Vegan Apple Spice Cake with Maple Buttercream

So I thought it was about time I tried making some baked goods that suit different dietary needs… that and my mums decided she want to try a vegan diet, and I came across this cake and I must say, I’m quite pleased with it. Aside from a few difficulties with the vegan butter, which I shall explain further down below, the recipe was easy to follow and the cake very tasty. The original recipe is from http://www.foodnetwork.ca/baking/blog/how-to-make-vegan-apple-spice-cake-with-maple-buttercream/

Here is the recipe again, with some added explanation:

Ingredients

Apple Spice Cake

1 ¼ cup soymilk (room temperature)

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp all-spice

½ tsp ginger

½ tsp sea salt

1 cup shredded apple

1/3 cup coconut oil (soft at room temperature)

1 cup packed brown sugar

½ Tbsp unsulphured blackstrap molasses

2 tsp vanilla extract

¾ cup pecans, roughly chopped

Maple Buttercream Frosting

3 cups icing sugar

8 Tbsp vegan butter or margarine

6 tablespoons maple syrup

Method

1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius

2. In small mixing bowl whisk together the soymilk and apple cider vinegar and set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, all-spice, ginger, and sea salt.

4. In a third bowl beat together coconut oil and brown sugar with a hand mixer until fluffy. Then beat in molasses, vanilla extract, and soymilk and vinegar mixture until smooth.

5. Add the liquid ingredients and shredded apple to the dry ingredients. Fold the batter until it’s just combined, ensuring not to over mix it.

6. Lightly oil 2 x 18cm cake pans with a little bit of coconut oil. You can also bake one at a time if you only have 1 pan.

7. Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans. Spread out the batter so it’s even and to the edge of the pan.

8. Bake for 18-20 minutes on the centre rack. Cake is done when a toothpick comes out of the centre of the cake clean.

9. Transfer cakes out of the pans onto wire racks and allow to cool completely before frosting.

10. To make the frosting beat together vegan butter, powdered sugar, and maple syrup until fluffy and smooth. Place the icing in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to ensure it is stiff enough to ice with.

11. Place one cake bottom side down on your serving plate and spread frosting evenly with a spatula across the entire top of the cake. Place the other cake, bottom side down, on top of the frosting. Use remaining frosting to cover the entire cake. Place the cake in the fridge for another 10 minutes to set the icing.

12. Using the palm of your hands gently press small handfuls of roughly chopped pecans along the entire side of the cake until well coated.

So as I said earlier, I had problems with the icing as it started melting, not because the cakes were hot but because the room temperature was hot (its officially the first day of summer, help us all). I’m not sure if vegan butter has a lower melting point than normal butter, but I think I should have placed it in the fridge to ensure it was stiff before I assembled the layers of the cake. I have added this to the recipe, but it may not be necessary depending on the temperature of the kitchen at the time. I also just converted a few things as the recipe was originally in American units. Other than that, the cake was lovely and moist and I didn’t even notice that it was vegan.

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Lemon Chocolate Pinwheels

So this was my first time making a pinwheel biscuit, and it worked out fairly well, aside from the lop sidedness of some of them (which is what happens when you don’t leave enough space between biscuits on the tray; never assume that something won’t expand out, even if it looks like shortbread). The flavour of the biscuits is quite subtle, but pleasantly so, and the recipe was relatively easy to follow. I will add some detail in the last few steps however, as I think some further explanation is required. So here’s the recipe, which is from the Baking Bible:

Ingredients

175g butter softened, plus extra for greasing

350g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

250g caster sugar

1 egg, beaten

25 g dark chocolate (milk doesn’t give a dark enough colour)

Grated rind of 1 lemon

Method

1. Grease and flour several baking sheets.

2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

3. Gradually add the beaten egg to the creamed mixture, beating well after each addition.

4. Sift the flour into the creamed mixture and mix thoroughly until a soft dough forms.

5. Transfer half of the dough to another bowl. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water until melted. Cool slightly. Beat into one half of the dough.

6. Stir the grated lemon rind into the other half of the dough.

7. On a lightly floured sheet of baking paper (so as to prevent the dough sticking to the bench), roll out the dough to a thickness of 3-5mm forming two rectangles.

8. Lay the lemon dough on top of the chocolate dough. Roll up tightly, rolling away from yourself, using the sheet of baking paper to guide you. Chill the dough for an hour.

9. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Cut the roll into slices of about 3-5mm in thickness, place on baking sheets, leaving a 5 cm gap between each biscuit, and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely before serving.

So aside from a few hiccups, I’d say these biscuits were a success and that the recipe was simple but effective.

