Monday, October 12, 2009

Vegan Dobos Torte (for my birthday)

I came across this dobos torte recipe many months ago, and I could not wait to veganize it. I have no Hungarian roots, and my version is probably nothing like the original, but I don’t care, dammit! I waited to for a special excuse to make it (could I justify making a 10-layer cake and have to eat it all myself? Nope), and that excuse turned out to be my birthday. This cake requires a lot of patience to make, but is it ever worth it!

Vegan Dobos Torte

The cake (adapted from
Bryanna Clark Grogan's vegan sponge cake recipe):
7 tablespoons powdered egg replacer

1 ½ cups cold water
3 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt
2 ½ cups cane sugar

1 1/4 cup soy milk
4 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ teaspoon almond extract

The icing:

1 cup earth balance

1 cup cocoa powder

5 cups powdered sugar
1/3-1/2 cup soymilk
3 teaspoons vanilla
½ teaspoon almond extract

The caramel:

1 scant cup cane sugar

2 tablespoons earth balance
2 tablespoons lemon juice

First make the cake. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a deep bowl, combine the egg replacer powder and the water and whip it (I used a hand blender) for almost 10 minutes, until it’s very frothy and begins to form peaks. Now mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, milk, oil, and extracts really well (I used a hand blender for this, too). Pour the wet ingredients (but not the egg replacer) into the dry and mix just until combined. Fold in the egg replacer froth and mix as little as possible (just enough to make it homogenous). Now it’s baking time. I must confess that I had a bunch of aluminum cake pans with me, so I sprayed 10 of them and divided the batter amongst the 10 pans right off, baking three at a time. You could do less, or use three pans and wash them after each bake, but I guess I had it easy. Each pan went in for about 10 minutes, until the edges were ever-so-slightly golden. Then I set the cakes between layers of damp paper towel to keep them from drying out.

While the cakes are baking, prepare the icing. Cream the earth balance for a bit, then add the cocoa and mix well. Add the powdered sugar in 1-cup increments, mixing well and adding some soy milk between each cup. Now add the extracts and blend well.

Slice the last cake layer in 16 portions, and be sure to create some space between each slice. Now prepare the caramel. Melt the cane sugar in a small saucepan over high heat (this is quite amazing to see if you’ve never melted sugar by itself). Remove from heat, add the earth balance and lemon juice, and put back on heat until everything dissolves and becomes uniform. Pour over the portioned-out cake layer, and allow to set.

Now it’s assembly time! Stack up the plain cake layers with icing in between (be economical with that icing) and on the sides. Spread icing on top, then pipe sixteen little flowers around the circumference. Split up the sixteen caramelized portions and arrange them on top, with one portion over each flower and angled slightly. Now pipe a big flower in the middle, and you’re done!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Butternut Cashew Pie

This was adapted from this recipe. It looks great and super-delicious, but in my own cooking I prefer to use more whole ingredients than things like tofutti cream cheese, and why should pumpkin have all the fun, anyway? And from a can, nevertheless. I realized that I could steam and blend chunks of peeled squash, then keep the puree in portions in the freezer to use whenever I want it. Cheap and local, yo!

Butternut Cashew Pie

1 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained
4 tablespoons oil
½ cup cane sugar
2 tablespoons arrowroot
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pinch salt

½ cup butternut puree (made by steaming chunks butternut squash and blending)
3 tablespoons cane sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1 unbaked pie crust (had a graham crust kicking around, but use whatever you want)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Process the cashews and oil as finely as possible. Add the sugar, arrowroot, lemon juice, vanilla and salt, blending until smooth. Remove 1 cup of the mixture and spread over the bottom of the pie crust. Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and blend until smooth. Spread this evenly over the cashew layer. Bake for about an hour – if a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, it’s done.

Curried Adzuki-Edamame Stuffed Kabocha Squash

I love fall. I absolutely love it. When the air feels crisp and you can hear the wind through the trees and colored leaves falling. Cheesy as that sounds, I just love it.

A few weeks ago I got a little over-excited at a farm market and bought six squashes, with no idea as to what to do with them. I knew I would come up with something. Then this weekend, I woke up in the morning and it felt like a particularly autumn-y day, and I thought to myself: “I’m going to make a curried stuffed squash today, and maybe also a squash pie (see other post for the pie recipe). And I felt so healthy and balanced in making and eating it. Sometimes there are more important things than school…

Curried Adzuki-Edamame Stuffed Kabocha Squash

1 large kabocha squash, seeded and quartered

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 small onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon coriander
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cardamom
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch asafetida/hing (optional)
¾ teaspoon salt
2 large tomatoes, diced small
1 sweet red pepper, seeded and diced small
1 cup shelled edamame
1 cup adzuki beans, soaked overnight
1 cup brown rice, soaked overnight
3 cups water (or more, as needed)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium-sized pot, fry the oil and mustard seeds together over medium heat until the seeds start to pop. Add the onions and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, spices and salt. Fry for a minute or so, then add the tomatoes and pepper and fry for a couple of minutes more. Add the edamame, adzuki beans, rice and water, stir a little, then increase the heat to high and allow to boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer, and cook for about 35 minutes, adding more water if the mixture gets too dry. Meanwhile, prepare the squash. Place pieces face-down on a greased baking sheet, and bake until the filling mixture is ready. Take the squash out, flip it so the skins are on the bottom, and scoop as much of the filling as you can into the middle of each squash portion, place bake into the oven, and bake for about 30 minutes more. Enjoy!