Bake sale treats

Funfetti cupcakes! VCTOTW goldens, vanilla buttercream, and Wilton's bug-free jumbo rainbow nonpareils.

As I suspected, many of the 'fettis sank to the bottom. Next time I would sprinkle a few on top as well so they'd work their way down just a little as it baked.

Cherry almond black bottoms! Same black bottoms as before, this time with some chopped Bing cherries and almond extract.

And finally...


Spongey chocolate cake
2 c. all-purpose flour, scant
1 tbs. vital wheat gluten
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1 tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
1 c. unrefined cane sugar
1/2 c. canola oil
1 1/2 c. soy milk
2 tbs. cornstarch
margarine and cocoa for prepping the pan

Preheat oven to 350F.

Prepare an 11 x 17 jelly roll pan by lightly greasing the bottom, then pressing a large sheet of parchment into the pan. (The greasing will help it stick.) Then grease the top of the parchment and lightly dust with cocoa powder. You could also bake this in multiple smaller pans, just make sure the batter is poured to the same thickness, and you might have to adjust the cooking time.

Sift together the flour, gluten, cocoa, powder, soda, and salt, then set aside. Scant means you want to be short the 1 tbs. of flour you're replacing with gluten...dump your tablespoon of gluten into the 1 c. measure, then scoop your flour and level off.

Whisk together the sugar, oil, milk, and cornstarch until nice and frothy. Fold the wet mixture into the dry, then pour into your prepared pan. Use a rubber spatula to spread the batter out evenly; it should be about 1/2" thick.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until it passes the toothpick test. Do not overbake! It'll make your life hard if this cake becomes too dry.

Let the cake cool for a couple minutes, then remove to a cooling rack and let it completely cool.

For hohos, divide the cake in half lenghtwise, and in quarters crosswise, so you end up with 8 sections that are about 5 1/2" x 4 1/4".

Each rectangle will become 3 hohos. Using a long, serrated blade and this technique (minus the first scoring won't be able to really see it on such a small piece), carefully slice the cake into 3 layers, about 1/4" each. If your cake is a little crunchy around the edges, you can trim that part off. It'll make slicing and rolling much easier and provide a nice snack.

Spread a thin layer of basic buttercream (VCTOTW works well for this) onto each slice, then roll them up, starting on a narrow end. Don't worry about tiny cracks or holes in the sponge, the icing and the chocolate will glue everything in place. If the cake is totally falling apart, um...sorry? You might have overbaked or maybe my recipe sucks. I don't know...this is the first time I've made it. If the thin slices are failing, try the ding dong method below. Set the rolls on a plate and once you're done, refrigerate (covered) for at least 2 hours.

You can also make ding dongs from this recipe. Just use a round cutter or the top of a glass to cut out 2 1/2-3" circles. Slice each circle into two layers, apply frosting, then sandwich back together.

Once your cakes have firmly set, melt 2 bags of chocolate chips and 3 tbs. shortening (careful if substituting another must be something that will set at room temp) over a double boiler. Dip your cakes in, making sure to coat all sides, then set on parchment to cool. You can tell my dipping technique needs a little practice. Try to be quick about it; the warm chocolate will start to disintegrate the cake if you aren't. Freezing the cake might help; haven't tried that yet though. It will take a couple hours for the chocolate to set, depending on the room temp, and the fridge can definitely speed up the process. You can tell the chocolate is set when it no longer looks shiny.

Enjoy with some soy milk or water. There are kind of sickeningly sweet, just like the originals!

Bake sale!

Come join Allison and I for a bake sale at 924 Gilman St. this Saturday! Vegan yummies & awesome bands!

Featuring: lemon cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes (with
Chick-O-Sticks!!), black bottom cucpakes (with cherries!), funfetti cupcakes, and if I can pull it off:

Stay tuned for recipes, pictures, and hopefully hoho-success!


I cheat and prefer flour tortillas because I like how soggy they get in the sauce.The sauce recipe was just perfect for 6 generous enchiladas and a 9x13 baking dish. These were filled with soyrizo, refried beans, corn, Follow Your Heart (nacho flavored), and tons of cilantro. Tofu sour cream, green onions, and more cilatro topped everything off.

