Beautiful Restrictions


I was recently invited to attend a wedding celebration for good friends of ours.
Ecstatic, we did the usual most people do to prepare; plan a gift, get a new outfit, a hair do…
but you see I also had the pleasure of being asked to cater.

For the small gathering, I was asked to bring the desserts, only there were a few little catches.
Being vegan was a given, so any baked goods were to be egg and dairy free, but add a few more allergies and the offerings now needed to be gluten and nut-free too.

I am a girl who loves a challenge. And this day was to be all about love, wasn’t it?

I wanted to have a few selections, so I opted for small, and the mother of the groom suggested that it would be great if we didn’t need to cut cakes or fumble with too much extra cutlery. Small and quaint, that was the goal.

With weeks of research in, I gave myself two days to prep and begin baking. Thankfully, I had a Daring Baker deadline looming, and, like always, I figured it would fit into what was going on in my life this month.

Of course, ever since a botched my daughter’s first birthday cake, I’ve always seemed to find gluten-free baking a little daunting.
Since that day, of any research I could muster, I’ve realized that it take a good number of replacement  flours to create a good combination. Different flours do different things. Some are starchier, heavier and most create a much drier batter than you might be used to. Considering this, I thought I’d create a bit of a safety net by combining my little cakes with a touch of fruit.
That and I put together a few recipes, you know, just in case.

CARAMEL APPLE GATEAU TATIN

1/4 Cup White Rice Flour
1/4 Cup Soy Flour
2 Tablespoons Potato Flour
3 Tablespoons Spelt Flour*
2 Tablespoons Cornmeal
3/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 Tablespoons Ground Flax Seed
1/4 Cup Hot Water
1/3 Cup Soy Milk
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

5-6 Firm Apples, I used Empire
2 Tablespoons Butter, vegan
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Apple Juice

*To go gluten-free, substitute the spelt for 3 Tablespoons of rice flour.

Peel and slice the apples 1/4″ thick.
Melt the butter in a large sauté pan, then shake over the sugar.
Once the sugar has begun to melt and bubble, add the apples in an even layer.
Cook until the apples are tender, then add the apple juice, stirring to incorporate. Coat the apples well before removing from the heat to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Combine the flours. (If not going gluten-free, 3/4 cup of an unbleached AP, may be substituted.)
Add the cornmeal and baking powder and sift together.
Meanwhile, combine the coconut oil and the sugar with a stand or hand mixer until well combined.
Mix the ground flax and the water, then add it and the vanilla to the sugar mixture.
Alternate adding the flours and the soy milk until everything has been added.
Spoon about 3 slices of apples, along with a little “caramel” into a oil sprayed miniature muffin tin.
Next drop the batter, by the tablespoonful, over the apples then bake for 18-20 minutes.
Cool slightly, then gently run a knife around the edges to release the cakes.

If desired, garnish with dried apple chips.
To make, thinly slice one apple with a mandoline. Squeeze over the juice of 1/2 a lemon and a sprinkling of confectioners sugar. Drop onto a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet and leave in a 200ºF oven for at least 2 hours or until crisp.

Cuppa Mudcake



After being asked to create a muffin of childlike proportions for the Muffin Monday Round-Up, I was left thinking back, with one memory only.

After attending countless birthday celebrations as a child, cake memories tend to blend together; all but one at least. Funny enough, I couldn’t dare tell you who’s birthday it was, or how old we were, but I, and I’m assuming every other kid there, hadn’t ever been served anything like this before.

Before us, my friends and I, were presented a bright blue plastic pail of DIRT – with worms…
Temporarily paralyzed by our bewildered excitement, we eventually dug in. Oreo Cookie crumbs, chocolate icing, pudding, devils food cake, you name it, if it was dark, gooey and made from chocolate it was in there. The best part? Intertwined in the mess of cocoa, stretchy, fruity, gummy worms.
Now the worms aren’t vegan, but I’ve found “Fruit Squiggles“. The same as flat fruit leather, this stuff has been reshaped to be more exciting for kid snacks and mudcake creations alike.

CUPPA MUDCAKES

1/2 package Silken Tofu
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/3 Cup Vegan Margarine
1/3 Cup Cocoa
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3/4 Cup All Purpose, Unbleached Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt

Line a muffin tin with papers.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor or electric mixer, cream the tofu then add the vanilla.
In a saucepan, melt the margarine and add the brown sugar. Once everything is melted, whisk in the cocoa, until it’s smooth and thick.
Add the chocolate to the tofu mixture; blending well.
Mix in the sifted flour, salt and baking powder until just combined.
Pour by tablespoon fulls into the prepared muffin tins and bake for about 18 minutes or until the muffins are puffed and spring back when touched.
Cool on a rack completely prior to icing.
Makes 6.

VEGAN CHOCOLATE ICING

1/2 Cup Margarine
2/3 Cup cocoa powder
2 Cups powdered sugar
1/3 Cup Soy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Melt the margarine in a small bowl, I microwave it.
Transfer to a mixing bowl and add cocoa and stir well.
Add powdered sugar and soy milk, then beat on medium for about a minute, or until it’s a spreadable consistency.
Stir in the vanilla extract.

TO DECORATE:

Chocolate Icing
1 Cup Oreo Cookie Crumbs
Fruit Leather
Ju-jubes
Licorice
Gummy worms or fruit leather “squiggles”
(What ever else you have on hand to get creative with, have fun!)

Top the cupcakes with the chocolate icing and dip them into the Oreo crumbs.
Slice the ju-jubes into crescents and other petal shapes or use a cookie cutter for the fruit leather to create other garden-esq shapes.
Stick the worms in and out of the Oreo “dirt”.
Think garden and have fun!