Nothing Is Rotten In Denmark! It’s the June Daring Bakers Challenge : Danish Pastry

This month Ben of What’s Cooking? and Kellypea of Sass & Voracity proposed a fabulous challenge to the Daring Bakers, the “Danish Braid” from Sherry Yard’s The Secrets of Baking. I was honestly thrilled as I read through our défi for the month of June, because it was totally and completely new and 100% never – ever been tried before by the Shellyfish. That’s why I wanted to be a Daring Baker – to be pushed gently nudged into the deep end of the vegan baking pool. Veganism isn’t terribly new to me, but baking sure is!

There was a moment of confusion, I do admit, when I came upon the description of our technique, working with a “yeasted laminated dough”. To me, this just didn’t sound like something that would be very tasty. It sounded more like a shop-class meets home-economics in some freak accident sort of thing. Laminated dough? Again, being a novice baker, this was unknown jargon to me. I re-read the different steps involved in the recipe, and then it hit me : this is a pâte feuilletée! I totally know what this is! Rock on party people, rock on!

Without falling into the trap of an overly-verbose blog entry, I’ll just mention a few little details :

  • First off, I loved this challenge, but it was more time consuming than I’d thought it would be (despite my reading through the steps, I guess all the resting & rising times just didn’t sink in).
  • I must have generated some good Daring Bakers karma, because this challenge was a slam dunk- I mean everything went really well the *first* time around, and tasted amazing. My only bummer was my camera batteries were almost dead so my pictures were getting a little blurry (and I had to hurry because the braids were being eaten by guests just moments after).
  • I think my favorite part was the initial mixing of the dough because the cardamom just smelled so incredible and the mixture looked so beautiful with the orange zest and the flecks of flaxseed.
  • Speaking of flaxseed, I used one “flax egg” (1 tbsp ground flax seeds & 3 tbsp water) and one “soy egg” (about 1/4 cup of plain soy yogurt).
  • I made an apple filling, following the recipe below, and added 1 cup of chopped walnuts. I found it to be rather runny, but after adding more apples and some apple-cinnamon & orange marmalade it thickened up nicely & tasted great!

Some photos :

Here is the butter block as I smeared it on (can you see? I wrote “hi”!)

Here is one of the braids pre-oven- it looked so beautiful!


One of the braids just out of the oven…

And here’s the other! The complete recipe follows (again, just subbing to render it vegan…)

Now go visit all the fabulous Daring Bakers and see all the wonderful Danish Braids they’ve made!

DANISH DOUGH

Makes 2-1/2 pounds dough

Ingredients
For the dough (Detrempe)
1 ounce fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 large eggs, chilled
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

For the butter block (Beurrage)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

DOUGH
Combine yeast and milk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed. Slowly add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice. Mix well. Change to the dough hook and add the salt with the flour, 1 cup at a time, increasing speed to medium as the flour is incorporated. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until smooth. You may need to add a little more flour if it is sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Without a standing mixer: Combine yeast and milk in a bowl with a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk. Add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice and mix well. Sift flour and salt on your working surface and make a fountain. Make sure that the “walls” of your fountain are thick and even. Pour the liquid in the middle of the fountain. With your fingertips, mix the liquid and the flour starting from the middle of the fountain, slowly working towards the edges. When the ingredients have been incorporated start kneading the dough with the heel of your hands until it becomes smooth and easy to work with, around 5 to 7 minutes. You might need to add more flour if the dough is sticky.

BUTTER BLOCK
1. Combine butter and flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle and then beat for 1 minute more, or until smooth and lump free. Set aside at room temperature.
2. After the detrempe has chilled 30 minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 18 x 13 inches and ¼ inch thick. The dough may be sticky, so keep dusting it lightly with flour. Spread the butter evenly over the center and right thirds of the dough. Fold the left edge of the detrempe to the right, covering half of the butter. Fold the right third of the rectangle over the center third. The first turn has now been completed. Mark the dough by poking it with your finger to keep track of your turns, or use a sticky and keep a tally. Place the dough on a baking sheet, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Place the dough lengthwise on a floured work surface. The open ends should be to your right and left. Roll the dough into another approximately 13 x 18 inch, ¼-inch-thick rectangle. Again, fold the left third of the rectangle over the center third and the right third over the center third. No additional butter will be added as it is already in the dough. The second turn has now been completed. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
4. Roll out, turn, and refrigerate the dough two more times, for a total of four single turns. Make sure you are keeping track of your turns. Refrigerate the dough after the final turn for at least 5 hours or overnight. The Danish dough is now ready to be used. If you will not be using the dough within 24 hours, freeze it. To do this, roll the dough out to about 1 inch in thickness, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze. Defrost the dough slowly in the refrigerator for easiest handling. Danish dough will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.

