Vegan MoFo Day 10: Earthquake Cake

This cake has been a family favorite ever since I was a little girl and once I became a vegan I made it one of my goals to veganize it. This cake is so loved by family and friends that my mom gets requests for it every time we have a family get together.

Now, this cake is not pretty, but it is not suppose to be. It gets it’s name from the cracked appearance it gets when the topping becomes hard while baking and begins to crack. It is so delicious though, that I don’t think your guests will care that it is not one of the most elegant looking desserts around!

Earthquake Cake

 Cake Ingredients:

2 Cups All-Purpose Flour

½ Cup Cocoa Powder

2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

¾ Teaspoon Sea Salt

1 Cup Sugar

½ Cup Brown Sugar

2 Cups Non-Dairy Milk

½ Cup Canola Oil

1 ½ Teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

Topping Ingredients:

1 8 Ounce Container of Non-Dairy Cream Cheese, Softened

½ Cup Margarine, Softened

3 ½ Cups Powdered Sugar

Bottom Ingredients:

1 Cup Shredded Coconut

1 Cup Chopped Pecans

This is what the top of the cake will look like when you take it out of the oven.

Preheat oven to 350 ͦ F and lightly grease a 9-in x 13-in baking pan. In a small bowl mix together the shredded coconut and chopped pecans. Spread the mixture on the bottom of the pan and set aside.

Using a mixer, beat together the non-dairy cream cheese and margarine until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until the mix is light and fluffy and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt. In a medium bowl, mix together the sugars, non-dairy milk, canola oil and vanilla extract until well combined. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Pour the batter over the coconut and pecan mixture. Using a spatula or spoon, plop the mixture on top of the batter, making sure to plop in several different spots on the batter so the cream cheese mixture is not in one spot.

You’ll want to place the pan on top of a baking sheet because the cream cheese mixture on top of the cake ended up bubbling over and got all over my oven (thank goodness for self-cleaning ovens!). My mom said that she does not time her cakes, but usually knows when her cake is ready because she can smell when it’s done. I on the other hand cannot do that and need to time my cakes so I don’t burn them. It took this cake about 30 to 40 minutes to bake, but honestly I lost track of how many times I had to reset the timer after 30 minutes had been up because I was so perturbed by the cake bubbling over in my oven. I would say to bake the cake for 30 minutes at 350 ͦF and then check it every 3 to 5 minutes after that. Hope you enjoy!

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Vegan MoFo Day 7: Mini Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Wow! I can’t believe that it is the end of the first week of Vegan Month of Food. I am also surprised that I have been able to post something everyday. When I first heard that MoFo was going to be in the month of October this year I kind of panicked because I assumed that it would be held in November again like last year. I didn’t participate last year, but had made it one of my goals for this year. I started this blog this past April and had every intention of adding posts and everything, but I guess everything else going on in my life took up my time. Now that I have been taking the time to add new posts it has made me realize how much I love blogging.

It has been Vegan Mofo that has helped me realize this. I didn’t prepare for Mofo at all, which has been kind of stressful, but it has also made it fun for me! I just love the whole concept behind it and how the vegan community is able to get together to share our love of vegan food to the whole world. I have enjoyed reading everyone else’s blogs and have learned so much and saved so many wonderful looking recipes. MoFo has definitely shown the world that vegan food rocks!

 I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that has stopped by my blog to check it out and for the comments and kind words. I have greatly appreciated it so much! When I signed up I didn’t expect to get any comments on my posts, I just wanted to make sure that I was a part of such a wonderful event, but all of the feedback I have received has completely blown my mind. So I wanted to thank you all so much for taking the time to read my post and leave me feedback.

Now that I have rambled on, I do have a recipe to share. Sticking with the pumpkin theme I have a pumpkin pancake recipe for you. I make pancakes a lot because they are another food staple that my daughter loves and I usually have a few variations of them, but most of the time they contain chocolate chips like the one I am sharing today. I always make mini or silver dollar size pancakes because my daughter likes to grab one and go about her business, so to make it easier for her to hold them in her little hands I make them small.

Mini Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Ingredients:

¾ Cup Non-Dairy Milk

1 Teaspoon Vinegar

¾ Cup All-Purpose Flour

¼ Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

¼ Teaspoon Sea Salt

¾ Teaspoon Cinnamon

1/8 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

¼ to ½ Teaspoon Orange Zest (Optional, but does add a little something, something)

2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

¼ Cup Pumpkin Puree

1 Tablespoon Canola Oil

1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

2 Tablespoons Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (such as Ghiradelli)

In a small bowl combine the non-dairy milk and vinegar, set aside for a few minutes to curdle. In a medium bowl mix together the flours, baking powder, sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and mini chocolate chips.

