Sunday, April 14, 2013

52 Weeks of Baking: Week 11 - Orange "Carrot" Cake

I pinned this recipe ages ago. I love oranges and I love carrot cake and I love chocolate (duh). I haven't made a full CAKE in a long time so I decided to give veganizing this recipe a go, but not wanting a full 3 layer crazy cake, I cut it in half.

It's not pretty. Like... not pretty.

You're bound to have some failure once in a while. What wasn't a failure? The flavour. It's not at all carroty because the orange takes over, so while there's carrot in there it's not at all what I would consider carrot cake; it still tastes pretty fab because, as I mentioned, I love oranges.

I could eat a bowl of them as is.

Next time I would also re-do this at 2/3 the recipe instead of half, or maybe baking it in 2 8" cake plates or something, instead of 1 angel food cake pan and then slicing it in half. The halves were super delicate because the thing was really moist and may have split apart a bit when I was moving them onto a plate. Ah well. Such is life. Lesson learned. All that stuff.

Orange Carrot Cake

1/2 c milk
1/2 tsp cider vinegar
4 tbsp applesauce
finely grated rind of half an orange
2/3 c oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c flour
1 c + 2 tbsp sugar (although honestly, you can probably omit the 2 tbsp. The cake is pretty sweet.)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c shredded coconut
1 c shredded carrot
2/3 c finely chopped mandarin orange sections

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a pan or 2 . I used an angel food cake pan (?). Mix the milk and vinegar and set aside.

In a largeish bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, powder, soda, salt and coconut. Pour in the milk, applesauce, orange rind, oil and vanilla. Stir until relatively well mixed, though the occasional lump isn't the end of the world. Fold in the carrot and oranges.

Pour into your pan. If you are using one pan, it took my cake 50 minutes to bake; I tested at 35 and it was still straight up batter in the middle. If you are using 2 pans definitely start at 30 minutes instead.

Remove from oven, let cool on a rack in the pan(s) for a minute or two before turning the cake out onto the rack and cooling the rest of the way.

Cream Cheese Filling

3/4 of a container of tofutti 'cream cheese' at room temperature
1/4 c marmalade
1/2 c icing sugar

Beat the tofutti until fluffy; add in the marmalade and sugar and beat until well combined. It'll be pretty soft.

Slice your cake into 2 layers if you used one pan, and put the icing on one side and then top with the other.

Chocolate Ganache

2/3 c silk creamer
8 oz chocolate, chopped

Bring the silk up to a near simmer in a small pot; add the chocolate, turn the heat off and stir until the chocolate is melted and it's all smooth and lovely. Once it's cool and thick, pour it over the cake and spread it around all pretty-like.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

52 Weeks of Baking: Week 10 - Lemon Lavender Scones with Candied Lemon Peel

Missed a few weeks. Not for lack of baking, mind you. Just a lack of time. The older kid's day care provider went on mat leave 2 weeks ago. Trying to keep a 2.5 year old busy while tending to the needs of a 4 month old is a lot.

This flavour combo is something I've been meaning to get on with for a long time. In the midst of the National Cupcake Day baking (2 of which I still need to get done!) I just didn't get to it. However, here it is, and boy is it good.

Candied Lemon Peel

I didn't know how to candy lemon peel., since I've never done it before, I just knew I wanted it.

The recipe I used required more time than I thought because you have to boil the lemon peels 3 times in plain water and then a fourth time in the sugar water.

Then you end up with a jar of lemony simple syrup, too. I'm thinking of using it for cocktails, maybe to soak a lemon loaf in, to drink straight from the jar, who knows. I'm sure there are many applications.

Oh. The 'recipe.' It's really just a method; switch up lemons for oranges or whatever citrus floats your boat and you'd have something equally tasty.

Lemon Lavender Scones

Adapted only slightly from my go-to scone recipe, which is the Glazed Orange Scones from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's delightful VWAV. 

1 1/4 c milk (almond as always here)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
 zest of 2 lemons, finely grated
3 c flour
1/3 c sugar
2 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
 1 tsp lavender, finely chopped
1/3 c vegetable oil
1/8 tsp lavender oil

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a large baking sheet with parchment.

Mix the milk and vinegar; add the lemon peel and set aside. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lavender. Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk and add the oils. Stir together; dough shouldn't be sticky.

Flour a surface and split the dough into two balls. Put one on the floured surface and pat out into a 6" disk. Cut it into 6 triangles (I used a pizza cutter) and repeat with the other half of the dough. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes. They won't really get browned, so don't worry too much about colour. Take them out and let them cool on the sheet for a few minutes before putting them on a rack. Save your parchment paper and put it under the rack to catch icing drips!

Lemon Glaze

I didn't add any lavender to the glaze or the decorating, but you probably can if you want.

1 tbsp melted Earth Balance
2/3 c icing sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
a spoon or two of the simple syrup if you want

Mix it all together. I like mine a little thick so it doesn't make a giant mess everywhere, plus if the scones are a bit warm when you glaze them it falls off if it's too thin to begin with. Annoying. Spread a tablespoon or so of glaze on each scone and top with a few pieces of the lemon peel.

If that doesn't look / taste like Spring, nothing does.