Vegan MoFo 2017 Day 15: Behind the Scenes: Rainbow frosting tips

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This is the final day of the second week of Vegan MoFo, where the theme is “behind the scenes.” So far this week, we’ve talked about picking the best unicorn cookie cutters, vegan sprinkles, given you a behind the scenes aquafaba video on Instagram, shared a pitch for the cookbook I am writing, and a look at a rainbow layered unicorn cake.

Today is all about frosting, unicorns practically subsist on the stuff!

Our favorite frostings tend to be like buttercream but veganized to exclude real butter or even palm-laden margarine and vegetable shortening by using solid coconut oil instead. I’ve sort of perfected the recipe, but want to wait a bit to share it.

Today I’ll talk about how to get a real rainbowy look out of whatever vegan frosting you most prefer.

You can use any type of colorant you want, but I’m partial to beet powder for red (or using a fruity powder too, such as freeze-dried strawberry or raspberry powder), turmeric for yellow, matcha for green (tastes way better than spirulina in a frosting, trust me!), butterfly pea tea powder for blue, and either acai or a mix of a red and blue powder for purple.

I have found it easiest to get results like what was pictured above with only 3 colors of the rainbow rather than them all. The reason for this is actually, that if you mix all of the colors of the rainbow together, you get a muddy, ugly, poopy brown. And not the beautiful colored poop of a unicorn, either.

The easiest way to swirl the three colors together is to use a pastry bag with a frosting tip attached (these things always confuse me, so read the directions if you don’t know how to properly set this up). Mix in the colors into frosting placed in three separate bowls or however you want to do it, just keep it separated somehow. Then take a rubber spatula, and spread a big glob of frosting down one side of the bag. Then take the other color, and place a globby stripe of frosting down the next side. Repeat until the bag is filled up with all the colors. They should touch each other and extend down towards the frosting tip.

Then, squeeze out the frosting to the desired amount you like on your cupcakes, using the picture I posted as a guide, or not. They may not all look the same depending on how you layered the frosting colors in the bag. I think it’s more magical when each one looks unique.

They also sell a kit at craft stores from Wilton which is designed to help you make rainbow-swirled frosting more “easily” but I found it more of a pain to use than this option.

Enjoy and have fun!

 

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Vegan MoFo 2017 Day 14: Behind the Scenes: Cake Test

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For this week, the theme is behind the scenes. Today, we give you a behind the scenes look at Laura’s test run of her birthday cake, as she has a birthday coming up at the end of October. However, since we’re now starting to get overwhelmed by so much cake and desserts we’ve been prepping in advance for MoFo, I think Laura has sadly decided to not make her own birthday cake on her actual birthday. She also felt a little disappointed in the way the outside of cake looked, and I’m trying to work my magic to help her feel better.

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Cake decorating is not, as the saying goes “a piece of cake.” It’s actually pretty challenging! Laura’s goal was to make a cake that could show it’s easier than it looks, but now she’s not so sure since she struggled so much with it. These are important lessons for her to go through though, as it makes her stronger and helps her solve problems.

She had a great idea to make the unicorn’s hair out of cotton candy. The cotton candy is moldable and an edible version of fuzzy, fluffy hair!

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She did use something that made making the five rainbow layers much easier. You can find them being sold lots of places now. They come as a set of 5 smaller cake pans for layer cakes. You only need one batch of cake (or a cake mix) to fill them all up.

She also made the decision to make an exception for using unnatural food colors this time. We wish natural colors were as vibrant and easy as these ones were. Sometimes you may want to give in and take the easier route,  and as long as it’s still vegan, you’ll be okay.

unicorn cake 3 of 5The inside of the cake sure is a beauty! Tommorrow we’ll be sharing some of our best tips for making rainbow frosting effects.

Christmas Re-cap

Oi. So the school semester finished Sunday the 21st and I was a bit of a mess. After that, I barely stopped. It was a whir of wrapping presents, menu planning, grocery shopping (multiple times, ugh), spending time with family, cooking, etc. Since then I haven’t really stopped either, until today…Thank Goodness.

Remember my menu? I stuck to it pretty closely with a few adjustments.

My mom actually made the salad and the eggplant Christmas Eve which was great. She actually helped so much with the cooking which was a big relief because even as I write this now, I still feel like I am recovering from being so stressed during school.

First, we had the greek salad:

Isa Does It Greek Diner Salad

Isa Does It Greek Diner Salad

Then we had the main course, which for me was a piece of Spanakopita pot pie and the eggplant parm.

