A while back I posted what I claimed was the best vegan brownie recipe ever. Well, I lied. I found a better one. It is a whole lot less complicated. My aunt turned up at a family Christmas party with these vegan treats for my brothers and me, and needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised. I’m not sure where she got the recipe, but she shared it with me, and now I’m sharing it with you. This recipe is easy to modify, for example, you can add chocolate chips, marshmallows, dried fruit, peanut butter swirl, or whatever to it. You could also switch the water out for coffee or espresso to make mocha flavored brownies…the options are endless.
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 c cocoa powder
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 cup water
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Create a well in the middle and add the water, oil and vanilla. Stir until well combined.
Pour into a greased 9x13 baking pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Like most foodies, I have an affinity for Food Network. I know I can’t eat 95% of what they are making, but I really have learned a lot from all of the hours I’ve logged watching it. I think it’s really about watching people who respect food and have a passion for what they do create some really amazing stuff (i.e. Iron Chef). Every time I watch Cupcake Wars I am inspired to whip up a batch of fancy cupcakes. This is partially due to the disappointment I feel after every episode, I feel like I could do it so much better (probably not in reality), and partially due to my love of cupcakes. I decided to share the success of my Cupcake Wars “vintage meets modern” self challenge with you - everyone deserves a slice of this cake.
For the cake:
- 1 (semi-heaping) cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
- 3/4 c sugar
- 1/4 c almond milk
- 1/3 c canola oil
- 1 t vanilla
- zest of one orange
- 1 1/4 c flour
- 1/2 t baking powder
- 1/2 t baking soda
- 1/2 t cinnamon
- 1/4 t ground cloves
- 1/4 t ground nutmeg
- 1/4 t ground ginger
- 1/4 t salt
Whisk the pumpkin, sugar, milk, oil, vanilla and zest together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, “sift” (whisk) together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 2 or 3 batches. Mix batter. Pour 1/4 c of batter into a lined cupcake tin. Bake for 25 minutes.
For the icing:
- 1/2 c margarine (I use Earth Balance)
- 1/2 c vegan cream cheese (I use Tofutti)
- 3 1/2 to 4 c confectioner’s sugar (about 1 small/regular sized bag - ssh don’t tell but I never measure powdered sugar)
- 1 vanilla bean, sliced in half and scraped
Beat the margarine and cream cheese together until well combined. Add the sugar about 1 cup at a time and mix after each addition until just combined. Add the inside of the vanilla bean with the last batch of sugar and beat for about 5 minutes. Cover with a damp towel until ready to frost onto cupcakes.
For the orange peel:
- 1 orange
- 1/4 c water
- 1/4 c sugar
Cut the orange peel into strips using a microplane or a knife. Add to a small saucepan with the water and sugar. Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes so that the consistency becomes syrupy and there is a strong orange aroma.
Pipe or frost the cream cheese frosting onto a cooled cupcake, sprinkle with cinnamon and top with a few pieces of orange peel! Then eat them!
If you’ve read my previous posts you know I love peanut butter. I’m not sure what’s better than peanut butter with bananas, except maybe peanut butter and chocolate. And then there’s bananas and chocolate. Bananas and peanut butter and chocolate. This might be too much to handle.
Chocolate-Banana Brownie Batter:
- 1 1/2 c sugar
- 1 banana, mashed up
- 2 T water
- 1 T flax plus 1/2 c water
- 2 t vanilla extract
- 1 c flour
- 1 c cocoa
- 3/4 t baking powder
- 1/4 t salt
- 1 c chocolate chips (optional, but highly recommended)
Peanut Butter Swirl:
- 2 T peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
- 1 T agave nectar (to reduce sugar increase water to 2T instead)
- 1 T water
Preheat oven to 350F.
Mix the sugar, banana and 2 T water together in a large bowl. Add flax mixture and vanilla.
In a separate bowl mix together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
Pour batter into a greased 9x9 pan.
Stir together all the ingredients for the peanut butter swirl. Drop spoonfuls of the peanut butter mixture onto the brownie batter in random places. Use your spoon or a knife and run it up and down all over the batter. You can create whatever pattern you want.
Bake for 35-40 min. The longer you bake it, the more cakey your brownies will be.
If you want a lower-fat brownie skip the peanut butter swirl. The fat in the brownies comes from the flax, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that our bodies need to obtain from food sources because we can’t convert them on our own. Fish is the most popular source of omega fatty acids, and that’s why flax is such an important ingredient in vegan cooking!
I’m not sure if you’re ready for this one. I am still quite impressed with how good my cake looked and how good my cake tasted. Despite how impressive it is, it’s quite simple and there is really no reason to be impressed at all. It involves a banana cake filled with gooey pineapple filling and fluffy buttercream, topped with dark chocolate ganache, more buttercream, maraschino cherries and roasted peanuts. I guess that does sound impressive. If you have a good chunk of time and are craving a sweet treat, this is your project, whoever you are. It took me about 2 hours total between the cake and all of the accessories plus the cooling and baking time.
