Raw Strawberry Cheesecake Cups

Strawberry Cheesecake Cup

In spite of the fact that I’m absolutely addicted to raw cashew butter, I almost never have raw cashew nuts around in my kitchen, mainly because they’re just so expensive.  I decided to splurge and buy a big bag of cashews a little while ago, and one of the recipes I tried was the Raw Strawberry Cheesecake from the Post Punk Kitchen Blog.  The cheesecake was creamy and luscious, and the fruity flavor balanced perfectly with the rich cashew base.
I’ve mentioned before that I only like to make desserts that are easy and straightforward, and even though this cheesecake certainly fits those requirements when compared to other raw cheesecake recipes I’ve seen, I decided to make only the filling of the cheesecake for the sake of simplicity.  I used lemon juice instead of lime, omitted the vanilla extract, and used frozen strawberries instead of fresh, but otherwise I followed the recipe for the filling exactly.  Since I used frozen strawberries, the blades of my food processor were so cold that the melted coconut oil re-solidified almost instantly, so I think thawing the strawberries beforehand would be a wise decision if you are using frozen berries.  I also think that I may not have processed the filling quite enough, so the next time I make the cheesecake I will make sure to continue processing the mixture until it’s completely smooth.  One great thing about making only the filling (aside from catering to laziness) is that it makes it easy to adjust the yield of the recipe, and even to reduce it to just a single serving.  I poured the filling into cups before chilling it in the refrigerator to set, but using ramekins would be an easy way to make the presentation fancier (of course, you could also make any of the accompanying toppings in the original recipe to spruce up the presentation).  This cheesecake filling has a great taste and consistency, and I’m sure that the whole cheesecake would be just as delicious.  For anyone who’s interested in making an easy raw cheesecake, this recipe would be a great one to try!

Strawberry Cheesecake Cup

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January 5, 2010. Raw. Leave a comment.

Wacky Cake

Chocolate Wacky Cake

I think that everyone should make a wacky cake at least once!  Although there are many variations on the recipe, it is always quick, easy, and vegan, which makes it a perfect cake to bake if you are visiting omni relatives whose pantries aren’t exactly bursting with vegan-friendly special ingredients.
This particular recipe is adapted from the popular Super Moist Chocolate Cake recipe on the VegWeb website, which is also very similar to this recipe for Wacky Cake.  Both recipes are very well-reviewed, so they’re worth checking out if you’re interested in a more traditional chocolate wacky cake recipe.
My take on wacky cake is a bit non-traditional.  For one thing, I like to use balsamic vinegar in the recipe since it goes well with chocolate.  The taste is not really apparent in the finished cake, but I still think that balsamic vinegar complements the chocolate flavor well.  Since the vinegar is only necessary for leavening purposes, you could also substitute apple cider vinegar or white vinegar if you prefer (I even read a recipe which called for lemon juice instead).  Another change I like to make is to replace some or all of the oil called for in the traditional recipe with applesauce in order to make the cake low-fat.  You can alter the ratio of applesauce to oil to suit your preferences, and even if you use oil for all five tablespoons (I would recommend a mild oil like canola, safflower, or vegetable oil), the cake is still relatively healthy.  The cake in these photos was made with no oil (and without a real cake pan), which certainly altered the crumb of the cake, but the final result was still absolutely delicious.  Also, I’ve never had any problems with using cold water in the cake, but using your favorite non-dairy beverage instead would certainly also be a good alternative.  Making three wells in the dry ingredients to add in the wet ingredients seems to be the agreed-upon method of choice for making wacky cake, but even if you simply add the liquid ingredients as you would in a usual recipe, I doubt it would make a real difference to the final cake.  Most recipes seems to suggest baking the cake for about 30 minutes, but I’ve always had to bake it for at least an hour; if you think your oven cooks things particularly quickly, you might want to check the cake earlier to avoid burning.  Finally, for the best results, you should let the cake cool before cutting it into pieces (unlike what I did for the slice in the photo below), which will allow for cleaner edges.
Wacky Cake is not necessarily a show-stopper of a recipe, but it’s a great basic chocolate cake that can serve as a satisfying dessert for almost any occasion.  I hope you’ll give it a try!

Wacky Cake

Chocolate Balsamic Wacky Cake
Yield: 1 cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce (or use canola oil)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (or use apple cider vinegar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup cold water (or use non-dairy milk)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Make three wells in the dry mixture and pour the applesauce into one, the vinegar into the next, and the vanilla into the third.  Add the water to the mixture, and stir the ingredients together until combined.  Pour the batter into a prepared 8-inch cake pan.

Bake for about 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the pan comes out clean.  Enjoy!

December 25, 2009. Cakes. 2 comments.

Sweet & Sara

I never liked s’mores.  On the rare occasions that I found myself in campfire situations as a kid, I would roast my marshmallow and then give it to someone else to eat, and would politely decline the accompanying graham crackers and Hershey’s chocolate.  After I went vegan, my dislike of marshmallows was something of a boon, because I never even remotely missed the gelatin-laden puffs.  In spite of this negative predisposition, I always heard positive buzz about Sweet & Sara’s vegan marshmallow products, so one day I decided to give the company’s Peanut Butter Smores a try.
Well, suffice to say that they fundamentally altered my opinion on s’mores.  The graham cracker base is crunchy and crumbly, the marshmallow layer is fluffy and luscious, the peanut butter layer adds an extra dimension of deliciousness, and the rich chocolate coating ties everything together.  Moreover, the ingredients are combined in a perfect ratio that isn’t too heavy on any one aspect, making the Peanut Butter Smores one of my absolute favorite store-bought desserts.  I prefer the Peanut Butter flavor to the Original flavor because of the additional peanutty boost, but both of the options are truly fantastic.  The s’mores are a bit pricey, but the cost is certainly worth it to give yourself an occasional special treat, especially when considering that the company is so worth supporting.  It’s hard not to appreciate Sweet & Sara’s pioneering efforts in the field of vegan marshmallows, particularly when they offer such tasty products to back up their hard work.
I definitely recommend trying a Peanut Butter Smore as soon as you get a chance; even if you’ve been a life-long marshmallow hater like I was, I highly doubt that you’ll be disappointed!

December 15, 2009. Uncategorized. 3 comments.

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