APPLE FILLING
Makes enough for two braids

Ingredients
4 Fuji or other apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Toss all ingredients except butter in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat until slightly nutty in color, about 6 – 8 minutes. Then add the apple mixture and sauté until apples are softened and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. If you’ve chosen Fujis, the apples will be caramelized, but have still retained their shape. Pour the cooked apples onto a baking sheet to cool completely before forming the braid. (If making ahead, cool to room temperature, seal, and refrigerate.) They will cool faster when spread in a thin layer over the surface of the sheet. After they have cooled, the filling can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Left over filling can be used as an ice cream topping, for muffins, cheesecake, or other pastries.

DANISH BRAID
Makes enough for 2 large braids

Ingredients
1 recipe Danish Dough (see below)
2 cups apple filling, jam, or preserves (see below)

For the egg wash: 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk

1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the Danish Dough into a 15 x 20-inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick. If the dough seems elastic and shrinks back when rolled, let it rest for a few minutes, then roll again. Place the dough on the baking sheet.
2. Along one long side of the pastry make parallel, 5-inch-long cuts with a knife or rolling pastry wheel, each about 1 inch apart. Repeat on the opposite side, making sure to line up the cuts with those you’ve already made.
3. Spoon the filling you’ve chosen to fill your braid down the center of the rectangle. Starting with the top and bottom “flaps”, fold the top flap down over the filling to cover. Next, fold the bottom “flap” up to cover filling. This helps keep the braid neat and helps to hold in the filling. Now begin folding the cut side strips of dough over the filling, alternating first left, then right, left, right, until finished. Trim any excess dough and tuck in the ends.

Egg Wash
Whisk together the whole egg and yolk in a bowl and with a pastry brush, lightly coat the braid.

Proofing and Baking
1. Spray cooking oil (Pam…) onto a piece of plastic wrap, and place over the braid. Proof at room temperature or, if possible, in a controlled 90 degree F environment for about 2 hours, or until doubled in volume and light to the touch.
2. Near the end of proofing, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
3. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan so that the side of the braid previously in the back of the oven is now in the front. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake about 15-20 minutes more, or until golden brown. Cool and serve the braid either still warm from the oven or at room temperature. The cooled braid can be wrapped airtight and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or freeze for 1 month.

I used to love the opéra… Daring Baker’s May Challenge

NB: The following is the désastre of a very new baker (vegan or otherwise!)…but please go visit some of the other Alternative Daring Bakers & traditional bakers, my misery is the result of my inexperience, but there are some great success stories out there in Veganland!

Riding my (sugar) high from last month’s challenge, I was really looking forward to this month’s Daring Baker’s Challenge which was an opéra, a lovely French patisserie usually composed of three thin layers of almond sponge cake-ish cake, with a coffee flavoured syrup poured over each layer (or often soaked in the syrup), between the cake layers is a buttercream or mousse generally coffee or orange flavoured, then it’s topped with a chocolate ganache and often dusted with cocao powder. It is a very rich and decadent treat that is oft sold here in France as a whole cake, or as individual servings in the boulangeries or patisseries. I’ve had them (it’s been a while, but the memory was clear). They’re crazy rich, but good. Part of the challenge was that we couldn’t use the traditional choco-café flavourings… all the better!

The day the challenge was posted I went out in search of all I’d need to make my vegan version for the challenge. I managed to get my hands on some vegan white chocolate, which was my main concern, and a back up bottle of Lemoncello just to be sure (since I couldn’t remember how full our bottle at home was!). I knew right away what I wanted for my flavours : almond & rose water for the cake (I’ve been on a bit of an eau de rose thing lately), lemon & coconut for the buttercream, lemon for the syrup, and coconut & lime for the white chocolate ganache. It seemed the perfect idea (that’s usually a warning sign, when things just seem a little, you know, too, perfect).

I’m having a rather hard time being a good sport about my échec or failure here, so I won’t go into detail about all the horrible things that could-and-did-go-wrong. Some real basic issues should have set off warning signals in my head, but I was really naive (I’m so new to baking, and have had really good luck, so thought this would be no problem!), and I did learn some valuable lessons from this recipe (like not not having a jellyroll pan is problematic for some recipes & vegan white chocolate doesn’t harden up, at all, unless refrigerated for 24 hours…)

I’m mostly disappointed because of the huge amount of waste I managed to create. I love buttercream & sweets in general, but this cake is just horrible. I have forced down two pieces and they have each made me feel nauseated. Even the Guppy, who loves loves loves anything remotely too sugary only managed a few bites and was done. Being a neophyte baker, I opted for my favourite – but not cheap – flavourings, and that was my biggest mistake of all. I guess it would be like using your fave material for your first attempt at sewing yourself a pair of pants – better get the muslin out first baby before you regret it!

