Peanut butter coffee cake

The peanut butter in the topping melts down into a crisp crust. Make sure to leave out the salt if you're using salted peanut butter. Modded from Veg Cooking.

The mug is actually empty.

Peanut Butter Coffee Cake
2 1/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour
2 tbs. cornstarch
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg (or be lame and use pre-ground)
pinch of salt
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 1/4 c. soy milk
1/2 c. peanut butter, room temp (I used creamy, but go for chunky if you want a chunky cake)
1/3 c. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375F. Lighty grease a 9 x 13" baking dish.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, nutmeg, and salt. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat with a mixer until everything is moistened and the peanut butter is evenly distributed. (A minute or two.) Pour into the prepared dish.

1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
pinch of salt
1/4 c. peanut butter
3 tbs. EB

Mix the sugar, flour, and salt, then add the peanut butter and EB. Use your fingers to mix until crumbly, then sprinkle over the top of the batter.

Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until it passes the toothpick test.

Coconut basil lime cupcakes with ginger buttercream

I often find myself craving things late at night and I don't want to run to the store to find proper ingredients, or I just start digging around my kitchen and seeing what I can throw together. These are modified from Isa and Terry's VCTOTW.


1/3 c. canola oil
3/4 c. unrefined cane sugar
1 tbs. lime zest
2 tsp. super finely chopped basil (preferably Thai, but Sweet will do)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. coconut extract

3/4 c. coconut milk

1/2 c. soy milk

1 1/4 c. unbleached pastry flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Prep a 12-cup pan with liners.

Beat sugar and oil together, then add the zest, basil, and rest of the liquid ingredients and beat for 3-5 more minutes. Sift in the dry ingredients, stiring slowly, just until everything is moistened.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 20 minutes, until golden and toothpick-ready.

Let cool in pan for 2-3 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.

Ginger buttercream
1/4 c. soy milk

1/4 c. coconut milk
1 tsp. sliced fresh ginger (it's ok to leave the skin on)

1 tsp. cornstarch or arrowroot

1/2 c. unrefined cane sugar

1/2 c. Earth Balance, room temp

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tbs. powdered sugar

Bring the milks to a boil, then pour into a cup over the ginger. If you're a big ginger fan, feel free to be more generous than the 1 tsp. Set aside and let steep for 5 or so minutes.

Strain the cooled milk into a small saucepan. Add the cornstarch and stir well until dissolved. Bring to a boil and remove from heat once it begins to thicken. Pour into a cup and set aside until cooled to just above room temp.

Beat sugar and margarine until fluffy, then add the vanilla and beat some more. Slowly incorporate the thickened milk, beating until it's fully incorporated. Add the powdered sugar and beat for another 2-3 minutes. Spread on your cooled cupcakes and enjoy!

Pound cake

Rich, buttery pound cake. So simple and so good. Modified slightly from Tracy's recipe. I was disappointed at first because it just tasted like yellow cake, but after spending a night covered on the counter, the crust softened up and the texture and taste became just right.

Pictured with silken tofu whip and strawberries.

Pound Cake
1/2 c. soy milk
1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 c. unbleached pastry flour
2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 c. Earth Balance, room temperature
1 1/2 c. unrefined cane sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. artificial butter flavoring (optional, but I don't mind the chemicals)
3/4 c. aseptic silken tofu, extra firm

Preheat oven to 350F.

Stir the vinegar into the soy milk and set aside. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

Beat EB and sugar until fluffy, then add extracts, tofu, and soy milk and beat until well incorporated. Gently whisk in the dry ingredients then pour into a lightly greased loaf pan. The batter will be fairly thick.

Bake on an upper oven rack for 50-55 minutes until crust is golden and it passes the toothpick test.

Variations: I think my next goal is to make this with some lemon zest, juice, and poppy seeds.

Spiced apple-cranberry-pecan muffins

1 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1 tbs. cornstarch
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4. tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 c. canola oil
2/3 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 c. applesauce (cinnamon or regular)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 c. dried cranberries (rehydrated in hot water, then drained)
1/2 c. chopped pecans

1/2 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. crushed pecans
3 tbs. brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
3 tbs. canola oil

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin.

In a small bowl, combine the dry topping ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Then add the oil, mix, and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices; stir in pecans. In a separate bowl, beat oil, sugar, applesauce, extract, and zest for 2-3 minutes; stir in cranberries.