Enchilada sauce
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can tomato paste
3 c. water
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. sriracha (or other hot sauce)
1/4 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. cocoa powder
1 tb. lime juice
1 1/2 tb. agave nectar
2 tb. flour
2 tb. + 1 tsp. olive oil.
1/2ish tsp. salt (to taste!)

Saute the onion and garlic in the teaspoon of oil until soft. Add the rest of the ingredients, through agave nectar, and simmer for 3-5 minutes. In a small dish, stir the flour into the remaining olive oil, then pour into the sauce mixture. Simmer for another 1-2 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat and use an immersion blender until smooth. (Or pour into a regular blender.) Salt to taste.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Pour about a cup of the sauce into the bottom of your baking dish. Prepare your enchiladas and place in the dish, then pour the rest of the sauce on top. Top with soy cheese and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn oven to broil (or move dish to broiler) and bake for another 3-5.

Bonus nachos, by Shane!

More crepes

Because, why not? Plus Shaudi hipped me to some super cheap raspberries and strawberries and I need to use them up. Same crepe recipe as below, this time filled with vanilla pastry creme with some raspberries and strawberries folded in. The pastry cream is the same basic idea as the sauce below, just much thicker and sweet. It's made with Earth Balance, cornstarch, flour, soy milk, vanilla, and unrefined cane sugar.

Apple sage crepes

I finally got around to making crepes again. I think Shane's infected me with his raw fruit allergies and I needed a recipe to use up some apples I had sitting around.

1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 c. + 2 tbs. soy milk
1 tsp. unrefined cane sugar
pinch of salt
2 tbs. soy flour
1 tsp. cornstarch
2 tbs. canola oil or melted EB

Mix everything together gently, then let rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Fry up in a non-stick skillet. This will make 5 to 6 - 6" crepes. They can be used as savory or dessert crepes.

I went for a filling of Field Roast apple sage sausages, diced Fuji apple, asparagus, and watercress. It's seasoned with sage, rosemary, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and black pepper.

The lemon herb sauce starts with a roux of 1 tbs. olive oil and 1 tbs. flour. Then I added about 1 1/2 c. soymilk, a couple tablespoons of lemon juice, nutritional yeast, sage, salt, and black pepper.


Vietnamese-style. Banh mi chay, to be exact. I was fiending for these, so I used store-bought mushroom pate since I didn't want to wait around for agar to set. Really simple, yet so tasty. Because I lack patience, I also shred my vegetables before pickling so they don't need to sit as long.

sweet baguette (I like to warm it up in the oven for a little bit so it's nice and crisp.)
mushroom pate (Optional, I suppose, if you want to cheat.)
margarine and/or vegenaise (Garlic aioli-style is nice.)
cilantro (Down with the haters! I treat cilantro like a vegetable.)
protein of choice (Deli slices, seitan, etc. This time I used baked tofu, similar to this but with lemon juice and ngo om.)
quick pickles (See below)
jalapenos (Optional, if they're not your thing. They're not mine.)

Quick pickles

1/2 c. each of shredded carrot, jicama or daikon, and cucumber
3/4 c. water
1/3 c. rice wine vinegar
1 tbs. lime juice
2 tbs. unrefined cane sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sriracha (or more, or less...)
2 cloves garlic, whole, but smashed

Throw everything into a jar and shake to mix, then refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. This makes more than enough for a bunch of sandwiches, but it also tastes great in summer rolls, on top of bun, or just make that ton of sandwiches. It'll keep for a while in the fridge because of all the acid; maybe a week or two? Don't trust me on that one though. Use your judgement if it looks/smells a little funky.


I went a little crazy with the bao today. Three varieties: char siu (BBQ "pork"), nai wong (coconut custard), and a 1/2 batch of mini bo lo (pineapple buns). This is an all day event, as there's quite a bit of waiting around for the sponge starter. Sponges allow for extra yeast fermentation and give the dough a distinct flavor; think like a very, very mild sourdough. I brought a bunch over to my parents for Father's Day.

Of the char siu, semi-whole wheat variety.

Dough recipe
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1 c. warm water + 1/2 c.
4 1/2 c. unbleached AP flour (can also substitute 1/2 with whole wheat pastry flour)
1/4 c. unrefined cane sugar
2 tbs. Earth Balance
canola oil

Start your sponge by stirring the yeast into 1 c. of warm water. Then add 1 c. of the flour and mix. Cover and set aside for 45 minutes to an hour.