So I did indeed learn a lot from this challenge, and if I’m angry/frustrated/disappointed/a bit ashamed, well, it’s with myself for my silly mistakes, and I humbly thank the ever talented hosts of this month’s event : Fran of Apples Peaches Pumpkin Pie, Shea from Whiskful, and Ivonne of Creampuffs in Venise and Lis from La Mia Cucina. It’s thanks to lovely ladies like this that I am pushing the envelope of culinary catastrophes and learning & trying new things. And hey, it’s the Daring Bakers – I’ll get a new chance next month to kick some buttercream!

Tofu Cheesecake Madness! It’s Daring Bakers Time Again!

Unleash your sweet-tooth for this month’s Daring Bakers Challenge Cheesecake Pops from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts For The Serious Sweet Tooth by Jill O’Connor. I’m warning you now, this is not in any way a healthy-avid-yoga-runner-wholefoods-type recipe…but it was indeed very tasty, sticky, messy & gooey to make (which always hightens the fun-factor if you ask me).

This month’s lovely challenge hosts Elle from Feeding My Enthusasims and Deborah from Taste and Tell found we Daring Bakers a very decadent treat indeed (thank you for your time & effort, ladies!) Cheesecake is in itself quite an indulgence, but for this recipe it’s only the beginning! After you’ve baked your cheesecake you then freeze & form it into various shapes and give them lollipop sticks, then coat in chocolate and decorate! Wow! Holy calories, Batgirl! That being said, because they are individually sized, you can easily control your portions, so that’s a good thing. I guess. If you’re into that sort of thing…controlling cheesecake consumption I mean…

My favorite parts of this challenge were 1) completing the challenge with my super-cute mum who though battling a nasty nasty bout of illness played along and was available for planning consultations, official tasting & artistic direction (decorating) duty; and 2) the actual making of the tofu cheesecakes. I thought it was a blast! I totally admit to a heavy dose of finger-licking as well…see, these were indeed intended to be “pops”, but despite my best intentions (I visited two gourmet cooking shoppes & two super markets) I could not find anything that would work- I found popcicle sticks (too fat), super-thin straws (too flimsy), long, wooden sticks for cotton candy (too thick & long)… so I decided to turn this temporary set-back into a fun chance to use some new silicon molds that my mum brought me from the states! As a Daring Baker I was to follow certain guidelines, but using molds was ok’d by our hosts, so yeah for the molds! There were heart-shapes, disc-shapes, and flower-shapes, too!

Thing is, because there were no sticks to hold, I was hand-dipping them, which was a blast! Felt like a kid in the kitching doing something I could be scolded for! Another fun aspect of this month’s challenge was that a handful of the Daring Bakers Alternative Bakers got together to “chat” to exchange ideas & recipes & ideas, and that was a great chance to “meet” some new bakers & hear some ideas.

Here’s the recipe that I used (based on the tofu cheesecake recipe from The New Farm Cookbook (the original non-vegan Challenge recipe is at the bottom of this post if you want a peek!)

  • 3 1/2 cups firm tofu (rinse it, but don’t drain)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (I’ve used orange for orange cheese cake & it’s also good)
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1-2 table spoons vanilla or almond extract (or one of both if you’re really feeling crazy)

and for the chocolate coating:

  • 300g dark chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons non-hydrogenated vegan butter

I wiz everything in the blender or food processor till smooth (adding a little more juice if it’s a bit too stiff, normally it’s very smooth). If you were making a normal cheesecake, you just pour it into the crust & put it in the oven for about 50 minutes at 170c/335F. Because I opted for silicon molds this changed my normal baking time dramatically because the molds were of different shape & depth & made by different companies so the individual baking times varied from mold to mold (the shortest being 25mins, the longest 45). What I did then was to leave them in the moulds while they cooled (which I totally admit made my life easier than trying to scoop them out of a pan and shape them).

For the chocolate coating, I melted half the chocolate and 1 tbsp of vegan butter in the microwave and stirred well (so much work there). Then, carefully not burning my fingers on the chocolate I swirled the shapes in the chocolate. I found that even after being very cool from the fridge they were still really difficult to coat so I put them in the freezer & found that the colder they were, the easier they were to coat (less cold = thicker, goopier chocolate coating, whereas colder = pretty, thin layer). I also found that I had to sprinkle the decorations on right away after coating them or the chocolate hardened and they wouldn’t stick.