In the bowl with the non-dairy milk, add in the pumpkin puree, orange zest (if using), brown sugar, canola oil and vanilla extract. Mix ingredients until well combined and then add the mixture to the dry ingredients.

Spray a non-stick pan with cooking spray and place the pan over medium heat. Once the pan is warm, scoop two tablespoons worth of the batter and drop into the pan. The pan I use will have room for four mini pancakes at a time. It usually takes about 3-4 minutes to cook on each side, but that sometimes varies. I will normally flip the pancakes once I see the edges starting to brown a little. Hope you enjoy!

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Vegan MoFo Day 6: Pumpkin Occoles (Popsicles)

The weather here on the East Coast has been pretty unpredictable lately. After having a couple of weeks of rain and chilly temperatures the sun has finally returned and so has the warmth. That got me thinking about making something cold, but would also tie into the Autumn season. How about a Pumpkin Popsicle?  

You are probably thinking, “Hmmm…that is a strange name for a Popsicle”, but in our home this is a word (well not really a word) that we hear often. Besides having an addiction to French fries, our toddler daughter has a major obsession with Popsicles which she has adorably named “Occoles”. I try to make her homemade “Occoles” as much as possible because I don’t like all the preservatives and artificial dyes that the Popsicles at the grocery store are filled with. Also to my dismay I discovered that some Popsicles even contain gelatin! Huh? I think I will just stick to making my own.

Pumpkin Occoles (Popsicles)

Ingredients:

1 Cup Pumpkin Puree

12.3 Ounce Box of Extra-Firm Silken Tofu

¼ Cup Coconut Creamer

½ Cup Brown Sugar or 1/3 Cup Agave Nectar

1 Tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract

1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

¼ Teaspoon Ground Ginger

¼ Teaspoon Ground Cardamom

1/8 Teaspoon Allspice

1/8 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

Pinch Ground Cloves

Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides occasionally. Pour mixture into Popsicle molds and freeze.

Makes 8 “Occoles”.

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Vegan MoFo Day 5: Kabocha Squash Bread

It’s day five of Vegan Month of Food and I am having so much fun participating! Vegan MoFo has motivated me to show my blog some love and come up with different and creative ideas to post. I’ve been having fun taking pictures of my recipes using my sister’s Nikon camera that she has so generously let me borrow and I have another Kabocha Squash recipe today. Did I mention that I am obsessed with Kabocha Squash? I know that I posted a recipe using it yesterday, but I bought a bunch of them a few days ago when I was at the International Market near my house because they were on sale for 99 cents a pound. Can’t go wrong with a price like that!

I have been playing around with the notion of coming up with a recipe for a Kabocha Squash quick bread, but never got around to it until today. I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out, but I am really happy with the end result!

Kabocha Squash Bread

Ingredients:

1 Cup Pureed Kabocha Squash

1 Cup All-Purpose Flour plus 2 Tablespoons

1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

½ Teaspoon Baking Soda

¾ Teaspoon Sea Salt

3 Tablespoons Chopped Crystalized Ginger, Divided

1 Cup Sugar

1/3 Cup Brown Sugar

½ Teaspoon Ground Ginger

1 ½  Teaspoon Cinnamon

1/3 Cup Canola Oil

1/3 Cup Non-Dairy Milk

Preheat oven to 350 ͦF and lightly grease a 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt and 2 tablespoons of the crystalized ginger. In a small bowl, whisk together the kabocha squash puree, sugars, oil, non-dairy milk, ground ginger and cinnamon until well combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk together until just combined. Do not over mix. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and sprinkle remaining tablespoon of crystalized ginger over the top. Bake at 350 ͦF for 40 to 50 minutes.

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Vegan MoFo Day 4: Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup

Ahhhh…Kabocha Squash. I could go on and on about how much I love it and how I could literally eat it everyday! What is there not to love about this sweet and delicious Japanese Pumpkin? Before becoming vegan I had never heard of Kabocha Squash, but after reading the Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone I searched high and low to find this squash. Luckily, the International Market near my house has them in stock all year long so I’m able to make this soup whenever a craving strikes!

 

Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup

Ingredients:

1 Large Kabocha Squash or 2 Small Ones

1 Small Purple or Jersey White Yam or Regular Yam

1 Medium Onion, Diced Small

1 to 1 ½ Tablespoons Minced Ginger Paste* (See Note)

4 Cups Vegetable Broth** (See Note)

½ Teaspoon Sea Salt and extra at the end to taste

1 to 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup or Agave Nectar

½ Cup Original Coconut Creamer or Light Coconut Milk

¼ Cup Cilantro, Chopped

1 Teaspoon Olive Oil

*I sometimes add more if I want it a little spicy.

