Thursday, August 23, 2012

My First Vegan Cake

Whenever I bake, I try to make small modifications to make a "healthier" version. I reduce sugar, I substitute white flour with whole wheat flour, I experiment with non-dairy milk, but never in my life I have gone completely vegan before -- I guess my previous attempts of vegan oatmeal bars wouldn't count since they were not baked and it does not involve any risks to mix oatmeal, raisins and almonds.

The challenge to bake vegan was not only to produce a successful edible piece of pastry without butter, eggs or milk. My real challenge was to get it tasted (and approved) by the thoughest jury known to every young aspiring baker: the grandmother and the grandaunt. 

In my family, these two amazing women has the best culinary capabilities. Staying strong to their Balkan roots, their recipe index can easily beat Julia Child's repertoire. The way they criticize food  would make Gordon Ramsey appear like an innocent child. Okay, fine, I am exaggerating but seriously, they are the masters of kitchen arts. From Cafe de Paris steaks to homemade flavored vodka, there is nothing they cannot cook.
Why did I dare to prove them my baking with a vegan cake I don't know. Did they like it?


And they never say they like it unless they mean it. Having close kinship doesn't matter -- if you don't qualify, you are banned from the kitchen. Here is the recipe, very much modified from : 

4 rmashed bananas
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups of whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 tsp coconut (optional)
2 tsp raisins (optional)
1/3 cup chopped plums
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
2 tbsp olive oil
2  tbsp vinegar

1. Mix the dry ingredients and set aside.
2. With a mixer, beat the mashed bananas and sugar for 5-8  minute slowly until it gets a thick creamy-like texture.  Add in orange juice and  the rest of the dry flour ingredients.
3. Mix in the plums, walnuts and raisins. Mix well, avoiding over beating.
4. Add in  the 2 tbsp olive oil.
5. Add the vinegar right before you are ready to bake.
6. Flour a 8 inch long cake pan.
7. Bake for 55-60 minutes. Whole wheat flour, lack of butter and eggs is the reason of rather long baking time. This is not a quick bake cake. Make sure it is thoroughly baked before you take it out. Test with a toothpick to see if it comes out clean.
8. Let it cool down before you remove your cake from the pan.

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