I’ll be honest- while the cheese cake was delicious, having it coated in chocolate just seemed too much for my family who seemed to just peel it off. It was, however, a very fun challenge, and I can’t wait to see what’s next!

Here’s the original recipe from Ms. O’Connor’s book:

Cheesecake Pops

Makes 30 – 40 Pops

5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature

2 cups sugar

¼ cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

5 large eggs

2 egg yolks

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

¼ cup heavy cream

Boiling water as needed

Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks

1 pound chocolate, finely chopped – you can use all one kind or half and half of dark, milk, or white (Alternately, you can use 1 pound of flavored coatings, also known as summer coating, confectionary coating or wafer chocolate – candy supply stores carry colors, as well as the three kinds of chocolate.)

2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

(Note: White chocolate is harder to use this way, but not impossible)

Assorted decorations such as chopped nuts, colored jimmies, crushed peppermints, mini chocolate chips, sanding sugars, dragees) – Optional

Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.

Grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a springform pan), and pour the batter into the cake pan. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes.

Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.

When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate. In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat half the chocolate and half the shortening, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and chocolate and shortening are combined. Stir until completely smooth. Do not heat the chocolate too much or your chocolate will lose it’s shine after it has dried. Save the rest of the chocolate and shortening for later dipping, or use another type of chocolate for variety.

Alternately, you can microwave the same amount of chocolate coating pieces on high at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.

Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionary chocolate pieces) as needed.

Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.

Tourte de pommes de terre à la crème de soja – or – Potato Tourte meets Pastie Pie

I’m going to begin with a little hi and thanks to all the wonderful Daring Bakers who have been so encouraging and supportive. My first challenge was, compared to the brillant and fabulous cakes made by my peers, like rose water to Chanel n°5, but everyone has been so sweet, and I have already learned much and am anticipating our next défi!

J’aimerais commencer avec un petit bonjour et un grand merci à tous les Daring Bakers pour leur soutien et pour tous les encouragements. Mon premier défi était loin d’être aussi beau que les gâteaux fait par les autres, le mien faisait genre eau de rose au lieu du Chanel n° 5, mais tout le monde était vraiment super sympa, et j’ai déjà appris beaucoup, donc j’ai hâte pour notre prochain challenge!

Going through some oft looked-over cookbooks gathering dust on the shelf, I began leafing through Tofu, Soja et compagnie, part of the Marabout Chef series of cookbooks. A well-meaning friend gave me this book about four years ago, probably because of seeing the”tofu” and “soja” in the title and thinking it would be something I would use. Well…kinda, because the book is not at all vegetarian or vegan, but rather has all sorts of recipes which do indeed use tofu and soy, but also cow and pig and fish. This would explain why I don’t often look through it.

Je triais mes livres de cuisine – ceux qui sont enrobés avec une bonne petite couche de poussière – et je me suis mis à feuilleter Tofu, Soja et compagnie (qui fait partie des livres “Marabout Chef”). Ce livre m’a été offert par un copain plein de bonnes intentions, qui, après avoir vu le “tofu” et le “soja” écrit en grand a cru bien faire. Et bien, le petit “hic” du livre pour moi et que ce n’est guère un livre de cuisine végétarien, au contraire, il n’y a qu’une petite poignée de recettes sans viande. Et donc voila pourquoi je ne m’en sers pas des masses!

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That being said, there are a few recipes I have tried, and they have yielded some delicious results. The following is a recipe I have adapted quite a bit and it is just delicious (if I do say so myself). This tastes an awful lot like a Pastie, a dish a bit similar in idea to a calazone in shape & size. The flaky outer crust was meant to keep the inside nice and warm (for a pastie this often means meat, potato, carrot, turnip, etc). This was a very typical dish for miners, which is why you often find pasties in areas where there were mines that were exploited at the end of the 19th century – there were often large communites of European immigrants making pasties in hopes of having a warm meal in often sub-zero temps.) You’ll need a pastry crust – I used the Basic Single Pastry Crust recipe from Veganomicon because I love that one for quiches & tourtes, but I can’t make you use it. Well, maybe I could…

