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I essentially made her the cake I secretly hoped someone would make for me someday (but shh, it works here, too).
I made a half recipe of a cake I found online here, sliced it into 4 rectangles and sandwiched them with a full recipe of the Vegan Cupcakes take over the World chocolate mousse recipe, but with a bunch of wasabi and ginger added, yes!
Top it with some pretty kiwis and champagne grapes and white pearls and call it an ideal job. Just about exactly what I was aiming for – it’s elegant and spicy and rich. If I did it again I might add some cashew cream layers, or some strawberry jam, but really it’s perfect just the way it is right here. Roomie even professed to get a wasabi high off the mousse! Ha ha, couldn’t ask for more.
Black Sesame Cake
(from Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert (veganized), via Dessert First)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup soy yogurt
3 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup canola oil*
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup soymilk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup toasted black sesame seeds
– Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a cake tin and dust flour inside it. Set aside.
– Add the vinegar to the soymilk and set aside to curdle.
– Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
– In a large bowl, beat together the soygurt, sesame oil, vanilla, canola oil, and sugar until it’s smooth and caramell-y, about 2-3 minutes with a whisk.
– Add 1/3 of the flour to the liquid ingredients and stir to combine. Add half the curdled soymilk and stir. Add another 1/3 of the flour (stir), then the rest of the milk (stir), then the last of the flour (stir). Make sure not to overwork the batter, but it should be smooth and pourable.
– Pour into the greased cake tin and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is glossy, firm and golden, and a toothpick/knife inserted comes out clean. Let it cool for about 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack, then let it cool completely before frosting.
* the original recipe called for butter, and you would probably get spectacular results with Earth Balance, I just didn’t have enough this time. Follow the recipe the same, but cream the margarine with the sugar with an electric mixer until it’s really white and fluffy, before adding the other liquid ingredients.
Wasabi Ginger Chocolate Mousse
(adapted from Vegan Cupcakes take over the World)
12 oz. package of medium firm tofu, drained
1/4 cup soy milk
2 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
1 tbsp wasabi paste (or more ;)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ginger powder
8 oz. chocolate chips (or higher quality chocolate if you’d like)
pinch of salt
– Bring a pot of water to a boil, then gently add your tofu, lower the heat and let it simmer for about 4-5 minutes. Drain carefully and let it cool.
– Once cooled, put the tofu, syrup, wasabi, vanilla and ginger in a blender and blend it until it’s completely smooth.
– Melt the chocolate carefully in the microwave then add it to the blender and whip everything together. Add salt if you like salt (I do), then stash it in the fridge for at least an hour to become firm enough to work with. Ice your cake!
So if my blog tags are any indication at all (and amusingly, they often are), I’m more than a little mad for blueberries. Dunno why exactly… it could be the bursting qualities… or the way they’re so purple and freeze perfectly and are also called starberries? And when you stick them in things people go “oooooooh” without fail, it’s kind of funny!
2/3 cup blueberries
1/4 cup water + 1 tbsp
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp fresh minced basil
cracked black pepper
4 oz. snap peas, strings removed
1/2 cup green peas
1/2 cup milk or cream
1 tsp melted buttery spread
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
– Bring a pot of lightly salted water to boil. Blanche the snap peas for 30 seconds, then rinse in cold water. Do the same with the green peas, until they’re tender (2-3 minutes maybe).
– In a blender, combine the cooled peas with the milk, butter, and cornstarch, and blend until pretty smooth. Move to a mixing bowl.
– Sift in the dry ingredients and gently fold until totally incorporated (shouldn’t take much effort)
– Melt a bit of buttery spread in a nonstick and fry thin little 2″ pancakes until golden brown on both sides. Serve warm with a bit of blueberry sauce and some basil leaves on top.
1/2 cup soygurt
2/3 cup strongly brewed green tea with 10-12 fresh mint leaves in it (strained, of course)
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3 tsp matcha soymilk powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
– Preheat oven to 350 and line an 8″ cake tin with nonstick spray and parchment paper.
– In a large mixing bowl combine the soygurt, tea, extracts, and oil
– Sift together the dry ingredients, then slowly add it to the wet bowl in installments, gently folding with a whisk until it’s smooth.
– Pour into cake pan and bake for 35-42 minutes (my oven is really slow, so take these times as approximations). A toothpick should come out clean, and the top should be glossy and flat.
– Let it cool almost completely before turning it onto a parchment lined cooling rack. Once cool, cut it carefully into 2 layers, and soak each layer (as you construct your moussey cake) with Mint Syrup.
2/3 cups strong Morrocan mint tea (made the same as before)
1/3 cup sugar
some extra mint leaves if you want
– Bring everything to a boil in a tiny saucepan over medium heat and let it bubble until it’s reduced slightly and thicked. Cool completely before spooning over your cake layers.