Carefully stir the wet muffin mixture into the dry, and mix just until combined. Scoop batter into the prepared tin. The cups will be almost full. Divide the topping over the muffins, and pat gently into the batter.

Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until they pass the toothpick test.

Let cool in the muffin tin for 3-5 minutes, then remove to a rack and let cool completely.

Pineapple buns

Oh, how I've missed unknotting the red twine from those ubiquitous pink Chinatown bakery boxes and lifting out one of these sweet, cholesterol-ladden buns. (I don't miss the cholesterol part.) The misleading name refers to the criss-cross pattern on the sugary crust; no actual pineapples are involved.

I stumbled across this recipe a while back, and this is my second attempt at veganization. I also don't trust yeast recipes that don't allow for proofing. I believe I nailed it this time!

Cholesterol and cruelty-free!

1 tbs. active dry yeast
1/4 c. warm water
3 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer
3/4 c. soy milk
1/3 c. unrefined cane sugar
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. plain soy yogurt
3 tbs. Earth Balance, melted
1 tsp. vanilla

In a small bowl, mix the yeast into the water and set aside. Within 10 minutes, the surface should look foamy. If not, your yeast is kaput and you'll need to get some more.

Sift 1/2 c. + 1 tbs. flour, salt, Ener-G, in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine the melted EB, oil, soymilk, sugar, yeast mixture, and vanilla, and mix well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well again. Slowly sift in the remaining flour, mixing until a soft dough forms.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-7 minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in size (about 90 minutes.)

Punch the dough down and divide into 12 sections. Roll each section in your hands, and flatten slightly, then place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise again until doubled in size (about 45 minutes.)

1/3 c. unrefined cane sugar
1/4 c. EB, room temp
2 tbs. soy milk
1 tbs. plain soy yogurt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. unbleached flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Make this during the first rise, so the topping has time to set. Combine sugar and wet ingredients and beat until creamy. Sift in the dry ingredients, mixing with a spoon. The mixture will be soft and sticky; place covered in the refrigerator until needed.

1/4 c. soy milk
1 tbs. unrefined cane sugar

Preheat oven to 375F.

Brush the tops of the buns with some wash.

Divide the topping into 12 portions (about a heaping tablespoon each), and using lightly floured hands, roll, then shape into a small disk (about 3-4" wide...don't worry if they look small. It will spread a lot.) Place the disks on top of each bun, then lightly brush again with wash. Using a small knife, score a criss-cross pattern into the surface of the topping.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.

Chili n' cornbread

Pictured with Insomniac's broiler-roasted asparagus. (So good! All these years I've mourned not having a grill like an idiot.)

1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
12 oz. ground soy (or chopped seitan, TVP, crumbled tofu...)
1 - 15 oz. can of black beans, drained
1 - 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes, drained
1 green onion, chopped
2 tbs. maple syrup
2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tbs. soy sauce
juice of 1 lime
hot sauce of choice, in quantity of choice (I use about 2 tbs. of sriracha)
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
2 small zucchini, diced
olive oil

Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent. Add everything except the zucchini, stirring well. Let simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, add the diced zucchini, then pour chili into a 9 x 13 baking dish, and set aside.

1 c. cornmeal
1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 c. unrefined sugar
1 tbs. baking powder
1 tbs. cornstarch
pinch of salt
1 c. + 2 tbs. soy milk
1/3 c. canola oil

Preheat oven to 400F.

Sift together dry ingredients, then add wet and stir until just combined. Spread batter over the top of the chili. The batter is pretty thick, so it helps to make a few dollops over the surface, then spread them towards each other. Don't worry about covering everything perfectly. The cornbread will rise and spread as it cooks.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.

Sour cow-free cream
6 oz. extra firm silken tofu (1/2 a box)
1 1/2 tbs. unsweetened soy milk
1 tbs. canola oil
juice of 1/2 a lime
pinch of salt
dash of agave nectar
smidgen of garlic powder

Throw in a blender. Blend.

Blueberry cornmeal pancakes with blueberry-orange syrup

Makes 2 servings.

