Recipe Share: Vegan Carrot Cake

Recipe Share: Vegan Carrot Cake

I had a bag of carrots aging in the fridge, and my Tweeps voted Carrot Cupcakes on my Twitter poll, and so I decided to look up a carrot cake recipe I found on Pinterest and try it out. It’s a recipe by Alison at Loving It Vegan, and it totally rocks!

And yes, it’s a vegan recipe. Yay!

Click here to head on over to Alison’s blog and learn how to make this delicious cake.

The recipe was pretty straight-forward, and I had no trouble at all mixing these up–especially since my mommy let me borrow her Kitchen Aid standing mixer (seriously, this thing is da bomb). The only thing I noticed was that the batter had more of a muffin consistency, which was alright with me as I’ve been needing to spice up my usual breakfast of a frozen waffle smeared with peanut butter.

I love these so much because, not only are they more muffin-like in texture, but they are also a bit cake-ey as well. They’re like the in-between of a muffin and a cupcake. And they’re sweet enough that you could go without the icing and wind up with a delicious and nutritious breakfast.

Or you could go all out and do the entire layered carrot cake with lemon frosting. It’s up to you!

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The Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Challenge

The Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Challenge

My daddy turned fifty last weekend! That meant a big surprise party at my aunt’s. There are a lot of food allergies/sensitivities in my family, and as a mostly-vegan, I know what it’s like to have to pass on something that looks super yummy. So I decided to take on the challenge of the cake. My dad is a big fan of German chocolate cake, my goal was to pull off a gluten-free vegan German chocolate cake that everyone could enjoy.

I started a week early, practicing with gluten-free flour. I’ve never used it before, and so I wasn’t sure what to expect. My aunt told me I would need xanthan gum, and so I looked for an all-purpose flour that had xanthan gum already mixed in. Then I looked online and found a few recipes I could tweak and customize to my own needs.

These cakes aren’t fit for a party, but they were necessary mistakes to learn some of the dos and don’ts of gluten-free

Cake number one came out really gelatinous, and it had an awful, bitter flavor. The recipe was all wrong. Not enough sugar to sweeten up the 100% cacao powder, and too much rise that fell immediately after removing it from the oven.

Cake number two also came out gelatinous, but it had a better flavor. After doing some research, I learned that the flour might be the culprit to the jelly-like texture (which wasn’t at all appetizing). So I bought a different brand of flour.

Cake number three was given an extra twist: a tablespoon of all natural chocolate sauce, but was already in the oven when I realized I’d forgotten the flax egg. I paced around the kitchen and waited for the timer to go off, and was surprised at how well it rose. Not only that, but it had a “cake-like” texture, with just a bit of density. It tasted like a damn good brownie.

Cake number four was merely a test, to see if the flax egg helped. The answer is no. It sank, and didn’t taste as good. I decided to opt out of the flax egg, wondering if I’d stumbled upon an egg substitute by using the chocolate sauce.

Cake number five was a sheet cake, and was the cake, so I gnawed on my fingers and attempted to sew as it baked and cooled. It didn’t sink at all, and kept its shape even after cutting into it. Success! I had several compliments, and a few others said that it didn’t even need the icing (which was not, in fact, traditional German chocolate cake icing, as I’d run out of time and didn’t realize I’d need pecans).

What I learned from baking five gluten-free cakes:

  1. Keep your coconut oil as hard as you can. I softened mine just a little after creaming it into the sugar, but only so it would mix better. The batter was chunky with coconut oil, something I learned was a good thing.
  2. While prepping other items, keep your batter in the fridge. This will keep the coconut oil hard and give the cake more stability.
  3. When mixing the wet into the dry, gently fold it in. Don’t whip it or use a mixer. Try to churn as little air as you can into the cake. This will prevent sinking.
  4. Don’t open the oven until the timer goes off. Opening the oven early can sink a cake.
  5. When your cake is done, leave it to cool in the oven with the door open for a few minutes before gently moving it to a cooling rack. This also prevents sinking.

