Organic everything but the kitchen sink cake

I really enjoy juicing.  It’s so healthy for you too.  When I do juice, often times I will save the pulp and use it later in baking.  I juiced kale, carrots, zucchini, and beets a couple of weeks ago, and (naturally) saved the pulp. I sealed it up in Zip-loc freezer bags, and defrosted a bag this morning so I could use it in my baking.   I decided to bake a carrot cake, which really became an “Everything but the kitchen sink” cake.  It is YUMMY!  In fact, I’m eating a slice even now, as I blog!

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I hate to eat alone, so, I thought I’d take a break and blog you the recipe!  If you get started, you’ll be done in an hour…

Organic Everything but the Kitchen Sink Cake

INGREDIENTS:

Coconut spray (Trader Joe’s) for greasing the pan
2 cups organic, unbleached flour
2 cups organic raw sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon celtic salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons organic pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups canola or grape-seed oil
1 pound fresh or thawed vegetable pulp (or grated carrots)
3/4 cup chopped pecans or slivered almonds
1/2 cup organic white raisins
1/2 cup organic cranraisins

LET’S GET BAKING!

Preheat your oven to 325 F.  Heavily butter/spray and flour 2 round 9-inch cake pans, tapping out the excess flour. Set aside.

Place the flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a mixing bowl and whisk together until fully mixed.

In a smaller mixing bowl, mix together the eggs, oil and vanilla. Add this mixture to the dried mixture and stir completely.

Add  the pulp (carrots), nuts, raisins and cranraisins and stir to combine.

Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans.  Bake the cakes until a toothpick is inserted in the center and comes out clean.  It should take about 50 minutes.

Remove the cakes and cook on racks until completely cool.  Frost if you like!

THE FROSTING

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
8 tablespoons (1 stick butter or Earth Balance), softened
4 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon almond milk

Place the cream cheese and butter in a medium-size bowl and beat with an electric mixer until very smooth and creamy.  Usually this takes about 3 minutes.  With the mixer running on medium speed, slowly add the confectioner’s sugar.  You can add less sugar to begin with.  You kind of have to watch the consistency of the frosting as you go.  Add the vanilla and beat until combined.

Once the cakes have cooled, frost the middle of the cake first, and then do the rest!

Voila!  This is a great way to sneak veggies into a kids diet, who normally will have nothing to do with them.  Just FYI!

Enjoy!

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Mixing all of the ingredients together

934888_10151655198174458_515673601_nCooling on the rack!

320829_10151655562014458_2025209430_nFrosted Yumminess!

Easy as one, two, three!

Well, with Easter upon us, I’ve been in a pie baking moment.  This morning I was up at the crack of dawn, making vegan apple and mixed berry pies.  It’s going to be a LONG day!  I thought I would share my recipes with you!

Happy Easter!

Pâte Brisée (Pie Crust)

INGREDIENTS:

2 1/2 C flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup cold earth balance

1/4 – 1/2 cup ice water

In a food processor, combine the flour and the butter. Run it for about ten seconds, until you get a breadcrumb consistency. If the dough is still a little dry, add in a little water, a tiny splash at a time, until the dough comes together. (If you’ve added too much water, fret not, compensate with more flour.) Transfer the dough into a bowl, and chill for an hour.

Roll the dough out on a well-floured surface, and transfer  half the dough into a pie pan. Roll the remainder in a ball for the top.  Prick the bottom and sides with a fork. Cover with aluminium foil, and let rest in the fridge for thirty minutes to an hour. Preheat your oven to 375°F.  Take pie shell out of the refrigerator and bake for ten minutes or until golden.  Set aside.

APPLE FILLING:

7 organic apples

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

Mix all the above in a bowl and sit for 30 minutes.

*Note:  For a mixed berry pie substitute the apples with the following:

2 cups fresh organic raspberries

2 cups fresh organic blackberries

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons arrowroot

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoon red currant jelly

Combine all the berries in a large colander and gently rinse. Gently pat with paper towels to dry.  In a food processor, puree 2 1/2 cups of the mixed berries for 1 minute, until they’re fully pureed. Strain the puree into a non-stick saucepan and set aside.  Whisk together the sugar, arrowroot and salt in a small  bowl until fully mixed and pour into the puree.  Bring the puree to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wood spoon.  Once the mixture reaches the consistency of pudding, remove it from the heat.  Stir in the lemon juice and set aside to cool slightly.

