibly because she used to always make an orange cake with lemon frosting for my sister’s March birthday.  So, this year, I decided to create mini-memorial cakes.  I forwent the lemon frosting, though, for an orange buttercream paired with a luscious Bourbon-Pecan Caramel.  I think Mom would approve because, well, she loved her evening cocktail.  She was from that generation, you know?

Orange Supreme Cake MixThe recipe starts with a boxed cake mix because that’s how I got my start baking.  In those days, there were no canned frostings, but rather boxed mixes as well, and I recall them as being superior.  Still nothing beats homemade frosting which is what I include here along with my simple-as-pie, to mix my metaphors, homemade caramel.

Orange Mini-Cakes with Bourbon-Pecan Caramel and Orange Buttercream Frosting

1-18.25 ounce Duncan Hines Orange Supreme Cake Mix

3 tablespoons flaxseed meal

1 1 /2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

Zest and Juice of 2 oranges + enough water to equal 1 cup (reserve zest of 1 orange for frosting)

1/3 cup vegetable oil

Bourbon-Pecan Caramel (recipe follows)

Orange Buttercream Frosting (recipe follows)

Garnish: 8 pecan halves

Grease and flour a 9-inch metal baking pan.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all ingredients except caramel, frosting, and garnish.  Beat at low speed for 30 seconds or just until combined.  Increase speed to medium, and beat for 2 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.  Transfer batter into prepared pan, gently smoothing top.  Bake for 24-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack.  Using a 2 1/2-inch biscuit or cookie cutter or even a juice glass, cut cake into 16 rounds.  Place 1 in the bottom of 8 muffin liners.  Top each with about 1 tablespoon of the cooled caramel, remaining rounds of cake, another tablespoon of caramel, and piped on or swirled frosting.  Garnish each mini-cake with a pecan half.  Serve or store in refrigerator until serving time.  Remove about 20 to 30 minutes before serving time.

Bourbon Pecan Caramel 

1/2 cup vegan butter

1 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup agave nectar, dark corn syrup, or maple syrup

1 tablespoon soy, almond or coconut creamer

1 tablespoon bourbon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Place butter, brown sugar, agave nectar and creamer in a 2 quart saucepan over medium-high heat.  Stir until mixture comes to a simmer and then simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes (and no more!).  Remove from heat and stir in creamer, bourbon, vanilla, salt, and chopped pecans.  Pour into a small bowl, and allow to cool.  Cover with plastic wrap gently pressed into the surface.

Orange Buttercream Frosting 

(You will have leftover frosting.)

1/2 cup vegan butter

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

Reserved zest of 1 orange (or 1 to 2 tablespoons dried orange zest)

4 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

Approximately 1 to 2 tablespoons soy, almond, or coconut creamer, if desired for consistency

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter and shortening and beat on medium speed until fluffy.  Add orange zest followed by 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar at a time, turning off the mixer in between additions, and scraping down sides of bowl.  Thin, if desired with creamer and beat to combine.  Store any leftovers, covered, in refrigerator.

 

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Vegan Vanilla Cake Log with Fig Preserve Filling and Caramel-Cream Cheese Frosting

Fig-Filled Vanilla Log Cake with Caramel-Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: approximately 12 servings

The secrets to a rolled vegan cake revealed…

A rolled sponge cake made with eggs is child’s play, as the protein in the eggs add just the right pliable structure necessary to hold it together as it smoothly spirals like wrapping paper around a spool.

Not so much with vegan cakes.  It took me four attempts to get it right.  In the end, it turned out to be both a matter of ingredients and rolling technique (thank you Martha Stewart via my good friend, Sonya Harmon, who witnessed one of my epic fails).

In terms of ingredients, I ended up adding a couple of tablespoons of flaxseed meal as an egg substitute.  I don’t think you’ll find a single other recipe on this website that calls for flaxseed meal as it simply isn’t necessary or, sometimes, even desirable for most baked good.  For this one (an my other rolled cakes), it is critical.

