Monday, August 25, 2014

Vegan Twinkies

 Finally the final post in my vanilla cake series!  Every time we have a family weekend at the cottage, my sister in law sends me recipe ideas that the whole family can enjoy (vegan and non).  I was never that in to Twinkies, but it is a rather fun way to eat cake and frosting.  She send me this recipe which looked good, but I wanted to make the traditional filling so it could be stable at room temperature.  

There is a little bit of wiggle room with this recipe.  The problem I had was getting the bleedin' cakes out of the pan.  No amount of greasing, flouring, etc. made it any easier, so I had to go with a more durable cake so it could get it out of the pan in one piece.  If you are better at getting cakes out of a pan than I am, you can add up to 2 tbsp more milk and up to 2 tbsp more sugar (see pic below).

Makes 8
- 100g cake or pastry flour
- 50g all purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup soy milk
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp orange juice
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup oil
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp lemon extract
- 1/4 tsp almond extract

- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup soy milk
- 3/4 cup icing sugar
- 1/4 cup cold margarine
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, room temp
- 1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Sift together dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together soy milk, orange juice, and lemon juice.  Whisk in sugar, oil, and extracts until smooth and consistent.
3. Add wet ingredients to dry and gently whisk until smooth.  Divide batter evenly in the separate sections in the pan (60g per section).
4. Bake for 16-20 mins, or until golden and baked through.
5. Allow cakes to fully cool before removing from pan.

1. While cakes are baking and cooling, make your filling.  Whisk flour into the soy milk in a small saucepan.  Place over medium heat and whisk until thick and cooked through.  Set aside to fully cool.
2. When flour mixture is cool, use a hand mixer to beat in the icing sugar, the margarine, coconut oil, and salt.  When fluffy, beat in extract.  Place in fridge to cool down for a least 30 mins.
3. Put filling into a piping bag fitted with a #5 tip (or similar).  Poke the tip into the underside of the Twinkies in three or four spots along its length and gently squeeze in filling.  You will feel the Twinkies swell.  Don't over fill.
These cakes have the additional soy milk and sugar.  You can see that they are more tender (and are overfilled) but that has resulted in some breakage getting them out of the pan, and some splitting when they were filled.  They tasted amazing, though.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Happy 11th Birthday, Vegan Son #2

When I asked Son #2 what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday, he did not hesitate in requesting The Lord of the Rings.  We threw around a few ideas (Bilbo's hobbit hole was a contender, but I thought that would require way too much fondant), and then settled on the map of middle earth.  I will admit to pushing for the map because I thought it would be pretty easy.  Ha!  So, sorry out there to all the super fans for the inaccuracies.  Buttercream is harder than you think!  The cake is a triple recipe of my vanilla cake, baked in an 11x15x2 pan. Standard buttercream frosting, chocolate chip mountains, and diluted Wilton gel colours painted on for the coloured accents.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Ultimate Boston Cream Pie

This is the second to last instalment of my vanilla cake series.  Boston Cream Pie is the first multi-component dessert I learned to make.  My mom had a wooden recipe box with handwritten recipes from my great grandmother.  I was fascinated by her cursive style, and by the prodigious amounts of sugar and butter each recipe called for.  My mom had scribbled reductions in the margins but I always tried to follow the original recipes for maximum effect.  I think I was about 12 years old when I started making Boston Cream Pies for the family.  This recipe has all the classic components but has a little fancier presentation.

- 1 recipe vanilla cake

Cream Filling
- 1/2 cup sugar 
- 1/2 tsp agar powder 
- 2.5 tbsp cornstarch 
- large pinch of turmeric 

- 2 cups plain soy milk
- 1 vanilla bean, slit and scraped 
- 1 tbsp margarine 

1. Whisk together agar, sugar, cornstarch, and turmeric in a saucepan until well blended.  Slowly whisk in soy milk until well bended. Add vanilla bean scrapings and bean pod.
2. Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to bubbling, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.  Once bubbling, cook for two mins, stirring constantly.
3. Remove from heat, remove vanilla bean pod, and add margarine.  Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap with holes poked into it.  Refrigerate until completely cold.
4. Whisk the cold pastry cream until smooth before putting it into the cake.

- 1/2 cup light coconut milk
- 200g bittersweet vegan chocolate chips
- 2 tbsp margarine

1. Heat coconut milk to bubbling in a small saucepan over medium heat. 
2. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips and margarine.  Stir until everything is melted and smooth.  Set aside to cool completely.  

I find it easiest to assemble this cake on a cake plate with a lid so that it can easily go in and out of the fridge.
1. Cut each cake in half laterally.  Spread one third of the cooled cream filling in between each of the internal layers (i.e. not on the top).  Cover and place in the fridge for 30 mins to firm up.
2. The next step relies on the ganache being completely cooled down, even a little cold.  Place it in the fridge if necessary.  When cooled, cover the entire cake in a thin layer of ganache, cover, and place back in the fridge.  Some ganache may get spilled on the plate during all this.  No worries, you can clean it up at the end.
3. Add a second think layer to the sides of the cake, and put the rest on the top.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.