This past weekend we celebrated Easter. For me, as a non religious person, it’s just another food holiday, which are my favorite! I love making new and special meals to share with family. After a backyard Plastic Easter Egg Hunt for the kids I got to work in the kitchen preparing 2 dishes to bring to my Mother In Laws house.
First up was a Gluten Free/Soy Free/Nut Free-Vegan Carrot Cake. We have some allergies in our family (!) and as the only vegan in the family I wanted to make sure we had a dessert that everyone could eat. I’ve never made a full size Gluten Free cake before so I was a little nervous at how it would come out. As is my nature I tend to not test new recipes out before hand for holidays or events. Its a terrible habit but one that I’ve been able to get away with and managed to get away with again…phew! The cake was a huge success! It was full of hand shredded carrots and a ton of spices. The spiciness of the cake was everyone’s favorite part of it. It was loaded with cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg.
To decorate the cake I made a peachy pink vegan buttercream that I spread out as smooth as possible and piped some little decorations around the edge of the cake. I found some unsweetened coconut in my baking cabinet and sprinkled that on top.
Just before serving the cake my daughter and I added some handmade decorations that she made for the cake earlier in the day to make it more festive. It was adorable. I highly recommend letting your kids help decorate a cake with some of their drawings taped to long wooden skewers.
My husbands Aunt declared that this cake will be her new birthday cake. She loved it that much and I will be happy to make it for her again.
Seitan and Mushroom Roulade
For the vegetarian main entree I made a Seitan and Mushroom Roulade. I only had half a plan for this part of the meal. I know I was going to saute onions, seitan, carrots, mushrooms, garlic and spices and then deglaze the pan with tamari and red wine and then do something with filo dough. First I was going to make individual “cigars”. Then I was going to make individual wrapped pockets. In the end I didn’t have time for anything “individual” and a roulade was just to thing to speed things up! I saved some of the seitan simmering broth and we used that as a jus sauce. It was a nice a festive main entree.
On my plate next to the roulade were Thyme Infused Spring Vegetables and Asian Sauteed Asparagus, both made by my mother. I didn’t eat a lot because I was saving room for the cake! Which we served with Trader Joe’s Soy Vanilla Ice Cream. It was the perfect Holiday Meal.
Vegan Heritage Press was kind enough to send me a copy of Robin Robertson’s book Nut Butter Universe. I’ll be honest and say I wasn’t expecting much from this book just by the title alone. I think like a lot of people I’ve talked to I just had images of only nut butter recipes in my head. Let me tell you that I was pleasantly surprised when I read through this book. It’s definitely not just nut butter recipes! Its chapter after chapter of amazing sounding recipes along with a few beautiful photographs of some of the dishes. After reading through all the recipes and making notes on which ones I wanted to try I ended up with more then 10 recipes on that list! I didn’t know where to start but I narrowed it down to 2 recipes to try over this past weekend and the rest will have to wait until later this week.
Double Dare Peanut Butter Cake
One of the first recipes that stood out for me was the Double Dare Peanut Butter Cake. I am a peanut butter fiend and this recipe promised a peanut butter cake AND a peanut butter frosting. I had my 2 year old son help with the cake batter while my daughter was in school. When she came home from school I had her help me with the frosting. Both kids had a lot of fun in the kitchen that day and I was happy to have them help.
The cake batter is very thick. Its not pourable like other cake recipes but it baked just fine. The frosting recipe was incredibly easy to make. You dump everything into a food processor, blend and refrigerate for an hour so it can set up a bit. While my daughter and I were frosting the cake the directions said it was optional to top with chocolate curls. We only had chocolate chips and they weren’t very nice looking due to the hot weather. I decided to make a quick ganache by melting the chips with a touch of almond milk and swirl it into the peanut butter frosting. I put some of the extra frosting into a pasty bag and piped some stars all along the edge of the cake. My daughter wanted the big star in the middle and I think it was a brilliant decorating decision on her part.
We ate the cake after dinner with my parents. It received rave reviews! My daughter want’s it to be her birthday cake. My husband ate 2 pieces. He doesn’t usually like cakes. My parents have offered to taste test the cake again tonight. My husbands cousin wants me to make it for her BBQ this Saturday. I will definitely be making this cake over and over again!
Apple Almond Butter Pancakes
These pancakes were made for a Sunday morning treat. Easy to make and delicious. Apples and almond butter a favorite combo of mine and I knew these pancakes would be great. I did alter some of the pancakes for my daughter who was screaming about me putting apples in them. Before I added the apples to the batter I poured 3 pancakes onto the griddle and added chocolate chips into them minus the apples. She happily devoured them. The rest of us ate them with the apples added. My favorite thing about them and most of the recipes in this book is the added protein the nut butters add to each dish. I liked that my children ate these and got something more then they would have if I just made traditional pancakes. We will be making these a lot come apple season this fall.
I am so happy I gave this book a chance. I highly recommend this book and I can’t wait to try all of the other recipes I bookmarked.
Raspberry Blackout Cake w. Ganache-Y Frosting
If you happen to be celebrating a birthday in our family this is most likely the cake I would make for you*. Who doesn’t like chocolate and raspberry together? Crazy people I suppose. I’ll admit that I usually don’t like raspberries at all but when mixed with chocolate cake you can’t go wrong. My sister was the lucky recipient of this cake even though a day before her party she requested a Crepe Cake which wasn’t going to happen on such short notice with 2 kids in the house. The recipe is from Vegan with a Vengeance. You really can’t go wrong with any of Isa’s recipes.
When I was done smoothing out the frosting I had a bit left over and added some star details with a piping bag and tip. The detail and some fresh raspberries, which I picked off (!), made for a beautiful birthday cake!
*On occasion I’ve been known to make a coconut cake for birthdays also.
Rocky Road Cookies
One goal of mine this year is to add original dessert recipes to my site. I developed a great Plum Cake last summer and failed to post about it and now it just doesn’t make sense to post it until you all can get plums in season. I did however buy a jarred ingredient today that I’ll have plenty of leftovers and thought of using them in place of the plums. So perhaps I can post it soon! A few weeks ago I bought some Dandies Marshmallows in the hopes of creating a Rocky Road Cookie and/or a Rocky Road Muffin. So far I’ve come up with only the cookie recipe but it needs some help. They came out really good but I didn’t want to eat all of them which to me means that the recipe needs some tweaking. They were like a cross between a cookie and a brownie, which isn’t a bad thing, but not what I was going for. Another problem is that Dandies are pretty big marshmallows! I had to cut each one in 1/2 and use my biggest ice cream scoop to scoop the cookies onto the baking sheet and still 1 or 2 cookies didn’t get a single marshmallow in them! So that needs to change also mainly because cutting marshmallows is really annoying.
Italian Plum Cake
I love creating baked goods/desserts. I just hate fine tuning the recipes but I’m trying. :)