Thursday, September 19, 2013

VEGAN COFFEE CAKE, A GREAT ADDITION TO POTLUCK DINNERS.

Last February, when my husband and I first started with our new diets – vegetarian for him and vegan for me – I quickly adapted any number of cooking recipes to accommodate our new eating style. Still I was at a loss, at first, as to how to make egg and dairy-free desserts. I researched on the Internet and found that many brave cooks were coming up with vegan recipes. After, studying a few recipe posts, I began experimenting and came up with my own. I decided to concentrate on coffee cake.  I’m always looking for a not-too-sweet treat to drink along with my mid afternoon pick-me-up coffee or tea. Coffee cake is my favorite. Luckily, it's really easy to make vegan coffee cake and it really tastes good.

So, for the past six months months, I've been making vegan coffee cake at home. Lately, I started carrying it to the potluck dinners at our meditation group’s weekly meeting – with a lot of success. It has disappeared from the dessert table quickly every time.  Several people have asked me about the recipe, so here I've tried to remember just what I do. I had to sit down and think about it since I almost never follow or write any notes. The truth is that I've have made it a bit differently every time.

Try making a vegan coffee cake. 
So, here it is. By popular demand, I’m writing up my favorite recipe for vegan coffee cake. It’s a classic kind of coffee cake, but with a twist, of course. There are no eggs or milk in this cake. The moist sponginess of this cake – traditionally associated with eggs, happening here without eggs - is due to some tricks, including a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and 2 heaping tablespoons of cultured coconut (non-dairy) yogurt, and only one minute of stirring in the ingredients. Over beating the batter will definitely flatten a vegan coffee cake.

My first recipe was for in-season fresh blueberries and it turned out fantastic! But since then, I've used raisins and dried blueberries and even pureed pumpkin as additional flavors. Just about any fruit you have on hand or any combination of nuts will combine successfully in this cake. However you make it, it will go great with coffee (or tea) and it’s an excellent choice as a breakfast treat or a snack at any hour - also guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser at covered dinners. The vegans in your group will love you for it. 

For health sake, organic ingredients, while not required, are highly recommended.

Ingredients
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (choose the non-aluminum kind)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil (I use sunflower seed oil)
2 small, ripe bananas or 1 large one, mashed (Canned pumpkin and applesauce are good alternates.)
¼ cup dried blueberries or raisins
1/4 cup coconut milk (or coconut water)
1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons of cultured coconut non-dairy yogurt, optional
1/4 teaspoon of turmeric
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
juice of half a lime
½ cup of pecan pieces (or walnuts or cashews, etc.)

 Preparation
 Preheat your oven to 350 F degrees and grease an 8” X 8” baking pan (glass or stainless steel is better).

Stir together the flour, soda, and spices, and other dry ingredients. Whisk in the oil, lemon juice, coconut milk, and vinegar in the same bowl. Don't beat it like you would cake batter. When well mixed, fold in the dry fruit and nuts.

Bake on the center rack, until the middle is firm and the top is golden—about 20 minutes.

For topping, I simply drizzle vegan margarine on top of the hot baked cake and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top.

Cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before trying to cut this cake. It’s best to let it cool completely. Otherwise, the cake crumbles and the slices tend to be uneven. 





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