**The 4 cups really depends on the consistency that you want. 5 cups may be needed for a thinner consistency.

Preheat oven to 425 ͦ F if you have a convection roast setting on your oven or 450 ͦ F for a standard oven. Slice Kabocha Squash in half and remove the seeds. Place the squash cut side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Using a fork, poke holes into the yam and place on the same baking sheet as the squash. Bake the squash and yam for 30 to 40 minutes or until they are tender. While the squash and yam are roasting, heat a small sauté pan over medium-high heat with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Sauté the diced onions until caramelized (it usually takes about 10 minutes). When the squash and yam are done roasting I remove the skin from the squash right away while it is hot because it is easier to remove that way.

In a food processor, puree together the peeled squash, peeled yam, ginger paste, sea salt and ¾ of the caramelized onion, reserving the other ¼ for later. While the food processor is running pour in the vegetable broth and blend until smooth. Transfer the soup mixture to a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the remaining caramelized onion and maple syrup or agave nectar and bring soup mixture to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Once the soup has simmered for 30 minutes, stir in the coconut creamer or light coconut milk, cilantro and taste for salt. Serve immediately.

This soup tends to thicken up when placed in the refrigerator, so a little bit of vegetable broth or water will help thin it out.

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Vegan MoFo Day 3: Vegan Crockpot Butternut Squash Chili

I love Autumn and whenever this time of year rolls around I become excited about the leaves changing color, the cooler temperatures and all the flavors that are associated with the season! I also love that it gives me the opportunity to break out my crockpot. I feel bad for my little crockpot because it is under utilized during the Summer due to our busy traveling schedule, but I definitely make up for it during the Autumn and Winter months. Here in Virginia it seems as though we have skipped Autumn all together and gone straight to Winter, so what better way to beat the chill then with a big, warm bowl of chili. This Vegan Crockpot Butternut Squash Chili is a good way to take advantage of all the squash that is currently in season. Oh and it is also National Chili Month, so let’s celebrate it with this yummy chili!

 

I like my chili on the thick side, but you can add as liquid as you like to get the consistency you want. You might need to adjust the spices if you do that though.

Vegan Crockpot Butternut Squash Chili

Ingredients:

1 Butternut Squash, Peeled, Seeded and Chopped

1 15 Ounce Can of Black Beans, Drained and Rinsed

1 15 Ounce Can of Red Kidney Beans, Drained and Rinsed

1 14.5 Ounce Can of Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, do not drain

1 Cup Frozen Corn Kernels

2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste

¼ Cup Cilantro, Chopped

1 Medium Sweet Onion, Diced Small

1 Red Bell Pepper, Seeded and Diced

3 Garlic Cloves, Minced

1 ½ Tablespoons Chili Powder, or more depending on how hot you like it

2 Teaspoons Cumin

1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika

1 Cup Water or more depending on how thick you like your chili

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Place all ingredients into a crockpot and set temperature to low. Let chili cook for 6 to 8 hours on low or until the butternut squash is tender. I usually stir the chili every once in a while during the cooking process. This recipe freezes really well.

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Vegan MoFo Day Two: Fu Kien Gourmet

 

 

Today is day two of Vegan MoFo and I thought I would talk about one of my favorite Chinese restaurants, Fu Kien Gourmet located here in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

 

I love this restaurant because they have a section on their menu that is solely devoted to vegan mock meats and it is also noted in that section of the menu that these dishes contain no animal products. I love anything that makes my life easier!

 

I am obsessed with their Mock Sesame Chicken! It is so good and my husband and I order from Fu Kien Gourmet literally every weekend, so tonight I had the Mock Sesame Chicken with white rice and a vegetable spring roll.

Here is an inside shot of the deliciousness!

Maybe once I grow tired of the mock sesame chicken I will move onto some of the other items featured in that section of the menu, but I’m not sure if I ever will!

 

 

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Vegan MoFo and a Cake!

Today is the first day of Vegan MoFo (Vegan Month of Food) and I am excited that I can actually participate in it this year! If you aren’t familiar with Vegan MoFo you can read about it here . I started another blog last year around the time that Vegan MoFo was to begin, but ended up not participating due to the work load I had for school. This year I wanted to make sure that I made time to join in all the fun. I also see this as a way to get my new blog up and running and what better way to do that then to talk about one of my favorite things, vegan food!

Over the next month I will be sharing some of my favorite recipes and also some of the cake decorating projects that I will be working on.   My first post is going to be about a cake my sister and I made for a dear friend of ours.