- 4 cups flour
- 1 T baking soda
- 1 t salt
- 2 c sugar
- 1/2 c oil
- 8 ripe bananas
- 1/2 c water
- 2 t vanilla
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and line the bottom of two circular cake pans. Sift dry ingredients (flour, baking soda and salt). Set aside. Using an electric mixer, blend the sugar, oil, bananas, water and vanilla. Once combined add the dry ingredients in batches until batter is well incorporated. Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans and bake for 45-50 minutes. The cakes will be a golden brown color and a knife should come out clean when poked into the center. Place on cooling racks and after 30-45 minutes remove the cakes from the pans by inverting them onto cooling racks. At this point it’s okay to speed up the cooling process by placing the cakes in the refrigerator.
- 1 cup canned pineapple chunks (with juice)
- 1/4 c sugar
- 1 T cornstarch
- 1/2 t vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer for about 5 minutes. You will notice the mixture start to thicken. Remove from heat and let cool, it will continue to thicken as it cools. Set aside.
- 1/4 c vegan margarine (I use earth balance sticks)
- 2 1/2 c confectionary sugar
- 2 t nondairy milk
- 1 t vanilla extract
Using an electric mixer, blend the margarine until it is softened and creamy. Add the sugar in 1/2 cup batches. Add the vanilla extract. Add the milk one teaspoon at a time while the mixer is running. Turn up the speeds on the mixer in between additions to incorporate air and allow the mixture to get fluffy. Taste test. Does it need more sugar or more milk? If it needs more sugar it will be too dense and have a very buttery taste. If it needs more milk it will be too thick, only add one more teaspoon. Mix for about 3 to 5 more minutes. Cover with a damp paper towel and leave at room temperature until ready to use.
Dark Chocolate Ganache:
- 1 dark chocolate candy bar (vegan of course)
- 1/4 cup nondairy milk
- 1 T agave
In a small saucepan bring the milk to a boil. This won’t take very long, as you are only boiling 1/4 cup of liquid. Add the chocolate bar - break it into chunks before. Remove from heat and stir until the chocolate is melted. Stir in the agave. Set aside, at room temperature.
Take one cake and put it on a plate. Using a piping bag, or a zip lock bag with a corner cut out, pipe buttercream around the edge. Pour the pineapple filling in between. Place the second cake on top. Pour the chocolate ganache on top. Start in the middle, it should naturally disperse towards the edges, but since the cake doesn’t bake with perfect symmetry you may have to redirect some of it. At this point I placed my cake in the fridge to let the ganache harden a little bit before applying the buttercream on top. After about 10 minutes or so you should be ready to go. Pipe circular bits of buttercream around the edge of the cake, this denotes the serving size, so be thinking about how many slices you want to get out of this cake before this part. I got 10 huge slices, 12 would be more reasonable. Place a cherry on top of each buttercream mound and stick peanuts around the edges of the mound. Now you’re ready to indulge.
- Make one cake (so halve the cake recipe) and cut it in half, that way you get every flavor component into each bite.
- Add a layer of chocolate ganache in between the two cakes, under the pineapple and buttercream filling.
- Sprinkle peanuts all over the top right after pouring the ganache.
- Be creative!
Fluffy, chocolatey, cake-like cookies sandwiched together with a soft, creamy frosting. YUM! Thanks to Shauna for sending me this recipe!
(My phone takes horrible pictures, sorry!)
- 2 c flour
- 1/4 c plus 1 T cocoa
- 1 1/2 t baking soda
- 1 t salt
- 1/4 c vegetable shortening
- 1 c non dairy milk
- 1 c sugar
- 1 1/2 t ener-g egg replacer plus 2 T water (or whatever egg replacer you like best for 1 egg)
- 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt and set aside. Blend together the shortening, milk, sugar, egg replacer and vanilla. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and combine.
Drop 1 T sized scoops of batter onto a lined cookie sheet. I used a tablespoon measuring spoon for this but a small ice cream scoop would work great too, so all your cookies come out the same size. Bake for 8 minutes. Transfer immediately to a wire cooling rack.
- 1/2 c margarine (room temperature works best)
- 1/2 c vegetable shortening
- 1 c sugar
- 1 T flour
- 1 t vanilla
- 1/2 cup warm non dairy milk (microwave 15 s)
Beat all ingredients together until it forms a cohesive cream. At first it will look extremely unappetizing but will quickly come together.
Once the cookies are completely cooled either spoon or squirt the filling onto the bottom of one cookie. Gently place a cookie of similar size on top of it. Voila!