Posts filed under ‘Recipes’

4 Experiments with Veganizing Boxed Cake Mixes

Here are three of the four cakes. The 4th cake is IN the trash. It was awful. Read the post to see which one was the worst tasting experiment.

Have you cooked a vegan cake before? If not, is it because it seems too difficult? Or that you need too many ingredients you are not familiar with?

Gillian and I are part of a group that bakes birthday cakes for at risk and foster kiddos. Our demographic is asked to provide a lot of vegan cakes. So we decided to see how to veganize boxed cake mixes with only one “alternative” ingredient per recipe.

We experimented with two boxed cake mixes (a chocolate and a vanilla). In the end, would the changes we made add up to a tasty cake?

This brand is sold at Bel Air. It might be sold other places, too. It was on sale for about $5 a box.

First, we divided each box mix into halves. That way we could run two experiments on each box mix.

VANILLA CAKE MIX. It requires egg, butter, and milk. We made the following changes.

Experiment 1 – Use half box of vanilla cake dry mix

  • Egg – replaced by ¼ cup of applesauce
  • Butter – replaced by 2 Tbsp Melt (a vegan butter substitute)
  • Milk – replaced by ¼ cup almond milk
  • Added ¼ tsp baking powder
  • Put clip on this pan so we knew which recipe is which

Experiment 2 – Use half box of vanilla cake dry mix

  • Egg – replaced by ¼ cup of applesauce
  • Butter – replaced by 2 Tbsp oil
  • Milk – replaced by ¼ cup almond milk

We put each of these into a parchment-lined, 8-inch pan. Be sure to use vegan spread or vegan baking spray to coat the pans. We cooked the cakes for about 25 minutes.

Taste Results. Neither cake was exceptionally good nor did they rise. They were dense, sticky and overly sweet.

However, the one made with the oil (instead of Melt) was noticeably better tasting, although still not great. It appears the baking powder did not make a difference as both rose the same. Gillian and I decided we would not make either cake again. We considered both tweeks to be a FAIL.

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CHOCOLATE CAKE MIX. It requires egg, oil, and water. We made the following changes.

Experiment 3 – half box of chocolate cake dry mix

  • Egg – replaced by ½ cup of applesauce
  • Oil – stayed with 1/3 cup oil
  • Water – stayed with 1/3 cup lukewarm water
  • Added ¼ tsp baking powder
  • Put clip on this pan so we knew which recipe is which.

Experiment 4 – half box of chocolate cake dry mix

  • Egg – replaced by ½ cup of applesauce
  • Oil – stayed with 1/3 cup oil
  • Water – replaced by 1/3 Cup almond milk

We put each of these into a parchment-lined, 8-inch pan. Be sure to use vegan spread or vegan baking spray to coat the pans.. We cooked the cakes for about 25 minutes.

Taste Results. Both cakes rose well, were moist, had a good crumb, and were tasty. We would make either one again. It appears the baking powder did not make a difference as both rose the same.

ADDITIONAL NOTES

We used unsweetened applesauce. The cake didn’t take on the flavour of the apples.

Replacing eggs. Sources say to use ¼ cup of applesauce for each egg. So we made a “mistake” by doubling the amount for the chocolate cake recipes. However, the end result was a tasty cake. Perhaps the vanilla cake would have turned out better had we used 1/2 cup for each experiment.

Applesauce tip. We don’t normally eat applesauce in our home. So I bought a four pack of individuals serving applesauce. Each individual serving is ½ cup. It is easy to keep this on hand to make up a vegan cake.

Baking powder. Sources say to add 1/4 tsp for each one egg replacement. We won’t do this again as it didn’t seem to make any difference at all in how the cakes rose.

Cake mix brand. We used an organic cake mix called Organics. If you do these same experiments with a different brand, let us know your results.

8″ versus 9″ rounds. Each box mix made up two 8” round cakes. If you want to make 9” round cakes, we suggest you use two boxes. One box per pan.