While the puree is cooling, place remaining berries in a medium bowl.  Heat jelly in another saucepan over low heat until it’s fully melted.  Drizzle the melted jelly over the berries and toss gently to coat. Pour the slightly cooled puree into your cooled pie shell, and add fresh berries.

To finish the pie(s), roll out the remaining dough and gently put it over the top of the filled pie shells, pinching off the edges.  Cut a small hole in the middle of the pie and bake for another 30 minutes at 375 until lightly golden.

Voila!  These are truly great pie recipes, and relatively easy to make!

Enjoy!

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Vegan Apple Pie

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Vegan Mixed Berry Pie

Brittany resides in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, and may be contacted for events, private parties, weddings, cooking classes, and craft and catering services via her website: 

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Vegan Dark Chocolate Cake With Ganache and Raspberry Filling

imgres-1It’s hard not to think of chocolate on Valentine’s Day… and so, I choose to embrace it!

Did you know that in Medieval times, girls ate unusual foods on St Valentine’s Day to make them dream of their future husband?  Isn’t that a hoot?  I can’t help but wonder if chocolate was in the equation…probably not.

Everybody loves chocolate, right?  For those of you making a love-filled dinner at home, may I suggest this wonderful Vegan Dark Chocolate Cake?

Vegan Dark Chocolate Cake With Ganache and Raspberry Filling

Cake Ingredients:

3 cups unbleached white flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (the better quality, the better your cake will be)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup organic canola oil (or coconut oil)
1 cup cold brewed organic coffee
1 cup cold water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cider vinegar

For the Ganache:

3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
6 ounces 72% dark chocolate (I use Sharffen Berger bittersweet dark chocolate)
3 tablespoons maple syrup or agave
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted

For the Raspberry Filling

You can use raspberry jam ( about 1/2-3/4 cup)
My preference is to use fresh raspberries.

Cook  2 cups of organic fresh raspberries with 1/4 cup water and 2 tablespoons sugar. Puree the raspberry mixture, then if you wish, press through a sieve to remove the seeds or leave the seeds in. Return to the sauce pan. Add 2 teaspoons of arrowroot or corn starch with a little water to become liquid. Add the corn starch mixture to the raspberry mixture and heat until the raspberry mixture become thick. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.

LET’S GET BAKING!

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with cooking oil spray, then place a circle of parchment paper in each pan and spray again.

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and sugar into a mixing bowl. In another bowl, mix the oil, water, coffee and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a spoon just until combined. Add the vinegar and stir just until it’s evenly distributed in the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until it springs back when lightly touched in the middle. Set aside to cool.

The Ganache

In the top part of a double boiler, place the soy milk and margarine, and heat together until the margarine melts. Add the vegan chocolate chips, continue to cook while stirring constantly until the vegan chocolate chips have melted completely and the mixture is very smooth. Use the ganache, warm, as a glaze for cakes or use as a dip or coating for fruit or nuts, or when cool, use as a filling for cakes and desserts. Store any excess in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It can be reheated in a double boiler as needed.

Yield: 2 Cups

Place frosting ingredients in a double broiler and heat gently and stir until the chocolate is totally melted and very smooth.  For glazing the cake, use the ganache warm.

When the cakes have cooled, put a serving plate on the pan and and carefully invert. Remove the parchment paper. Spread a small amount of raspberry filling over the top. Place a flat plate on the pan containing the second layer, invert and remove the parchment. Repeat the process with another plate so the rounded side is up.  Transfer it onto the bottom layer.

Glaze the cake completely (spreading to smooth the top) with the ganache, letting the frosting run down the sides of the cake.

For a nice touch, take several fresh, cleaned raspberries and place them on top of the cake for decoration.

Serve immediately or leave lightly covered at room temperature and serve later or the next day.

Serves 8

Enjoy!