1 tbs. Earth Balance
2 tbs. unrefined cane sugar
2 tbs. orange juice
1/4 c. + 1/2 tsp. water
1/2 c. blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 tsp. orange zest
1/2 tsp. cornstarch

In a small saucepan, melt the Earth Balance and add the sugar. Once the sugar begins to caramelize, carefully add the orange juice and 1/4 c. of water, and finally the blueberries and zest. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until you're finished making pancakes. When ready to serve, dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining water, then add to the syrup. Simmer for 1 minute, then pour over pancakes.

3/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 c. cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
3/4 c. soy milk
1 tbs. melted Earth Balance or oil
1/2 c. blueberries (fresh or thawed if frozen)

Sift together dry ingredients. Stir in soy milk and butter, just until everything is wet (don't worry about a few lumps). Carefully fold in blueberries.

Cook on a preheated griddle or pan, using about 1/4 c. of batter per pancake. Keep warm in a 250F oven while you finish the rest of the batch.

Caramelized lemongrass tofu with vermicelli

Vietnamese bun thit nuong is a cold noodle salad dish, traditionally served with pork and a dressing made from fish sauce. This is a much improved version that doesn't require any killing.

Makes 2 servings.

1 - 16oz package super firm tofu
1/4 c. unrefined cane sugar
1/4 c. + 2 tbs. water
2 tbs. soy sauce
2 tbs. canola oil
1 tbs. rice wine vinegar
1 tbs. ginger, grated
1/4 c. lemongrass, chopped (about 4" of stem)
1/2 tsp. sriracha
1 green onion, chopped

If you can't find super firm tofu, use a complementary flavor of baked tofu (teriyaki, 5-spice, etc.); the dense texture is important. Slice the tofu into about 1/4" thick, 2" squares, and set aside. In a small saucepan, bring the sugar and 2 tbs. of water to a boil, then simmer until it reaches a medium caramel color. Meanwhile, mix the rest of the ingredients, except the water, in a small bowl. Once the caramel reaches the desired color, carefully add the 1/4 c. of water (it will splatter!) Return to a boil and stir just until the sugar dissolves again. Add the caramel to the rest of the marinade and stir well. Place the tofu slices in a shallow dish and pour the marinade on top. Toss a few times to make sure all of the slices are coated, then cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Overnight is even better.

Arrange the tofu on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and broil on high, for about 7-8 minutes, or until the surface begins to crisp and the edges are caramelized. Flip the slices, then broil for another 7-8 minutes.

4 oz. rice noodles
2 qt. water

You can find these dry noodles at most Asian markets. They will be labeled rice sticks or vermicelli, and should be skinny, translucent, and a little crinkly-looking.

Bring the water to a boil, then add the noodles. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until they are just tender. Drain, rinse under cold water, then drain again. Place in a covered bowl in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. They will continue to absorb moisture and will "fluff up" a little.

1/4 c. water
3 tbs. rice wine vinegar
juice of 1/2 a lime
1 clove garlic
1 tbs. unrefined cane sugar
3/4 tsp. vegetarian oyster sauce

Smash the garlic clove with the side of your knife to loosen the paper, then add the whole clove to the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Vegetarian oyster sauce can be found in Asian markets and is made from mushroom extracts. 1/2 tsp. soy sauce can be used if oyster sauce cannot be found, but that's not as fun. Prepare this while the tofu is marinating, and set the dressing in the fridge while you wait on everything else to finish. Fish out the garlic before serving, unless you really like garlic. You can add some of your shredded carrots to the sauce for a quick pickling that will add extra flavor.

2 1/2 c. lettuce, chopped (5-6 leaves)
1 small carrot
1/2 small cucumber
1/4 c. cilantro
1/4 c. mint
1/4 c. roasted, unsalted peanuts

Shred/julienne the carrot and cucumber, chop the mint and cilantro, and crush the peanuts.

To serve:

Gently separate the noodles with your fingers (they will be stuck together), and divide into two large bowls. Divide vegetables into the two bowls as well. Top with caramelized tofu and crushed peanuts, and serve with the dressing on the side. Scoop some of those yummy caramelized onion and lemongrass bits on top, too. Immediately before eating, pour dressing over the bowl, toss, then enjoy!

Disclaimer: Traditionally this dish should also have bean sprouts and I can't stand those things raw, but please add bean sprouts, if you enjoy them.

Variations: These same ingredients can be used to make tasty summer rolls. Just wrap in rice paper, and use the dressing as a dipping sauce.