Also, though I am not a big fan of xanthan gum–it quickly creates kind of a slippery, slimey, glue-like texture if you don’t use a very light hand, and is as expensive as heck–less than a teaspoon is key to the success of this recipe. (Here, a bag costs almost $12 on Kroger’s organics aisle.  I recommend buying a bag and sharing with a gluten-free baker friend.)

And, finally, sprinkling a hand towel with confectioner’s sugar–not granulated sugar as Martha Stewart recommends–turning the cake out onto it, and rolling it up with the soft towel, instead of the crinkly parchment paper used to line the pan, is essential.

Lastly, trimming the edges of the cake–so that even the slightest bit of browning doesn’t create a “crust” that refuses to bend nicely–and  not unrolling the cake completely flat to fill will yield the most satisfying results.

 

Vegan Vanilla Cake Log with Fig Preserve Filling and Caramel-Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup soy or other non-dairy milk

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons flaxseed meal

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour (I use white whole wheat)

3/4 cup natural granulated sugar (I use demerera)

2 tablespooons cornstarch

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup canola or other neutral vegetable oil

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 cup Fig Preserves (or any preserves you prefer), brought to room temperature or gently warmed

Caramel-Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)

Optional garnishes: shredded toasted coconut,, toasted if desired, chopped nuts, etc.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a rimmed 10 x 15″ pan with non-stick spray.  Line with one sheet of parchment paper and spray lightly again.  Sprinkle a tea towel with a little powdered sugar in a 10 x 15″  rectangle.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together soymilk, vinegar, and flaxseed meal and set aside to curdle, making a thickened vegan buttermilk.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt.  Make a well in the center and pour in canola oil, vanilla extract, and soymilk mixture.  Whisk together for 100 strokes until smooth.  (Whisking for a portracted time like this will develop gluten and, hence, structure.)  Transfer batter into prepared pan and gently smooth into the corners.  Bake for 12 to 13 minutes or just until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in pan for 3 minutes and then invert onto prepared tea towel.  Carefully peel off parchment paper.  With a very sharp knife, trim 1/8 inch of cake from all of the edges.  Working from a long side, fold the excess inch or so of towel over the edge of the cake and carefully roll up like a jelly roll.  Tuck edges under and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.  Carefully unroll, avoiding trying to flatten the cake completely.  Gently spread with preserves.  Reroll and place seam side down on a serving platter, nestling it onto a flattened side from the previous rolling.  Frost with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting and garnish with shredded cooconut and/or nuts.  Serve immediately or cover, refrigerate, and bring to room temperature before serving.

 

 

Caramel-Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup vegan butter, divided in half

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup (4 ounces) vegan cream cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 to 5 cups confectioner’s sugar (1 pound box)

Up to 1/4 cup non-dairy milk or creamer (e.g. soy, coconut, almond)

Optional for a frosting with even more body: up to 1/2 cup vegetable shortening

 

In a small saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter over medium-high.  Stir in dark brown sugar and simmer, stirring, for 2 to 3 minuutes or until a deeper brown with a caramel-y aroma; lower heat if necessary.  Remove pan from heat and pour caramel into a bowl.  Cool and then chill, covered, for a couple of hours or until cold.  Using an electric mixer, beat remaining half cup butter and cream cheese until fluffy.  Beat in chilled caramel mixture and vanilla until well combined.  Beat in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, thinning with non-dairy milk if desired.  For a frosting wtih even more body, beat in vegetable shortening, a couple of tablespoons at a time, again until desired texture is achieved.

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Vegan Coca-Cola Cake–The Definitive Version (feel free to use natural cola)

Cola Cake

Yield: 1-9 x 13-inch sheet cake

[Special thanks to Go Dairy Free for including this recipe on their website…three times now..read on to see why.]

If you have ever perused a “church cookbook,” as we call them “down South,” then you’ve seen the dairy version of this recipe made with Coca-Cola.  And if you’ve been to a “dinner on the grounds” at said south’ren church, then you’ve surely seen such a cake if not tasted it.

It appears to be a basic chocolate sheet cake, but it is oh-so-much more: dense, moist, and–though it contains a small amount of cocoa–very chocolatey and caramely from the cola.