This picture isn’t so great because I took it using my cell phone, but the cake and everything on it is vegan. My sister and I veganized our mom’s red velvet cake recipe and made it blue velvet instead because our friend’s favorite color is blue.  The cake is covered in fondant with fondant accents and vegan white chocolate  sea shells.  It’s not perfect and we are still learning and practicing to become better with our decorating skills, but I do have to say that this is one of my favorite cakes so far! Everyone loved the cake, including the birthday girl, and I love the fact that it shows that vegan cakes can be just as beautiful and delicious as non-vegan cakes!

VEGAN CAKES ROCK!!!

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Welcome to my blog!

Hello and welcome to my blog, The French Fry Conundrum! If you are wondering how I came up with the name, it stems from my toddler daughter’s love of French fries and…well French fries. Besides chocolate soymilk she would only really consume French fries, so I wanted to come up with recipes that she would like and would be willing to eat in place of French fries. Here I will share some of her favorite kid-friendly recipes, but also share my love of baking and cake decorating. Although I do like for me and my family to eat healthy, not all of the recipes I feature here on my blog could be considered healthy because I have a tremendous sweet tooth!  What I can say is that everything featured on this blog will be vegan. Whether it be recipes or food I eat while I’m out and about, everything will be free of any animal products.

I have been a vegan for almost two years now and I want to give a little background as to why I decided to give up animal products. Growing up I never really liked to eat meat and had always toyed with the notion of giving up meat, but felt that it would be abnormal to do so. Everyone tells you that you can’t get enough protein if you do not eat meat or that you will be deficient in nutrients. Fearing that these things were true I kept eating meat, but about 11 years I ago I gave up pork after having to dissect a baby pig in my BIO 101 course. That was the first step towards becoming a vegetarian. Well you are probably wondering why it took me so long to go completely veg. Right before my daughter’s first birthday we were disappointed to discover that she had allergies to dairy, eggs and possibly seafood and peanuts. This put me into panic mode because I could not imagine not having a cake for her during her first birthday party, but not only that these new allergies meant that I had to change my diet as well because I was still nursing her. I decided to do some research about baking a cake without eggs and dairy, but I could not fathom the thought of a cake possibly tasting good without those things in it. Well I ended up using a dairy free cake mix for her cake that did not turn out so well and that got me thinking that cutting out dairy and eggs was going to be a lot harder on me than it would be on her.

Time went on and I was in complete denial about my daughter’s food allergies because she had never had a reaction to anything before, so I fed her anything and everything. I know what you are thinking, “What an irresponsible mother”, but the only reason why we found out that she had these allergies is because I was having her tested for environmental allergies because she seemed to have  colds all the time and I thought it had to do with maybe the pets that were at the home daycare she went to. The allergist decided to test her for everything and that is how we found out. Well one day she was eating some yogurt melts and her mouth broke out in hives and so that led us to another allergist that confirmed what the previous allergist had, minus the seafood and peanut allergies. I then decided to take her food allergies seriously and proceeded to do extensive research into what causes food allergies and how to prepare foods without dairy and eggs. In doing research I was led to many websites including this one, that led me to research going vegan. I gave up dairy and eggs first because I had to and one day  I decided to give up meat as well. From that day on I didn’t look back and I can honestly say that I do not miss eating meat at all.

Being vegan to me was very exciting and I couldn’t wait to veganize all of my favorite recipes and buy cookbooks that would help the transition into being veg easier. The first cookbook I purchased at a Borders down in Tampa, Florida while on vacation was Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and this cookbook literally changed my life! It showed me that cakes could taste delicious and opened my taste buds up to so many different flavors. This cookbook made the transition so much easier. Since buying this cookbook I have filled  my cookbook library with a plethora of different vegan cookbooks and have become some what addicted to purchasing vegan cookbooks!

I would not say that I am an animal activist because I am a vegan, but I do care deeply for animals and that is one of the reasons why I choose not to eat them and also because I think it is healthier not to. This lifestyle has made me think about things more deeply, like how the dairy industry gets dairy cows to produce their milk. I’m not one to force my views onto people, for example my husband is not a vegan or even a vegetarian and has no plans on becoming one, but it is not one of my goals to try and get him to be one. Do I make him eat vegan sometimes? Why yes I do because there are some days that I do not feel like making two separate meals and he is understanding about it, so I do not want people who are not vegan or vegetarian to feel that my blog is meant for only people who are. Maybe you and your family observe Meatless Mondays or you have a child that has food allergies to eggs and dairy and are looking for some recipes that they can enjoy or maybe you are an omnivore who enjoys eating a vegan meal every once in a while, I want everyone to be able to enjoy visitng my blog.

Now that I have talked your eyes off, I wanted to say again welcome and thank you for visiting my blog!

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