Monday, February 25, 2013

Strawberry Shortcake Cake

When my daughter took a shine to Strawberry Shortcake, I did a little happy dance. While the modern changes to Strawberry were really not necessary, nostalgia still floods my mind when I play with her shortcake dolls. 

Each birthday I ask my children what type of cake they want, and I was beyond thrilled when my girl said Strawberry Shortcake.

The cake house was made from three stacked layers of 8 inch rounds using my Strawberry Shortcake cupcake recipe. To support to weight I used cake round flats in between each layer with cake dowels in between them.

My only modification to the recipe was using fluffy vanilla frosting instead of whipped cream between layers, as I was concerned it would only soak into the cake and cake boards between layers. I did add a squirt of vegan whipped cream on top, as it just wouldn't be strawberry shortcake without it. I bought mine at Whole Foods.

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Fluffy Whipped Vanilla Frosting

1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 tsp. vanilla
4-6 Tbsp. non-dairy milk
3 1/2-4 cups powdered sugar

Cream together the margarine, vanilla and shortening. Slowly mix in powdered sugar and non-dairy milk, alternating between the two. Add more powdered sugar or soy milk to obtained desired texture. Once mixed well, beat for about ten minutes until frosting is nice and fluffy. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Butterscotch Cupcakes with Pecan Butter Topping and Chocolate Chips

Butterscotch frosting has been on my list of "to do" for quite some time. Since we try to balance out the amount of vegan goodies in our house, it simmered on the back burner.

Each year on what would have been my son Oliver's birthday, we celebrate his short life spending the day as a family visiting his the park bench we donated in his honor. Along with that, we always have a cupcake or small cake to celebrate his life.

I used my "go to" chocolate cake recipe often referred to as Crazy or Wacky Cake. It's history goes back to the first World War when eggs, butter, and milk were being rationed.

Crazy or Wacky Cake

3 cups unbleached flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 heaping cup cocoa
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
 3/4 cup vegetable Oil
 2 cups water

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Sift together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, and salt. 
  3. Add remaining wet ingredients with dry ones and mix. Do not over mix. 
  4. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full. 
  5. Bake in oven for 15-18 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. 
  6. Once cooled frost with Butterscotch frosting.
  7. Next drizzle with pecan butter icing and add mini chocolate chips as sprinkles.

Butterscotch Frosting

3 to 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks or margarine, softened
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 Tbsp soy milk, almond or coconut milk

  1. Beat margarine and shortening until fluffy.
  2. Add vanilla extract and soy milk, then beat again until fluffy. 
  3. Slowly add confectioners sugar, mixing after adding it, 1/2 cup at a time, until creamy. 
  4. Melt butterscotch chips in the microwave, by putting it into a glass bowl and microwaving in one minute increments until fully melted. It should be thicker than melted chocolate (it won't drizzle).*
  5. Add to frosting after cooling two minutes. Beat until fluffy, it should be about 10 minutes to fluff up the frosting.(add more sugar and/or soy milk if you need it, until you get the right texture). 
  6. Generously pipe or spread onto completely cooled cupcakes.
*Please note the texture of the frosting may change after adding warm butterscotch chips, this means it was too warm. Continue beating, as the correct texture will develop upon cooling.

Pecan Butter Drizzle Icing

2 Tbsp. pecan butter
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. soy, almond, or coconut milk

  1. In a small glass bowl, whip together all ingredients using a whisk.
  2. Add extra powdered sugar or soy/almond/coconut milk to achieve a thicker drizzling consistency.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Chocolate Cake Donuts with Raspberry and White Chocolate Icing

Valentine's Day is almost upon us. If you are seeking a decadent dessert to make for your loved ones (or satisfy a little self-love), these donuts should do the trick.

You can dress them up by spending a little more time decorating or just add sprinkles for a little flourish. This is a veganized version of a doughnut recipe I came across in Family Circle.

