Jammy-Broken Heart Cake

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So, this recipe has been in the making for months, meaning I’ve been making it for months. That said, I might have lost that last stubborn baby-five but for this cake. I might also have gotten more sleep. But I WOULD NOT have been happier. You see, there is something wonderful about this unparalleled deliciousness (unless you royally mess it up like I did once, but I blame adding cocoa powder – requested by the birthday girl but NOT GOOD, and substituting frozen strawberries when I found my JUST BOUGHT strawberries were moldy).

jammy broken heart cake 2So, let me tell you about this cake. It started long ago before I “made the change”. It had eggs and sour cream and butter and all of that white flour yumminess, so of course it was tasty. I put blueberries and peaches in the middle one time and almost attacked my husband when he asked for some. And then the recipe got shoved to the bottom of the pile because I wasn’t ready to figure the veganizing of this one out.

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Well, I finally did it. And every time I’ve used strawberries because it’s Spring and they get all jammy and yummy. In the past I’ve read about things that tasted jammy, and they didn’t sound good. I don’t really like most jam. But this is different and unparalleled gooey, sweet, strawberryey jamminess. Just believe me, you want some.

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Because I’ve tried it many different ways, I’ll include all of the workable options with the best ones first. I’ll even put in the non-vegan ingredients for you omnis, because really, butter just tastes better than the substitutes. They are, after all, “substitutes”. (Apparently my palate is still detoxing and may be for the rest of my life.)

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A quick note on fats: Butter, Vegan Butter/Earth Balance/margarine, coconut oil, and coconut butter are all tasty options, but they obviously each have a different outcome. I would stick first with homemade vegan butter, then coconut oil/Earth Balance, then coconut butter. Coconut butter makes a  more dense cake – still delicious, but mixed halfsies with coconut oil, it could be good and cheaper than the subs.

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Oh yeah, and it’s a broken heart cake because for the life of me, I cannot manage to get it out of the pan without at least a little break, and sometimes it’s a big one. But when using 100% whole grain, that’s not a bad thing (except when I eat all of the broken parts…) and pretty remarkable that it stays together as well as it does.

Jammy Broken Heart Cake

Ingredients:
1 c. granulated sugar
¾ c. homemade vegan butter, coconut oil, coconut butter, butter
1 c. vegan sour cream or sour cream
3 egg equivalent substitute: 1 ½ T. Ener-G + 6 T warm water; 3 T ground flax seed + 6 T warm water
2 ½ c. flour: 1 ½ c Kamut + 1 c. whole wheat (pastry); options: sub ½ c. oat flour, all gluten free flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
½ t. salt
½ c. chopped walnuts
1 t. vanilla extract
2-3 c. chopped fresh fruit: strawberries, blueberries, peaches, black/raspberries – any combo is YUMMY
1 T. ground cinnamon
¼ c. granulated sugar

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Lightly grease one bundt pan, but DO NOT flour it. (I tried and it does bad things.)
2.  Cream together 1 c sugar with “butter”. Add sour cream and eggs and beat well until light. Add flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, mixing until combined. Stir in vanilla and walnuts.
3.  Combine remaining ¼ cup of sugar with cinnamon.
4.  Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Add fruit and sprinkle generously with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Cover with remaining cake batter.
5.  Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 8 minutes. Lower heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake for an additional 40 minutes.

Blueberry Peach Tart Crumble Thingy – Tasty Tuesday Series

It’s still Tasty Tuesday and I have peaches and blueberries overflowing my kitchen (lucky me!) I couldn’t decide whether to make a tart or a crumble, so I made a tart crumble, like how I’m indecisive like that today?

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Blueberry Peach Tart Crumble

1 C. Whole wheat pastry flour OR for gluten free option 1 C. certified gluten free rolled oats

1/3 C. Cashews

10 pitted dates

1 t. vanilla

1/3 C. raw sugar

1/4 C. earth balance or coconut oil

1 t. kosher salt

1 t. cinnamon

2 T. almond milk

7 small sliced peaches (skins on)

1 1/2 C. blueberries

1/2 C. dried shaved coconut

Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, cashews, dates, vanilla, raw sugar, earth balance, salt and cinnamon in a food processor. Process until fine and crumbly. Add almond milk, and pulse briefly until mixture resembles a crumble. Press 2/3 of mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch spring-form pan, mixture will be a bit dry, but the juices from the fruit will moisten it while baking. Top with sliced peaches as shown in above photos, reserving 1 for decoration of very top. Place blueberries over the peaches. Put remaining crumble over the fruit and sprinkle with shaved coconut. Arrange pieces of the remaining peach on top. Bake for 30-35 minutes until fragrant and crumble is golden. I served mine with a dollop of homemade soy yogurt (post to come) but if you are too excited to wait for that, check out this almond/cashew yogurt post here.