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Brittany resides in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, and may be contacted for events, private parties, weddings, cooking classes, and craft and catering services via her website: 

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Valentine’s Day = Love + Chocolate & Roses

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” 
― Charles M. Schulz

url-1Valentine’s Day approacheth, and while it’s nice to receive a beautiful flower bouquet or box of chocolates, sometimes it’s really cool to take the time and make something special for someone.  Ladies, have you ever thought of making chocolate candy for your valentine?  This Valentine’s Day, I’m making Vegan Chocolate Almond Butter Cups, with love, of course!  They’re a healthier option, delicious and really easy to make.   It will be hard to eat just one!

Let’s Get Started!

Vegan Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

INGREDIENTS:

1 package vegan chocolate chips (Trader Joe’s carries these)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

6 tablespoons crunchy raw almond butter  (adding a little shredded coconut is a fun little option)

8 drops liquid stevia

Candy liners (I often purchase these online–ShopBakersNook.com)

Mini muffin pan

HERE WE GO!

Place 1/2 cup chocolate chips and the sea salt in a double boiler (water in the bottom half) on the stove.  Turn on burner and stir gently while the chocolate melts.

Place liners in muffin tray and distribute a teaspoon of melted chocolate in each candy liner.  Spread evenly around.o spread evenly around.  Allow the chocolate to fully cool and harden in the refrigerator for at least 20-30 minutes.  Mix the stevia drops in with the almond butter.  Once hardened, scoop 1/2 teaspoon of crunchy raw almond butter in the center of each cup.

Melt the remaining chocolate and cover each cup completely with the chocolate.  Use a knife or spatula to spread the chocolate evenly around. I like to grind a little course sea salt on the top.  There’s nothing like chocolate with a little salt.  If you decide to do this, make sure you grind it before the chocolate hardens.

Place the cups in the refrigerator for an hour.  Once completely hardened and cooled, you can remove the candy liners (or not).

This is an easy, quick way to make someone smile, while enjoying a little bit of heaven!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Brittany resides in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, and may be contacted for events, private parties, weddings, cooking classes, and craft and catering services via her website: 

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Vegan Almond-Pecan Raspberry Thumb Prints

Here’s another holiday favorite.  Hard to get through the month of December without making these wonderful traditional cookies.  The great thing about this recipe, is that it’s vegan and so tasty.  Go figure…

So,  without further adieu…

Almond-Pecan Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies (Vegan)

Yield: 14-16 cookies.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 cup + 2/3 cup stone-ground kamut flour (using this flour really does make a difference)
  • 1/2 cup  finely crushed blanched almonds in food processor
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp brown rice syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tbsp almond milk
  • Approx 1/3 cup raspberry jam
  • 1/2 cup pecans, crushed in food processor

LET’S GET BAKING!

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or non-stick mat.

In a large bowl combine the flour, crushed almonds, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt and whisk until blended.

In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients: maple syrup, melted coconut oil, vanilla, almond extract, brown rice syrup, and almond milk. Stir well.

Lightly mix together the wet and dry mixture.

Roll the dough into balls and then lightly dip your fingers in a cup of water, tap off excess, and then roll the ball in your wet fingers. Now roll the ball in the crushed/processed pecans. This little bit of water helps the pecans stick to the ball. Now place the ball that is now covered in crushed pecans onto the baking sheet.

Use your thumb, or something that will help you to press a thumbprint size hole in the middle of the cookie (approximately 3/4 inch in diameter).  Be careful NOT to go all the way through.  Shape it with your fingers, pinching the edges as you go around. Fix any cracks that may form in the dough with your fingers.

Fill the hole with a generous amount of jam- about 1/2-1 tsp. Place cookies about 1 inch apart.

Bake in the oven at 350F for 17-18 minutes. The cookies should be slightly firm to touch. Cool for about 15 minutes on the baking sheet. Next, place them on a cookie plate, and cool them completely in the fridge for about 30 minutes before serving.

*NOTE:  These cookies freeze well.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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Brittany resides in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, and may be contacted for events, private parties, weddings, cooking classes, and craft and catering services via her website: 

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‘Tis the Season…

to make cookies!

