hello everyone, i am taking a little break from baking at the moment and have just begun a travel adventure.  i am currently in australia at the moment typing on my friends laptop in her house in brisbane.  it is quite hot and muggy and has been surprisingly sunny today considering all the rain it has had and will have and the terrible flooding that’s going on.  but thankfully their house is doing ok and we will be peacing out of brisbane shortly as we fly over to cambodia this weekend.

it has been quite a start though, from a 14 hour plain ride with sheriuosly a ton of children under 5 crying m-o-mm-y over and over and over again.  and it was almost as if these children were like dogs; if one dog on the block starts barking they all do…and it gets louder.  but on a happier note, in my teeny tiny qantas seat, i had a great selection of movies that i could watch at my own leisure.  toy story 3 was sooo good, i was pathetically balling at the end.  and after watching toy story 3, i now get how things like ones socks, hair brushes, books and of coursely toys disappear and then randomly reappear back where they should be!


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Apple Spice Cake with Buttercream Frosting and Apple Butter



3 cups flour
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
¾ cup canola oil
¼ cup smooth cashew butter
½ cup vegan sour cream
½ cup
warm water
3 cups peeled and chopped granny smith apples


½ cup nonhydrogenated shortening
½ cup Earth Balance, softened
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
¼ cup rice milk or soy milk

1 cup good-quality apple butter


Preheat oven at 350F
Grease and flour 2 9inch baking pans


Sift the flour, soda, salt, and cinnamon together in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Mix both sugars and oil together on low speed.  Add the cashew butter, sour cream, and warm water and mix until thoroughly combined.  Stir in the apples.  Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the apple mixture.  Divide the mix between the two prepared cake pans.

Bake at 350F for about 30-35 minutes.  The cake should spring back and be toothpick worthy.

Let cool in pan for about one hour and then invert the cakes onto a cooling rack.

Beat the shortening and Earth Balance together until they are well combined.  Add the sugar and beat for about two minutes.  Add the milk and beat for another 5-6 minutes, until fluffy.

Too Assemble the Cake

Place the flat side up of one cake on a large plate.  Spread one cup of buttercream on the cake.  Spread one cup of apple butter on the non-flat side of the other piece of cake.  Gently place the buttercream and apple butter spreads together so the final cake has the flat side up.  Spread a thin layer on the top.  Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, so the frosting firms a bit.  Then add on more cup of buttercream on the top of the cake and use the rest of the cream to spread around the cake with a frosting spatula.  Serve immediately or can be refrigerated for a few days.

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FYI this story took place on 3/3/10

it’s 10:48pm and my legs are very tired.  i woke up at 6:45 am this morning to go to my favorite (non vegan…yet!?) restaurant in Santa Monica that i intern at on Wednesdays.  it’s super fun, especially since i got to practice filling éclairs with coffee pastry cream and glaze them in a perfect blend of espresso, powdered sugar, and a touch of heavy cream.  following that, i measured out the ingredients for the coconut macaroons (not the cute French ones though).  the next task was putting together mini chocolate and fruit tarts, scooping cream into the tarts, smoothing the cream, and adding whipped cream or fresh fruit, from the farmers market of course!  but the berries were pricey today and i felt bad for sneaking a raspberry in my mouth before i knew that they were so pricey this week but at least i now know that the berries were ready to go!  my favorite part of this task was going outside on the beautiful sunny day that it was and picking little purple/yellow and lavender/white flowers from the restaurants little garden, adjacent to the parking lot.  i felt like a little kid as i held the teeny tiny flowers in between the cusps of my hands as if I were carrying butterflies into first grade for show and tell.  then i moved on to putting together an amazing trifle.  Yummmmm.  (ok, fine I understand why the Y in yummy was automatically capitalized ‘cuz it deserves it but i don’t want all the sentence beginning letters and eyes friggin’ capitalized, sheeshh!!)  anyways, i got a fresh cinnamon brioche from the cooks and stripped away all the crust.  as a side note, i took home some of the scraps and my mom gobbled it down, it’s too hard to throw away tasteful scraps.  so then i sliced the brioche and painted it with maple syrup.  i then sliced up all the bananas, gave them a toss in brown sugar (only because they were on the border line of firm verses ripe) and then began the assemblage.  brioche, pastry cream (with itsy bitsy black dots of real vanilla bean that had been scraped from the pod), lots of na-na banananananananananas and finally a zig-zag drizzle of caramel on top.  i shall be working on the vegan version this weekend!*  i already made my second attempt on a great caramel and  i think this one might be pretty darn good.  it was nice to watch American Idol with Ellen and all while i was waiting for my sugar/water mixture to boil and turn to a nice amber color.  some of the girls this season seem to have some real potential.  once the caramel looked amber in color, i took it off the stove and added the heated cream mixture and it was awesome to see and hear the bubbles it made☺  after that, i let the caramel cool.  during that 10 minutes of cooling, i couldn’t decide if i should top the caramel off with either earth balance or the new coconut oil that i got that has no coconut odor.  i went on a whim and tried the new coconut oil (omega nutrition 100% organic coconut oil, i had to order it online) so we will see how it works.

