Happy Anniversary: Vegan Carrot Cake

Four years has passes since that chilly November morning in Lower Manhattan when we said I do. We have a house, a two-year old daughter and our marriage is legal in all 50 states. Those three things felt like they were so far away from happening in that moment but here we are.

img_2055Our wedding day was as much about food as it was about the whole legally binding contract we were entering. We had lunch at the Cinnamon Snail Food truck, rehearsal dinner at Candle 79, reception at Blossom Cafe in Chelsea, and lunch at Loving Hut NYC to name a few. We hit all of the important NYC vegan food we could possible fit in! As irony would have it, we were married atop the Irish Hunger Memorial. Our amazing friend B.B. made sure we had a delicious vegan cake to celebrate the day from Erin McKenna’s Bakery (formerly Baby Cakes). We chose carrot cake with cinnamon icing.

 

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My awesome wedding cake with our Day of the Dead Dolls. 

This year I decided to attempt to recreate our wedding cake. I had never attempted a carrot cake or a cinnamon icing. I think I have always steered away from a carrot cake because of all of the carrot prep work seems like a lot…the peeling, the shredding…heh. Turns out I am ridiculous and can peel and shred a carrot like a boss.

But….WHY ARE ALL OF THE RECIPES GLUTEN FREE? I am not gluten intolerant (real or imagined). Also, I am not a huge fan of apple sauce in baking so I generally try to find a recipe that doesn’t call for applesauce. But…Minimalist Baker is my go to vegan baking guru so I used their…

1-BOWL VEGAN GLUTEN-FREE CARROT CAKE

  • 3 flax eggs (3 Tbsp flaxseed meal + 7 ½ Tbsp water)
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) melted coconut oil* (or sub other neutral oil)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup
  • 1 scant cup (~235 g) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup (110 g) organic brown sugar* (or sub coconut sugar)
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) cane sugar* (or sub coconut sugar)
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 – 1 cup (180-240 ml) plain unsweetened almond milk* (or other non-dairy unsweetened milk)
  • 1 1 /2 cups (~165 g) loosely packed grated carrot
  • 3 Cups of All-Purpose Flour (my choice instead of gluten free)
  • 3/4 cup (87 g) chopped raw walnuts* (if preferred, omit, or sub 1/2 cup (70 g) raisins)

You can find the directions here.

For the icing I chose to make a plain cream cheese icing because I had one shot to do this before my wife came home from work…

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick ) vegan butter, softened to room temperature (such as Earth Balance | butter sticks are best, not the spreadable tub)
  • 1 8-ounce container vegan cream cheese, slightly softened (such as Tofutti or Trader Joe’s brand // out of the fridge for 1 hour)
  • 3 – 5 cups (300-500 g) sifted organic powdered sugar

My icing broke…I think because the vegan cream cheese was too soft and possibly b/c I mixed too long. But a broken icing is still a tasty icing…

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Wicked Craving Wednesday: Onion Rings

012Wicked Craving Wednesday is back this week with a new recipe!  Once Lisa mentions a food more than once I know that it’s not just a passing whimsy and that the food needs to happen.  Onion rings made their way in to conversation more than one time last week.  Not just any onion rings but some delicious homemade baked onion rings by Oh She Glows.

Oh She Glows is one of my favorite websites for vegan recipes (I think I say that about them all but seriously, she has good stuff).  You can pretty much find any recipe you want on her website.  She’s also 32 weeks pregnant and sharing her journey on her blog.

I made this recipe two years ago but haven’t made it since…I can not think of a reason why except we just weren’t in the mood for onion rings…But now the onion rings call her name so I answered the call. Making onion rings also means a date with a BBQ tofu sandwich so I’ll also share an amazing BBQ sauce with you.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 2/3 cup flour of choice
  • 2/3 cup + 1 tbsp vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch (or arrowroot flour)
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (you can make your own bread crumbs by toasting slices of bread and then crumbling in the food processor)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional, but recommended)
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1-2 tbsp black sesame seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried herbs (I used 1tsp each basil & oregano)

 Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking oil. Slice onion into rings, 3/4 inch in width (larger than shown in pictures as I made mine too thin), and reserve about 15-22 or so, wrapping up the leftovers for another use.

2. In a shallow dish, whisk together the batter ingredients (flour, broth, cornstarch).

3. In another shallow dish, whisk together the coating ingredients (cornmeal, breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, salt, sesame seeds, garlic powder, and herbs).