200 pie crusts, more or less

Jen here!  First, a quick lesson …

Essential Gear

12. Patience

It’s a quality and not a thing, but it’s essential so we’ll include it here.  Forget perfection on the first try.  In the face of frustration, your best tool is a few deep breaths, and remembering that you can do anything once you’ve practiced two hundred times.  Seriously.

That essential wisdom is found on page 1 of The Daring Book for Girls by Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz.  This is the companion book to The Dangerous Book for Boys.  We have both books (the Girls book is mine, and the Boys book is my husband’s – the kids do get to read them, though).  I think they’re wonderful.  Great read-alouds at bedtime.  All sorts of interesting things can happen upon reading them, such as spontaneous karate demonstrations, pajamas and all.

I have a goal.  I want to make pie crust, easily and flawlessly.  I don’t have much experience with pie crusts.  I don’t even generally care for fruit pies.  But, I am learning to can fruits and preserves this year, and realize the value of variety.  Also, you can do a lot of things with pie crusts:  fruit pies, custard pies, cream pies (I realize I will never match up to my mother-in-law’s chocolate pie), chicken (or beef or turkey or fish) pot pies, quiches, turnovers, Cornish pasties (or pumpkin pasties as my Hogwarts fans have been requesting), and even (or especially) pie crust cookies.

To begin with, I had to assemble the right tools:

  • a French rolling pin (or a regular rolling pin; I, luckily, found my French pin at T.J. Maxx for about $3; more about a French pin here),
  • a pastry mat (we have tile counters and small cutting boards – I didn’t have room for 12″ circles; I would love the Tupperware one; mine’s from Bed, Bath and Beyond, and cost about $6 after using my coupon (which won’t expire in California)),
  • and pie pans (probably the easiest thing to come up with; I think I just picked mine up from Target).

Now, I’m just working my way through all of my various pie crust recipes.  I understand that a food processor makes a good pie crust, but I don’t own one right now.  So I started with the recipe that came with my KitchenAid mixer.  It’s a basic recipe, and I found I had to add almost twice as much water as it called for.  The pie is cooking right now.  We’ll see how it comes out.

I’m going to work through this book from the Prepared Pantry.  I’m enjoying having these eBooks around as reference.  I’m also going to work through various books and their suggestions, including The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook (and I know they have a baking book, but I don’t have it), and I’ll look at some of my other “fat” cookbooks, like Joy of Cooking and books by Marion Cunningham (the new “Fannie Farmer”).  I think the closer to 200 pie crusts I get, the less the recipe is going to matter.  It will be my experience that will make the better pie crusts.

I open to suggestions and will try to let you know how things go around here.  I’m going to try things like grinding my own whole wheat pastry flour using the soft white wheat I picked up over spring break.  We’ll be using butter and shortening.  I’ll try the mixer again, and the pastry blender.  Looking at the overgrown chard in my garden, I think a vegetable quiche is probably up next.

So anyway, do any of you have pie crust suggestions?  (I just thought of Mary Poppins saying, “That’s a pie crust promise; easily made and easily broken.”)

Here’s where we are today, halfway through, using Amanda’s peach pie filling from last year:

Pie crusts 1 and 2, same recipe

Pie crusts 1 and 2, same recipe

I think this is probably a good time to ramp up my family’s activity level.  Time to get the kids off the computer and outside for summer running and playing.  (And did you know that after today we’re on the downhill slide to Christmas?)

Strawberry Shortcake

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One of my favorite summer desserts since childhood is Strawberry Shortcake. Typically I have just made the individual portion shortcakes using the Bisquick recipe. Well, I ran out of Biquick while having a plethora of strawberries and I decided to break out of the mold. (I know, living on the wild side.)

Not only is this shortcake from scratch, it makes a single HUGE one (I’m sure you could make it into smaller portions too, but where is the fun in that?)  I completely botched up the whipped cream by over whipping it and it was way too heavy.  I poured milk over my portion for added moisture.  But the shortcake and strawberries were delicious.

Strawberry Shortcake

3 Pints Strawberries
1/2 c. sugar (I used agave nectar instead)
2 1/4 c. flour
4 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbl. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 c. shortening (I used butter)
1 egg
2/3 c. milk
2 c. whipping cream

Slice strawberries and toss with 1/2 c. sweetener.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Grese and flour 8 inch round cake pan (I used a glass pie dish.)

In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.  Cut together until resembes coarse crumbs.  Make a well in the center and add beaten egg and milk.  Stir until combined.

Spread batter into pan.  Bake at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool on wire rack.

Slce partially cooled cake in half, making two layers.  Place half of the strawberries and whippin cream on one layer and top with other layer.  Garnish with extra cream and berries.

Watermelon “Cake”

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Last year I just didn’t want cake on my birthday. All wanted was watermelon! We got a little creative and this is what we put together.

Slice watermelon in stackable circles, about 1 1/2 inch thick.  Slice parts of the rind off to make decorative edges.  Attach assorted fruit with skewers and push in candles. Light and eat.  Yum!  A hit with both kids and adults. 🙂