A “Thank You” Cake, for All of You!

Dark Chocolate Brownie “Thank You” Cake, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

10000 views… I can’t believe that my tiny,  homemade, low key, experimental, and very much just for fun blog recently hit a phenomenal milestone: 10000 views!

I am still in a bit of disbelief about it all, to be quite honest and totally humbled, yet thrilled.

Although I can’t explain how I went from my very first posted to 10000 views in less than 6 months, I’m guessing that this is a sign that there are many of you out there who are looking for guidance, inspiration and help in transitioning to 100% plant-based eating and cooking, while at the same time staying within a reasonable budget.

I can only hope that at least some of you have found my recipes to be yummy, homey, inviting, creative, entertaining and pure fun, which is what this entire transition to vegan cooking has been for me. Thank you for joining me on this journey and for helping me along the way with your kind comments, suggestions and many, many engagements.

And… this being a vegan, plant-based, healthy cooking type of a blog I thought that it would be cool to say a huge “Thank You, All” with some cake. So, thanks everyone – I hope you enjoy this Dark Chocolate Brownie “Thank you!” Cake, and come back again for seconds!!!

The recipe is super simple and uses ripe bananas as an egg replacement, and lots of dark, Dutch process cocoa. It also uses a simple trick to transform almond milk into almond butter milk by adding a tiny amount of cider vinegar to almond milk and letting it stand for fifteen minutes at room temperature before using. Finally, to help the dark cocoa release its color you will need to use some hot water.

Putting all this together, you will start by mixing dry ingredients in a large mixer bowl separately from wet ingredients (all except water), combine them together and then add the hot water gradually as you mix, keeping a close eye on consistency. You want your batter to be smooth and fluid, but not completely liquid. The recipe below makes two 8 in (20 cm) round brownie cakes, or one 9 x 13 in (23 x 33 cm) rectangular cake. I recommend lining the bottom of your baking pan with some parchment paper, as this helps get the cake out. In principle you could bake this cake in a springform pan, and it should pop right out.

The cake tastes rich and decadent, yet it’s relatively light in terms of the ingredients and especially in terms of added sugar. The bananas help not only hold the cake together, but add natural sweetness to it, so you can use 1/3 amount of sugar that a cake of this size would normally use. Of course, you are not limited to sugar and can use a sweetener of your choice, including artificial sweeteners if that’s what you like or need to use.

Dark Chocolate Brownie “Thank You” Cake

What you’ll need:

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup cocoa, Dutch-processed

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup almond milk, unsweetened

3/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup canola oil

2 bananas, pretty ripe, brown ok

1/2 cup powdered sugar, vegan (+ 1 tablespoon for dusting)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup hot water

2 tablespoons coconut flakes, unsweetened (optional)

Zest of one orange (optional)

What you you’ll do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).
  2. Mix the almond milk with apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice) and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes. This will be your almond buttermilk.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of your standing mixer, combine all your dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder).
  4. In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients except the hot water. Note that powdered sugar and the bananas count as a wet ingredients. I recommend that you use a blender to cream your bananas, although you could simply mush them with a fork. Either way, make sure that your wet ingredients are fully mixed together and as smooth as possible.
  5. Next, slowly add your wet ingredients into the dry ones. For this, I keep my standing mixer runing on low, and pour the wet ingredients in, bit by bit.
  6. Let everything combine before adding the hot water. I recommend adding 1/4 cup water at a time, slowly so that you are in full control over the consistency of your batter. It should be smooth and pour out with ease.
  7. Line two 8 in (20 cm) round cake pans with parchment paper and pour the batter in.
  8. Put in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
  9. Take the cake out, flip it out of the pan, and leave it to cool for 1-2 hours.
  10. Cut into wedges and sprinkle with powdered sugar, coconut flakes and orange zest. Serve and enjoy!!!
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Saying “Thank You!” with a Cake, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Copyright ©Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

Spicy and Cheesy Corn Muffins

 

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Spicy and Cheesy Corn Muffins, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
Corn bread and corn muffins are a great way to enjoy freshly baked bread but without the agony of waiting for dough to rise and wondering whether the yeast is still alive. Corn bread and corn muffins are also very customizable – you can make them into a sweet tasting treat or you can add savory ingredients and make them into a complex tasting appetizers or breakfast items.These corn muffins are spicy, thanks to a good amount of fire roasted green chili peppers and vegan pepper Jack cheese. They also include a secret ingredient- pickles! Pickles add a bit of acidity and crunch to the muffins, pushing them over the edge of plain and into the area of edgy and fabulous.

