BAKECETERA.COM

20 Sep

HI! We’ve moved… hit up http://bakecetera.com/ to keep yourself up to date on yummy treats and sweets!!!

 

Thank you all!

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Vegan Red Velvet Cake

12 Sep

There are a few things in life that will always make me happy. Always. Number one: cake.

i.love.cake.nom.nom.nom.nom.cake.nom.

Actually, I REALLY like sweets in general. So, when I hear that someone isn’t a “dessert person”, I just don’t understand. How can you not like cake? Cookies? Macarons? Ice cream? Ice cream with apple pie? Brownies? Croissants?… please, stop me any time for I’ll go on, and on… (PRALINES!?)

One of these poor lost souls happens to be a great friend of mine. She just isn’t a dessert girl. I don’t get it, but since she’s an exceptional person, I’m going out of my way to understand. One of the rare deviations from this part of her otherwise lovely person is red velvet cake. She digs it. That’s acceptable. I like red velvet cake… BUT, making red velvet cake has always intimidated me. I’m not quite sure why? It may have something to do with the fact that in order to make it REALLY red, you have to use abnormal levels of red food colouring… something that gives me minor heart palpitations. That’s probably it. Plus, I think I’ve tired to make it before, and it just didn’t turn out too well.

Deep breaths. I can try again. For her. For her birthday.

In order to cope with the food colouring crisis, I’m using beet juice. Yep. Beet juice. I just can’t do it. I’m sorry. The cake didn’t turn out RED red, so if you don’t have moral complications with a fourth of a cup of red food colouring, I would definitely recommend that (I won’t even judge you!). The cake turned out looking like chocolate, with a hint of red. Probably not the look that one goes for with “red” velvet cake, but just pretend you’re eating a vegetable instead of cake… and I’m sure you’ll get over it. Quickly.

Vegan red velvet cake – what you need:

  • 2 ¾ cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of beet juice (alternatively, for a REDREDRED red velvet, use red food colouring)

Red Velvet Cake – What you do:

Preheat an oven to 180c. With vegan margarine, grease two cake pans, then dust lightly with flour.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, and baking soda.

Add the coconut milk, oil, vanilla, and beet juice until blended. Add the vinegar until blended.

Evenly separate into the two prepared cake pans and tap lightly on your counter to get rid of any air bubbles.

Bake at an 180c oven for 25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Allow the cakes to sit for five minutes, and then run a knife around the edge of the cake in the pan. Turn over the cakes onto cooling racks and let them cool completely.

Now we get to the tricky part: the frosting. Ok, well… you could use the vanilla-coconut frosting from the vegan vanilla cupcakes recipe. That would work. If you’re not vegan, then I would recommend the typical cream cheese frosting vibe. Delicious. I hear that you can get vegan cream cheese, and as soon as I find this little treasure, I’ll whip some up vegan cream cheese frosting and share… but it’s extremely tricky to find these ingredients in Paris, so for now I’ll just share with you a standard cream cheese frosting recipe. Acceptable? I hope so.

This frosting comes from FoodNetwork’s Ina Garten. If you don’t know about this fantastic woman, get involved! She is great. (And this cake that the frosting is originally made for is BY FAR the best thing I have EVER baked. I recommend this recipe!)

Here ya go: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/carrot-and-pineapple-cake-recipe/index.html

Cream cheese frosting – What you need:

  • 450 grams of confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 340 grams of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 225 grams of unsalted butter, at room temperature

Cream cheese frosting – what you do:

With an electric mixer (or your biceps), mix the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together in a large bowl. Add the sugar and mix until smooth.

In the end, everyone partied way too hard on Friday night to make it to cake-and-wine night on Saturday. But, umm, I had cake, and I had wine (along with some amazing girlfriends!)… so, I don’t realllly think you’re going to hear me complaining.

(P.S. This is beet juice… not wine.)

Baking soundtrack: Tunes to inspire your inner baker.

Medeski, Martin, & Wood – End of the World Party: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHlWOs6Ca50

Bedouin Soundclash – When the Night Feels My Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zvBD3CsI0M

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

7 Sep

Since you’ve already seen that I am not a vegan (via macarons), you’re probably wondering why I bother trying so hard to replace “normal” baking recipes with vegan ones.

Well, I am a new vegetarian. It wasn’t an extremely difficult transition… I never ate much meat, and so far I don’t miss it at all. Part of this vegetarian adoption was due to a lot of reading and research, but an equally important part was spending so much time around other vegetarians. No, don’t worry, I’m not a preacher, so you don’t have to skip the next few lines… but it was interesting to see how these people so easily adapted their lives to their (healthy) diets and beliefs. Now… vegetarian doesn’t mean vegan. Vegetarian = no meat, Vegan = no animal products at all (dairy, eggs, etc.).

This is where a pretty boy comes into the story. I bake for boys. It’s kind of my thing. My friends hate it, because they insist that silly boys don’t deserve my baking. But, it is my way of showing someone that I’m interested in my affection. This also extends to my friends and family… but I make the extra effort when a pretty and nice boy is involved.  And, yes, this boy was vegan. Sigh. He will never taste my macarons.