About a half hour into your sponge, melt the EB and sugar into the 1/2 c. of water in a small saucepan. Set aside and let cool.

Once your sponge is ready, add it to the remaining flour and add the liquid mixture as well. Begin mixing with a silicone spatula, then use your hands when it starts to hold together. Knead the dough for about 8-10 minutes then form into a large, flattened ball. Lightly grease a large bowl and set your dough inside, then flip the dough over so it is lightly oiled on both side. Cover with plastic or a damp cloth until it doubles in size. This will take another hour or so. The dough is ready when it no longer springs back when you touch it. (Sometime during all this waiting, prepare your filling. Also, use this time to cut out 24 - 3x3" squares of parchment paper.)

Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and form into a long log. Cut the dough into 24 pieces.

Char siu-style TVP (makes 24 buns)
1 c. textured vegetable protein
1 1/2 c. warm water
1 green onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbs. soy sauce
1 tbs. vegetarian "oyster" sauce (mushroom-based)
1 tbs. hoisin sauce
1 tbs. agave nectar
1 tbs. arrowroot powder
4 tbs. water
1/4. tsp. sriracha (optional)
1 tbs. canola oil

Soak the TVP in the warm water for about 15 minutes, or until softened (it'll depend on the size of your TVP.) Drain and set aside. Mix the sauce ingredients (soy sauce through sriracha) thoroughly and set aside.

Saute the green onions and garlic in the canola oil for a few seconds, then add the TVP. Stir over med-high heat for 1-2 minutes, then add the sauce mixture. Keep stirring and cook for 2-3 minutes more to caramelize a little. Pour into a dish and let cool.

Perfect circles are for squares.

Roll out one of the dough pieces into a 3 1/2 - 4" disc, or just use your hands. Try to make the center thicker than the edges, which will help your filling stay in the center of the finished bun. Scoop about 2 tsp. of filling into the center. Pinch together 3 sides to form a triangle.

Then pinch each of the 3 corners down into a pinwheel-like pattern, and twist the center of the bun to secure it. Set your beautiful bun on a square of parchment and place on a cookie sheet. When you're done filling all your buns, cover the cookie sheet(s) with a piece of plastic or a damp cloth and let rise for another hour. These will expand A LOT while steaming, so don't fret if they look a little small.

Dessert time!

Coconut custard filling (makes 24 buns)
1 package aseptic tofu (extra firm)
1/2 c. unrefined cane sugar
1/4 c. coconut milk (don't be a wuss...use full fat)
1/4 c. soy milk
3 tbs. arrowroot powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. coconut extract
pinch of salt

couple drops of yellow coloring (optional)

Blend the tofu, sugar, and coconut milk until smooth. Dissolve the arrowroot into the soy milk. Dump everything into a saucepan and simmer (and whisk!) over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until thick and it no longer tastes starchy. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until cold.

Roll out a piece of dough and fill, as above. This time, pull together opposite sides to form 4 corners, then pinch all 4 seams tightly. Tuck the corners together and place seam side down on a piece of parchment. Do the cookie sheet and rising thing described above.

To cook:

Bring whatever steamer set-up you have handy to a boil, then steam your bao for 10 minutes. I could fit 4-5 bao per batch. Remove the bao and set on a cooling rack just until it's cool enough to handle, then stuff it in your face.

Best enjoyed fresh, or steamed again for 5-7 minutes to heat. Or cheat and pop them in the microwave for about 30 seconds with a (barely) damp paper towel on top. They freeze really well. Just defrost and steam/microwave to heat.



Homestyle sweet and sour tofu

I don't just eat baked goods, I swear!

None of that flourescent-colored, sugary stuff. So satisfying. Pineapples are key, despite Shane's hatred.

Modded slightly from my mom's recipe. There is no real recipe though. It's one of those things we just make by eyeballing amounts and throwing stuff in a pan. One of these days when I'm not in a hurry, I'll try to measure everything out.

I begin by tossing sliced tofu in cornstarch, water, flour, and garlic powder, then it gets pan-fried until crispy and set aside. Into the wok goes 1 small sliced onion, a touch of oil, and some grated ginger. Once they're softened, I add pineapple, red or yellow bell peppers, and chopped tomatoes. Everything is sauteed together for a while until they begin to caramelize.

