Berry Coffee Cake

berry coffee cake

berry coffee cake

Who doesn’t like coffee cake? It’s good for breakfast, snack, dessert; basically whenever you’d drink coffee. But I was craving a coffee cake with a little difference. The recipe I found included blueberries, but my inspiration took me to add assorted berries for color and flavor. The batter turned a swirling purple color that I enjoyed. Don’t be scared; it gets muted during baking.

The recipe I looked to wasn’t vegan so I got the opportunity to try a different egg substitute – the chia egg. It’s made by adding ground chia seeds to warm water and letting it sit for 10-20 minutes to thicken. The result is gummier than flax eggs, so I can see recipes where it would be a problem but not this one. More substitutes were swapping butter and yogurt for non-dairy versions. For high altitude I reduced the baking powder and added non-dairy milk. So, grab a cuppa joe and dig in.

Berry Coffee Cake adapted from Blueberry Coffee Cake
2 TBS ground chia seeds whisked with 6 TBS warm water
2 TBS plus 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, divided
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 TBS vegan margarine, cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup vegan sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup non-dairy plain yogurt
1/2 cup non-dairy blueberry yogurt
1 TBS non-dairy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups fresh or frozen, thawed and drained blueberries, divided
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8×8” cake pan. Prepare chia eggs by whisking ground chia seeds into a bowl of warm water. Set aside to gel. Put 2 TBS whole wheat pastry flour, brown sugar, margarine, cinnamon and cardamom in a bowl and mix together with a fork until well combined and mixture is in large clumps; set this streusel aside.
Put remaining 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, all purpose flour, vegan sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. In a bowl, whisk together yogurts, vanilla and chia eggs then pour into bowl with dry ingredients and stir until combined. Gently fold in 1 cup berries. Spoon batter into pan and sprinkle streusel over top. Scatter remaining 1 cup berries over streusel and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Once cooled, loosen edges of cake and transfer to a plate.

Until next time, happy baking!

Raspberry Chocolate Amy’s Cake

raspberry chocolate cake amysEvery once in a while I don’t really feel like baking. I want a decadent dessert that has my personal touch without my actually taking the effort to bake. So, what do I do? Semi-homemade to the rescue!

I don’t normally endorse any particular brands, but Amy’s Kitchen makes a frozen Chocolate Cake that is vegan (and gluten free). With a few ingredients that I usually have on hand, I can transform the cake into a Decadent Vegan Baker original without any high altitude fuss. I have brought this creation to parties and fooled everyone into thinking that I slaved all day in the kitchen.

Raspberry Chocolate Amy’s Cake
1 Amy’s Organic Chocolate Cake, defrosted
2 TBS seedless raspberry jam
3 oz dark chocolate
8-10 fresh raspberries
Take the defrosted cake out of the packaging and slice in half horizontally. Spread jam over the bottom half of the cake and top with the top half, like a jelly sandwich. Melt chocolate in a bowl over a double boiler. Pour the melted chocolate over the cake sandwich. Top with fresh raspberries.

Until next time, happy non-baking!

Carrot Cake with Icing

carrot cake

With spring comes … bunnies, and … carrots. With spring also comes carrot cake. And this carrot cake was such a delight to make because it turned out great the first time I adapted it. Even my chocoholic hubby came back for more. It’s light and fresh, just like spring, and its filled with good-for-you ingredients. If you don’t add the glaze it’s even refined-sugar free.

The first step in adapting this recipe for high altitude was to find a slightly smaller pan size to avoid a crater in the middle of my cake. The sparkling water was already in the ingredients as the egg substitute, and it helped keep the cake from crashing in the center. Next, I sifted the dry ingredients to incorporate more air and loft. Last, I reduced the baking soda. All of these actions made for a lighter than air cake which made me so happy as I had feared the carrots would weigh everything down.

