It was a warm Sunday evening, and I had a big mess o’ buddies coming over to celebrate nothing at all. I wanted to test out some recipes for a” super top secret” project I’m working on, and spend some quality time with good smilin’ people. I’ll start out with what I made, and move on down the line. The only thing missing from this potluck was some Ale-8-One!
A lovely mixed assortment of olives for the first people arriving. Watch me wrastle with a deep fryer and delight in some salty hors d’oeuvres!
Speaking of deep frying, feast your eyes on my Kentucky Fried Seitan. I’ve been messing around with recipes for a couple weeks, and I found my winner. I made a batch with from-scratch seitan, but I have to say that the kind I made from powdered wheat gluten was MUCH better. I’ll put up a tutorial on Homemade Seitan 101: What Not To Do. I made this with tofu a few days ago too – it’ good! Do it! Fry it!
Ah, coleslaw. The friendly heart attack disguised in salad form. But wait! Veganaise to the rescue! Have no fear of clogged arteries – vegan coleslaw keeps you safe and happy with its crunchy superpowers.
The lovely Audrey made this awesome raw kale salad that went faster than anything else on the table! The sweet cranberries and crunchy pine nuts went really well with kale, and the dressing was tangy and citrusy. Perfect for an outdoor/indoor potluck extraveganza!
Brie brought some garlicky roasted carrots! This might be my new favorite way to do carrots. There were whole roasted cloves of garlic snuggling around in there. Enough said.
Gabe brought green beans and turnips she found at the Farmer’s Market. Mmmm.
Let’s not even pretend this is a Red Velvet cake. It’s supposed to be. Looks more like a Carrot Cake, right? This wasn’t an epic fail, but it was close to one. I didn’t coat the pans before baking, probably didn’t use enough leavening agent, and needed more beet juice. All things considered, it still tasted pretty good but it wasn’t my proudest moment!
We ended the night with a rousing game of Smart Ass (you should own this) which my dad slayed. Congrats JW. There were also Mint Juleps floating around, collards from Lindsey, and cornbread from my friend Ayla (which you can see in the first picture on the red plate). We listened to Bluegrass music and discussed the many and varied attributes of Dolly Parton. It was a great little funfriendjollyjoy night.
Blurry photo of how it went down.
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Tagged bluegrass, cake, carrots, cole slaw, collards, cornbread, cream cheese frosting, dessert, dinner party, fried chicken, friends, garlic, green beans, kale, olives, red velvet, salad, seitan, smart ass, southern cooking, the south, themed party, turnips
Forgive the cell phone photographs, but I have to review Teany. There are prettier pictures on their website. It’s my favorite go-to spot for a rainy day and we’ve been having quite a few of those recently. On my last trip, I tried their vegan quiche:
It came with a really good vodka sauce on the side and a green salad that I had with their tahini dressing. The quiche was WONDERFUL. It had a very soft crust and a nice quichey(quiche-esque? quiche-ish? the word ‘quiche’ looks like it’s not real now that I’ve typed it so many times) texture and the flavor was perfect. The sauce on the side was also really good – some nice mushrooms hanging out in there. I sat around working and grazing for about an hour before I started wondering if it was time for dessert. It’s always time for dessert. I ordered the Chocolate Macaroon Cake:
Ridiculously good. This shouldn’t be allowed to exist. It was chocolate cake with chocolate coconut buttercream. Enough said. I am in love with Teany and its preciousness. I didn’t have any tea this time (coffee addiction is too strong) but the Green Cherry Blossom tea is beautiful. Of course there’s the whole Moby connection – which is very cool. Check out his blog! Go eat their Chicken Salad Salad!
Clearly there is some demon compelling me to turn on the oven in 90 degree weather. Demon, thy name is birthday month. Everyone is born in August. There is some surplus in baby-making that goes on around the holiday season and results in subsequent massive cake consumption in the month of August.
So, what up Chocolate Mocha Cake with Strawberries and Chocolate Buttercream Icing?
Cake Recipe can be found in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Isn’t it about time you own that? I multiplied the recipe by 1.5 and filled two 8 inch cake pans with the batter. I also added some instant espresso powder just for kicks. I’ve heard that espresso gives chocolate a deeper flavor. Mmm.
1/2 C vegetable shortening
1/2 C margerine
4 C powdered sugar
1/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
2 T maple syrup
- Mix the shortening and margerine together until combined and creamy.
- Add in the powdered sugar and whisk until thoroughly incorporated.
- Add the cocoa powder and mix until color is even throughout.