You got this. The next time you have to make a vegan cake, grab a box of chocolate Organics cake mix, oil and some applesauce. If you don’t have a dairy-free milk, use water. It won’t affect the taste.

Your Turn . . . Try this experiment and report back. . . . What additional tips do you have to veganize a boxed cake mix?

Related Posts . . . 

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Cake Baking Resolutions 2019

This is one of my practice cakes when I was working on ruffles.

In 2018 I became a part of Cake4Kids. It is a non-profit organization that bakes birthday cakes for at risk kiddos. Baking cakes is something I am comfortable with. My children are now in their mid-thirties and so I’ve made a lot of birthday cakes. I thought baking for Cake4Kids would be easy.

Turns out, it is harder than I expected.

  1. I am worried about how my cake will look. I want the recipient to be pleased with the cake and I am not sure they will be.
  2. A lot of the requests have been for vegan cakes. I am not a vegan cake baker. So I have been worried about how the cake will taste.

Benjamin Franklin has an idea I can follow, though.

He said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

I can plan and act my way into not being so intimidated by the look and taste of vegan and non-vegan cakes.

I won’t fail in my baking attempts in 2019, instead, I’ll make baking resolutions. I signed up for an online school, Bluprint. I’ve gone through their course list. I have four things I want to try over the next three months.

  • Two decorating ideas. Sprinkle cake and a Rosette cake. These look fancy and yet I think they will be easy techniques to master. I will use a box mix when I make these practice cakes since a box mix is so inexpensive. And I have a couple of places these cakes will be delivered to so that all this cake is not at my home.
  • Two vegan cakes. Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes and Cinnamon Swirl Cake. The idea of baking a vegan cake has been intimidating. So when I saw that Bluprint has 5 vegan cake recipes, I was thrilled. I have a couple of vegan friends who will gladly be my taste-testers.

I will make all of the above until I become an expert or ditch the recipe because it failed to deliver. Or I failed to master them. Then I will pick two more decorating techniques and two more vegan cakes to try.

Related Posts . . . Kindness is Baking a Birthday Cake for Someone You Don’t Know

Your Turn . . . Please share your baking resolutions for 2019. , , , Also share any tips you have for me.

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Apple Pumpkin Dump Cake (gluten free)

After you’ve tried all the pumpkin recipes, try this gratitude pumpkin next.

This year I brought a new dish to the Thanksgiving dessert table: Apple Pumpkin Dump Cake. I made it for the first time in October for a Senior luncheon. I made a few changes since then and now there is a fave holiday dessert at my home.

Ingredients for the Apple Layer

  • Spray cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or butter) to cook the apples
  • 5 medium sized Granny Smith Apples or McIntosh apples – peeled, cored, and sliced (5 cups) – I used a combination of both
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar – You can add more sugar as I don’t like my apples overly sweet
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon

NOTE:  — Or use 2 (21-ounce) cans of apple pie filling and delete all the above ingredients except for the spray cooking oil.

Ingredients for the Pumpkin Layer

  • 1-15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup whole milk – can use heavy cream
  • 3 large eggs or 4 medium eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

Ingredients for Topping

  • 1 box gluten-free yellow cake mix – you can obviously use a regular cake mix
  • 1 FULL cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter

DIRECTIONS . . .

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray a 9”x13” pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or butter) in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Add apples, sugar, and cinnamon and stir to combine. Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until apples are semi-translucent. Spread into the bottom of the prepared 9”x13” pan.
  3. Whisk pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, whole milk, eggs, and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl. Pour on top of the apple layer.
  4. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over the top of the pumpkin and apples.
  5. Top with pecans.
  6. Melt 1 cup butter and pour evenly over the top of the entire pan.
  7. Bake for 45-65 minutes until the center is set and it is golden brown around the edges.
  8. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Your Turn . . . Did you try a new dessert this Thanksgiving? Or do you only have the tried and loved recipes? . . . Have you had dump cake before? What is your fave flavour combination?

