Gum Drop Cake


Had enough sugar yet today?

My Nana used to make this cake for us when we were kids.

I’m not sure if it’s one of those depression era cakes that remind me of grandma’s and farmhouses or if it’s just a classically good everyday cake that’s delicious enough to serve for any celebration.
…And most days are worth celebrating, aren’t they?

GUM DROP CAKE

1/2 Cup Butter, vegan
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
1 Cup Plain Soy Milk
2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Chopped Gum Drops, about 15

Combine the milk with the lemon juice and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF and grease a loaf pan with butter and flour.
Cream the butter with the sugar.
Add the salt, cinnamon, baking powder and soda.
Alternating, add about one third of the milk and 1/2 cup of flour until it has all been incorporated.
Stir in the chopped gumdrops to combine.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 50-60 minutes or until a cake tester is cleanly removed.

Cool completely before serving.
If desired drizzle with a tangelo glaze:

1/2 Cup Icing Sugar
Zest and juice of 1 tangelo

Sift the sugar and add the zest.
Whisk in the juice until smooth, add water, one drop at a time, if necessary.

Holiday Kourabiedes – Walnut Sugar Cookies


Tis the season to learn of new traditions. When I first heard of these I couldn’t help but be excited.

Greek Kourabiedes are popular special occasion cookies. They are often served at weddings, christenings and of course, Christmas. You might also find them on an Egyptian cookie tray for the similar celebrations. There, they are called Kahk.

They remind me a bit of what a cross between a shortbread and a sugar cookie.
They’re simple, nutty AND they use some of my orange blossom water I coveted for recipes past.

Kourabiedes are subtle and not too sweet. The seasonal walnuts may be traded for almonds, but I love the combination of the bitterish walnut and bursts of salt with a hint of citrus and the warming, sweet and intriguing fragrance of orange blossoms. They’re perfect for the Holidays. I hope you try them.

KOURABIEDES – WALNUT SUGAR COOKIES

3/4 Cup Walnuts
1 1/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) (vegan) Butter, like Earth Balance, softened
1/2 cup Confectioners Sugar, plus more for dusting
1 Tablespoon Cointreau
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Tablespoon Orange Zest
2 Tablespoons Orange Flower Water

Toast the walnuts in a 350ºF oven, until golden brown, about minutes.
Pulse about 1/4 cup of the nuts in a food processor until finely ground.
Add the flour, baking powder, remaining nuts and salt. Pulse again to mix everything together and roughly chop the remaining nuts.
Meanwhile, beat the butter, sugar,  Cointreau, orange zest and vanilla extract together with an electric or stand mixer until and fluffy.
At a low speed, stir in the nut/flour mixture to make a crumbly dough. Bring the dough together with your hands (it IS crumbly). Flatten it into a disk, like pastry dough, and wrap it in plastic wrap.
Refrigerate dough for about half an hour.

Preheat oven to 350º F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or a silicone liner.
Unwrap the dough and cut into 20 pieces. Roll into balls between with your hands. Flattening to shape each piece into a round   disk.
Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets.
Bake until the cookies are golden, about 15 minutes.
Remove them from the oven and lightly brush the orange blossom water over the tops of each cookie.
Transfer to a cooling rack and dust with additional confectioners sugar.

Strawberry Breakfast Cake


Seems late for strawberries, but this year the weather went from hot to cool and rainy then back again. It may leave me with not being able to pack my long pants away but at least I have more time to visit the strawberry field. Usually the year’s weather will determining the look (and taste) of the strawberries for the season, however this year they were all over the map. I suppose you could say, kind of like that weather.

The cooler sunny days seemed to make them smaller, sweet and abundant. Of course you won’t hear any complaints from me.

After picking several pounds of them, I naturally feasted, making full meals while hulling sinkside. I revisited my recipes of past years, I even shared a few baskets. With my last two pints in the fridge, I wanted some for snacking but I was also left craving something a little less sweet and perfect for a Sunday morning, or anytime. This is strawberry season of course.