This is my third and final iteration of trying to veganize this old classic.  Why final?  Because I finally got it.  I posted the previous two versions because I thought I had it each time.  The moistness and flavor of the most recent was spot-on, but it sunk a bit resulting in a layer of frosting as thick as the cake.  Now, this isn’t a huge problem in my book, but, for the sake of keeping up appearances, this latest version is perfection.

And it was an accident.  In hopes of achieving a bit more sophisticated flavor, I wanted to try my recipe with Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa, but all I had was self-rising flour.  The original recipe calls for all purpose flour and baking soda.  But self-rising flour includes baking powder, and that proved to be the trick, along with flaxseed meal: combining both baking powder and baking soda for proper lift that won’t sink.  Because most folks don’t keep self-rising flour around, I converted the recipe based on the generally-accepted amount of baking powder in each cup of self-rising flour.

For the authentic flavor of the original, I recommend using regular natural unsweetened cocoa powder. But for darker color and a richer flavor profile, try the Special Dark cocoa, which is a blend of natural and Dutched cocoas.

2 cups all purpose flour (I use white whole wheat)

2 cups natural sugar (I use demerera)

2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup vegan butter

3 tablespoons cocoa, regular “natural unsweetened” or Hershey’s Special Dark

1 cup natural cola (or if you drink Coca-Cola, by all means)

1/2 cup soymilk

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons flaxseed meal (or flax seed ground finely in a spice or coffee grinder)

Vegan Cola Frosting (recipe follows)

Garnish: pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9 x 13″ baking pan and set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda.  In a small bowl, whisk together soymilk, vanilla, vinegar (to create a curdled “buttermilk”), and flax seed meal.  In a small saucepan over medium-high, heat butter, cocoa, and cola just to boiling, reduce heat and stir occasionally until butter is melted; remove from heat.  Make a well in the center of the flour and sugar mixture.  Pour soymilk mixture followed by butter mixture into the well.  Whisk just until smooth and well combined.  Transfer into prepared baking pan and gently smooth top.  Bake for approximately 25 minutes, checking for doneness with a wooden pick inserted in the center after about 20.  Place pan on a wire rack and make frosting which must be poured over a warm cake.  Smooth frosting over top of cake, garnish if desired with pecan halves, cool completely, and serve.  Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator, but bring to room temperature before serving.

Vegan Cola Frosting

1/2 cup vegan butter

3 tablespoons cocoa, regular or Hershey’s Special Dark

1/2 cup natural cola

1 box confectioner’s sugar

Optional: 1 cup broken or chopped pecans

In a large saucepan, heat butter, cocoa, and cola over medium-high to boiling.  Reduce heat to a simmer and stir occasionally until butter is melted; remove from heat.  Whisk in confectioner’s sugar, one cup at a time, until smooth and completely incorporated.  Stir in optional pecans and frost cake immediately.

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Vegan Valentine’s Medley–Sweet, Savory, Quick or More Involved, Choose from these 7 Favorites

Valentines Medley 2016Picking a favorite of my Vegan Valentine’s Recipes to post would be like picking a favorite dog.  So, I want you to pick.

From a breakfast of Red Velvet Pancakes to Red Velvet Brownies for kids or a little savory “Heart Tart” for lunch or dinner–plus lots of sweets, including mints and truffles that are perfect little heart-felt gifts from your kitchen–I think you’ll find something here to love.

Just click on the links.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

~betsy

Clockwise from top-left:

Vegan Chocolate Truffles–created when I was disappointed with other recipes I found online.

Vegan Red Velvet Pancakes (THE BEST!)–I created these when I was dissatisfied with all of the recipes I could find online.

Vegan Red Velvet Brownies–VERy popular on One Green Planet and, again, created when I couldn’t find what I wanted after searching online.

Vegan Peppermint and Chocolate Patties–peppermint and chocolate, a marriage made in heaaven, so pretty layered in a ribbon-tied box.

Vegan Chocolate Heart Cakes–the apricot-hazelnut ganache filling is sophisticated, but simple, and the espresso-cream cheese frosting a sweet dream.

Vegan Cocoa-Dusted Chocolate Truffles–bittersweet bliss.

Vegan Savory Heart Tarts–they look fancy, but are so flavorful and easy with prepared puff pastry (center).

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