Baking without eggs and dairy

I might not generally be a big fan of PETA (more on why some other time), but I have to admit they do a lot of good things as well. I found this handy infographic on replacing eggs and dairy in baking and I wanted to share it with you guys. It gives a good overview of some easy ways to replace eggs or dairy in your favorite non-vegan recipes. So no more excuses not to bake some vegan goodies!

infographicVeganBaking_PETA_REVISED72

Click the picture to see the bigger version, or for the PDF, click here.

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Happy World Vegan Day!

Today is World Vegan Day, the culmination of Vegetarian Awareness Month and my 6th anniversary as a vegan!

World Vegan Day was established in 1994 by the former president & chair of The Vegan Society, to commemorate the Society’s 50th anniversary. That makes this year The Vegan Society’s 70th anniversary! At the same time it’s also the 70th anniversary of the words “vegan” and “veganism”, coined by Donald Watson.

We’ve celebrated this day with some vegan cake. In this case carrot cake (turned carrot cupcake by request of R). The recipe I used is in Finnish, it has been circulating around different places so I’m not sure where it originally comes from. The recipe will make a big baking tray of cake, I made half of the amount which is enough for 12 cupcakes or a smaller cake.

Carrot cake:
2 dl oat or soy cream
6 dl sugar
1,5 dl oil
9 dl finely shredded carrots
6 dl flour
1,5 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
3 tsp vanilla sugar
5 tsp cinnamon

Start by mixing the cream and sugar together. Add in the rest of the ingredients. Pour the batter onto a baking tray (or into muffin liners) and bake in 175 degrees Celsius for about 40 minutes (shorter time if you make cupcakes). Let the cake cool down before adding the frosting.

carrot cupcake

Vegan cream cheese frosting:
150 g natural vegan cream cheese (Tofutti)
90 g vegan margarine
6 dl confectioner’s sugar
1,5 tsp vanilla sugar
shredded coconut or almond flakes for decoration

Mix cream cheese and margarine together. Add vanilla and confectioner’s sugar and mix until it’s even. It should be quite thick. Spread on top of the cake (or cupcake) and decorate with shredded coconut or almond flakes (or both!). For 12 cupcakes or a smaller cake you only need to make half of this recipe.

If you don’t have access to vegan cream cheese (which I didn’t have today), this is a good alternative frosting:
90 g vegan margarine
6 dl confectioner’s sugar
1,5 tsp vanilla sugar
about 1 tbsp soy milk (or other plant-based milk)
shredded coconut or almond flakes for decoration

Mix together margarine, vanilla and confectioner’s sugar. Add in the soy milk, if needed you can add a little more than 1 tablespoon, but make sure the mixture doesn’t get too thin. Decorate the same way as you would have done with the cream cheese frosting.

Pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes

After posting the cupcake-post some days ago I got inspired to bake, and remembered that I have the book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero (great book by the way!). I decided to try out some of the cupcake recipes from the book and fell for the Pumpkin chocolate chip and Toasted coconut. I was not so happy with the result of the coconut ones, so they need another try out before I post my version of the recipe, but the pumpkin ones turned out really great so I will share it with you guys.

The original recipe goes like this:

1 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176 degrees Celsius). Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together pumpkin, oil, sugar, soy milk and vanilla. Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt. Stir together with a fork – don’t use a handheld mixer, as it will make the batter gummy. Once well combined, fold in the chocolate chips.
3. Fill liners two-thirds full. Bake for 22 to 24 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool fully before icing.

pumpkin cupcake

Cinnamon icing

1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons margarine, melted
1 tablespoon soy milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add the margarine, soy milk and vanilla and stir with a fork until smooth. Keep at room temperature until ready to use. The mixture should look opaque and honey brown. If it’s glistening a lot or looks to liquid, add a little extra confectioner’s sugar.

Pipe the icing on the cupcakes when it has had time to set for a little while and the cupcakes are completely cooled down. Have patience and don’t hurry, or you might end up with the same mess as me; half of the icing running off the cupcakes and ending up on the kitchen table.

I made some small changes:

  • Instead of canned pumpkin I used fresh one that I boiled and then blended until smooth. It might be that we do have canned pumpkin here in Finland, but I wouldn’t know where to look for it so this was the easier option, and if you can have fresh, why not go for it?
  • I added a little carrot juice into the batter, replacing part of the soy milk, just for the sake of giving the cupcake a more orange color. You can easily make this small amount of carrot juice without a juicer; just finely grate a carrot and squeeze out the juice.
  • Since I didn’t have vanilla extract, I used vanilla sugar, but added a little more than the amount vanilla extract the recipe says

Fluffy egg-free cupcakes

Baking great looking, tasty cupcakes without dairy and eggs is – contrary to common belief – no problem at all! My favorite cupcake recipe at the moment is based on one by Kamomillan konditoria. Her original recipe yields only one cupcake, but I have made this recipe to yield 12, which is the amount that can fit into my muffin pan.

cupcakes

Vanilla cupcake

1,8 dl sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla powder
1,2 dl oil
3 dl oat milk (or other plant-based milk)
3 dl wheat flour
1,5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

1. Heat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Line your muffin pan with muffin cups.
2. Mix sugar, salt, vanilla, oil and oat milk in a bowl.
3. In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder and baking soda before adding it to the liquid. Mix all of the ingredients together quickly.
4. Pour the batter evenly into the muffin cups. Bake in the oven for about 18 minutes. They’re done when you can push a stick into the muffin without any batter sticking on it.
5. Let the cupcakes cool down before decorating and eating them.

