Sunday, January 22, 2012

Vegan Baking

In Holland it is traditional to celebrate your birthday by treating others to cake, tart, borrel, or dinner. For example, on your birthday you bring in something like vlaai, appeltaart, or cake (usually purchased from the baker) for your co-workers. I always bring in homemade cake, quickbread, and/or cheesecake.

One of my colleagues is vegan, and doesn't  normally get to enjoy the treats people bring in, so I went hunting for some recipes that would work for him too. I started with the basics—banana bread and chocolate cake.

Vegan Banana Bread
Adapted from PostPunk's Banana Bread by substituting oil for margarine, reducing the white sugar, and adding ginger.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat or spelt flour 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons oil
6 tablespoons soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 very ripe bananas, mashed
6-8 pecans (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to  350F/180C. Grease and flour an 8×4 bread pan (use oil or margarine, not butter!) 
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  3. Mix the sugars, liquid ingredients, and mashed bananas. I puréed the liquid ingredients because I don't like chunks of banana in the resulting cake.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing just enough to moisten everything. 
  5. Pour the batter into the pan, garnish with pecans (if using). 
  6. Bake for aproximately 45 minutes.

Vegan Cocoa Cake
Adapted from The Essential New York Times Cookbook, Amazon Cake

This is a very easy, everyday cake. 

1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold coffee or water
5 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
icing sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Line the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the liquid ingredients together. (I dissolved 4 teaspoons of espresso powder into a cup of cold water.) 
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients and mix well so that there are no lumps.
  5. Pour into the greased cake pan and bake for 35-45 minutes. 
  6. After 10 minutes, carefully turn the cake out onto a cooling rack, peel off the parchment paper, and flip onto another cooling rack or a plate.
  7. Just before serving, sieve some icing sugar over the cake. (Use a paper doily or other cut out to produce a pattern.)

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