Catching Up

Hello there. Long time no see! I wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year! It’s cruel, how time flies… I was busy with an internship, my thesis (126 pages: O), (dreadful) interviews and my last papers and seminars at uni. Sadly, I cannot promise to be better from now on, because I am still in the middle of graduating. But, I’ll try. Hard.

This post will fill you in on what I have done baking-wise, which was not a lot. At all. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy it.

Vegan Experiments

Sometime in September, I made some vegan recipes to challenge myself and, because I tried to be vegan for a month. Baking vegan is actually not too complicated since there are easy substitutes for almost everything. Being vegan however, was just exhausting. I spent hours reading the small prints on packages (the amount of products containing lactose is just too damn high) and if you don’t like to eat processed foods with enormous amounts of palm fat in it, you really have to spend a lot of time preparing food (with all the graduating stress going on, this is something I’d like to avoid).

Recipe: Vegan Pumpkin Pie 

So, this was the first vegan pie I made. It is “raw” (whatever that means exactly). If you like pumpkin pies, this is definitely worth trying. If you ignore the sugar in it, you could almost say it is healthy. I have no idea, why the whipped coconut cream looks curdly, though. Please tell me if you know why!

 Recipe: Chocolate Mousse Pie with Peanuts and Pretzels 

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The second vegan bake was a chocolate, peanut and pretzel pie. I liked this one very much because of its sweet and salty contrast. It is quite heavy…healthy for the soul.


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Graduation Cupcakes 

Two of my friends graduated, so they each got a graduation cupcake. These are raspberry filled white chocolate cupcakes with coconut and a tiny fondant mortarboard. Isn’t it adorable? :)

Congratulations you two! 

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Birthday Sacher Torte

Sacher Torte can be both dreadful and very delicious. When I was in Vienna, I ate a very dry and tasteless slice at the Sacher Hotel. Maybe the baker had a bad day, because I loved this one (Recipe: Sacher Torte). Even though the glaze did not work at all (I think the original glaze is made with syrup and chocolate) and I had to substitute it with pure chocolate, I really like the recipe. The cake was moist and light and chocolaty.

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Delayed Birthday Cake

This birthday cake was given to the birthday-boy after guilt-tripping me into baking one, nine months after his actual birthday. Even though it looks quite nice, I was really unimpressed with the recipe and therefore will not share it. But I promise to keep on searching for the perfect banana, chocolate, cream cake!


Very Sexy Swedish Buns

Oh Jamie, you have never disappointed me! There is no one I trust more when it comes to recipes. I made those buns, just for fun and they turned out perfectly.

The blueberries and cardamom, the very rich dough… I am telling you, bake them. Do it! Now! But please wear gloves… my hands looked terrible afterwards.

PS: eat them when they are warm. hmmmm.


Beer Bread 

Jamie Oliver’s recipe, again. This bread is fluffy, tastes just a little bit like beer, and is super easy to make. You just need to substitute the water from the basic bread recipe with beer. Next time I will add some caramelized onions to the dough. I think the result will be perfection!

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Vegan Cupcakes

ImageAfter several requests I had a try at baking vegan. I had doubts about it… I mean, how can you bake without two of four key ingredients? The answer: you can…but you shouldn’t expect too much.

I especially worried about the cakes not rising without any eggs. But they do! You just use more rising agents. The cupcakes turned out fluffy but not as airy as conventional ones. They stayed relatively moist (which is not necessarily a bad thing). But concerning texture, those vegan cupcakes don’t have to hide behind their buttery relatives.

Concerning the taste, I am still not completely convinces. There is not much in there to give taste. The only two ingredients possibly contributing to taste are vanilla and soya yoghurt. The latter turned out to be the crucial point. I used a soya yoghurt from the supermarket and it looked and smelled horribly. It was lumpy and grey and just confirmed every prejudice I have towards soya. I used it anyway (I didn’t have much of a choice since the shops are closed on Sundays) and hoped for the soya yoghurt to be overpowered by vanilla. Sadly, it was the other way around and those cupcakes smell like a vanilla version of the yoghurt. I strongly (!) recommend using a soya yoghurt you know and like….

The “buttercream” tastes pretty good, there is no significant difference to the regular one.

I also filled the cupcakes with strawberry jam. There usually is no animal product in jam but particularly strict vegans check how the fruit is harvested.

I did not use any sprinkles because most of them are not vegan. Many are made with gelatin or beeswax or use colors that somehow are not vegan. Colors are a difficult topic anyway.  My pink color happened to be synthetic, which usually is something people don’t like, but since many red colors are produced by crushing beetles, in this case, being synthetic is an advantage. Alternatively you could make your own food colors with beet root for example…if you like your buttercream to slightly taste like beet root….

How to make your own food coloring:  http://eatplaylovemore.com/2013/11/10/diy-natural-food-coloring/

Vegan Vanilla Cupcake

1 cup soya yogurt
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
150g raw cane sugar
1/3 cup sunflower oil
1 vanilla pod
180g flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat the fan oven to 170°C. Mix together yoghurt and vinegar let it sit for a few minutes. Put the sugar, oil, vanilla pod, salt and yoghurt together in a bowl and mix together. Sift the flour, soda and baking powder and add gradually to the mixture. Line your cupcake tin with papers and fill them 2/3 up. Bake for 22 minutes.

Vegan Buttercream

100g Soya/Sunflower Spread
330g icing sugar
1 vanilla pod
2 tsp. water

Mix the vegetable spread until pale. Add the sifted icing sugar, vanilla pod and 2 tsp of water and mix for 10 minutes. Fill the cooled cupcakes with strawberry jam and top them with buttercream.

 

I’ll definitely make them again with another yoghurt…Do you have any recommendations? :)