Sunday, July 20, 2014

Lemon Raspberry Cake

I am going to stick with the cake theme for a bit to show you a few variations that are sure to please everyone.  The lemon juice and baking soda action gives this cake a nice rise and a wonderful crumb.  The zing of the lemon with the tartness of the raspberries and the sweetness of the frosting are absolutely perfect.  I made this with jam I had made just the day before from the raspberry canes in our  yard.  Summer perfection!

INGREDIENTS
- 150g cake flour

- 150g all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cup plain soy milk
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

- 2 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp canola oil
- 1 tbsp lemon liqueur (i.e. Limoncello), or 2 tsp vanilla extract and 1 tsp lemon extract


- 1 cup raspberry jam (preferably homemade)
- fresh raspberries for garnish
- lemon buttercream (recipe follows)

METHOD
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, or 325 convection
1. Grease two 8 inch round cake pans.  Cut out two circles of parchment paper to fit in the bottom of the pans.  Put the parchment papers in the bottom of the pans and grease it.  Flour both pans.
2. Sift flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk soy milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest.  Add remaining ingredients and whisk well to blend.
3. Add dry ingredients and gently whisk until blended and mostly smooth.
4. Divide batter evenly between the two pans.
5. Bake for 22-24 mins (convection), or 26-28 mins (non-convection), or until a toothpick comes out clean and cakes are golden.
6. Cool on wire racks for 10 mins, loosen cake from edges of the pan, then flip the pans over the remove the cake.  Remove the parchment paper.  Cover the cakes with a lightly damp towel and let them fully cool.


Lemon Buttercream Frosting
INGREDIENTS
- 1/4 cup margarine, room temperature
- 1/4 vegetable shortening, room temperature
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon liqueur 
- soy milk as needed

METHOD
1. Blend together margarine and shortening with a hand blender until fluffy.  Add lemon juice and zest and blend until smooth.
2. Add icing sugar and blend until fluffy.  Add liqueur and blend more.  Add soy milk, if needed, to get the desired consistency.  

TO ASSEMBLE:
Cut each cake in half lengthwise and spread 1/3 cup of jam on each of the three internal layers.  Spread a very thin layer of icing over all the cake (i.e. a crumb coat) and place in the fridge to firm up.  Use the rest of the frosting to decorate the cake as you see fit.  There is not a ton of icing here--just enough for a thin layer and some fanciness on the edges.  No need to overpower this delicate cake with gobs of frosting.  Decorate with fresh berries.  Can stay in the fridge until ready to serve if it is a hot day. 


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Vanilla Cake

This is a basic vanilla cake recipe that is perfect for layered cakes of all kinds (a slight variation of my chocolate cake recipe).  I like the mix of cake flour and all purpose flour--it makes the cake durable but still moist and tender.  You can change the ratio to your liking.  The flour measurements are in grams because I have found that weighing flour is the best way to get consistent results every time.  I find that this cake bakes evenly and so no trimming is required to make a layered cake. 

If you missed my live posting on Facebook of the birthday cake I made for Son #3 yesterday, I have included pictures of it here.  It is the vanilla cake recipe posted here (obviously) with what can only be described as an obscene amount of frosting.  We rode the sugar high for hours!  The fondant recipe I used really did not work well (despite the look of the final product).  I will try to develop one for future cakes. 

INGREDIENTS
- 150g cake flour

- 150g all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cup plan soy milk
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp canola oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract

- 1/2 tsp almond extract

METHOD
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, or 325 convection
1. Grease two 8 inch round cake pans.  Cut out two circles of parchment paper to fit in the bottom of the pans.  Put the parchment papers in the bottom of the pans and grease it.  Flour both pans. 
2. Sift flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk soy milk and vinegar together.  Add remaining ingredients and whisk well to blend. 
3. Add dry ingredients and gently whisk until blended and mostly smooth.
4. Divide batter evenly between the two pans.
5. Bake for 22-24 mins (convection), or 26-28 mins (non-convection), or until a toothpick comes out clean and cakes are golden.
6. Cool on wire racks for 10 mins, loosen cake from edges of the pan, then flip the pans over the remove the cake.  Remove the parchment paper.  Cover the cakes with a damp towel and let them fully cool.



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer Trifle

This is a recipe born out of disaster.  The cake I baked for Vegan Daughter's birthday simply would not come out of the blasted Barbie shaped pan she wanted so badly.  I mangled it pretty badly and had to start again, but I tucked the disaster cake into the freezer rather than letting it go to waste.  So then I came up with this recipe.  Everything here is a rough guideline--put together whatever flavours and textures you want.  I included an easy pastry cream recipe, but if you want to use a vanilla bean then follow the method in this recipe. I like the combination of strawberries and raspberries in the sauce, but you can use whatever fruit is seasonal.  Or vanilla cake. As much as this is a "throw everything into a bowl" kind of recipe, it does take some planning unless you just happen to have extra cake lying around.  Finally, make sure everything is cold before you assemble the trifle.