Chocolate Cake Donuts
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup soy/coconut/almond/hemp milk
1 tbsp. vinegar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup melted margarine (I use Earth Balance)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup applesauce

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly spray donut pan with non-stick spray.
  2. Measure out non-dairy milk and add vinegar. Let it sit while preparing other ingredients.
  3. Combine melted margarine, applesauce, vanilla, and sugar, then mix well.
  4. Sift in the remaining dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. 
  5. Add in the non-dairy milk (the vinegar makes it a vegan buttermilk).
  6. On a slow speed mix until the batter is even, being careful to not over mix.
  7. Fill the donut cavities 2/3 full, and bake for 12-14 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Remove and allow to cool completely before icing.

Raspberry Icing

1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
5-6 Tbsp. soy/coconut/almond/hemp milk
1 tsp. raspberry extract
  1. In a bowl, whisk together the raspberry powder and powdered sugar.
  2. Add raspberry extract, and then a tablespoon at a time of non-dairy milk until icing slowly drips off of a spoon. If it is to runny, add a little more powdered sugar.
  3. Apply to cooled donut with a basting brush or by spreading it on with a spatula. 
  4. Decorate with sprinkles or add to sandwich bag with a small tip cut off to drizzle it on (this makes the little "stripes" on the donut.
  5. *Follow the link to former recipe which explains making strawberry powder. The same applies to freeze dried raspberries. You may need to double sift to remove seeds. 
White Chocolate Icing

1/3 cup melted white chocolate
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. melted margarine  (I use Earth Balance)
2 Tbsp. soy/coconut/almond/hemp milk
  1. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave for 3 to 4 minutes, stopping after each minute to stir. This prevents burning the chocolate.
  2. Whisk together the vanilla, melted margarine, soy milk, and powdered sugar.
  3. Slowly whisk in the melted white chocolate.
  4. Before icing with it, heat 10-15 seconds in the microwave. It will spread more easily.
  5. Apply to cooled donut with a basting brush or by spreading it on with a spatula. 
  6. Decorate with sprinkles or add to sandwich bag with a small tip cut off to drizzle it on (this makes the little "stripes" on the donut.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Gluten-free Strawberry Coconut Rice Krispy Treats

I'll not go into the details of how long these lasted in our household, but.....lets just say they vanished rapidly. It was as if the road runner ran through, only stopping to eat and say "meep, meep."

When I've made vegan rice crispy treats using the traditional recipe, they often get pretty crunchy after setting. You'll have no such problems with these. This will also please the gluten-free crowd.

Strawberry Coconut Rice Crispy Bars

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. coconut oil (should be solid at room temperature)
3/4 cup strawberry powder
3 Tbsp. water
2 tsp. strawberry extract (McCormick Imitation Strawberry Extract is labelled gluten-free)
1 bag vegan marshmallows (I used Dandies)
5 cups rice crispies (gluten-free kind)
  1. Melt the coconut oil in s medium sized sauce pan on medium-low heat. 
  2. Once it is melted, add the marshmallows, and stir until they are completely dissolved (if you leave them they may burn to the bottom).
  3. Stir in strawberry powder and water. Mix until it is well-incorporated.
  4. Turn the heat on the burner down to simmer, and slowly stir in the rice crispies. Mix until they are all evenly coated.
  5. Press into a 9 x 12 sized glass dish or pan. I use wax paper to get it in with out sticking to everything.
  6. Allow to cool and set 5 minutes, then cut into squares or make heart shapes using a heart cookie cutter.
How to make Strawberry Powder:

Take freeze dried strawberries (I've gotten them at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and Co-ops) and rub them on a fin metal mesh strainer.

This will turn it into a fine powder and keep out an large chunks. 

Tip: I typically convert the whole bag into powder, as it will not work if they receive moisture in the air. 

The best thing is how easy it is to make them. In total about 15 minutes. Not bad for a delicious Valentine's Day treat! What do you plan to make for your Valentine?