in the mean time, i dreadfully did some of the dishes and then began working on my apple cake again.  i have made this a lot but i just want to perfect it before i share it with, well, my few but highly valued and appreciated readers.  i will add this soon.  but as i was doing the second round of dishes and the cakes were in the oven, i  was watching Seinfeld.  it’s so funny to see the episodes now because most of Jerry’s short-lived “girlfriends” were at the time nobodies and are now somebodies.  like tonight Jerry was seeing the Olsen’s twin’s uncle’s wife on full house!  it’s great to watch tv and bake!

*so unfortunately this vegan first attempt was not amazing.  i think it was because the vegan cinnamon swirl bread was not fresh or soft enough to really soak up the pudding and all.  but i will definitely try again.  also, as much as this sounds heavenly i might still pref the basic strawberry, pudding and pound cake trifle after all!

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hello everyone, i know i should have posted this before my trip, but i suppose it’s better late than never, right?  so i have been taking a little baking break and well, a life break, by hanging out in Costa Rica.  it was u-MAZING!  i have fallen in love with a new little beach town called Jaco.  warm days, warm water, chilled people from all over and amazing waves.  i never new i would love surfing so much.  i can’t believe that i have lived in LA my whole life and never began learning how to surf until i went on a trip to Jaco.  but, i am sure happy i finally learned how.  i am even considering moving down there for a bit and just surf.  plus believe it or not, Jaco is quite civilized, they even have soymilk and tofu at the store mas o menos!  and, they have fresh, inexpensive coconuts, which is what i use in my macaroons (i think i haven’t posted that recipe yet, i will try to get on that soon!).  so yeah, that’s where i have been, hanging out in the ocean…until my next dessert happy belated Passover and Easter! (i hope everyone found the matzoh and eggs, respectively:)

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Ranger Cookies

another oldie but a goodie from Auntie Harriet:)

1 ½ cups flour, sifted
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar (preferable dark brown sugar)
¼ cup smooth cashew butter
½ cup plus 2 TBSP soy milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups of flakes, slightly crushed by hand (whatever are your favorites such as corn flakes, kamut flakes, spelt flakes, etc!)
½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 350 F
Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper

Sift the flour into a small bowl.  Add the powder, salt and soda and whisk together.  Set aside.

In a large bowl blend the oil and sugars together on low speed.  When smooth, add the cashew butter, soymilk, and vanilla and blend until thoroughly combined.  Then add in the flour mixture and again mix on low speed until thoroughly combined.  Then mix in the oats, flakes and coconut and mix until just combined.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheets, 2 inches apart.  (Using a cookie dough scooper really helps!)  Bake for about 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let sit on sheets for 1-2 minutes.  Then remove cookies and let cool on racks.

Yields about 4 ½ dozen
Can be kept longer air tight in the freezer


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thanx-friggin’-givin’ (part 2)


Pecan Tart and Pumpkin Pie

yum yumyumyum yum:)

i never knew a pecan tart could be so good.  the sugar-coated pecans bubble and ooze out over the pie while it’s  baking in the oven, hence the call for the foiled baking sheet!  the caramelization leaves one with a sweet and crunchy crust.  the blend of different sweeteners helps to make this tart have an especially special sweet taste without being too sugary.*  basically, there is not much more to say about this tart except MAKE IT and EAT IT!

also, if you are craving for a classic goody, try the pumpkin pie.  it is smooth and flavorful, with a flaky sweet crust.  plus, you only have to make 1 crust recipe for both desserts, and, they can both be made 1 day in advance.  how brilliant, when you have a slew of stuff to do on thanksgiving.