So, without further ado, I give you:

Carrot Cake with Icing adapted from TheWholeServing.com
topping
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cups oats
cake
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup + 1.5 TBS all-purpose flour
scant tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 cups shredded carrots
1 tsp orange zest
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sparkling water
icing
1 cup powdered sugar
2 TBS almond milk
Preheat oven to 350 F and lightly grease a 10×10” pan. In a bowl combine brown sugar and oats for the topping. In a large bowl sift together flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Place carrots and orange zest on top of dry ingredients in bowl. In another bowl whisk together milk, maple syrup, vanilla and oil. Mix in sparkling water. Gently fold wet ingredients into dry and mix until well combined.
Transfer mixture to baking pan and spread evenly in pan. Sprinkle topping over surface of the batter. Bake for 26 to 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For the icing, mix together powdered sugar and milk until well combined. When cake has cooled, drizzle glaze over cake. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Until next time, happy baking!

Valentine’s Day and Chocolate Musings

chocolate strawberries

Image courtesy of Lindsey Turner at flickr.com

Ah, Valentine’s Day and the smell of chocolate is in the air. A traditional holiday treat is truffles and I often make them this time of year. But they aren’t baked and this IS a blog about baking. Fortunately, most of my recipe posts contain chocolate so any would be fantastic for the Holiday of Love. Red Velvet Cupcakes are a winner, as well as Chocolate Mousse Pie, although I would take a simple chocolate strawberry. Both of these ingredients are considered aphrodisiacs so they are right on the mark.

My goal has been to try and find healthier recipes to bake this year. The chocolate covered strawberries alluded to above aren’t baked, but they can be eaten alongside a healthy cookie and still fall into the “healthier” category. They also have the all important ingredient of chocolate that my husband demands to be in all desserts. (He took last week’s healthy Tahini Oat Cookies and dipped the last few in chocolate just as an experiment.)

I would like to know if you, dear reader and baked treat lover, have any recipes you would like me to experiment with to make healthier. They don’t need to contain chocolate but if they do they will get eaten faster at my house. Is there a baked good that you want to see me adapt?

Candy Cane Chocolate Cake

candy cane chocolate cakeI have been craving the combination of chocolate and peppermint for weeks. I have also been dying to try baking with the vegan egg substitute called Aquafaba (more on that in a few days). There was a recipe I found a few months ago that used Aquafaba in a chocolate cake. I offered to high altitude it to get my sweets fix, but I swapped out a peppermint frosting to make the lovely holiday pairing of peppermint and chocolate.

The original recipe was gluten-free, but I thought I’d tackle Aquafaba solo in order to test how it works. Maybe I’ll try the cake gluten-free when I feel like wrestling that type of baking. Besides changing the flour, I added flour and liquids for high altitude. The interesting thing I discovered was that the batter seemed thicker like a traditional batter with eggs. The cake was moist and tasty and fantastic with the frosting.

The fire was roaring as I completed the cake so I thought it would be a nice setting for a picture. I learned that fire and frosting don’t play well together. Melted or not, it still tasted great.

The Coconut Sugar and Cacao Powder were provided to me by Navitas Naturals to test in my kitchen. I am not paid to use their products or endorse them.

Candy Cane Chocolate Cake adapted from the Plant Strong Vegan
Cake
6 TBS chickpea liquid (Aquafaba)
2 TBS ground flaxseeds
¾ cup + 1 TBS soymilk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup + 1 TBS all-purpose flour
1 cup Navitas Naturals Coconut Sugar
⅓ cup Navitas Naturals Cacao Powder
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
¼ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
Frosting
8 oz. vegan cream cheese
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
crushed candy canes for garnish
Preheat oven to 325F. Lightly grease and dust with cacao powder a 8×8” pan. In a bowl whisk together Aquafaba and ground flaxseeds. Let sit for 10 minutes. In another bowl whisk together soymilk and apple cider vinegar. Let sit for 10 minutes.
In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, cacao powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk until well combined. Add wet ingredients (coconut oil, vanilla extract, milk + apple cider vinegar, Aquafaba + flax) into dry and whisk until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake on center rack for 40 minutes, or when a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean with sides of the cake pulling away from pan. Remove cake from oven and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.
While cake is cooling, prepare frosting by stirring all ingredients together until smooth. Let chill until needed. Turn cooled cake out onto a cake plate. Frost and garnish. Store leftovers in an air-tight container, in fridge, for up to 4 days.

Until next time, happy baking!