Well, I failed at my first… five? vegan desserts. So bleak. I typically make delicious treats, and all this boy was getting were burnt black bean brownie bites. Very sexy? Probably. Anyway, I like a challenge, HATE failing, and I realized that a lot of vegans out there want fun and tasty ideas for desserts! Thus, my new mission was to find, adapt, and create vegan sweets.

My first big “win” in the vegan baking department was something I created out of about a dozen vegan birthday cake recipes. I made it for my birthday, and subsequently made it for my friend’s birthday as well! Thus, the ultimate vegan birthday cake recipe was born. This time I made cupcakes for a friend’s housewarming party… so below I will make sure you get the baking times for both!

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes – What you need:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup apple sauce
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar

Vegan Birthday Cake – What you do:

Preheat the oven to 180c. Line a cupcake tray. (If you’re making a cake, grease a cake pan with vegan margarine and dust with flour.)

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl (flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder). Combine all of the wet ingredients in another large bowl (applesauce, water, vanilla, vinegar, and oil).

Combine the dry mixture into the wet mixture in three additions, stirring well after each time.

Fill up the cupcake tins halfway. Bake at 180c for 25 to 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. (If making a cake, 20 to 25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.)

This makes 12 cupcakes!

Vegan vanilla coconut frosting – what you need:

  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • ½ cup (vegan) margarine, softened
  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut milk

Vegan vanilla coconut frosting – what you do:

With an electric mixer (or extremely strong arm) beat the margarine until light and fluffy. Slowly add the confectioners sugar to the margarine, while beating consistently. It will become harder and harder to mix the sugar and margarine together around the second cup of confectioners sugar. At this time, slowly add in the coconut milk. You may need a touch more coconut milk, depending on the desired consistency. In this recipe I used two tablespoons. Blend well until thick and smooth.

As I mentioned previously, I also made this cake for a friend’s birthday. He’s a rad dude, totally obsessed with autobots (roll out!). He works for Fry’s Vegetarian Foods… and this is his blog, with a special mention to my cake! http://thefrysguy.com/?p=891

Shameless promotion: Fry’s food is ABSOLUTELY delicious, so if you’re lucky enough to live in a country where they sell it (WHY FRANCE, why?!)… check it out. Also on the blog and Fry’s website are recipe ideas. Mmm mmm good. Happy browsing : D.

Baking soundtrack: Tunes to inspire your inner baker.

Of Monsters and Men – Mountain Sound: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vT3HrrrHzII

The XX (Matthew Dear Remix) – VCR: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9ECW-Dabn0

Vegan Zucchini Brownies

4 Sep

When I was doing my bachelors in Economics, I was a slightly stressed person. Ok, very stressed. It was not atypical to find me huddled in the corner of my room locked in the fetal position after a calculus class. (Yes, I still have nightmares.)

Magically, I survived. I’m fairly certain I owe this feat to my excessive baking of muffins. Baking muffins = stress relief. Eating muffins = happiness. It’s a two-step process to becoming a “normal” person. I try.

So, back in the day I baked a lot of muffins. Since I was eating up to five muffins a day during this phase, I decided to make them healthy…err, at least healthier than the average muffin. I replaced a lot of the sugar with (homemade!) applesauce, and the oil and butter with yogurt. Most importantly, I devised this love for adding weird things into my muffins to eat more fruits and veggies! I tried everything: avocado-cornbread (amazing with a tart red jam on top), mango-cranberry-coconut, zucchini-apple, and carrot-raisin… I could go on, but instead I’ll get to the point: I LOVE VEGGIES IN CAKES! Surprising! But, fantastic. Plus, it’s totally healthy if some raw green veggie goes into your batter before baking it. Am I right, or am I right?

Thus, we come to the topic of the day: Zucchini Brownies (vegan, too!). I really wanted to adapt this recipe a bit, but I decided to make these fellows on the spur of the moment, thus didn’t have some of the ingredients on hand. However, they were delicious. D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S. … Meaning that I will make them again. Also, I used a cake pan. Not because they should be done in a cake pan, but because my oven can’t fit a normal baking pan… They turned out more cake-y, than brownie-y, but I’m fairly certain it’s because they were so thick. Luckily, I’m not one to complain about a delectable thick brownie.

Zucchini Brownies – What you need:

(adapted very slightly from http://www.lickthebowlgood.blogspot.fr/2012/06/special-brownies-because-im-getting-old.html.)

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (I used unrefined)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups packed grated zucchini

Zucchini Brownies – What you do:

Preheat your oven to 180 C. Grease a baking pan (err, I used a cake pan, for I lack a proper baking pan… But any standard ((US sizing)) 9×13 inch baking pan should work well) with vegan margarine spread.

Mix together the dry ingredients. Stir in all of the wet ingredients. Mix well. The consistency will be VERY dry, but it’s fine because the zucchini will make the batter moist. Add the zucchini and stir until combined. (See? Moisture!)

Spread evenly into your pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack, then cut into brownie squares. (Or, if you’re lacking equipment like me, nifty geometrical brownie shapes!)

