Vegan, attempt two!

Yep, this is my second attempt at vegan baking and boy did this one turn out well! My last creation, the avocado chocolate cake actually wasn't bad, it was just...strange! So, to rectify that I went out and bought myself a copy of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, stocked up on Pure soy butter, soy milk and got right to it.

I have to admit, I think I prefer these cakes to normal cupcakes. they were so light and moist. They near enough melted on the tongue. Although, not even these cakes were good enough to ever make me give up cheese ;)

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes (from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World)

1 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup caster sugar

1/3 cup veg oil

1tsp vanilla extract

1 cup plain flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4tsp baking soda
1/2tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 175C and line a muffin pan with liners.

Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl and set aside to curdle. Add the sugar, oil, and vanilla to the soy milk mixture and beat until foamy. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and soda. Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat till no large lumps remain.

Pour into liners, filling three quarters of the way. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

1/2 cup of non hydrogenated veg shortening
1/2 cup of non hydrogenated vegan marg (I used Pure)

3 1/2 cups of icing sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup soy milk

Beat the shortening and marg together until well combined and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for a few more minutes. Add the vanilla and soy and beat for 5-7 minutes until fluffy.

Good things

You've all heard the phrase good things come in small packages, right? Well, when it comes to these cakes, it's not wrong! What on earth could possibly make a cupcake cuter? Make it bite sized of course! Mini cupcakes are my new favorite thing to make. Why, n the past 2 days alone I've churned out 60 of the little buggers just to keep my work chums pacified, and you can see why, look how sweet they are.

Awwwwwwwh <3

I used Martha Stewart's trusty one bowl chocolate cake recipe because I'm too lazy to wash up more than one dish! Bake these little babies at 170C for 8 minutes and get ready for a party in your mouth!

And we're off

Oh Sweet Melissa, how I've missed your presence in my kitchen during these cold and snowy weeks. It feels like forever since we last danced, don't ever leave me again. Deal? Deal!

Our first recipe of 2010 is an exciting one, a creative opportunity even. Donna of L'Amour de Tarte chose the chocolate pie crust but the filling was to be left up to us. Decisions decisions. Dozens of combination's flooded my mind, peanut butter, lemon curd, toffee, even a chocolate version of the English classic bakewell tart. The possibilities were endless. Eventually I settled upon one filling, something that marries perfectly with chocolate and one of my very favorite combination's, chocolate, cherry and cream tart.

Like most other Melissa bakers I found the crust quite a disappointment. It was difficult to work with, cracking at every given opportunity and had quite a bland taste despite me subbing the shortening for an all butter version. Oh well, the search for a delicious chocolate crust continues and for now I'll stick to crushed oreos :)

Check out the other SMS girls to see how they decided to fill their pies.

Cheesecake Brownies

This morning, as I lay in the divine state of half sleep I was rudely awoken by a very strange sound, a very strange indeed. I rubbed my eyes and furrowed my brow as this odd screeching continued. Eventually I got out of bed and stumbled dozily towards the window. Little did I know that the sight that would greet me would fill me with such childish glee. A thick blanket of snow enveloped everything in sight apart from the cause of that horrid sound. A poor BT engineer and his van were stranded in the middle of the road and had taken to digging his way out. I felt sorry for him, I really did, that is until I realised that there was no way in hell we could possible get our car out of the drive today. You know what that means....SNOW DAY!! Yep, today the majority of the country celebrated England grinding to a halt with a day of tea, PJs and a good book. Well, at least that's how I celebrated.

Once my book was done boredom started to set in. I realised that this day off wasn't as amazing as I first thought. I was stuck, confined even. Cabin fever can drive a girl to insanity you know. Of course, I decided to stave off the dreaded fever by appeasing one of my resolutions, to bake something new from each of my cook books. Today I chose cheese cake brownies from one of my often read but seldom used books Blissful Brownies.

Cheesecake Brownies:

175g unsalted butter
125g plain flour
200g golden caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3tbsp cocoa powder

Cheesecake Topping:

200g ricotta
50g golden caster sugar
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 180C and grease a 30cm x 18cm brownie pan.

In a medium saucepan melt the butter over a low heat. Once melted stir in the cocoa powder and sugar, combining till smooth.

Add the egg, beating the mixture till fully inc-operated before adding the flour. Stir through until smooth and add to the prepared pan.

To make the cheesecake mixture combine the sugar, cheese and egg and beat until smooth. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture on top of the brownie base. Take a sharp knife and run it through the batter creating a marbled effect.

Put the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 35 minutes. Testing regularly with a cake skewer.

Happy New Year!

Wow, not only a whole new year but a whole new decade. Welcome to the Teenies! (their word, not mine) Better make this one count. As with every January 1st come the resolutions and for once mine isn't to eat healthily. Instead my resolutions are as follows:

1. To complete the 50 book challenge! I probably already do this on a year to year basis but this year I plan to record every book I read in my diary along with every film I see at the cinema. Just to know :)

2. Learn to speak conversational Spanish. No, I don't have any plans to visit Spain this year, I just think it's a lovely language.

3. Save at least £5000 from Pet Lamb and make my little dream come true :)

Totally doable and not at all over ambitious, for once. But I am curious dear reader, what are yours?

Anyway, I decided to start the year as I mean to go on, with lots and lots of yummy food. American blueberry pancakes smothered in maple syrup, the perfect way to ring in the new year!


200g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
300ml milk
knob butter
150g pack blueberries
sunflower oil or a little butter for cooking
golden or maple syrup

Mix together the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Beat the egg with the milk, make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and whisk in the milk to make a thick smooth batter. Beat in the melted butter, and gently stir in half the blueberries.

Heat a teaspoon of oil or small knob of butter in a large non-stick frying pan. Drop a large tablespoonful of the batter per pancake into the pan to make pancakes about 7.5cm across. Make three or four pancakes at a time. Cook for about 3 minutes over a medium heat until small bubbles appear on the surface of each pancake, then turn and cook another 2-3 minutes until golden. Cover with kitchen paper to keep warm while you use up the rest of the batter. Serve with golden syrup and the rest of the blueberries.

Also, the winner of my Hello, Cupcake competition is............... comment number 18!!! Natalie of the lovely, and my newly discovered blog Afternoon Tea Total Congratulations Natalie, I hope you enjoy creating some adorably cute cupcakes!

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