What can you serve these with? Well, they go really well with a chili or a soup like the Bean & Leek Soup with Soy Chorizo, or Balkan Cabbage and Bean Stew. The muffins are somewhat similar to Balkan Style Cornbread but they do use green chilis and pickles whit gives them a very specific and spicy flavor. This means that they work well as appetizers, especially when paired with some guacamole. They are great for breakfast or a quick snack, and would complete any salad. They are best fresh from the oven, but should keep well for couple of days.

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Spicy, and oh, so cheesy, Corn Muffins, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Spicy and Cheesy Corn Muffins

What you’ll need:

1 1/2 cups yellow corn meal

1/2 cup corn starch

1 cup rice flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 pickles, finely chopped

4 oz (113 g) fire roasted diced green chiles

1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese, vegan

1 1/4 cup seltzer water

Cooking spray

What you’ll do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F (205 C).
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine all the ingredients except seltzer water and mix well.
  3. Add 1 cup of water and mix. Keep adding the last 1/4 cup gradually to make sure your batter is smooth but not runny. Let stand for 10 min.
  4. Spray the muffin tin with cooking spray and divide the batter into 12 even amounts.
  5. Place the muffins in the oven for 10 min, then lower the heat to 350 F (180 C) and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes.
  6. These corn muffins come out bright yellow and are ready to eat after you let stand and cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

 

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

Gluten-free Vegan Carrot Cake Muffins

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Gluten-free Vegan Carrot Cake Muffins, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
Baking does not come easy to me and gluten-free vegan baking is even more difficult. But, creating a recipe for carrot cake muffins that fits into my philosophy of vegan cooking with minimal amount of added sugar was hard to resist. This recipe is simple and uses simple ingredients like carrots, apples, walnuts, and raisins. It also uses couple of ingredients that make this gluten-free and vegan, like flex meal, rice flour, and tapioca starch.

The result is a recipe that is fun to make, and works well as a family activity that can teach very young children about measurements and mixing, as well as using some basic kitchen equipment. Because the recipe uses ingredients that don’t require cooking to be edible (like carrots, apples, raisins) and don’t pose any health risk, unlike common muffin recipes that use eggs, the recipe is very worry-free when it comes to licking the bowl and spatula, putting messy hands in the mouth, or other types of ad hoc tasting that young chefs gravitate to.

One tip for making this into a smooth sailing assembly line is to use the food processor to do most of the work, and start by chopping carrots, followed by apple, then move to walnuts. Additionally, starting the flex meal vegan egg mix prior to all the chopping is a good idea as well. Finally, the mix will be sticky so do spray your muffin tin liners with some cooking spray. It will help peel the wraps off, and has minimal impact on fat content or the baking process.

This recipe makes 12 large muffins, and each muffin is very filling so you may want to start here and scale up if you find the muffins irresistible (which you will!). Do these muffins need frosting? I don’t think so, but if you’d like some then a frosting with a hint of orange zest would work really well and build on a bit of orange juice that I use in the batter.

Gluten-free Vegan Carrot Cake Muffins

What you’ll need (makes 12 muffins):

3 large carrots

1 Granny Smith apple

2/3 cup walnuts

2/3 cup raisins

2/3 cup shredded coconut flakes, unsweetened

2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 cup rice flour

1/2 cup tapioca starch

2 tablespoons flex meal

6 tablespoons warm water

Cooking spray

What you’ll do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).
  2. Mix flax meal with warm water and set aside for 15 minutes.
  3. Wash and peel the carrots. Using a food processor grind the carrots to a fine grind. Put the ground carrots in a large mixing bowl. Core (but don’t peel) the apple. Grind it to a fine grind and add to the carrots. Next, grind walnuts to a fine meal. Add to carrots and apple mix.
  4. Add the flex meal that has by now become a very gooey and viscous to the carrot-apple-walnut mix. Continue to add the rest of the ingredients except the orange juice. Mix well and check for consistency. The mix should be soft and wet, but not so fluid that it runs from the spoon. Use orange juice to adjust and go easy as you may discover that you need to use more or less than 1/2 cup I list here. The total amount will depend a bit on how large and juicy your apple is!
  5. Leave the mix to rest for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Line the bottom of your muffin tin with liners and spray with cooking spray. Fill them with 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of the mix.
  7. Bake for 45-50 minutes then check for doneness using a toothpick. If the inserted toothpick comes out dry, you are done. If not, proceed for another 10-15 minutes.
  8. Take out of the oven and let rest for at least 30 minutes. If you plan to frost them let them cool completely before taking the next step. For a good vegan frosting recipe you can try one that uses coconut oil and add some orange zest for add kick!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017