STRAWBERRY BREAKFAST CAKE

1 Cup Self Rising Flour
1/3 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/3 Cup Quick Oats
1/3 Cup Semolina
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
¼ teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoons Sugar
1 ½ Cups Soy Milk
1 Banana, well mashed
3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 Tablespoon Orange Zest, about 1/2 an orange
1 Pint Strawberries, divided

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Prepare a 9” round cake pan with oil and a dusting of flour.
Hull the strawberries and roughly dice half of the pint, equally 1 Cup.
Slice the remaining strawberries and reserve for serving. Macerate strawberries in orange juice, sugar and Contreau, if desired and it’s brunch, not breakfast:).
In a large bowl combine the flours, oats, semolina, baking powder, soda, salt and sugar.
In a pourable measuring cup, mix the soy milk, mashed banana, oil and vanilla.
Add the milk mixture to the dry stirring just to moisten and combine.
Fold in the orange zest and chopped strawberries then pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a cake tester can be removed cleanly from the centre of the cake.
Cool to remove from the pan and serve with reserved strawberries.

Rose Infused Syrup


I don’t like roses, but when we bought this house there were countless bushes of heirloom Old Fashioned’s, indicating there was once someone who did.

Over the years, I’ve tried everything to pull out, mame and kill these prickly bastards. Harsh words for a little flower but these buggers would come back hardier no matter how roughly I chiseled away at their roots.

Can’t beat ’em join them as it is said so, I finally found a good use for them…

ROSE PETAL SYRUP

1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Water
Petals of 2 Roses

Choose roses which are in bloom, being sure they are from your own garden or otherwise organic source.
Pluck the fresh petals and rinse lightly to remove any debris, if necessary.
In a large saucepan, dissolve the sugar into the water.
Add the rose petals and bring the syrup to a rolling simmer.
After about 15 -20 minutes, the syrup should be aromatic and the petals should be mostly translucent.
Remove the saucepan from the heat to cool.
Strain the syrup with a mesh strainer to use and store refrigerated, in a clean jar with a tight fitting lid.

Also Goes Great With Tea Coffee Cake


I know that Mother’s Day has come and gone, but I just had to share this perfect everyday, great with tea or Coffee Cake.

One of the many things that I’ve learned through my Nana and her baking is that men love coffee cake. It’s a crazy notion, but you can go ahead and quote me on this. So with all my motherly advice aside for now, I’d been eying this recipe handed down from my Nana. Originally called Sour Cream Coffee Cake, it’s moist and satisfying and it’ll wrangle afternoon peckishness like the dickens.

Seeing that I have a habit of buying up anything organic or that I’d want to see in stock at my local grocery store just to send a message, I was the new owner of some soy yogurt. I’m good with tofu but I won’t be eating the “soygurt” à la carte again. However, as an equal replacement for the original sour cream in this recipe, I know I’d buy it again.

Although a nice bundt pan would be pretty, my Nana is of the depression generation so you can put it in what ever pan fits. I used a square 8×8 and it worked out really well, just could have been bigger since, even with all the birthdays lately, this is about the fastest I’ve seen cake go around here in a long time.

NANA’S COFFEE CAKE

1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup Margarine, softened
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1 Cup Soy Vanilla Yogurt, plain is o.k. in a pinch, just add 1 tsp vanilla
1/2 Cup Plain Soy Milk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour

TOPPING
1 Cup Walnuts, broken
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Toss the walnuts, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
Cream the sugar with the margarine, then add the baking powder and continue to mix until fluffy.
In a measuring cup, combine the yogurt, soy milk and baking soda.
Add half of the yogurt mixture to the creamed sugar, then half of the flour, mixing until each is combined, repeating with the remainder.
Lightly spray and dust an 8×8 cake or bundt pan with flour.
Add half of the cake batter to the pan. Add half of the walnut topping. Finish with the remaining batter, then evenly sprinkle over the last of the topping.
Bake in the center of the oven for 45 – 50 minutes.
Cool completely in the pan before turning it out to a serving plate.

Daring Bakers – Vegan Cheesecake Pops


Twice busted. I’d been holding off making this month’s cheesecake pops due to birthday celebration purposes…

It’s my son’s turn at a birthday this week, so I thought that these would be just perfect, since the family will be en route for is Favourite Things Dinner. As part of his request the dessert had to be chocolate… with candy (no strawberries, like his sister likes).

To make a long story shorter, I would call this month’s attempt at veganizing the Daring Bakers challenge a fantastic disaster. The result was not exactly cheesy or cakey, but look forward to the results as the weather warms a little more

As for the actual challenge, I do indeed complete them twice, so you can find the original recipe over on my Food + Photography blog.