This basic cupcake recipe can be made into pretty much any flavor of cupcake you like, some that I have made include chocolate (where you just add in grated dairy-free dark chocolate, or cocoa powder, into the batter), chocolate and coffee (where you substitute part of the oat milk with coffee and add either grated chocolate or cocoa powder), and orange (where you substitute the oat milk with orange juice). I’m sure you can also add in berries in the batter if you like, even though I haven’t tried it with this particular recipe. Only your imagination is the limit!

Then there’s of course the decoration part. It’s not my strong side, I’ve probably messed up more cupcakes that I’ve succeeded with, so I will not get into it at this point. However, the decoration on the cupcakes in the picture is based on soy cream (thickened by adding a little agar agar and boiling for a few minutes, then letting it cool over night before whipping it), in one I have mixed in melted dark chocolate, in the other a blueberry-raspberry jam.

Black bean brownies

brownies

I’ve stumbled upon different recipes of brownies based on black beans for some time now, and I’ve always thought it sounds interesting and worth trying out. I have my go-to brownie recipe (which you can find here), which I love – it’s sweet, chocolatey, fudgey and melts in the mouth – but it contains quite a lot of sugar and white flour so it’s nothing that I would like to eat too much of. So I tried one of the brownie recipes based on black beans with the hope that I could find a new, healthier, way to enjoy brownies.

This is the recipe I followed:

Unfortunately I was a bit disappointed in the result. The brownies did taste chocolate, they were soft and quite sweet. But the texture was not great; they didn’t feel fudgey enough and didn’t melt in the mouth. I didn’t enjoy them that much on their own, but together with a little peanut butter or vanilla ice cream they were actually really good.

Maybe there are better recipes for this type of brownies than the one I tried, I’m still up for other ones. Baked goods and sweets (especially things with chocolate) are really my weak side, I love making them (and I love eating them!), so finding healthier versions of these things would really be great.

Do you have a good recipe for healthier brownies or other baked goods? Please share with me!

Cupcake tryouts

I had an unexpected day off today, so I decided to bake some cupcakes. I tried out a new basic recipe and improvised with part of the flavors out of that recipe; orange with same flavored frosting and chocolate with chocolate-coffee frosting.

The recipe that I used, along with a lot of other recipes and tips on vegan baking, can be found on kamomillankonditoria.com, a blog that I highly recommend for those of you who understand Finnish and like to learn more about vegan baking!

cupcakes

My vegan cake recipe

Several people have recently requested my recipe for the cake I usually make during parties, so I thought I would put it up here. The recipe for the sponge cake I use as the base of the cake is originally in Swedish and comes from the book “Vadå Vegan?” by Lisa Gålmark.

Sponge cake

75 g dairy-free margarine
1,5 dl soy cream
2 dl sugar
3 dl flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 tsp vanilla sugar
1 dl soy milk

First, mix the margarine and soy cream with the sugar until the mixture is smooth. Mix baking powder, vanilla sugar and flour in a separate bowl and then add all the ingredients together. Add the soy milk and mix until smooth.

Grease a small baking pan with margarine and sprinkle flour on top so that the pan is covered. Shake out any extra flour left in the pan and then pour the batter into the pan. Bake in oven at 175 degrees celsius for 40-50 minutes.

Some small tips:
I usually put a little less than 2 dl of sugar (maybe 1½), since I don’t like the cake to be too sweet.
This makes quite a small cake, so if needed you can double the recipe. Then it might be good to use a bigger baking pan, since if the batter is too thick the cake might not bake in the middle.

vegan cream cake

Making it into a cream cake:

After the sponge cake is done, let it cool down properly before you cut it horizontally into two pieces (or more if it’s thick). Letting it cool makes it easier to cut since it’s less likely to break. Place one of the layers onto the plate you like to use for serving the cake. Use a little bit of soy milk and spread it over the cake to make it little moist, you will also do the same for the top layer. Make sure you don’t put too much, it’s best if you just use a baking brush to brush on a thin layer.

Between the layers you can put pretty much anything you like. I usually use a mix of strawberry jam and banana. If I have tree layers, I put jam in between one of the layers and mashed banana between the other, if I just have two layers I mix jam and banana together. However, you can use any jam you like, and probably it will also be fine to put some kind of vegan butter cream or something like that, but I haven’t tried this.

On top of the cake and on the sides I just spread a vegan whipped cream (the best one we have around here right now comes from Alpro Soya). I whip the cream with a few teaspoons of sugar and a little vanilla sugar. If you want to add some color to the cake you can probably add some food coloring to the cream (just make sure the coloring is vegan).

The decoration is my weakest side, I’m not that good at making beautiful cakes, just tasty ones! However, I usually use some kind of fruit or berry. My favorites are strawberry, kiwi and grapes. I also like using chocolate in some form. But here you can just let you imagination run wild. I don’t generally use decorations bought in the shop, since most of them include some kind of animal derived ingredient (usually gelatin, milk or colorings).