Related Posts . . . 

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How I Soothe My INFLAMED Sinuses

Looks like it is time to make more solution. I make 24 ounces at a time.

How do you deal with the constant nasal drip and sinus pressure/infections that come with year round hay fever and allergies?

  • Antihistamines?
  • Nasal sprays?
  • Face massage?
  • Inhaling steam?

I am one such sufferer whether I live in CA or CO. I have tried the options above and others. But the one thing that is most helpful and has no harmful side effects (other than using a LOT of tissues to handle all the dislodged mucus) is nasal irrigation.

There are several instruments to choose from to squirt solution into your nasal passages.

I have tried them all. And I am currently using the last one. I like that there is a plunger that forces the liquid out of the tube and into the nasal passages.

The Original Recipe for the Nasal Solution                                    

  • 16 oz distilled water
  • 2 salt packets 
  • You can make your own solution by using baking soda and salt. I am currently using the packets and like the ease they provide.

I now add the following to my solution.

These additions can sting and are not for everyone.

Keep the solution in the fridge with the plunger.  You should always have about an inch or so of solution in the plunger so the rubber part doesn’t dry out.

Squirting this chilled liquid into the nasal passages is uncomfortable. But it sure makes my inflamed passages feel so much better afterwards.

I rinse my sinuses at least once a day right now. In addition to all the pollen that is in the air, there is also a lot of smoke.

NOTE 1: This is not meant to be medical advice. I am sharing what works for me. Also I am not compensated for any products I linked to on Amazon. I am linking so you can see what I use. There are of course many other options.
NOTE 2: Oregano can cause reactions in people allergic to Lamiaceae family plants, including basil, hyssop, lavender, marjoram, mint, and sage. Since I am allergic to some plants and herbs, I take this warning seriously.

I am linking this to ABC Wednesday.  The ABC Wednesday Facebook Group is here. Today’s letter is “I.”

Your Turn . . . Have you tried nasal irrigation before? Do you have any tips?

Related Posts . . . 

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Table Top S’mores for National Toasted Marshmallow Day

I hope you celebrate this day in as fun a fashion as we did.

Today is National Toasted Marshmallow Day. Hurray! Or it would be hurray, if I could celebrate it in style. How do you celebrate in style?

You celebrate in style by making s’mores. This is an easy thing to do IF you have a BBQ. I don’t. But I do have Pinterest and it comes with lots of ideas.

And one idea was a how to on making s’mores over a clay pot BBQ. That’s the ticket! And happy for me, making s’mores is on my End-of the-Summer Bucket List!

A short shopping trip ensued to buy the BBQ supplies and to personalize our s’mores as my daughter is gluten intolerant.

Step 1. Take the sticky label off the bottom of your clay pot & saucer.

Cookie Ingredients

  • Marshmallows – You can find dairy-free ones (we don’t have to anymore!)
  • Lindt Excellence Chocolate, A Touch of Sea Salt Dark Chocolate bar

I bought all these items at WalMart.

If you have your own BBQ, stop reading! Get to making your s’mores. However, if you need some way to make your s’mores, read on for the supply list and picture tutorial.

 

Step 2. Foil line the pot.  Poke a hole in the bottom so there is air flow.

BBQ Supplies

  • One 4″ clay pot and saucer per person – The pot was $0.77 and the saucer was $0.73.
  • Briquettes – Some brands have gluten, so check your bag if this is a concern.
  • Tinfoil
  • Firelighter
  • Bricks to put on TV tray

My daughter cooked her marshmallows with her clay pot BBQ on the ground (in our patio). I wanted more comfort so I cooked my marshmallows on a brick-lined TV tray.

PICTURE TUTORIAL — STEPS 1-2 ARE ABOVE. — STEPS 3-7 ARE BELOW.

Step 3. Fill the pot with briquettes. After I took this photo, I took out some of the briquettes. I put this many in to be dramatic.