Without further ado, here is the recipe I used for a Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake:

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Bake Time: 30-35 minutes

Oven Temp: 350 degrees at first, then 400 degrees toward the end

Yields: One 9×13 sheet cake or two round cakes

What you’ll need:

2 cups Gluten-free all-purpose flour w/ xanthan gum added

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1.5 tsp baking soda

1.5 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3 Tbsp vegan chocolate syrup

1.5 cups almond milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup refined coconut oil (hard, or softened just a little. Do not melt in microwave.)

How to make it:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 9×13 sheet cake pan and set aside
  3. Cream both sugars and coconut oil with a mixer.
  4. Put bowl of sugar/oil mixture into microwave for no more than 20 seconds.
  5. Stir in vanilla, chocolate syrup, and almond milk.
  6. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  7. Gently fold the dry mixture into the wet mixture until combined. Batter will appear chunky because of the coconut oil. If your mixture winds up too wet, just add a bit more flour. If your mixture winds up too dry, add a bit more almond milk.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees, then turn the oven up to 400 for another 5-10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the several places comes out clean.
  9. Turn off the oven and open the door, let cake cool in the oven for a few minutes.
  10. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool in the pan, on a cooling rack, for an hour.
  11. Make sure cake is completely cool before icing it.
  12. Store cake in fridge.

Hope it works as well for you as it did for me! Feel free to make creative changes, then tell me all about them in the comments below!

Vegan Taquitos

Vegan Taquitos

Note: these are pre-cooked. Cooked taquitos will be a nice golden brown on the edges.

These taquitos were so easy to make that I also had time to cook up some rice and fry some corn tortillas–cut into triangles–for the sides. They were also really great dipped in the mango peach salsa, which makes up a big part of the yummy–and nutritious–insides. I made a whole bunch so that we could have lunch for tomorrow, so this recipe could easily feed a family of four.

And if you really want cheese, you could go vegetarian and grate some sharp cheddar into the prepared sauce, or use vegan cheese. But don’t worry if you don’t have cheese on-hand, these were totally great without!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20-30 minutes

Total Time: 30-45 minutes

Yields: 25-30 taquitos

What you need:

1 pkg of corn tortillas

1 can diced tomatoes with onion and garlic

1/2 cup to 1 cup of frozen bell pepper blend (depending on your tastes)

1/2 jar mango peach salsa

1 can black beans drained and rinsed

1 can sliced olives

1-2 tablespoons of your favorite taco seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

few tablespoons chopped cilantro (optional)

olive oil

How to make it:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with nonstick foil (you might also spray the foil with nonstick spray, just to be on the safe side).
  2. In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, bell pepper, salsa, black beans, olives, and seasonings.
  3. Wrap five corn tortillas in wet paper towels and heat them in the microwave for 45 seconds.
  4. Spoon a small amount of the mixture onto each corn tortilla and roll the tortilla up, placing them seam-side down on the baking sheet.
  5. Repeat steps three and four until all of the mixture is gone.
  6. Brush the tops of the taquitos with olive oil.
  7. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the tortillas are browned.
  8. Serve with remaining salsa in jar and any sides you like.

Have your own favorite vegetarian or vegan taquito recipe? Feel free to share in the comments below!

Leavened Chai Bread

Leavened Chai Bread

I love baking bread. Not the quick bread, but the bread that takes you all day. From kneading it, to watching baking shows as I let it rise, to shaping and baking, and to the way my house smells like butter all day long, there’s nothing not to like about it.

What else do I love? Chai. One sip of it on a rainy day tosses me right into autumn, no matter what season it is. I like to shake up some almond milk in a mason jar and heat it up in the microwave, add it to my chai with a little vanilla and sugar, and voila! Chai latte brewed right at home.

Needless to say, when I found a recipe the other day for chai quick bread, I was super excited. It was an almost success–I didn’t have medjool dates, so I did use walnuts instead–but one thing I didn’t really like on it was the rise (most likely my own doing). Plus I didn’t really get a chance to “dig in” and feel like I was working with my hands. So, I decided to give it a try the traditional way, adding yeast and kneading the spices right into the dough. I’m not a baking savant, so I wasn’t sure if the yeast would even work after adding all of the spices and flavors, but it turned out just fine! I made my other loaf a basic white bread so I could compare their rise. The chai bread actually rose higher than the white bread. Possibly because of the warmth from the marinated walnuts.