Since I’m new to this baking blog idea, I hope you will forgive me about the lack of prep pictures for these brownies. I was too busy licking the spoon and/or bowl to realize that I should be taking photos. Priorities, obviously.

 

Baking soundtrack: Tunes to inspire your inner baker.

Miike Snow – Animal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVWeqAPQUXc

The Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vN7HQrgakZU

Macarons with Chocolate Ganache

14 Aug

I’ve finally moved into my new apartment in Paris, purchased an oven, and organized my baking kit to squeeze into my generous 26 metres squared flat. Stoked. All there is left for me to do is bake! As a house warming treat, I’m sticking to my favourite dessert of all time: the macaron.

I know, I know… I claim that I’m going to give you all these magical delicious vegan treats and the first thing I pop out of the oven is 50% made up of eggs. The worst. I know.

However, it is EXTREMELY important for EVERYONE to know that you, yes: YOU, can successfully make these finicky French treats! Ok, perhaps it takes some practice, but just imagine when you rock up to a party with home made macarons? … Or, equally acceptable, imagine when you can sit at home with a bottle of wine and the Star Wars Trilogy (the original, obviously) and eat your own home made macarons! … definitely not something I’m planning on for my Friday night. No, never.

This recipe comes from http://www.raspberricupcakes.com/. I have tried a dozen recipes so far for macarons, and her recipe is literally the best! Along with providing adorable macaron animal how-tos, this blog also gives extremely helpful hints for perfecting these bad boys. Today, I’m going simple:

Macarons – What you need:

  • 100g aged egg whites (I let mine rest on the counter in a sealed container for 24 hours)
  • 110g almond meal (Some suggest to dry it in the oven for 10 minutes at 100 degrees C, I’ve skipped this step before and they still work out fine!)
  •  200g icing sugar
  • 50g caster sugar

Macarons – What you do:

In a large bowl, sift together the almond powder and the powdered sugar. Set aside.

In another large bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Then, slowly, add in the caster sugar until stiff peaks form. Careful not to overbeat! A funky tip I use is to beat the egg whites until you can just turn the bowl upside-down without the egg whites falling out!

Add the meringue (err, also known as whipped up egg whites, seen above) to the almond/powdered sugar mix. For the first few turns, stir quickly to incorporate the meringue into the dry mix. After, slowly “fold” the meringue in to the almond/powdered sugar mix. Tip for folding: think of your spoon as a wand. Now, wrist circles as if you’re about to cast a nasty spell. Put your wand to your magical concoction, and turn the meringue in to the almond powder. It’s all in the wrists.

You really don’t want to over beat your macaron mix at this stage. I count my stirs to try to keep them under 50. The mix should be shiny and fall from your spoon like a ribbon. Dazzling.

Line your baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the mix into a pastry bag, and pipe small circles (around 3-4 centimetres) on to the parchment paper. Make sure you don’t pipe the macarons too closely to one another – they will spread out a bit! This next step has proven essential in my macaron experiments… After you’ve piped out all of your macarons, leave them alone for an hour. They need to “set” in order to bake with a clean, uncracked shell. At this point, I typically go for a jog, read a book, or prepare the macaron filling! (Insert your favourite hour-long activity in the previous statement!)

(I have a very mini oven that doesn’t fit your normal rectangular baking sheet… hence the tart pan.)

Once settled, bake the macarons at 140 C in a pre-heated oven for 15-17 minutes, rotating the baking sheet half-way through. Let the macarons sit for a minute or two, then pop them off the sheet. They should come off easily, and if they don’t, just put them back into the oven for a few more minutes. Allow your macarons to cool completely on a cooling rack.

Magic. You made macarons! (This should make around 20-22 macarons, depending on how big you pipe them.)

Below is a simple and fool proof method for chocolate ganache that works perfectly with these macarons.

Ganache – What you need:

  • 150g chocolate (I used chocolate with hazelnuts! Delicious.), finely chopped
  • 100mL, or a touch less than half of a cup, of cream (go fat or go home, my friends!)

Ganache – What you do:

Put the chopped chocolate in a heat proof bowl. Place the cream in a small saucepan on medium-high heat on the stove. Heat the cream until it is simmering slightly. Pour the cream into the chocolate, allowing the chocolate to melt. Stir until you have a smooth texture. Place the chocolate ganache into the fridge to cool for about an hour. You’re going to have to let it re-adjust to room temperature before you can pipe it onto your macarons. (Alternatively, you can just leave it at room temperature until it becomes thick.)

Ideally, the macarons should sit in your fridge overnight before serving them. They stay excellent for 3 to 4 days!

Voila. So, next time: you get vegan… but please don’t be bummed with my excessive love of macarons, because you’re going to be seeing a lot of them… they’re good for you, I promise.

 

Ladurée-schmadurée… you’ve got nothing on this!

Baking soundtrack: Tunes to inspire your inner baker.

The Sound of Arrows – M.A.G.I.C.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bg-3N8T7r20

Twin Shadow – Five Seconds: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yRGyQ0sygI