(it all tastes of exotic and meltaway sweet sand and herbs….. very very very – needless to say – delicious)
Oooh, and unfortunately there’s no slice picture, but I made a red velvet cake!! It was a bit of a talent exchange and I got a professional (shi-shi, layered and subtle!) haircut from a friend of mine who adores southern stuff. I even put mint on it, a la Paula Deen. Oh, and the recipe was of course from Vegan Cupcakes and OMG this frosting if you haven’t made it yet MAKE IT it’s all whippy like creamy and dangerously low-sweet and HIDE THE SPOONS. O_O!
Right, and finally, this is definitely the result of my new love affair with my wonderful freezer. Never could have concocted something so specific without being able to freeze tiny bits of things throughout my cooking. The whole door is filled with single cookies, 1/4 cups of icing, cake shavings, and other fun detritous I collect, mwahaha. For this little cake that I made for a dinner on friday, I started with a disc of leftover Brooklyn Brownie cupcake (the recipe really does make a LOT of extra batter). Then I made a base cheesecake cream in the blender, divided that into two and stuffed one with melted chocolate and the other with peanut butter. I layered and baked that at 350 for 45 minutes, then I made a quick chocolate agar-gel for the top and was really really pleased with myself for rocking agar finally. And then! Crushed-up peanut butter cookies for the sides. You know the awesome kind that are essentially just peanut butter and sugar? Yeah, those kind. And I almost forgot – star dollops of leftover chocolate cupcake frosting! PIMPED. OUT.
Ahhhh! So cute! They’re like koala bears! Except s’more flavoured! Mini-sizing these was SO perfect, it made them actually s’more sized. And unlike last time (of which we speak nothing and try maybe to forget the day-glo blue frosting on essentially my first batch of cupcakes ever), my painting class loved them! I only had three to take home from the critique, which I gladly invited to my belly. Oh, and I even put a bit of caramel syrup in the frosting for that burnt sugar thing, plus did I mention the grahams were homemade? Anyway, my teacher looked one moment at the tray I put on the table and declared my paintings A-worthy, sight unseen. Ha!
I was also blown away by this spicy rutabaga fava bean soup recipe from Tofu for Two. It’s so bloody tasty, I had it for breakfast, snack, dessert, hot, cold, with harissa yogurt, with pomegranate arils, with basil, and now it is gone and I am sad. I’m such a sucker for pureed soups, especially ones that taste like fanciness and comfort at the same time. And fava. Fava is specially good.
I lost my camera cord! And I lost the internet due to crazy summer storms and their ease at destroying routers! So I’m sitting on a lot of pictures… will you bear with me? I have forgotten which are worthy of blogation, but I assure you, most 94% of it was delicious. Highly chewable. Well… I guess you can’t chew jam. But doesn’t it look pretty? Lame peaches became perfect ice cream topping, even though I pouted and danced all the while my mom made this, because I wanted to eat them raw. But I’m an annoying daughter like that. Yep. :D
And I invented a pizza! Which I would bet anything has actually been done before, but if you get the chance, you MUST try making a batch of samosa potatoes and laying it over pizza on a bed of pureed pineapple. It’s my new absolute favourite.
Oh, and speaking of pizza, I’ve been introduced to Ottawa’s gourmet pizzeria, Pavarazzi’s. It sounds so much like paparazzi!! Paparpizza? They have good taste in vegetarian toppings, though. No lame soggy mushrooms/green pepper combos. Sesames and roasted red peppers, artichokes and olives are the standard. Good show!
**note: I avoided the cheese bits encroaching on my nice side like the absolute plague, and am I the only vegan who takes pleasure in an increasing dislike for the smell/accidental taste of animal products? Cause cheese kind of tastes like fermented fluuuuuuuid to me now. *cough*
Appetizing! You can keep your squishy olives, sis!
Speaking of good taste (haha) and vegetarian accommodations, mum and me broke out this cast-iron grill pan that magically appeared in the pantry sometime between this visit and my last to grill up everything in sight, and some fennel besides. I also get to take the pan home! (vcon grilled tempeh tacos, here we come!). Simple dinner, yes, but I was raised on the good art of arranging a sandwich spread, and forgive me for my stereotypical tastes, but I SO do love a grilled vegetable. I think I ate 3 dinners worth of food here. It was worth it for the rosemary bread. The rosemary bread that was made of olive oil. Droolular.