Meanwhile, I prepare a slurry of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, agave, sriracha, cornstarch, and water (and pineapple juice if I used canned). Once the vegetables are cooked, the sauce is poured on and allowed to thicken and turn everything into a delicious, soupy mess. Then the tofu is added back in and warmed through.

Rice, like the pineapple, is also key. I actually wish I had added more pineapple than I did today. If I had a mango, I might have thrown that in as well.

Cupcake party!

I invited a couple friends over to bake cupcakes and to stuff ourselves. I prepared some hummus with carrots and red pepper slices, so we'd have something to balance out all of the sugar. Fun times ensued.

Mini almond cupcakes. VCTOTW goldens made with almond extract, with almond-flavored cooked buttercream, and a perfect raspberry.

Black bottom cupcakes. VCTOTW chocolate cupcakes, with creamy filling.

Superior to Cream Cheese filling
8 oz. Better Than Cream Cheese (1 container, non-hydrogenated)
1/3 c. unrefined cane sugar
1 tbs. plain, unsweeted soy yogurt
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
6 oz. chocolate chips

Mix all of the ingredients together and scoop a heaping tablespoon onto each cupcake (12) before baking at 350F for about 20 minutes. Let these cool and set before messing with them too much. The soft filling makes them pretty delicate.

Ooey-gooey insides. (Lizzi should be a hand model.)

Tiramisu cups from VCTOTW, with coffee instead of Kahlua.

All together.

Panko-crusted eggplant cutlets

A lovely specimen.

Shane hates eggplants. The skin is tough, the inside is mushy, and they don't taste like anything. I wanted to prove him wrong, and frying makes everything better, right? The parsley and the zest lend a little bite of fresh air to the crust that keeps it from being too overwhelmingly anti-diet tasting.

Panko-crusted eggplant
1 large globe eggplant

1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
zest of one large lemon
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic

1/2 c. soy milk
1 tbs. cornstarch

1 3/4 c. panko (try to find one that doesn't have hydrogenated oils. You can probably substitute regular bread crumbs if you don't have any panko.)
1/4 c. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

canola oil

(This is probably enough for 4-5 people. We ate it all, except a few pieces I saved for lunch, in addition to sliced tofu that I panko-ed after marinating it in a little soy sauce. I am very, very full.)

Slice the eggplant into 1/4" thick cutlets. Rub the slices with a couple tablespoons of salt, and set in a colander for about an hour. Rinse and dry well.

Prepare the flour, soy milk, and panko mixtures (as separated in the list above) in three dishes.

Lightly coat a slice with flour, dip into the soy milk, then cover in panko (pat it on). Set aside on a plate and repeat until all slices are coated.

Heat a skillet over med-high heat with about 1/4" of oil. Gently place a few slices into the pan at a time, and cook for about 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Remove with tongs and place on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels/brown paper bags/whatever you want to use to drain the oil. You'll have to keep adding oil after every couple batches. Don't be scared!

Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve with your favorite marinara!

I also attempted a slightly healthier, oven-baked version. It took about 12-15 minutes per side in a 425F oven. Make sure to spray the pan and the tops with some oil, otherwise they will be all starchy. They were crunchier than the pan-fried, but didn't quite have that melt-in-your mouth goodness. Not bad at all though.

Update: Just had the eggplant and tofu reheated for lunch and it was delicious! I was worried about the texture, as it was soggy, but still worked well. It was more like tofu and eggplant parmesan.

Lazy Saturdays

1) Wearing a smock can help protect your clothing. Extra points for ol' lady florals.

2) Lower food gently into a wok. Seriously.

3) Eat lots of food!

Spicy garlic-sesame Chinese long beans and tofu.


Failed matcha lemongrass shortbread star-flower things. Lolo's recipe, with flavor modifications and 1/2 c. of cornstarch subbed for the equivalent of flour. I went a little too subtle on the flavoring and they taste like lightly sweetened flour. Maybe the bitterness in the tea neutralized some of the sweetness? The texture is to die for though!

Good basic recipe. Hopefully you'll have more luck than I did. Also, do yourself a favor and use a less intricate cookie cutter. (For sharp looking cookies, chill the dough before rolling, cut and arrange on cookie sheet, and pop the whole thing in the freezer for a minute or two. It'll help them from losing their shape.)

More cute than tasty.