Apr 8, 2014

Vegan Chocolate Cake

Half way to work this gloomy, rainy Monday morning, my phone beeped to show I had a work email. Since I was stuck in standstill traffic, I checked to see what the header of the message was. To my dismay, it was an announcement that a co-worker whom I was joking with on the previous Friday, passed away that Saturday. Not the news I wanted to hear on a cloudy rainy Monday morning.  The rest of the day became a blur. I KNEW that I had to bake something to cheer myself up.

Tomorrow is my monthly Mommy Pokeno game night and I have to provide dessert. I asked couple of co-workers for some quick ideas which they provided, however, I ended up going with something vegan because we have two vegetarians in our group and didn't want to have to provide two separate options.

Who doesn't love chocolate right?

Ok, DS can do without it but that doesn't mean he doesn't like it.
Anyhow! The real test was if  DH would figure out that it was vegan. When he asked what I was making, I said chocolate cake.
Process is simple enough: Flour, sugar, cocoa, oil, water, vanilla, baking soda etc. What surprised me was no baking powder BUT you add balsamic vinegar. WHAT? VINEGAR in cake? OH YES. Apparently, balsamic vinegar goes really well with chocolate.
Wet and dry ingredients ready for mixing. No machine needed

Took two minutes
The recipe said to bake for 45mins at 350 degrees. It took longer to bake and I had to turn the oven down to prevent burning. I made one with vegan cocoa chips and the other without (mainly because I forgot while mixing the first batch). I could  have doubled the recipe, but that didn't work well for me the first time I tried with a new recipe.
With cocoa chips

One on the left without
While they were cooling, I made the icing. Also vegan.
Side note on the icing. I felt so silly at the store. I starred at the cake section for a while looking for traditional icing containers to no avail. The kind lady that came to help pointed them out to me and I stated "no, that's cake mix". Duhhh, reading is fundamental. My excuse, I had a bad day. She then went into telling me about how she doesn't like the smell of real butter. They just happened to have the vegan butter out with some fresh bread for tasting. I was sold at first tasting.
After I made the icing, DH walks in to "taste". Talked about how good it was and wanted to do a tasting with cake. He still didn't know it was vegan.

Outside is a bit crispy but inside is super moist. DH liked it and stated that the cake would have gone really well with whipped cream. I then kindly told him that it wouldn't since I needed it to be vegan.  Ah ah, was his reply and finished with, well it's still good.
SCORE!!! Now hopefully everyone else at Pokeno likes it.

Feb 16, 2014

Beginner's Bread

I am so excited about this bread. It's the easiest recipe and just as easy to make. I haven't been able to get a yeast bread to come out so good in a long time.  I decided to go back to the basic white bread and bam, success!

I haven't had white bread in a very long time, as I was insisting on trying wheat which wasn't working. Maybe it's because I didn't have a mixer, maybe it's the temperature, maybe it's me rushing the process, maybe, maybe, maybe.

By now you know I used a mixer and let the dough hook do the work. If I have it, I might as well use it right?  I couldn't take pictures of the process because the kiddies were in a "mood" and were very clingy. I usually bake at night after they've gone to bed, but that causes my pictures to have shadows. Plus I needed the bread for dinner. I made tomato soup (my DS's favorite).

This is after the first rise, I fell asleep and it ended up sitting for two hours vs. one. Maybe that was my saving grace.

After second rise, which was about 35mins.

The sides are nice and crunchy. Not sure what caused the slight crack there, but it didn't matter. Then it was onto the taste test.
The inside is super moist and it tasted buttery even though there is only one teaspoon of vegetable shortening.  DH enjoyed it with a bowl of soup. I'll definitely make this again.

Feb 11, 2014

Oreo Cookie Cheesecake

The DH's birthday was fast approaching and I had not asked him what kind of cake he wanted. He must have been thinking I had forgotten or that he wasn't getting any. However, when you have two toddlers who are obsessed with blowing out candles, there is no choice on if there is a cake or not.  In my case, I rather make one than buy one.

When he was asked, his typical answer came out.... CHEESECAKE PLEASE!!!

Last time I made a cheesecake, it cracked right down the center and even though I wasn't too unhappy about it, I wasn't looking forward to doing it again just yet.

Anyhoo, I searched the cloud and found a Cheesecake Factory copycat recipe. There were lots of negative reviews but I went with it anyway. This time around I made sure I did a water bath and decrease the oven to slow down the cooking process.

A friend that has wanted to bake with me for a while was visiting and it was perfect time to put her to work.



Even though this cracked a bit, the cookie on top covers it pretty well.


Hubster enjoying his cake..