Bit o’ baking. Ever tried a flapjack? I um…. hadn’t. But I was mad curious, I mean – golden syrup, margarine and oats, plus major associations to my UK heritage, I had to at least try. I succeeded at making floppy oat chews? The fat content alone is scaring me away from attempting this again… but if anyone else wants to try, I CAN highly recommend adding some lemon or lime juice to the mix, cause it makes it all lip-smacking more-ish. Too bad about the melty texture, though…
As will peach right side-up cupcakes with toasted candied almond slivers on top (I should think). Which are perfect from the fridge, cold… teeth sinking through the cold fruity layer to moist almond-y crumbs…. acklejackarggggg…. s’good. I got the coveted “vegan baked goods are soooo much better than normal baked goods” comment from not one, but three separate eaters of cake. Suke-sess!
To make thine own, take one pineapple rightside-up cupcakes recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, replace fruit with appropriate fruit, add almond extract, and enjoooyyyyy. With joy! Man, I love that book, it should be renamed the Little Vegan Cake-Creation Sourcebook.
More to come in part 2!
So it’s been 10 days, and I was all going to post this picture and be like, “well, dinners like this are pretty much the reason I haven’t had anything blogworthy to mention all week. Simple and summery and involving a lot of corn, nothing terribly new.” But then I realized I was sitting on a whole bunch of pretty photos! (It’s funny, I also swear I’ve been living off of miso soup, but it’s so perfect for end-of-term eating – quick and cheap and energy-giving for late-night drawing sessions).
Okay, okay… so at the beginning of last week I thought I’d recreate that magically fermenting sesame slaw I made before, to much success. And I managed to get a photo of it before all the colours bled and muted out, too! (and like my new bowls? I so do!)
And Pomme surprised me with freaking spring rolls! It was in thanks for her birthday dinner, and they’re pretty much my favourite food ever, I ated so many of these it’s a wonder I didn’t roll around myself afterwards, but they were sooooo good, with mango and red pepper inside and peanut dipping sauce, egads. I even bought a thing of brown rice vermicelli to make them even healthier the next time I make them (and thus even more like a perfect food).
I love summer and farmers’ markets! A big basket of random sumptuous berry-things! Plus ground cherries, teeny grapes, figs, flowers and tart little red dots-on-the-vine, all for $5. I made the oatmeal of kings from this basket.
I also made pretty awesome vanilla-vanilla cupcakes for my drawing group, ’cause waking up early on saturday to go downtown and muck around with pencils is just that much more enjoyable with frosting. :)
I love how R on the left spontaneously drew a garden, with a mole in it and everything, and a Mr. Potato head! He couldn’t remember what radish leaves looked like, and I so knew exactly, having just eaten a salad of them the night before… so houray for the new kids knowing about their foodstuffs (there were discussions on the relative frumpiness of potato leaves and how appropriate that is to their taste, hehe).
And uh… I ran out of li hing mui yesterday, so I went to chinatown and picked some up for 85 cents….. and then totally couldn’t resist buying a wack more goodies, cause that place is pretty much like my idea of culinary disneyland. This was all under $20, too! Clockwise from the left is some wakame, black rice, abalone flavoured wheat gluten in a can (can’t wait to try that one!), yuba/dried tofu skin, cornstarch, brown rice vermicelli, regular rice vermicelli, mangoes, a mysterious package of some sort of pickled vegetable for 10 cents, wonton wrappers, assorted sesame/peanut/cashew brittles, sweet pickled radish, really cheap tofu, bean sprouts, and (of course!) the li hing mui that started this whole debacle.
I had to HAD TO experiment with that yuba, so stir fry it was, and WOW is all I can say – I love this stuff! It’s so chewy and soaks up sauce like a chewy soyfood of long-pantry life and pure awesome! And for the record… pickled turnips are delicious but pretty much 92% salt, so serve with caution (or at least a lot of water).
And is this related? Oh, I dunno. Girls and bugs living in symbiotic vegan harmony sounds okay to mention! And plus one-shot zines are super cute and everyone should try their hand at making one, be it full of manifestos, sketches, goth poetry, bread recipes, or like… everything in your apartment listed alphabetically.
That, plus walking around across the city and back all day today made me totally and completely go into SANDWICH MODE. Gallery-hopping is fun but hunger-inducing, and I even took some extra detours to get the perfect soft baguette-bread to make the Vcon cornmeal-crusted tofu Po’boy and it was SO worth it. What a perfect damn sandwich, I mean seriously. Dude. DUUUUUUDE. Anything involving chipotle mayo has to be good, but this was a major synthesis of happy components making perfect lunch science in my mouth. Making this again! With even more mayo! Bwahahahahaha. So evil, yet so delicious…
I also hope next week is similarly uneventful so I’ll have nothing to post about again.
I’m thinking of making bread with sprouted wheat berries soon!