Friday, September 30, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Rosh Hashanah Honey Cake

I just *had* to make honey cake for the Jewish New Year. L'Shana Tova, or Happy New Year to all of my Jewish readers. I made this sweet honey cake (actually two of them) to bring the traditional taste of sweetness to the new year along with apples & honey.  This cake is just amazing - warm, soft and moist. It's one of the best cakes that I have made, and its sweet with honey for a L'Shana Tova (Hebrew for a sweet new year.  I got the recipe from one of my favorite other blogs, Smitten Kitchen, and adapted it a bit in my own kitchen for the perfect honey cake.  This makes gorgeous, moist and marvelous honey cakes, and I was quite pleased with our Rosh Hashanah treat.The original recipe that I adapted comes from Marcy Goldman's Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking.  The recipe is pareve (non dairy) so it is the perfect finish for that holiday meal.

Honey Cake (makes two 9 inch cakes)
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
1 cup canola oil
1 cup honey
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup warm coffee
1/2 cup apple cider
1/4 cup rum

Prepare two nine inch cake pans using Pam.  Preheat the oven to 350.  In a large bowl, combine the flour baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and allspice and mix well.  Mix in the sugars next.  Make a well in the center and add the oil, honey, eggs, vanilla coffee, juice and rum.  Measure the oil just before the honey, which will help the honey slide out of your measuring cup.  Using an electric mixer, beat the batter until well blended and making sure that the ingredients are combined evenly.  Divide evenly into the two prepared cake pans and bake for 60-65 minutes. Bake on two stacked baking sheets to ensure the cakes bake properly and evenly.  Allow to stand for 15 minutes before removing the cake from the pans.  L'Shana Tova - Have a sweet New Year!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes

So sorry I haven't posted in almost a week. Things have just been crazy around here and quite hectic, and it seems it will still be a bit before they settle down.  I didn't get a chance to cook or bake too mcuh in the last week, but still have some good recipes yet to share.  Recently, I bought the book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World upon recommendation from a friend.  I'm not vegan, not even vegetarian, but after trying a couple of these fabulous (and healthier) recipes, well I'm sold.  My first foray into vegan baking was the complex flavors of mexican chocolate, with a delicious chocolate mousse frosting - and yes, it's really vegan, too! What I love about this book is the complexity and artistry in each of the vegan cupcake recipes. Next up, I plan to try making the banana split cupcakes and the apple cider cupcakes!

Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes (from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World)
1 cup coconut milk
1 T ground flaxseeds
3/4 cup flour
2 T cornmeal
1/4 cup almond meal
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract

Preheat the oven to 350 and line your silicon muffin tin.  Whisk together the coconut milk and flaxseeds and allow to sit for 10 minutes.  Combine all the dry ingredients in one bowl (almond meal, cocoa, flour, salt, cinnamon, cayenne baking powder and baking soda).  whisk the sugar, oil and extracts into the coconut milk.  Gently add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well.  Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way to the top and bake for about 25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Vegan Chocolate Mousse Frosting (from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World)
1 12.3 oz package extra firm tofu, drained
1/4 cup soy milk
2 T maple syrup or agave
1 tsp vanilla
12 oz vegan chocolate chips

Crumble the tofu in a blender and add the agave/maple syrup and the soy milk.  Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, and then let cool for five minutes.  Blend in the chocolate with the tofu mixture.  Transfer to an airtight container and chill for 1 hour before piping on the cupcakes with a pastry bag. So good you won't even realize its vegan!!!

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