Spinach Pot Pie

Spinach Pot Pie

Spinach Pot Pie-Inside

Spinach Pot Pie-Inside

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan

The dessert I was making for Christmas Day got screwed up because my mom was trying to teach me a trick with the roll cake but forgot how to do it the correct way and it fell apart 😦 So we decided to save the mud pie for Christmas day, and instead would have the vegan peppermint stick ice cream I had made…The frosting for the cake was already made, so we ended up making some of the crumbled up cake, ice cream, frosting, crushed peppermint candies, and chocolate syrup into sundaes. Everyone was obsessed with the peppermint stick ice cream, and I really don’t blame them! It was so good. It’s been requested that I make it again.

Vegan xmas Ice Cream Sundae

Vegan xmas Ice Cream Sundae

Then on Christmas morning we had my famous pretzel bread pudding for breakfast:

Pretzel Bread Pudding

Pretzel Bread Pudding

For an appetizer I made the Hummus Pomodoro with Warm Pizza Crust from Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen which was so good. Everyone really loved it, and my grandmother was telling me I selected some really good tomatoes, haha.

Festive hummus, pizza bread slices not pictured

Festive hummus, pizza crust slices not pictured

For dinner, here was my plate:

Clockwise from top left: Caramelized onion mashed potatoes, Gardein Holiday Roast, creamed spinach, and glazed carrots

Clockwise from top left:
Caramelized onion mashed potatoes, Gardein Holiday Roast, creamed spinach, and glazed carrots

And for dessert? Well, my grandmother decided to leave before we had it, so while I was waiting for my mom to take her home, I ended up whipping up a surprise. I had so much frosting leftover from the botched cake that I decided to make whoopie pies:

Whoops, I made Whoopie Pies

Whoops, I made Whoopie Pies

And we ate them along with the mud pie! (two gross but delicious sounding “pies,” haha)

Mud Pie!

Mud Pie!

This was also the first year I barely got any cooking related gifts.  Believe it or not, I’m okay with that. This is because:

A) I have way too many cookbooks and am now trying to make my own cookbook zine so I’m mostly eating my own creations.

B) I have pretty much everything I need in the way of utensils, though I did get a new measuring cup set and a cool little frosting thingy for decorating cakes and stuff in my stocking.

C) I am trying to also eat a bit healthier, so candy and junk food isn’t wise. Although, I did get a package of peppermint Bark Thins and Supercandy (they are vegan and basically gum drops with tons of B vitamins in them) in my stocking.

D) Apparently my love of working out has almost overtaken my love of cooking, at least, gift wise. I got some cool workout gear this year!

I do hope to use the two Whole Foods gift cards I got for presents for some food-related goodies/healthy foods! Yay.

Happy holidays everyone! I will probably not be posting until after the New Year, so I hope you all have a happy one!

Strawberry Frosted Baked Donuts

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Growing up as a kid in New England, I had a soft spot for Dunkin Donuts’ strawberry frosted donuts. Since they are not vegan, I can no longer eat them. But when I started experimenting with making frostings out of fruit-based syrups, I knew making something similar would be possible.

These donuts are quite cake-like, almost with a spongy texture. I still like them though. The frosting, however is wonderful. My mom said it is even better than the one at Dunkin Donuts. It is a bit different, however. But still quite good.

Recipe:

Makes 6 donuts in a single donut pan

Ingredients:

For the donuts:

  • 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup organic evaporated cane juice
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • generous dash of ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp almond milk
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp applesauce
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

For the strawberry syrup:

  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup organic evaporated cane juice

For the frosting:

  • 1 tbsp Earth Balance margarine stick
  • 1 tbsp organic non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup organic powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup strawberry syrup

Directions:

For the donuts:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, stir the flour, evaporated cane juice, baking powder, and nutmeg.
  3. In a separate small bowl or measuring cup, mix together the remaining donut ingredients.
  4. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir together until combined.
  5. Spray the donut pan with oil if your pan is not a non-stick pan.
  6. Spoon batter into the donut pan.
  7. Cook for 12-15 minutes or longer, until the donuts become slightly gold. Check after 12 minutes and gauge from there.
  8. Take out of the oven and let cool 10 minutes.
  9. Place onto a cooling rack. You may need to take a butter knife and gently ease them out.

To make the syrup:

  1. Combine ingredients in a small saucepan.
  2. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon over low heat until thick and hot.
  3. Strain into a bowl. Allow to cool.
  4. You will have extra leftover after making the frosting which you can use on all sorts of delicious things.

To make the frosting:

  1. Cream together the Earth Balance and shortening with an electric handheld or stand mixer.
  2. Add in the powdered sugar. It will remain clumpy.
  3. Fold in the syrup, it will become soft and fluffy.

To make the donuts (time to make the donuts!!):

  1. Spread frosting around the tops of the donuts.
  2. Decorate with vegan sprinkles on top, if desired.
  3. Eat!!

Fresh-picked Apple Cupcakes with Apple Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting Drizzled with Homemade Apple Syrup

Thank you everyone for being so excited about my ravioli post. It was my most popular blog entry yet!

