Posts tagged ‘Dessert’

A Belated Flag Cake

Flag CupcakesI’m what you might call bicultural. My mom is Canadian, my dad is from the U.S, and I grew up in both countries (but mostly in Canada). I moved to Connecticut to start graduate school last September, and I wanted to celebrate my first Fourth of July here with one of my favourite American traditions – the flag cake.

I decided to go with cupcakes, because I like them and because they are easier to decorate. (You can just do all of the red ones and all of the white ones separately without worrying about the lines running into each other.) I also decided to make the cake really special by flavouring the icings according to color. The red stripes are raspberry, the white stripes are coconut, and the blue – well, the blue are vanilla because nobody seems to sell blueberry extract!

I used recipes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite cookbooks despite its single focus. It has everything from the most basic to the most ingenous recipes and the cupcakes don’t taste like “bad vegan baking” even to omnivorous palates.

So this post is more instruction than recipe (I’m not going to post the cupcakes recipes since I didn’t modify them at all, but you can use any basic chocolate and vanilla recipes. In fact, you can use any flavours you like, or just do one flavour). I hope it will be useful to you next year, or for a belated party, or maybe for those of you who eat flag cake year round.

Fourth of July Cupcakes
Makes 4 dozen cupcakes, or one delicious flag

Double batch of any basic vanilla cake recipe
Double batch of any basic chocolate cake recipe

Plain Frosting
½ cup cream cheese or neufchatel cheese
½ cup butter or margarine
4 cups powdered sugar

For Red Stripes
1 cup prepared plain frosting
1 tsp. raspberry extract
1 tsp. raspberry jam
¼ tsp. red food colouring, or as needed
(the icing will be dark pink, not red, but it darkens as it dries)

For White Stripes
1 cup prepared plain frosting
1 tsp. vanilla extract or coconut extract

For Blue Square
½ cup prepared plain frosting
½ tsp. vanilla extract or other flavour extract
¼ tsp. blue food colouring, or as needed
(the icing will be lighter than the blue on the flag, but will darken as it dries)
36 white chocolate chips, for stars

  1. Mix up the vanilla cake batter as per the recipe instructions. Pour the batter into lined cupcake pans. (You will need 2 cupcake pans for a total of 24 cupcakes). Bake according to instructions. You may need to give them a few extra minutes in the oven since you are baking 2 batches at once.
  2. While those are baking, mix up the plain frosting. Separate into three small food storage containers and then mix in the colours and extracts for the red, white, and blue sections of your cake. Set aside in the refrigerator.
  3. Remove the vanilla cupcakes from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely. Place more paper liners in the pan.
  4. Mix up the chocolate batter, place it in the muffin tins and bake according to the instructions. (You may again need to give them a few extra minutes).
  5. Remove cupcakes from oven and let cool about 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. You will need to let the cupcakes totally cool before frosting them, or they will melt the frosting and it will run everywhere. I usually give them a good 2 or 3 hours.
  7. Remove the frosting from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before using. If you forget and find yourself with frosting that’s too hard to use, you can whip it up in a mixmaster (or with electric beaters), adding a tiny bit (¼ tsp.) of water to help the process.
  8. Frost 9 cupcakes with the blue frosting, 18 cupcakes with the red frosting, and 21 cupcakes with the white frosting.
  9. Place four white chocolate chips on each of the blue frosted cupcakes, to represent the stars on the flag.
  10. Arrange the cupcakes into a flag shape, as shown above. My cake was 6 (cupcakes) x 7 (cupcakes) in dimension, but yours will be 6×8, to make the stripes a bit longer and to use the full four dozen cupcakes. (Simply follow the picture above and add an extra cup cake at the right end of each stripe).
  11. Enjoy! Happy belated Fourth of July!

July 6, 2009 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

No-Fail Fruit Salad

No-Fail Fruit SaladThere’s nothing like fruit salad on a hot summer’s day. It’s refreshing yet filling, and it’s a great way to take advantage of all of the great fruits that come available at this time of year.