Pistachio and Rosewater Semolina Cake

So exciting news, other than the cake being a success, I’m getting a canon camera for Christmas so I can get a bit more flashy (pun intended) with my food photography. These photos were taken using a canon that was lent to me, so I could get used to using a camera that isn’t my IPhone. Anyway,  back to the cake. I think this recipe is great, and a bit more interesting than your standard chocolate cake. It is very moist because of the syrup poured on it when fresh out of the oven, but not too dense or soggy. It’s served with a rosewater cream which helps cut through the sweetness and compliments the cake nicely. I had no troubles with this recipe, and no adjustments had to be made, so without further ado, here is the recipe from the delicious magazine:

Ingredients 

3 cardamom pods, bruised, seeds reserved, pods discarded

1 cup (150g) pistachios, plus extra chopped to serve

1 cup (100g) almond meal

170g fine semolina

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

300g unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups (330g) caster sugar

4 eggs, lightly beaten

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 1 Tbsp lemon juice

2 Tbsp rosewater

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Rosewater cream

200g Greek yoghurt

200g creme fraiche

1 Tbsp icing sugar, sifted

1 Tbsp rosewater

Syrup

100ml lemon juice

1/3 cup (80ml) rosewater

1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar

Crystallised Rose Petals (optional)

1 eggwhite

10g (about 40) edible red or dark pink rose petals

25g caster sugar

Method

1. Preheat oven to 80 degrees Celsius. Grease a baking tray and line with baking paper. Grease a 23cm springform cake pan and line with baking paper.

2. For the crystallised rose petals, if using, whisk eggwhite until frothy. In 2 batches, use a small pastry brush to very lightly paint over both sides of each petal with eggwhite, then sprinkle with sugar. Shake of excess sugar and arrange petals on prepared tray. Bake for 30 minutes or until petals are dry and crunchy, then set aside to cool.

3. Increase oven to 180 degrees. To make the cake place cardamom seeds and pistachios in a food processor and whiz until pistachios are finely ground. Transfer pistachio mixture to a bowl and add almond meal, semolina, baking powder and 1/4 tsp of fine salt. Stir to combine.

4. Place butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until well combined (be careful not to overwork-you don’t want a lot of air in the mixture). With the motor running, slowly add egg, beating well. Fold through the pistachio mixture, then fold through lemon zest and juice, rosewater and vanilla until just combined. Spread butter into prepared pan and use a palette knife to smooth the surface. Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean but a little oily.

5. Meanwhile, for the rosewater cream, place all ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk to medium peaks. Cover and chill until needed.

6. For the syrup, in the final 10 minutes of cake cooking, place all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil and stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, drizzle with all the  hot syrup. Set cake aside in the pan to cool to room temperature. 

7. Remove cake from the pan and scatter with crystallised rose petals and extra pistachios. Serve with rosewater cream.

So, I did actually change the recipe slightly, only in the sense that I changed the step in which the pistachios are put on top of the cake, as it makes more sense to put them on after removing the cake from its pan.

I would have liked to do the rose petals, as I think they make for a lovely decoration, but they are quite hard to find. If you plan on doing this recipe, give yourself enough time to go to the gourmet food shops to find the petals.

Now that I’ve finished the HSC, I hope to be posting far more regularly. 


Louise’s Wicked Chocolate Cake

So I made this on Thursday for a teacher at my school, as I know (well more mum knows and told me so now I know) it to be a very good and simple mud cake recipe. I was very chuffed to hear that it was received very well by the photography class who had a presentation night that day. The recipe, was actually created by Pat Rafter’s sister Louise, and according to Pat the cake is “the best in the world.” Anyway, here is Louise’s recipe:

Ingredients

125g butter, at room temperature

275g (1 1/4 C) caster sugar

2 eggs

100g (2/3 C) plain flour

100g (2/3 C) S.R flour

35g (1/3 C) cocoa powder

125mls (1/2 C) sour cream

185mls (3/4 C) water

Crushed macadamia’s or grated chocolate (optional) to decorate

Chocolate cream icing

200g dark chocolate 

160mls (2/3 C) thickened cream

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Brush a 23cm round cake pan with melted butter to grease and then line the base with non-stick baking paper.

2. Beat the butter and caster sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric heater until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

3. Sift together the plain flour, self raising flour and cocoa. Combine sour cream and water in a jug.

4. Use a large metal spoon to stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture, alternating with the sour cream mixture, in 2 batches, until well combined.

5. Pour the mixture into the cake pan and bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool cake in pan.

6. To make the icing, combine chocolate and cream in a heat-resistant bowl and stir over simmering water until chocolate melts and mixture is well combined. 

7. Transfer cooled cake to a plate. Pour icing over cake and decorate with lacadamias or grated chocolate, if desired.
Now I know I’ve made cakes a fair bit lately, so hopefully after the HSC there will be some variety on here, but I’ve only had time to bake cake orders, as the HSC is quite demanding unfortunately. 