This past weekend I went apple picking. It was really hot that day, so I actually had some frozen lemonade after!

I had actually been planning on this recipe in a vague form even before I decided to go apple picking. In fact, this is specifically why I wanted to go. Now I need to go apple picking every year, because I have realized fresh picked apples are so much tastier than ones bought in the store.

Of course, I bought more apples than I knew what to do with (figuratively not literally basically) so I had to make some things with them. I don’t know why I just said that because that was part of the plan, but it sounds better that way? Don’t mind me…

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Fresh-picked Apple Cupcakes with Apple Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting Drizzled with Homemade Apple Syrup

Makes a dozen cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the Apple Cinnamon Syrup:

  • 1 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 cup organic evaporated cane juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 5-6 red apples worth of peels
  • 2 cinnamon sticks

For the cupcakes:

  • 2 cups apples diced small
  • 1 cup organic evaporated cane juice (vegan white sugar)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup almond milk

For the frosting:

  • 1/4 cup earth balance
  • 1/4 cup vegan non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 2 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 tbsp apple cinnamon syrup
  • 1 tbsp almond milk or other non dairy milk of choice

 Directions:

For the apple cinnamon syrup:

  1. Stir together the sugars and water in a saucepan.
  2. Peel the apples and place the peels into the pan.
  3. Make sure you save the meat of the apples for the cupcakes and possible other things you may choose to make or eat as is.
  4. Add the cinnamon sticks.
  5. Simmer for about 45 minutes. You can have it on a medium low heat and then turn it to the lowest heat once it starts to bubble a bit.
  6. After 45 minutes, take off heat and allow to cool slightly. Your kitchen will smell amazing, by the way.
  7. Strain into a container. Discard the apple peels and cinnamon.
  8. Refrigerate until ready to use for the frosting. You’ll have quite a bit of extra syrup that you can use in drinks or whatever your heart desires. I’m going to use it to make a vegan roasted peanut recipe, so you may want to save some of it for when that posts!

For the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix the apples and evaporated cane juice in a mixing bowl and let sit for ten minutes.
  3. Add in the vegetable oil, vanilla, and apple sauce. Stir to combine.
  4. Fold in the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
  5. Add the almond milk and stir to combine.
  6. Place batter into twelve cupcake liners in a muffin pan. You’ll want to fill them up more than typical cupcakes. Spread the batter out as evenly as you can into eat. I used about 2 huge heaping tablespoons in each.
  7. Bake for at least 20 minutes. It took my cupcakes about 24 minutes to be done. After the 20 minutes I took a toothpick and checked the middle and continued to do this every so often until they were golden brown and the toothpick came out clear.
  8. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting:

  1. Cream together the Earth Balance and shortening with an electic mixer.
  2. Add in the powdered sugar and mix until crumbly.
  3. Add the syrup and almond milk and mix until smooth.
  4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix a bit more to ensure everything is mixed together.

To assemble:

  1. I like to put the frosting into a ziplock bag and snip off a corner to use as a pastry bag.
  2. Pipe frosting onto the cupcake in your desired arrangement.
  3. Drizzle extra syrup or sprinkle cinnamon on top.

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So good!

PS: Today I also made Isa Chandra Moscowitz’ Kale Salad from Isa Does It. It has butternut squash and lentils and the dressing is so good. I ate it with some Earth Balance Mac and Cheese.

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Savory Veganloaf Cupcakes

Okay, so I remember meatloaf cupcakes being a trend a few years ago or so, but I did not have a vegan food blog back then. Now that I do, this has been on my mental to-do recipe list for awhile, and I finally did it.

These are definitely to be filed under the kid-friendly category. It kind of made me feel like a kid again! For another vegan kid friendly recipe, see here.

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The cupcakes feature lots of healthy ingredients like carrots and onions, pinto beans, raisins, quinoa, and pinto beans, among other things. To top it off, there is a mashed potato “frosting” with nutritional yeast and garlic powder. I added some ketchup on top instead of a cherry, and vegan bac’uns as sprinkles.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

For the cupcake loaves:

  • Gimme lean ground beef style or other vegan ground faux meat of choice, 14 oz
  • 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp plain almond milk
  • 2 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (Annie’s Organics makes a good vegan version, check your labels because this often contains non vegan ingredients…or you can use a vegan steak sauce if that is easier to find)
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp flaxmeal, 6 tbsp water whisked together and let to sit for about 5 minutes)
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 1 cup grated carrots

For the mashed potato “frosting”:

  • 6 medium white potatoes
  • 4 tbsp (1/4 cup) Earth Balance
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk or other vegan milk of choice
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

For the cupcake loaves:

  1. Cook quinoa before preparing the cupcake loaves. When it’s cooked, let sit to cool while you prepare the rest.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. In a food processor, put the gimme lean faux beef, pinto beans, raisins, chopped onions, almond milk, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, mustard, oregano, and salt in pepper and pulse until as combined as possible. If your food processor is like mine, you’ll need a rubber spatula to push it around to get it mixed together well and scraped down the sides.
  4. Add the flax eggs to the mix and pulse until combined.
  5. Transfer this mixture into a large bowl.
  6. Add quinoa and carrots, fold in with a spoon or rubber spatula until dispersed throughout.
  7. Spray cupcake tray with oil and place about 1/2 cup of this loaf mixture into each cup.
  8. Heat in oven for about 15 minutes until lightly browned. While cooking, prepare the mashed potato “frosting.”

For the mashed potato “frosting”:

  1. Peel and chop the potatoes.
  2. I steamed the potatoes in a steamer pot, but you could also boil them. I just put water in the bottom pot and the potatoes in the basket, kept on high heat at first and eventually turned down to medium. It took about 20 minutes for them to be ready to be mashed. You know when a fork can easily go through them and they are soft.
  3. Pour the water out of the bottom of the steamer pot, and place the potatoes into it.
  4. Add Earth Balance, Almond milk, nutritional yeast, salt, and garlic powder, and mash.

To assemble:

I wanted to pipe the mashed potatoes onto the cupcakes but I was too impatient to wait for the mashed potatoes to cool enough so I could stick it in a large ziploc bag, snip the corner, and make it look pretty with piping it like real cupcakes. So, I just scooped some on with a spoon, and put some ketchup on top, with a little bit of vegan bac’un sprinkled on top–those are definitely recommended if you can find them because they added a really great crunch factor to the dish. These are quite healthy, eat more than one! Probably best to eat with a fork, unfortunately, though…

Foodie Friday Catch-up

I have forgotten/been busy and have been neglecting this for a few weeks. Aside from some Christmas food postings, and my recipe for my brownies the other night, I have not been posting much! Hopefully I can change that while I’m on break from school!

Anyways, I am going to fill in some gaps of some things I have made recently.

I think this is everything, except I did make the healthy (and delicious! might I add) waffle recipe from Isa Does it for New Year’s Morning and I forgot to take a picture of it. Oh, and I made a salad to share for a writing workshop I attended, also from Isa Does It (the avocado ranch one) that I forgot to to take a picture of as well.

Kale Salad with Butternut Squash and Lentils from Isa Does It

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I really loved the texture of this salad! The flavors were great. As a meal it was surprisingly satisfied. I’d definitely make it again and it was quite easy. The easier the better lately, in my opinion!

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Fruit Punch “winkies” from Bake and Destroy

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I also made these for the writing workshop with my new canoe pan I got for Christmas! The cake batter ends up coming out really thick and bakes like the consistency of a donut. You can’t really taste the fruit punch flavor as much as I’d like. Some tweaking of my own vegan twinkie creations is definitely in order! But it was great to have a recipe to work from and see if it works, get inspired by! Believe me…there’ll be more vegan twinkie recipes in the future. As someone of an aside…I need to get more practice with the frosting syringe so that the filling gets distributed evenly throughout the twinkie fully…

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Cucumber Ranch Bowl from Isa Does It

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This was quite good. I loved the crispy tofu and the  spices used to make it. The dressing has a bit of an odd texture but is good. The broccoli goes well and also gets more veggies into the dish. I liked the textures combined with the rice. I do not know for sure if it is something I would make again though? I thought it would be much better than I thought by the write up it had in the cookbook. I think it’s good for a one time trial…not sure what to rate it banana-wise since it was good enough, maybe I will settle on 3 good bananas? I cannot decide though! Ok 3 good bananas it is. But I would definitely make the tofu again, just in something different.

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So Delicious Coconut Milk Ice Cream (vanilla) with this strawberry sauce recipe

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I made this for my dessert on New Years Eve. It was really good, and not sickeningly sweet. I liked it a lot and put it on my waffles the next morning as a healthy topping! So good.

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Tempeh Soft Tacos (made with diy taco seasoning), with guacamole, lettuce, nutritional yeast, and salsa

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I used some recipes for reference for this. Mainly this one for the tempeh taco meat and this one (for the taco seasoning which I tweaked a bit by reducing salt and omitting the crushed red pepper). It was delicious though I put way too much of my guacamole onto it haha. Yum. The tempeh taco meat is definitely a good idea!

I have also been making a lot salads with some bbq’d Beyond Meat I got for free, eating the brownies I made last night, making a few daiya grilled cheese sandwiches, and other convenient foods but I need to get back to eating and cooking with more fresh veggies and such. I am going to try making the sweet potato gnocchi with tarragon cashew cream soon from Isa Does It. Be prepared to see that next week!