This recipe can be used with any fruits you like. The dressing is versatile enough to tackle anything from berries to apples to tropical fruits. Unfortunately, even with the touch of balsamic vinegar in the recipe, the fruits start to brown within about 30 minutes – so make this salad just before you intend to eat it. I find that a half batch a nice meal for two people, and a full batch is great for dinner parties and potlucks.

For potlucks, you can assemble the dressing at home and then bring the fruits with you and toss it all up just before eating time. If you want to eat the salad all week at home, you can mix up the dressing and then toss a bit of it with freshly chopped fruits just before eating. The dressing will keep for about a week in the fridge.

No Fail Fruit Salad
Makes 4 – 6 large servings, or 8 – 10 small ones

6 – 10 cups fruit (depending on how saucy you want your salad to be)
(I used: 2 cups banana, 2 cups pineapple, 2 cups strawberries)

¾ cup vanilla yogurt (or ¾ cup plain yogurt and ⅛ teaspoon vanilla)
1 Tablespoon real maple syrup
¼ tsp. balsamic vinegar
¼ tsp. cinnamon
2 Tablespoons poppyseeds

  1. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, vanilla (if using), syrup, vinegar, cinnamon, and poppyseeds.
  2. In a large bowl, combine chopped fruit.
  3. Toss fruit with dressing and serve.

June 27, 2009 at 11:29 am 2 comments

Cranberry, Orange & White Chocolate Drop Cookies

I have a class on Thursday afternoons in a classroom that I swear smells like oatmeal cookies. Hence Key Lime Chocolate Chip cookies a few weeks ago and hence Cranberry, Orange and White Chocolate Cookies today (which I actually made two Thursdays ago). This time, I used the recipe for Chewy Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies from Veganomicon (buy this book now!) as a base and adapted the heck out of it. If you can’t find vegan white chocolate chips, omit them and substitute extra cranberries.

These cookies stayed moist for over a week! Seriously.

Cranberry, Orange and White Chocolate Drop Cookies
Makes 30 Cookies

½ cup canola or safflower oil
⅓ cup maple syrup
⅓ cup soymilk
¾ cup unrefined sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2⅓ whole wheat flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
zest of one orange (about 1½ Tablespoon)
½ cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and lightly grease two baking sheets.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the oil, syrup, soymilk, sugar and vanilla.
  3. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, orange zest and salt.
  4. Fold in the cranberries and white chocolate chips.
  5. Bake 10 minutes until lightly browned. Don’t worry if they’re a bit soft. That’s the secret, I think.

October 2, 2008 at 7:55 pm Leave a comment

Key Lime Chocolate Chip Cookies

Finding myself with two key limes in my fridge and no plan for using them, I decided to combine my love of key limes with a (current and pretty common) craving for oatmeal cookies. Starting with the Oatmeal Raisin Drop Cookie recipe from the 1975 edition of The Joy of Cooking, I came up with these yummy guys. Try them out and let me know what you think.

Note: Key limes are smaller and sweeter than regular limes. I don’t know how this would work with regular limes, although I would suspect not well. Try lemon if you can’t get key limes.

Key Lime Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 2 dozen Cookies

½ cup butter or vegan margarine
¾ cup unrefined sugar
1 egg or 1 Tbsp. ground flax seed + 3 Tbsp. water
½ tsp. vanilla
zest of 2 key limes (about 1 Tbsp.)
juice of 1 key lime (about 2 Tbsp.)
¾ cup flour
1⅓ cup rolled oats
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ cup slivered almonds
heaping ½ cup chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together butter (or margarine), sugar, egg (or flax mixture), vanilla, lime zest and lime juice.
  3. Add flour, oats and salt and mix well.
  4. Fold in baking soda, almonds and chocolate chips.
  5. Grease two cookie sheets and drop batter on, 1 tablespoonfull at a time, spacing cookies at least 1.5″ apart.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.
  7. Cool on a wire rack, and enjoy!

September 6, 2008 at 11:19 pm Leave a comment

Banana Boats

Banana Boats

I was first introduced to banana boats at Sean’s family camp out a few years ago, where his cousin brought them for dessert. We each got a split banana and stuffed it with almonds, chocolate squares and (for some) marshmallows. We wrapped our creations in tin foil, put them in the embers from the extinguished fire and waited 20 minutes for everything to melt. It was delicious! Take the ingredients on your next camping trip, but don’t wait until then to try them. Here is an oven-friendly recipe for your enjoyment. This recipe makes enough for 2, but it’s easy to reduce and multiply as needed.