*if one does not do honey, just double the maple syrup.

Pecan and Pumpkin Crust
Pie Crust
Makes 2 (one for each)
2 ¼ cups AP Flour
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable shortening, chilled and chopped*
2/3 cup earth balance, chilled and chopped
¼ (or more) ice water



Combine first three ingredients in food processor.  Pulse until mixed.  Add shortening and earth balance; pulse until mixture is crumbly.  Add ¼ cup ice water and pulse dough until it can gather, adding more ice water by tablespoons if dough is dry.  Gather dough together,  For two 12-inch round crusts, divide the dough in half; flatten each into disks.  Roll out one dough disk on floured surface in between parchment paper to 12-inch round.  DO AHEAD  Can be made 2 weeks ahead.  Wrap each crust in plastic, then foil, and freeze.  Thaw in refrigerator overnight before using, and then let it sit at room temperature about 15-30 minutes before rolling.

*measure the shortening while it is soft at room temperature, then chill it in the refrigerator overnight.  for a quick chill, place the measured shortening in the freezer for about 35 minutes.

Pecan Tart


1 12-inch round Pie Crust
1 ½ TBSP Fleg (see TAT)
½ TBSP soymilk
3 TBSP arrowroot
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
¼ cup agave nectar
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup honey
3 TBSP earth balance, melted
2 TBSP bourbon or rum
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
½ orange zest
2 cups pecan halves or pieces


“butter” a 9 inch tart pan with removable bottom, both bottom and sides.  line the bottom (a circle) with parchment paper.  “butter” again.

Foil a regular sized baking sheet with tin foil.

Place crust in 9 inch tart pan with removable bottom; press crust into pan.  Trim overhang.  Chill crust in refrigerator  30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Place a piece of foil or parchment paper over crust and fill chilled crust with dried beans.  Bake until crust is set and pale golden, about 30 minutes.  Remove foil or parchment and beans.  Bake crust until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, using electric mixer, beat fleg, soymilk and sugar in medium bowl.  Beat in arrowroot, agave, maple, and honey.  Add earth balance, alcohol, vanilla, salt and orange zest.  Beat until blended.  Stir in pecans.

Pour filling into hot crust.  Place tart on a foiled baking sheet.  Bake for about 35 minutes.  It should be bubbling and beginning to overflow.  It will not be completely set yet.  Cool tart on cookie sheet on a rack for 30-60 minutes.  Remove pan sides (be careful, it’s hot).  Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.  DO AHEAD Can be made 8 hours ahead. Rewarm slightly before serving, if desired.

Pumpkin Pie


see above

1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
4 oz mori-nu silken firm tofu
¾  tsp salt
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground pepper
2 TBSP rum
1 ¼ cups canned pure pumpkin (libby’s is the best!)
¾ cups vegan heavy cream (soyatoo! soy whip, whippable soy topping)*
*Sometimes, this can be hard to find (see TAT).
Preheat oven to 350 F
“butter” 9-inch glass pie dish

Transfer rolled out dough to “buttered” pie dish.  Fold edges under and crimp decoratively.  Freeze crust 20 minutes.

Line crust with parchment paper and  fill with dried beans or pie weights.  Bake until crust is set, about 20 minutes.  Gently remove paper and beans.  Return crust to oven and bake until partially cooked and golden brown around edges, about 10-15 minutes.  Cool crust on rack.  Maintain oven temperature.

Beat the brown sugar and tofu together until thoroughly combined, about 1-2 minutes.  Add the salt and spices and whisk until combined.  Add rum, pumpkin, and cream and whisk until well blended and smooth.

Pour filling into crust.  Bake pie on a baking sheet until filling is set and has a thin cooked layer on top, covering crust with foil collar if browning too quickly, about 60-70 minutes.  Can be made one day ahead.  Tent with foil and chill.  Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.


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