Coffee cake that is incredibly . . .

Delicious. Moist. Oil-free. Vegan. Easy. Ridiculously good.

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I don’t know where to begin.

The original creation of this vegan and aquafabulous coffee cake was completely inspired by the “Vegan Meringue – Hits and Misses” aquafaba group on Facebook. I’m using a modified vanilla cupcake recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World and the oil-free streusel topping recipe that Linda Julien shared with us on Facebook (she’s part of the “Vegan Meringue…” group) from when she made her coffee cake.

This cake was so good that quickly I gave up cutting nice and pretty squares to serve on a plate and instead began eating directly out of the pan with a spoon. Brought some to work and our team loved it! They kept saying it tasted “impossibly sinful” and completely polished off the pan.

**Note for those outside of the USA: Coffee cake has no coffee in it. It’s named thus because it’s supposed to be eaten while drinking coffee. (Of course, you can easily enjoy it without coffee, too!)

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Coffee Cake, vegan and “aquafabulated”

Makes one 8″ x 8″ (or other equal square footage) sheet cake or 12 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:

Streusel topping:

  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) chopped pecans, optional

Vanilla cake:

  • 1 cup plant milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons aquafaba (aka canned bean juice, usually from chickpeas)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (or more vanilla)
  • 1/3 cup canola oil (can substitute completely with unsweetened applesauce for an oil-free recipe)
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (haven’t tried with more “wheat-y” flour but I bet it’ll work)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

DIRECTIONS:

Mix streusel topping and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 deg F and lightly spray pan with non-stick spray.

Add the plant milk and vinegar together in a measuring cup (I usually use a single 2-cup Pyrex cup), stir and let curdle for a few minutes. Add the vanilla and almond extracts to the milk mixture. Add the oil/applesauce to the milk mixture (careful, the 2-cup Pyrex will be full!).

In a medium-sized bowl, sift in the following: flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and granulated sugar. Whisk dry ingredients to combine. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. Mix with a fork till well combined but don’t overmix; use a spatula to scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure all the dry ingredients are incorporated.

Pour half the batter into the prepared pan and top with half of the streusel topping. Cover with the remaining batter and top with the remaining streusel topping.

Bake for approximately 25-35 minutes until the cake tests done with a toothpick (or skewer, or fork, or…). Remove from oven and, if you have the patience, let cool on counter/cooling rack for at least 5-10 minutes.

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Guilt-Free Eating: Plum Pie

I’ve never been the greatest fan of running but I know it’s a fantastic way to get one’s heart back into shape and slowly increase metabolism over time.  Having been more into academics than athletics, my overall active ability has decreased the past several years.

Long story short, I finally got sick of it and have been running these past two weeks.

At the most, I’ve taken a day off between sessions.  I run for at least two to three miles; most recently, five miles.  For someone who doesn’t like to run, that’s a major milestone: it’s the farthest I’ve ever gone without stopping.  Though, for your information, I almost passed out within ten seconds after switching to a walking pace.  My legs felt good and I’d been drinking water–I just simply ran out of sugar.

After chugging some gatorade and stretching, I was hungry.  And you know what?  I didn’t feel so bad about eating.  Dessert first, please!

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That’s right: hello, homemade plum pie.

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I know, plum in pie form is kind of strange.  We happened to have a bunch of them that someone dropped off at the office and they were just sitting there.  Besides: plums + a bit of sugar + pie crust = how could you go wrong?

Being my first ever homemade pie, I made the rookie mistake of forgetting to pinch and seal the top crust to the side/bottom crust–had a bit of a mess over the side of the pie plate.  But no matter, just eat a slice with some coconut whipped cream on top and you wouldn’t know the difference.

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I followed Kathy’s recipe here for making the pie crust.  If you’re looking for a forgiving pie crust to try, this would be the one.  Sure, the ingredients need to be kept cold but it wasn’t as critical as with the typical crust recipe and it was surprisingly easy to make!  It turned out light, plenty of flaky layers, and easy peasy to make with a hand mixer.  (Check out her video in the link.)  I tried another recipe the following day with olive oil–it tasted great but it was very fussy and crumbled all over the place.  I may try making the first crust recipe again but experiment with coconut oil instead.

As for the plum filling?  I sliced them up, added some sugar until it looked about right, a few shakes of cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg and ground cloves,  a couple spoonfuls of corn starch, and a splash of lemon juice, all mixed until evenly dispersed.  Baked at 350 deg F for 55 min, let cool for about 30 min.

Oh yes, I had to brush the pie top with almond milk and sprinkle on a bit of sugar.

If I remember right, I think I only had pie for dinner that night.  And I didn’t feel guilty about it at all.

Mission Possible: Vegan Deliciousness

About a year ago, the hubs and I were given a book, The China Study. After reading it, we decided, among other things, to be more careful about our intake of animal products and choose to go pseudo-vegan.

Before you get your panties in a twist about that not being true veganism, I’ll say that I agree with you. For us, it’s an idea, a concept that we want to follow more for our health rather than the practically militant attitude others have regarding their choice of veganism (i.e. animal cruelty, etc). Thus said, we decided to be vegans at home because that’s where it’s the easiest. How is it easy? Well, if you don’t buy the cheese/eggs/yogurt/etc that you’re craving, then you have no other choice for things to eat when you get home! It sucks, but what else is there to say–it works. We know it’s more difficult to be vegan when we eat out or at someone’s house, so we decided to let our eating habits slide a wee bit during those times, especially since they’re not very often to begin with. Now a year later, we have drifted off and back on course since then, but we still both agree with the initial idea of having less animal products (meat and otherwise) in our diet.

Since that fateful reading of the above book, we’ve been keeping our eyes open for ways to be vegan and still enjoy foods.

Well.

I’ve definitely found a couple of books that are fabulous and don’t make you miss a thing when it comes to sweets.

First there was Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Delicious! And baking goodies! It was something I’d never really gotten into (baking, that is) but wanted to do more and more of it because I just couldn’t believe how un-vegan like these cupcakes were tasting. I even became so ambitious that I made a layered cake (my first ever!) for the hubby’s birthday. Behold:

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Next time it’s gonna be a three-layered sucker. YUM.

More recently, I noticed the the same authors came out with another book, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. After seeing a friend of mine ruthlessly go through the book and bake cookie after cookie after cookie (I’m not kidding), I finally caved and bought it when at a bookstore. Well, there’s no turning back now because this one’s a keeper, too. I was excited when I started flipping through it because I had the majority of the ingredients already in our kitchen and could start baking right away. Now, I’m not a big chocolate person, but these chocolate fudgy oatmeal cookies were calling out my name:

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I’ll just say that this batch was gone in about 24 hours.

People are always flabbergasted when I tell them that I’ve made vegan cupcakes/cakes and cookies that are delicious. I really don’t know why, though. I do suspect it’s because they think all the fatty and sugary goodness has been sucked out of them and that the end product will just end up tasting like cardboard (which is quite possible when one is trying to make something vegan and healthy). In the case of these two books, all the animal products have been replaced with plant ones. That doesn’t mean there isn’t anymore of the good tasting fat and sugar that is necessary for making baked desserts delectable–for the most part, there’s still plenty of it.

Verdict? If you want to see if being vegan can still be sinfully tasteful, it is quite possible. If you want to be healthy and vegan, then you may want to limit your servings of these cupcakes and cookies.

As in, don’t eat the whole batch within 24 hours.