Please note: this is not a sweet bread. If you’re looking to add a bit of sweetness, knead some dried fruit into the dough. For me, this bread is perfect with just a little bit of honey drizzled on top. Next time I plan to add the chai as part of my moisture to get more of a chai kick.

The chai dough is on the right, and the white is on the left
Chai on the left, white on the right

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Rise Time: 80 minutes

Rest Time: 10 minutes

Bake Time: 35-40 minutes

Oven Temp: 375 degrees

Yields: Two loaves

What You Need:

5-6 cups all purpose flour

1 tbsp butter (I used vegan butter)

2 tbsp sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk or milk of your choosing

1 packet active dry yeast

1 cup brewed chai tea

3/4 cup walnuts, chopped finely

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cloves

1 tbsp canola oil

How To Make It:

  1. Pour your chopped walnuts into the cup of brewed tea to soak. I like to keep the tea bag in there just to steep everything longer.
  2. While walnuts soak, mix 2.5 cups flour with yeast in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Heat milk, sugar, and butter, and salt in a small saucepan to just about the point where the butter is almost melted.
  4. Create a “well” in flour and pour warm mixture into it.
  5. Using a hand-held mixer, mix on low for 30 seconds, then high for three minutes.
  6. Strain walnuts, then add them to your mixture.
  7. Using a wooden spoon (or your hands) knead the rest of the flour into the dough. Then knead until you get a nice soft ball of dough. If dough is too wet, simply add more flour.
  8. Coat your mixing bowl with the canola oil and then place dough into bowl, turn the dough once to make sure it gets coated with oil (but not saturated).
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for one hour.
  10. Punch dough down, then flip onto lightly-floured surface and split into two equal halves. Cover with a towel and let rest ten minutes.
  11. Grease your bread pans, then carefully shape your dough into loaves by rolling gently and pinching the sides underneath.
  12. Place loaves seam side down into your pans. Cover with a towel and let rise another 35 minutes.
  13. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  14. Bake loaves for about 35-40 minutes, or until bread sounds “hollow” when you knock on it. (note: it will not sound as “hollow” as basic white bread, or bread without fillings, but it will definitely have a hollow sound).
  15. Cool on racks for at least an hour before storing.
  16. Serve with honey, butter, or honey butter. Yum!

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to know how it turned out for you! Tell me in the comments below.

Mini Vegetarian Quiches

Mini Vegetarian Quiches

These were super yummy, and an awesome start to our Saturday morning. So simple, in fact, that I just threw these items together without paying much attention to a recipe. I did my best to get the times and measurements right, but you may need to make a few adjustments based on your own personal tastes and how your oven cooks.

Oven Temp: 375

Prepare Time: 10 minutes

Bake Time: 15-20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yields: 6 Quiches

Ingredients:

6 eggs

1/2 cup unsweetened plant-based milk (I used almond)

chopped veggies of your choice (I used spinach and tomato)

1-2 tsp nutritional yeast

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4-1/2 tsp garlic powder (depending on how much you like garlic)

salt and pepper

bacon bits (optional)

Directions:

  1. Grease a 6 muffin pan
  2. Chop your veggies
  3. Add veggies to the greased muffin pan, filling each cup evenly
  4. In a bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together milk, eggs, and spices
  5. Pour egg mixture into each muffin cup
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean and the insides are no longer runny
  7. Eat them all before you can get a picture! (oops)

These quiches are easy, yummy, and apparently you can freeze them! Whip up a batch, let them cool, then wrap them individually in cling wrap for some breakfast on the go.

Have your own vegetarian or vegan breakfast recipes you’d like to share? Feel free to paste links in the comments below!

Have a Vegan BBQ!

Have a Vegan BBQ!

It’s summer! And here in the Midwest that means it’s BBQ season (though my husband would argue that BBQ season lasts all year long).

When I first started planning what I called “The Vegan Project” on Pinterest, one of the first things I started pinning for was BBQs. Since my husband likes to grill so much, I knew I had to have recipes on-hand for side dishes and for myself. Plus, Goo is not a meat-eater (we joke that she was born vegetarian) so it was nice to have dishes she would eat as well.

Think you can’t be Vegan and have a BBQ? Think again! Here are some of the recipes I pinned to plan for the perfect Vegan BBQ. Read more