Be the hostess with the mostest with fauxstess cupcakes

I made these Fauxstess cupcakes on a whim this weekend from Vegan with a Vengeance, one of my favorite vegan cookbooks of all times. I’ve never made a recipe from it that wasn’t top notch. These cupcakes did not disappoint. I did not have the black cocoa so omitted it, just adding a little more cocoa powder, and they turned out just fine. Nor did I have any cupcake cups, so I just oiled and floured the pan and they popped out like magic. I also used the filling icing for the decoration on the top rather than making yet another batch of icing and once set, it worked like a charm and saved me ten minutes plus more dishwashing time. Plus the icing recipe makes a LOT of icing.

If you want a blast to the past of your childhood, or to impress guests with your baking prowess, fauxstess cupcakes are worth the time in the kitchen. Here’s a link to the recipe I found online, but do yourself a favor and buy the book!

 

For goodness bake

Nothing says the holidays like homemade baked goods. On cold, lazy days, there’s no better way to warm up the kitchen than by baking sweets you can share with friends and loved ones.

Cinnamon rolls seem complicated at first glance, as do most things involving yeast. There’s the rising and the kneading and the rising. That’s where a bread machine comes in handy. Bread machines are far more versatile than making just bread. I’m a big fan of the dough cycle. It’s helped me make rolls, breadsticks, bagels, focaccia, pizza and calzone dough galore, and on this fine morning, cinnamon rolls. I based my recipe on the one from The Joy of Vegan Baking and made a few substitutions and omissions.

Ingredients

Dough

4-1/2 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer
6 tablespoons water
1 cup soy milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup granulated raw sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 packet active dry yeast

Filling

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup Earth Balance, softened
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Icing

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons soy milk

Instructions:

In a small bowl, combine egg replacer with water and stir vigorously until well blended. Add that and all the other dough ingredients in the listed order (liquids first) to the bread machine pan and prepare using the dough cycle.

After the dough cycle has completed, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Make the filling. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to a 12”x10” rectangle, about 1/4” thick. Then spread the filling on one side of the dough. Roll the dough lengthwise into a log, then cut into 1” pieces.  You should get 10-12 pieces.

Place into a lightly greased pan and bake on 375 for 25-30 minutes until browned. Allow to cool.

In a small bowl, combine icing ingredients. Once the rolls have cooled for about 15 minutes, pour the icing over the rolls. They’re best when still warm.

What’s your favorite thing to bake for the holidays?

Baking without eggs? Piece of cake

For full disclosure, I did not bake the vegan chocolate cake with mousse icing seen here. Beautiful and decadent, it was lovingly prepared by the bakers at Whole Foods who my husband commissioned for a special surprise. I’ve done my fair share of vegan baking though and with the holidays approaching I anticipate doing a lot more.

Baking without eggs and dairy is a cinch. It typically entails simple substitutions, some involving things most people have around the house, like mashed bananas, applesauce, or even a combination of vinegar and baking soda. Vegan baking is growing in popularity too. Twice on the television show, The Cupcake Wars, the winning recipes have been vegan. Babycakes, a vegan bakery in New York City, is deemed a favorite by stars like Madonna and Natalie Portman.

So how do you bake without eggs? There are commercial egg replacers you can purchase from natural foods stores, online, and in the natural foods section at many mainstream grocers made by Ener-G and Bob’s Red Mill. And there are simple substitutions you can make, like these ideas from PETA:

• 1 egg = 2 Tbsp. potato starch
• 1 egg = 1/4 cup mashed potatoes
• 1 egg = 1/4 cup canned pumpkin or squash
• 1 egg = 1/4 cup puréed prunes
• 1 egg = 2 Tbsp. water + 1 Tbsp. oil + 2 tsp. baking powder
• 1 egg = 1 Tbsp. ground flax seed simmered in 3 Tbsp. water
• 1 egg white = 1 Tbsp. plain agar powder dissolved in 1 Tbsp. water, whipped, chilled, and whipped again

There are vegan cookbooks galore, like Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and The Joy of Vegan Baking that offer recipes for old standbys as well as fun, new ideas. The bottom line is eating without eggs and dairy does not mean a life of deprivation. You can have your cake vegan and eat it too.

For the birds

It was rainy today in Oakland, a good day to bake. There’s nothing like a fresh loaf of bread to warm the house up. I love bread that’s full of texture. I used 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds and about 1/8 cup of sesame seeds in this recipe from King Arthur Flour. The recipe using my variations is below.

For 1 1/2 lb. bread machine
1 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup agave nectar
3 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/8 cup sesame seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

Put all of the ingredients into the bread pan in the order listed. Program for whole wheat bread, and press start.