I love so many kinds of Christmas cookies, but one of my all-time favorites are “Russian Tea Cakes.”  As a kid, I remember my mom making these and I would try and pop them in my mouth when she wasn’t looking, only I always got busted because powdered sugar covered my mouth, hands and face!

…anyway…

They  are always such a nice addition to your dessert table, and add wonderful contrast against dark chocolate goodies, like candies, other cookies and cakes. If you like these little balls of powdered sugar, but you are a VEGAN, here’s a great recipe.

RUSSIAN TEA CAKES (makes about 3 dozen)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) Earth Balance
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus about 1/2 cup more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup finely ground almonds or pecans
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

LET’S GET BAKING!

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer, cream Earth Balance until smooth. Add the confectioners sugar and beat until fluffy and well combined, about 3 minutes. Add the almond milk and vanilla, beating until smooth.

3. In another bowl, sift together the flour, ground ground almonds or pecans and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing until the mixture just comes together. Form the dough into 1-2″ balls. Place about 1/3 cup-1/2 cup confectioners sugar in a small bowl. Dredge the cookie dough balls in the powdered sugar until well coated, placing on the prepared sheet as you work. Bake until lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on a wire cooling rack until completely cool, then roll them again in confectioners’ sugar, and voila!

Serve in individual paper pastry cups at room temperature.

They’re just so darn good!   Bet you can’t eat just one!

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Brittany resides in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, and may be contacted for events, private parties, weddings, cooking classes, and craft and catering services via her website: 

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What? A moist VEGAN German Chocolate Cake?

Whether  you’re baking for the holidays, or any other time of the year, German Chocolate Cake is always a popular dessert.  Yesterday, I made a great German Chocolate Cake, and it was not just moist and yummy, but VEGAN!

INGREDIENTS:

THE CAKE 
3½ cups all- purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups almond milk
1½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder (Trader Joe’s has a great cocoa powder)
1 cup canola oil
3 cups real maple syrup
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

COCONUT-PECAN FROSTING
½ cup almond milk
¼ cup cornstarch
1 pinch sea salt
2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1½ cups heavy coconut milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

VEGAN CHOCOLATE GANACHE (optional)
3/4 cup almond milk
8 ounces unsweetened chocolate (I recommend, Chocolove Dark Chocolate and Orange Peel or using Trader Joe’s brand chocolate chips)
1/4 cup real maple syrup

LET’S GET BAKING!

The Cake
Preheat the oven to 350°f.  In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Heat the almond milk in a small saucepan to slightly bubbling, and then add the cocoa powder. Remove from the heat and whisk well. In a medium bowl, combine the oil, maple syrup, vinegar, and vanilla. Whisk well. Pour in the almond milk–cocoa mixture, and whisk until smooth. Using a mixer or by hand, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until the batter is smooth. Pour the batter evenly into the two or three cake pans, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck into the center comes out clean. Set the cake aside to cool thoroughly.

Coconut-Pecan Frosting
Whisk the soy milk, cornstarch, and salt together in a small bowl.  In a medium saucepan over medium heat, dissolve the brown sugar in the coconut milk. Cook, whisking, until the mixture comes to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened.  With the mixture on the stove still over low heat, pour in the soy milk mixture and stir continuously until the mixture is very thick and smooth. Remove from the heat and beat in the vanilla, coconut, and pecans. Cool before using.

Chocolate Ganache (This is optional.  Not included in my photo)
Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan over low heat, and stir continuously until the glaze is smooth. Remove from the heat, stir for another 2 minutes, and then cool to room temperature.

Place one of the cake layers on a cake plate or stand, and spread a layer of the coconut- pecan frosting over the top (but not the sides). If  you have made three cake layers, do the same with the second layer. Place the last layer on top of the first, and spread a thick layer of coconut-pecan frosting over the top.

If you choose to make the ganache, use an offset spatula, ice the sides of the cake with a thick layer of ganache. Then warm about ¼ cup of the ganache in a small saucepan, or in a micro wave oven, and drizzle it across the top of the cake (or use a pastry bag to pipe it).

*Note:  Whenever possible, I use only organic ingredients.

This is fabulous!  Enjoy!

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Brittany resides in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, and may be contacted for events, private parties, weddings, cooking classes, and craft and catering services via her website: 

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