- Stir in the maple syrup until thoroughly combined.
- Chill in the fridge until ready to use.
I added the maple syrup because I felt like the icing needed something to make it richer. Since the cake wasn’t too sweet, the icing flavor wasn’t cloying. I thinly sliced up strawberries and added them in with a layer of the buttercream between the two cake layers. As the cake set up in the fridge, the strawberry juices soaked into the cake and added even more moistness. Awesome.
We had the cake at a restaurant in Silverlake to celebrate my friend Greg’s birthday. Our waitress was so nice that we gave her a big piece. So … the cake was eaten Monday night. It’s now Friday night and I’m still getting compliments on how good it was.
Those people aren’t singing “Happy Birthday.” They are singing “Thank You Sweet Baby Jesus In Diapers For Inventing This Cake” to the tune of the Hallelujah Chorus. And the birthday boy with his eyes closed? He’s not laughing – he’s having an out-of-body cakesensory experience the likes of which human minds cannot conceive.
Sorry about the blurry nighttime pictures.
Aaaah it’s Daring Bakers time again kiddies! This time the recipe is a:
Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream
From Great Cakes by Carol Walter
I managed to be in a foreign kitchen for yet another challenge. Faaabulous. However, the timing was perfect because I was on vacation with my family and for our annual “Happy Birthday to Everyone” party, I am the delegated cake-maker. I didn’t tell anyone in my (Southern, meat, butter, cheese, milk loving) family that this happened to be a vegan cake until after everyone finished swooning over how delicious it was. Oopsies? I also had to explain what the word vegan meant to a couple people, but hey, it’s all about spreading the word one cake at a time.
I must be honest, I cut a lot of corners trying to make this recipe as close to the original as possible – and vegan. The hard part was figuring out how to substitute the obscene amount of separated eggs. So, I made two 9″ cakes – based on a VCTOTW recipe for Almond Cupcakes. In one cake, I used corn starch as an egg substitute and soy yogurt in the other. Silly me forgot which cake was which when they were in the oven so my experiment was for naught. One of the cakes rose a lot higher and was fluffier (probably the soy yogurt?) and the other was denser and rose 2/3 as much as the other. It would be good to know which was which! I skipped the whipped cream all together because I simply didn’t have the resources to make it work The buttercream was also a VCTOTW recipe with my filbert almond paste added. That’s right kiddies, it’s all almonds all the time. I used the VCTOTW ganache recipe – can we see a theme here?
Oh, isn’t that lovely? Obviously I need to work on my ganache skills. I think I just needed to make a bigger batch and do a second cover. I read a few tutorials, and next time it will be shiny and smooth like a really nice hairstyle.
I did use rum in my sugar syrup and in the buttercream – I like the added kick that alcohol adds to baked goods. When I worked in a French bakery, we brushed layer cakes with cointreau and other liquers. I also used apricot preserves to cover the crumb layer under the ganache. I hate fruit with chocolate (except strawberry) but the apricot flavor was just a whispy hint of something special – really lovely.
The final product was immensely lauded. The joke going around the table was how impressed everyone was with my skills – my driving to the bakery and picking up cake skills.
A rather unappetizing look at the inside of my cake – but it was devoured so quickly that this is all I got! This isn’t my proudest Daring Bakers attempt, but I think it might have been the most delicious (so far).
I made this cake last week for a friend’s birthday. This time I was actually requested to bring a vegan dessert, so I jumped all over the opportunity to bake. I had leftover ganache and almond mocha mousse from my previous cupcakes so this became an almond mocha cake covered in chocolate ganache – topped with vegan cocoa truffles and marzipan letters. Say that five times fast.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get an inside shot because the party was beautifully candle-lit and my phone’s camera couldn’t quite capture the intense deliciousness of this cake (yeah, intense deliciousness). I made it a two-layer cake by baking the VCTOTW Basic Vanilla Cupcake recipe in an 8×8 pan and cutting it in half after in cooled. Between the layers is the almond mocha mousse, which is also covering the entire cake underneath the ganache. It was so rich! People were asking me all night if I was a professional baker, and lemme tell ya – flattery gets you everywhere as far my baking is concerned! I’ve even been asked for a price quote to make cupcakes for a couple parties. I have no idea how much to charge! What would you all say I should charge for each cupcake? For 100?
Here’s a little preview of what’s to come in my next few entries:
Bounty from Mitsuwa – the Asian Market in Little Tokyo
… and from the Hollywood Farmers Market.
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