Crumb Coat for Easy Cake Decorating

Crumb coat

Image courtesy of Cooking Cinderella at flickr.com

Many years ago, when I first ventured into “specialty” baking, I was given the gift of classes on cake decorating. At the time I was baking mostly cookies and brownies and wasn’t sure what I would do with the knowledge, but I knew I would have fun. I learned how to use frosting to make a basket-weave, flowers and leaves. It was pretty but didn’t seem very useful for a home baker. Until I learned some tricks.

I learned to stand a tipped decorating bag in a tall glass while you are filling it – it’s like an extra hand when yours are already busy. Another idea was to use icing as glue to cement the cake to a board so it won’t move in transport. I found out that a turning stand makes it easier to decorate a cake. A great tip was to flip the top layer of a layer cake over so you have a flat surface to frost. But my favorite trick was the crumb coat.

A crumb coat will make the surface of your meticulously decorated cake look beautiful. To crumb coat a cake you take some of your icing and thin it with water. It should be thinner than usual but not enough to tear the cake as you apply it. Spread this icing to make a thin layer on the entire exposed cake surface.

Don’t worry if there are crumbs in the icing, this is expected. The icing layer is so thin that you will see the cake and crumbs. Smooth the icing as best as you can and let it dry. The crumb coat needs to be dry to the touch before you put the final layer of icing on. Once the crumb coat is completely dry, you are ready to continue icing and decorating.”

The crumb coat creates a barrier to hold crumbs down so your final icing will be smooth and crumb-free. This is especially important if you are frosting a chocolate cake with white icing. Even with white icing on a white cake you don’t want to have cake bits floating around in your decorations. It may seem like it takes unnecessary extra time, but it is so worth it. It helps make any cake into the perfect cake.

Audrey’s Naked Chocolate Cake

Audrey's Naked Chocolate CakeThis baking experience began as a friend’s Facebook post. She showed a photo of a Naked Chocolate Cake and I took that as a challenge to make it high altitude and vegan. I enjoy a challenge, and it looked yummy. Also, I had some new cake pans that I needed to test.

To make the cake at altitude, I added flour and milk and reduced the baking powder. To take into account the short, layer-cake pans, I sliced the strawberries so they wouldn’t topple the cake. I baked at a lower temperature for a shorter time. And, with the small layers, I tried one to see if the cake came out. This will make four layers, or three layers and a snack.

The original recipe called for homemade whipped cream. I couldn’t achieve a thick enough cream to hold up the cake without using coconut cream, which I don’t like, so I used the vegan stuff in a can. I made up for it by making my own chocolate syrup. Feel free to use store-bought syrup, or you can make your own, too.

Audrey’s Naked Chocolate Cake adapted from The Food Network
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup vanilla soy yogurt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup + 1 TBS whole wheat flour
1 cup + 1 TBS all-purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup + 1 TBS soy milk
1 cup chopped semisweet chocolate
1/2 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
1/2 pint raspberries
whipped cream
chocolate syrup (recipe to follow)
Preheat oven to 325 F and spray four round, mini layer-cake cake pans. Pour coconut oil into a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Add in brown sugar, applesauce, yogurt and vanilla extract, and mix until combined. In a separate bowl sift together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.
With mixer on low, slowly add a third of the dry ingredients into the applesauce mixture, alternating with milk. Keep alternating until dry ingredients and milk are gone. Remove bowl from stand mixer and fold in chopped chocolate by hand. Divide batter between cake pans. Bake for 17 to 19 minutes or until an inserted toothpick is removed clean. Cool cakes in pans for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack.
To assemble, place a cooled layer of cake on a cake plate and cover in whipped cream and some chocolate syrup. Take fruit and spread it on cake out to the edges. Pay attention to how you place fruit on the edge so it looks nice and doesn’t fall out. Once cake is covered in fruit, place next layer of cake on top. Fill in with whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and fruit. Place final layer of cake on top. Place a mound of whipped cream and fruit on top. Drizzle chocolate sauce over the cake and chill.
Chocolate Syrup
1 cup dates, sliced
water
2 TBS cocoa powder
Place dates in a bowl with water to cover. Soak for 5 minutes. Put dates and their soaking water in a high speed blender. Add cocoa powder and blend until a syrup forms. Add extra water as needed. You will probably have some leftover, but that’s not a bad thing.

Until next time, happy baking!