lemon poppyseed cake

September 17, 2011

Breakthrough!!! I’ve found vegan baking a little difficult. It’s been the one transition that’s been harder than the rest. I guess it’s because when you are brought up in a house with  a mother, grandmother, aunts, and sisters who are all super-bakers of the egg, butter, and sugar sort, it’s a big shift to coconut oil and xantham gum. But yesterday I was wanting to make a special cake for a special baby shower and opened up Angelica’s Home Kitchen from the Big Apple and found this fantabulous lemon poppyseed cake. And it worked. And it was delicious. And it was full of super foods like poppyseeds and maple syrup. And I ate it last night as dessert. And I ate it this morning as breakfast. And everyone loves it. Crumbs and all. So mark this day, this 17th day of September 2011, as my v:baking breakthrough day and celebrate by pulling out your mixing bowls. Turn on that oven, get out that loaf pan, and bake away.

2  cups pastry flour

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder

2 tsps baking soda

1/3 cup poppy seeds

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup lemon juice (juice from approx 2 lemons)

1/3 cup water

1 cup apple cider or apple juice

1 2/3 cups maple syrup

2/3 cup olive oil or sunflower oil

2 tsps vanilla extract

4 tbsps lemon zest (zest from approx 2 lemons)

1 cup super fine sugar

Juice from 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly brush 8 x 12 baking pan with oil. Add several tablespoons of flour and shake to coat evenly. Invert pans and knock against the counter to rid them of excess flour.

Whisk the flour, baking power, baking soda, salt, and poppy seeds together in a medium-size mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the lemon and apple juices, maple syrup, oil, vanilla, and zest. Using a wooden spoon, stir the wet mixture into the dry to form a batter. Do not overmix. Transfer batter to the baking pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 30 minutes before removing.

Meanwhile, mix together the super fine sugar and lemon juice. Once cake is removed from the pan, place on a serving dish and drizzle with the lemon sugar icing.

The kids in our house love French Toast. It’s an almost daily routine – throw some cinnamon bread on the griddle for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, you name it. One weekend I decided to try this vegan version to test the limits of their adoration for this comfort food. Full disclosure: they didn’t love it. But we did! They had a hard time switching gears to the banana and coconut milk but for us it was a lovely indulgence on a Saturday morning.

1 banana

1 cup coconut milk

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)

1/4 tsp salt

1 loaf of good french-toast-making bread

Place all ingredients (except bread) into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a large shallow bowl and set aside.

Slice bread into 8 thick slices. Heat a griddle or pan and brush with oil. Submerge bread slices in the batter, lift out with a pair of tongs and place on the hot pan. Cook until golden brown, flip and cook on the reverse side. Serve immediately with your favourite topping.

Adapted from Rebar Cookbook.

rustic peach galette

September 10, 2010

It’s hard to resist fresh Ontario peaches at this time of year. I bought way too many at the market the other day so decided to experiment with this Rustic Peach Galette. I have to admit I’m a total pastry snob – blame it on my mom. She comes from a long line of very adept bakers. Her pastry makes every other pastry seem tough, lifeless, and not worthy of its contents. Problem is it’s got butter and eggs. I was ecstatic when I found pre-made vegan pastry at the health food store. Truth be told, it doesn’t come close to the tastiness of my mom’s but it’s not bad. I served this galette at a dinner party the other night and the peaches got 6 out of 6; pastry got 4 out of 6. But every plate was licked clean. You got to admit, it looks pretty damn good!

¼ cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large peaches, pealed, pitted, and sliced

extra flour for workspace

¼ cup maple syrup

extra sugar for top of galette

1. Thaw the pre-made puff pastry dough.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place dough on top.

3. In a medium bowl whisk together sugar, flour, cinnamon, and vanilla. Add peaches.

4. Fan peaches in a circular shape in the center of the dough circle, leaving a 1-2 inch border.

5. Fold dough over peaches and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

6. Remove unbaked galette from refrigerator and brush dough with maple syrup. Sprinkle extra sugar over the dough and fruit. Bake for 30-35 minutes in a preheated oven at 375 degrees until crust is lightly browned.

Adapted from Chef Chloe Blog