Banana Boats

2 bananas
1/4 cup chocolate chips or 8 squares dark chocolate
1/4 cup slivered almonds

  1. Preheat the oven to 300F.
  2. Split the bananas lengthwise, being careful not to cut all the way through.
  3. Fill each banana with the desired amount of chocolate and almonds (about 2 Tbsp. of each for each banana).
  4. Wrap the bananas in tin foil and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until chocolate is melted. The skin will brown, but the fruit should remain fairly firm.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool until you can touch the bananas without burning yourself. Eat by scooping the filling out of the banana peel with a spoon.

July 9, 2008 at 8:00 am 1 comment

Vegan Peanut Butter Cups

Vegan Peanut Butter Cups

You know what’s really easy to make? Vegan peanut butter cups!

The only secret is that you must use cupcake liners. I’m usually reluctant to use them when making cupcakes or muffins because they seem wasteful and can usually be replaced with a spray of oil in the pan, but you will never get your peanut butter cups out of the pan in one piece without them. If you are really reluctant to use disposable products, check out silicone cupcake liners (available in most kitchen stores). They work the same as cupcake liners, are oven-safe, and can be re-used over and over again.

Vegan Peanut Butter Cups
Makes 12

5 Tbsp. vegan margarine
1¼ cup vegan dark chocolate chips
¼ – ½ cup peanut butter
¼ cup slivered almonds or 12 peanuts (optional)

  1. Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt 2 Tbsp. of margarine. Add ½ cup chocolate chips and stir constantly until melted. Remove from heat and add approximately 1 Tbsp. of melted mixture to each cupcake liner.
  3. Add approximately 1½ tsp. of peanut butter to each cupcake liner on top of the chocolate mixture.
  4. Put muffin tin in freezer and let set while you do the next steps.
  5. In the same saucepan, melt 3 Tbsp. margarine. Add ¾ cup of chocolate chips and stir constantly until melted.
  6. Take muffin tin out of the freezer. The old chocolate should be hardened by now, but if it isn’t, leave it in the freezer for a few more minutes.
  7. Add about 1½ Tbsp. of melty mixture to the top of the cupcake liners, covering the peanut butter.
  8. Decorate the top of each peanut butter cup with 1 tsp. slivered almonds or 1 peanut (optional).
  9. Put peanut butter cups back in the freezer for 30 minutes or until set. Enjoy!
  10. Store leftovers in the fridge until you want to eat them.

July 5, 2008 at 8:30 am 1 comment

Jam Crepes

My favourite thing about making crepes for dinner is having leftover crepes for breakfast the next day. This recipe is super simple if you do have leftover crepes, and somewhat more time consuming if you don’t. Just in case you fall into the latter camp, I’ve included the recipe for Vegan Breakfast Crepes from The Garden of Vegan by Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard, a book that you should certainly check out if you haven’t already.


Powdered Egg Replacer to equal 2 eggs
1 cup soymilk
1/3 cup water
1 cup flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. vegan margarine or oil

1 cup jam (any flavour)

  1. In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients and blend 20 seconds. Chill batter 30 – 60 minutes.
  2. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup of crepe batter and rotate pan until the crepe batter thinly covers the bottom.
  3. Cook until almost dry on top and lightly browned on the edges. Loosen the sides with a spatula and flip, cooking for an additional 15 seconds.
  4. Cool finished crepes on a plate.
  5. When all the crepes are finished cooking, spread them with jam and roll them up. Cut the rolls into slices (like sushi) and serve.

June 17, 2008 at 9:55 am 2 comments



*All entries tagged "vegan" and "gluten free" meet those dietary requirements to the best of my knowledge as long as the vegan or gluten free instructions are followed (where applicable). It is always wise to double-check ingredients (especially when dealing with packaged foods) and to confirm ingredients and preparation methods at restaurants.