COMPONENTS
- 3 cups cubed chocolate cake (a 1/2 recipe will do you with cake to spare)
- 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries (or more), tossed in 1 tbsp sugar
- pastry cream (recipe follows)
- whipped coconut cream (recipe follows)
- fruit sauce (recipe follows)

Easy Pastry Cream
INGREDIENTS
- 3/4 tsp agar powder 
- 1/2 cup sugar 
- 1/4 cup cornstarch 
- 1/8 tsp turmeric (optional)

- 3 cups plain soy milk (or other non dairy milk)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp margarine 

METHOD
1. Whisk together agar, sugar, cornstarch, and turmeric in a saucepan until well blended.  Slowly whisk in soy milk until well bended.
2. Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to bubbling, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.  Once bubbling, cook for two mins, stirring constantly.
3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract and margarine.  Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap with holes poked into it.  Refrigerate until completely cold.
4. Whisk the cold pastry cream until smooth before putting it into the trifle.

Whipped Coconut Cream
Either this recipe, or this recipe (I used the second one).

Fruit Sauce
INGREDIENTS
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1.5 tsp corn starch
- 1.5 cups sliced strawberries (or strawberries and raspberries mixed)

METHOD
1. Whisk sugar and cornstarch together in a sauce pan.  Add berries and bring the whole mixture to bubbling over medium heat.  Add a splash of water if necessary.  Gently mash the berries once cooked, if needed, to smooth out the sauce.
2. Place in fridge to completely cool down.

ASSEMBLY (in a glass bowl):
Basically, the idea is to layer pastry cream, fruit sauce, fresh fruit, cake, and whipped coconut cream.  There really is no wrong way to do it. I only have the coconut cream in the middle layer and on the top.  Remember to reserve some of the fruit to make a design on the top, and some of the fruit sauce to ring the bowl if so desired.  

Cover and place in the fridge to set for a few hours before serving.  

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcake


For me, shortcake is an essential summer staple.  You start the season with strawberries, then move on to blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and peaches.  You can leave the rhubarb out if you want (but might need to splash in a little more soy milk), but it does add some nice flavour.  Frozen rhubarb would work well here as well--just let it thaw a bit so you can chop it up.

INGREDIENTS
- 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 5 tbsp coconut oil
- 3/4 cup finely chopped rhubarb
- 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup non-dairy milk, plus more for brushing
- sugar for sprinkling

METHOD
1. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  Cut in coconut oil with knives or a pastry cutter.  Place bowl in the freezer to cool down the coconut oil.
2. Add the vinegar to a 1 cup measure (the kind that has markings for other measurements as well).  Fill to the 3/4 cup mark with non-dairy milk (almond works very well) and mix.  Place in the freezer as well.
3. Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
4. When the oven is almost heated, add chopped rhubarb to the dry ingredients, then mix the liquid ingredients in to make a wet dough.  Transfer to a floured surface, lightly flour top of dough, and press into a rectangle with your fingers.  Use a pastry scraper to fold like a letter.  Rotate 90 degrees and repeat.
5. Press/roll into a larger rectangle and cut into squares.  The size of the pieces, and the thickness of the dough, is up to you.  Transfer to the prepared baking sheet.  Brush with non-dairy milk and sprinkle with sugar.
6. Bake for 12-14 mins, or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Potato Buns

This is my second staple recipe for the summer (now that you have your roasted tofu): big, soft buns that you can pile whatever comes off the grill onto.  This is a variation on my Everyday Whole Wheat Bread, so watch that video if it helps.  Adding potato makes for nice soft bread, and if you use Yukon Gold or the like, they will add a nice golden colour to the buns.

INGREDIENTS
Soaker
- 18 fl oz warm soy milk
- 3 oz mashed potato (see note below*)
- 17 oz white bread flour
- 1 tbsp instant yeast

Dough
- 13 oz white bread flour
- 2.25 tsp salt
- 4.5 tbsp sugar
- 3 oz oil
- potato flour for dusting

METHOD
1. Make the soaker: Add the mashed potato to the warm soy milk and blend with an immersion blender until smooth.  Add to flour and yeast in a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until the flour is hydrated.  Cover the bowl and let rise for 1 hour.
2. Make the dough: Add the rest of the ingredients to the soaker and bring together into a soft, slightly tacky, dough.  Knead until smooth, adjusting flour or liquid as needed.  Shape dough into a ball and place into a oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled.
3. Divide the dough into 12 pieces.  Shape in boules, then press down the boules, seam side up, into a hockey puck shape. Place on a surface lightly floured with potato flour, mist with spray oil, and cover with a towel or plastic wrap.  Let rise until almost doubled, about 40 mins.
4.  Flip the buns over and gently press down with your fingertips to shape them back into hockey pucks.  Don't deflate the dough, just gently reshape it.  Mist with spray oil, dust with potato flour.  Slice the tops of the buns with a sharp knife, at least 1/3 of the way into the buns, and cover again.
5. Heat the oven to 400 degrees with one rack in the top third of the oven, once rack in the bottom third.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
6. When the buns have risen (about 20-30 mins) carefully transfer to the prepared baking sheets.  Bake for 8 mins, then rotate the pans and switch racks.  Bake for another 8 mins.  Cool on racks and enjoy!

*Note: I prefer to boil whole potatoes with the skin on so that the starch stays in the potato.  Skin and mash the potato when it is done.  If you are pressed for time, peel and cut the potato and boil it, but reduce the soy milk by an ounce.