Qupcakes (It’s pronounced cupcakes)

As I haven’t posted in a while, I thought I’d just write about what I’ve been up to this term. So, a group of students, a lady named Paula, who works at the southern regional business centre, and I have started a cupcakes business that’s all about Queanbeyan, hence the Q in the name. We’ve been making cupcakes on a weekly basis and selling them to our captive market; students at my school. The recipe is one we found online and is referred to as the ‘ultimate cupcake’, which may have something to do with the fact that’s full of vanillery goodness. Anyway, if you’d like to give the recipe a go after my spiel the link is as follows: http://www.cupcakeproject.com/2011/09/lbest-vanilla-cupcake-recipe.html

As for the icing, we just use a simple buttercream, as you tend not to be able to go wrong there. 

Caramel Mudcake 

This is the second time I’ve made this mudcake, and it worked out far better than the first time (it sunk in the middle and was most depressing). This is however, the first time I’ve ever attempted to write words on a cake, and seeing as it was being made for a paying customer, I was pretty nervous. In saying that, I’m pretty pleased with the results. Anyway, I’ll stop my blabbing and write out the recipe, which is from taste.com. 

Ingredients

Melted butter, to grease
200g butter, cubed

200g white chocolate (Nestle brand), chopped

200g (1 cup, firmly packed) dark brown sugar

180ml (3/4 cup) hot water

1 tablespoon golden syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

2 eggs, at room temperature

150g (1 cup) plain flour

150g (1 cup) self-raising flour

Method

Step 1

Preheat oven to 160°C. Brush a round 22cm (base measurement) cake pan with melted butter. Line base and side with non-stick baking paper.

Step 2

Place butter, chocolate, sugar, water, golden syrup and vanilla essence in a heavy-based saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat with a wooden spoon for 5 mins or until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Set aside for 20 mins to cool.

Step 3

Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift combined flours over chocolate mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.

Step 4

Pour mixture into pan and bake in preheated oven for 50-60 mins or until a skewer comes out almost clean. Stand cake for 20 mins before turning onto a wire rack to cool. 

Here is the link, should you want it: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/caramel-mud-cake/ba48c9c7-9821-44e0-a336-8ce0e1488b9f

As for the icing, I used a Martha Stewart ganache recipe. Here is the link: http://www.marthastewart.com/865175/ganache

I will also write it out for those who aren’t Americans.

Ingredients

230g semisweet or bittersweet chocolate

1 cup thickened cream

Method

1. Coarsely chop chocolate. A serrated knife is best for the job; its sawlike teeth grab the chocolate, breaking it up.

2. Bring cream just to a boil over medium-high heat. Pour over chocolate. Let stand for 10 minutes (don’t stir — doing so will cool the ganache too quickly, making it grainy). 

3. Stir with a whisk until smooth and shiny to break up any pieces and emulsify cream and chocolate.

4. Chocolate will often settle on the bottom or sides of the bowl. Scrape the dish with a rubber spatula to incorporate all of it.

5. Place the cake on a wire wrack over a baking tray, and pour over the ganache in a circular motion. Tap the baking tray to encourage the ganache to cover the sides of the cake. If the ganache does not cover the sides completely, use a small palette knife to patch up any areas that aren’t iced. 

I just added that bold bit at the end, as I’ve actually meshed two recipes. As for the blue writing in icing I just used Queen’s writing icing. 

Bread and Butter Pudding 

So this is the second bread and butter pudding I’ve made. This one is more indulgent than the last, containing oodles of cream and butter. As for the taste, the excess amounts of fat certainly pays off. The recipe is from taste.com but I’ll write it out below as well as the link. 

Ingredients

4 eggs
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups milk
300ml pure cream
8 thick slices white bread, crusts removed
40g butter, softened
1/2 cup sultanas

2 tablespoons demerara sugar

Vanilla ice-cream, to serve

Method

Step 1

Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Grease a 5cm-deep, 17cm x 28cm (base) baking dish. Whisk eggs, caster sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, milk and cream in a bowl.

Step 2

Spread both sides of each bread slice with butter. Cut each slice in half diagonally. Arrange half the bread in rows in prepared dish. Sprinkle with half the sultanas. Repeat with remaining bread and sultanas.

Step 3

Pour egg mixture over bread. Sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden and set. Serve with ice-cream.

I followed the recipe to the letter and it worked very well. They only thing I did that wasn’t mentioned in the recipe is heat the butter slightly in a microwave, then again that wouldn’t be necessary if it wasn’t so darn cold. I also used salted butter rather than unsalted butter, as it enhances the flavour of the pudding, and fruit toast crusts rather than white bread, purely because that’s what needed using up. 

Here is the link: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/bread-butter-pudding-7/9d7ab7b6-95ba-4fc4-ac3d-5500c882480b