Step 4. Light it up! Our BBQ’s had plenty of good flames for roasting right away. After about 5 minutes all the coals were nice and toasty.

Step 5. Assemble all the supplies. NOTE: We used a wooden skewer. Obviously this can be a fire hazard, so copy this idea at your own risk.

Step 6. Here I am roasting TWO marshmallows even though only one will fit on the cracker sandwich. The 2nd one is for eating right off the skewer!

Step 6b. Yes, they are alight! I like my marshmallows charred. How about you?

Step 7. Assemble your s’more. Isn’t this a thing of beauty?!

Another photo of a marshmallow on fire! One s’more and a couple of charred marshmallows made for a perfect dessert.

Your Turn . . .  Did you know that today (August 3oth) is National Toasted Marshmallow Day? How will you celebrate it? … Will you make your own tabletop s’mores? Let me know, if you have some suggestions. … Toast your own marshmallows and post on social media at #NationalToastedMarshmallowDay.

Related Posts . . . 

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How to Make Chocolate EXTRACT in Your Kitchen

Mix together 1/2 cup crushed raw cacao nibs and 1 cup of vodka … Store this embryonic extract in a dark cabinet. Be sure to shake every once in a while.

I am “brewing” chocolate extract. Oh, yes, I am. At the end of September 2017, this extract will be 3 months old and ready for tasting. Some sources say, the extract might need to sit (Soak? Marinate? Steep? What is the correct word?) for 6-12 months in total.

Here is the link to the recipe I used.

Your Turn . . .  Have you ever made any extracts? How did they compare to the ones from the grocery store?  . . . If you’ve had chocolate extract before, how did you use it. This will be my first time tasting/using chocolate extract.

How will I use my chocolate extract?

  • For every day recipes like smoothies and Chocolate Orange Chia Pudding (quite delish as a breakfast)
  • For special occasion recipes like UPSIDE DOWN German Chocolate Cake. If you haven’t tried this recipe yet, you have NOT been good to yourself.
  • And I want to change-up this recipe, Strawberry Chia Seed Jam – No Cook!, by using raspberries for the fruit and adding chocolate extract along with some bittersweet chocolate. I don’t know if using this no cook method will turn the ingredients into jam, but I am willing to risk it.

This is what the extract looks like after 1 month. On September 27th, I will compare/taste all three batches.

I put a note on my calendar to shake this concoction at 1 month and 2 months. At three months I will taste and see if it is “done.” One blogger said it could take up to a year to age just right.

In June I met someone who made extracts as part of her job. She said they ground up the cacao beans. Then they let the beans and alcohol “soak” for a week or two. I will make a batch on September 10th and 17th. Then I will compare all three batches on this day, September 24, 2017.

I will let you know what I learn. And if you make some, tell me what you learn.

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Strawberry Chia Seed Jam – No Cook!

Since there are so few strawberries in this recipe, next time I will try using a masher.

Strawberries are in season and my taste buds are quite happy! I like strawberries in salad, smoothies, cereal, yogurt, and as a snack. Although I like it, I don’t eat much jam because the sugar content is too high. “Jam recipes mostly comprise equal weights of fruit and sugar.”

But a couple of years ago I found this recipe for Berry Chia Seed Jam.  This recipe has only 1 Tablespoon of sweetener per cup of berries. I finally made it this morning. Since it was a no cook recipe, it made up in minutes.

I put the following ingredients in a blender

  • 2 cups washed, hulled and sliced RIPE strawberries
  • 2 Tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons filtered water
  • 2 Tablespoons raw honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

I blended it a few times until I slightly mashed the berries. Then I put everything into a pint jar. After 20 minutes or so in the fridge, I will taste to see how the texture is by trying it on a pumpkin pancake.

Next time I make this I will try using Xyla. This is even a more diabetic friendly choice for me.

Your Turn . . . How do you like to use strawberries? . . . Have you made a no cook jam before? If yes, what is your favourite recipe?

Related Posts . . . 

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