4. With a fork, dip an onion ring into the batter, coating all sides. Now transfer it to the coating mixture and toss it around a bit. Use a clean & dry hand to scoop up coating and sprinkle it all over the ring. If at any time your hands get sticky or coated, simply rinse and dry before starting again. Place onion rings on prepared baking sheets and repeat for the rest. Don’t worry if things get messy or they don’t coat “perfectly”…just consider them rustic and call it a day! You will have coating leftover that isn’t used up.

5. Bake for about 18 minutes at 425F, flipping once after 10 minutes. You can broil them for a minute or two at the end to brown. Serve with your favourite dip or ketchup. These are best served immediately.

NOTES: None – I make this recipe per her directions and it comes out wonderfully!

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Having a good sandwich with your onion rings is essential! One our favorites is a BBQ Tofu Sandwich!  We start with a BBQ sauce that I found a few years back on LunchBoxBunch.com.  It’s a great on Gardein chicken strips, french fries, tempeh, etc…

Kathy’s Smoky, Sticky, Sweet BBQ Sauce
vegan, makes about 1 1/2 cups

4 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp Black strap Molasses
2 1/2 Tbsp agave syrup
1 tsp lime or lemon juice
2 tsp Liquid Smoke (Have never put in liquid smoke)
*I like Colgin brand. It says it’s vegan on the bottle
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp spicy mustard
2 tsp soy sauce
3 tbsp organic tomato paste (I typically use tomato sauce)
1 1/2 Tbsp Arrowroot Powder
*thickens the sauce like corn starch
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper (I use about 1/4 tsp, 1 tsp is too much for me)
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp ketchup
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cayenne (adjust for heat) (I put like a pinch 1/4 tsp of cayenne is A LOT!)

Click on the link above for directions but I always just put all of the ingredients in the Blender Ball and shake!

Don’t be scared to bake tofu or even pan fry it!  The most important thing to remember is to drain your tofu and then squeeze the water out.  I like to slice the tofu into thin rectangles.  We bake our tofu in the oven for around 30-45 minutes on 350 degrees.  You can lightly grease your pan with coconut oil or non stick spray.  Brush the tofu with BBQ sauce and bake.  Remembering to turn midway through baking to insure the tofu cooks evenly.  Apply more BBQ as needed!

Pile your tofu on the bread of your choice with some tomatoes, lettuce, and Veganaise – AND if you really want to kick up your sandwich a notch add some vegan cole slaw and one onion ring to your sandwich…you WON’T be disappointed!
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Wicked Craving Wednesday: Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

It’s time to introduce a new blog feature – Wicked Craving Wednesday!  Lisa is kind of a health nut when it comes to food.  She has always been the one to ensure that we were getting the nutrition we needed – Mostly making sure I wasn’t eating a bunch of crap even if it was vegan crap.  Pregnancy has, unfortunately, caused her to be turned off by some of the stronger flavors she has always eaten and drank (blech!). Pregnancy has also brought on some cravings…And there is one thing I know from my years of watching rom-coms and endless hours of sitcoms, when a pregnant woman is having a craving, it is not a joke.  It is not to be taken lightly. Nothing is too weird nor too difficult to make!  This week Lisa has mentioned cinnamon rolls several times.  So tonight I made some vegan cinnamon rolls!

This particular  recipe came from the Minimalist Baker website!  One of my regular go-to websites for vegan baking recipes!
THE WORLD’S EASIEST CINNAMON ROLLS
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 packet instant yeast
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup Earth balance (vegan butter), divided
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp sugar, divided
As for the instructions, go to the Minimalist Baker website at this link. Baking really is all about the science and measurements so be sure to follow the directions!  This recipe is easy to make even for a novice cinnamon roll baker like myself.
TIP: Mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl then sprinkle over your dough.  This way you have a nice coverage over your entire dough.
NOTE: One thing I noticed is that they don’t account for the hour the dough needs to sit in the overall timing so you’re looking at about 2 hours from start to finish not 55 mins.   Don’t worry there are plenty of things to do while you’re waiting on your dough to rise like catching up on Pretty Little Liars, paying that toll ticket you couldn’t find online but now get a nasty gram about, a load of laundry, dance party…the time will pass quickly.
ICING RECIPE:  You can use the same icing that was used on the pop tarts on top of your cinnamon rolls!  It’s super easy!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1-2 Tablespoon Almond Milk (or other non-dairy milk)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Mix together in a bowl. (So easy!)

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Pregnant Lady Verdict:  “Because I’m happy” (sung to the tune of Happy by Pharrell Williams) – Pregnant Lady Approved!