Ceci dit, il y a tout de même quelques recettes que j’ai déjà essayé, et je n’étais pas déçue. J’ai beaucoup changé la recette suivante, et je devrais avoué que c’est très, très bon. Il faudrait une pâte feuilletée – j’ai utilisé la Basic Single Pastry Crust de Veganomicon parce que je la trouve parfaite pour des quiches & tourtes, mais je ne peux pas vous forcer de faire la même chose…quoi que…

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POTATO TOURTE (this really tastes a lot like a pastie, without the dead cow)

  • 150 cl soy yogurt
  • 150 cl soy milk
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 6 potatoes (thinly sliced)
  • 2 good handfuls of fresh parsley
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons of nutmeg
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Pre-heat your oven to about 320°F
  • Line your tourte dish with about half of your crust. Add a layer potato slices, cover with salt & pepper and a dusting of parsley. Continue till you can’t any more!
  • Mix the yaourt, milk and nutmeg and gently pour over the potatoes.
  • Cover with the remaining crust and pinch the edges together. Cut a little hole in the middle to let the steam escape and pop it in the oven for about an hour or so.
  • Let this sit about 15 minutes before digging in!

TOURTE DE POMMES DE TERRE À LA CRÈME DE SOJA

  • 150 cl de yaourt de soja
  • 150 cl lait de soja
  • 1 ongion haché
  • 4 gousses d’ail écrasées
  • 6 à 8 pommes de terre à chair ferme
  • une bonne poignée de persil, ciselé
  • 2 à 3 c. à café de noix de muscade râpée
  • sel & poivre
  • Préchauffez le four à 160°C
  • Foncez une tourtière avec la moité de votre pâte. Placez-y les pommes de terre crues, découpées en fines rondelles. Saupoudrez avec un peu d’ongion, sel & poivre, et persil, puis recommencez (une couche, puis un autre…)
  • Mélanger le yaourt, le lait et les c. à café de muscade, verser ce mélange sur les pommes de terre.
  • Recouvrez le tout par la moité restante de votre pâte, et soudez les bords en pinçant avec vos doigts. Percer un petit trou au centre de la tourte.
  • Enfournez, faites cuire 60 minutes environ.
  • Laissez reposer aprox. 15 minutes avant de déguster! Bonne appétit!

My First Daring Baker’s Challenge

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Despite the veritable cornucopia of vegan foods available, many vegans find themselves rendering vegan many recipes from their pasts, things that we could refer to as comfort foods. Sometimes it’s a fairly easy exercise – swapping meat with a fancy rendering of tofu or seitan or tempeh – but sometimes veganizing something proves to be a wee bit more difficult, or at least, requiring a bit more imagination…

I happened upon The Daring Bakers, a fab group of blogging, whisk-wielding chefs, and realized right away that they were to offer me the challenge I was seeking : by accepting their monthly challenges, I would be forced to sharpen my vegan-baking skills, and would in the process learn how to better substitute all the things I avoid.

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Our challenge recipe was for “Dorie’s Perfect Party Cake” from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from My Home to Yours. The party cake sounded like a great, basic white cake recipe to use for birthday parties & the like, but my main task was to replace the 4 sticks of butter and 8 egg whites, and change up the cow’s milk for the soy milk. I know that there are oodles of already tried-and-true vegan cake recipes out there, but I wanted to stay as true to the real recipe as possible. I would have rather used an egg substitute like Ener-G for this particular cake because if would have helped with the “light & fluffyness” factor, but it’s unavailable where I live. I opted for ground flax seeds, which worked really well, and imparted a lovely soft “bananaish” flavour to the lemon-scented cake. I also had to cut way down on the butter – the recipe called for 1 stick – and I was really worried about the way the cake would turn out with these drastic changes, but I am happy to report it was absolutely delicious!
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As you can see from the photo, the flax did change the color of the supposed-to-be- pristine-white party cake, and yes, it was more moist & dense than light & fluffy, but we devoured it! I also obviously had to tinker with the buttercream frosting recipe as it called for eggs and butter, and I only iced the top layer of the cake because it just would have been too much for us (I also added some yellow color for a bit more festivity since we used this cake for my super-cute visiting mom’s birthday cake). The lemon flavour worked so well with the raspberry preserves and the flaked coconut, and we all had seconds (and thirds…).

I almost backed out of my first challenge because I was concerned about deviating too much from the original recipe, but I am so glad I sucked it up and dove in. It was also extra fun because my mom and I baked this up (while my usual baking partner, the Guppy, took her nap). Don’t get me wrong, I love baking with my little Guppy, but I think it was the first time I ever did a baking project with my mom!

I’d like to say thanks to this month’s challenge host Morven for taking the time to choose this wonderfully challenging recipe which gave us room to groove and move in our own individual ways!