Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Cake, Cake, And More Cake!

As promised, the recipe for Bob’s birthday cake – and two more bits of baking I did for the weekend. Jane is a vegan, and although I am used to catering for vegetarian diets, it was quite fun to prepare a weekend of vegan menus for the first time. I am indebted to Liz for lending me this book, purchased in Boston, Mass. in 2004.

entertaining for a veggie planet

The recipes clearly state if there is a vegan option, and in between the recipes are various anecdotes and ideas, notes and tips.

…but I am not sure that giving everyone a plastic fly-swatter so they can attract the attention of other guests is necessarily a helpful tip!

For breakfast on Saturday I made Didi’s Banana and Walnut Muffins [we also had petit pain and fresh fruit] and Sunday’s dessert was her Vegan Chocolate Cake.

Here’s the cake and muffins on Sunday…


Banana and Walnut Muffins

  • 2 bananas
  • ½ cup soy milk
  • ¼cup plus 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 175°C. Grease 12 muffin cups [or put paper cases in tin, as I did]
  2. Mash bananas with potato masher, stir in oil and soy milk
  3. In separate bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarb, nutmeg, and salt – mix well. Combine dry ingredients in 3 batches with the liquid, stirring till just incorporated, adding walnuts with last batch.
  4. Divide between cases. I used my ice cream scoop - this gave me eleven muffins. Bake about 20 mins till a skewer inserted into centre comes out clean.
  5. Cool in tin 10 mins.

Vegan Chocolate Cake

  • 3 oz. unsweetened dark chocolate coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup soft dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • ⅜cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¾cup canola oil
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 medium courgette, grated
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts [optional- I omitted them!]
  1. Melt chocolate, either in pan over low heat or in a microwave
  2. Preheat oven to 175°C. Grease and flour a 10” cake tin or 8-cup Bundt pan. Combine dry ingredients, mix well. Add chocolate and oil, mix well. Whisk in soy milk and vanilla. Fold in courgette [and nuts]
  3. Pour batter into tin, smoothing top. Bake till skewer comes out clean – about 40 minutes. Cool 10mins in tin, then turn out onto rack. Mix a little cocoa and icing sugar in a cup, and sieve over cake.

Angela’s Tips

  1. I must say that both these keep well 2 days in airtight box, and they will freeze. The recipe suggests splitting and ‘buttering’ muffins [vegan marg] but we thought they were quite moist and rich without the extra calories!
  2. I used sunflower oil rather than canola
  3. I didn’t think to buy any Alpro soy yogurt, which would have been good to offer Jane to spoon onto her chocolate cake – but it is very tasty with a [non-vegan] spoonful of Greek yogurt or crème fraiche.
  4. I have started keeping a shot glass full of cocktail sticks on my kitchen window sill- I find myself using them all the time lately [testing cakes, holding tortilla wraps together…loads of uses] and it is so useful to have them conveniently on hand.

cocktail sticks

Other recipes I tried from Didi’s books included the Pantry Tabbouleh and the Quinoa Salad. Our main course for Sunday lunch was jacket potatoes with a selection of salads. We ate Rachel’s Minestrone Soup on Friday, and Butternut Squash And Lentil Chilli [minus the tempeh] on Saturday night. This made vast quantities – it said ‘serves 4 or 5’ – but we have eaten less than half of it. It was also a little dry, but Bob made a fabulous tomato and sweet red pepper sauce, which provided the necessary ‘moistness’, and he also griddled some slices of courgette, which added ‘bite’

Jane generously gave the catering a ‘two-thumbs-up’ – I am pleased that despite a larger cake intake than usual, I have not put on any weight over the weekend! The Yes-Yes-Yes cake was on an ancient, yellowing newspaper cutting tucked into another of my cookbooks, I shall type that one up later!

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