Vegan by Nature

inherent recipes from a passionate cook

Daring Bakers: Chocolate Pavlovas with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse (Vegan!)

The June 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Dawn of Doable and Delicious. Dawn challenged the Daring Bakers’ to make Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard

My meringues did not go crispy as I’d hoped but I do think this is more to do with the fact that my oven doesn’t close very well and so the heat is very uneven and often baking can be unpredictable. However the result was very much edible, more chewy.

The mascarpone recipe (below) was very much my own creation and worked really well. All in all I was very satisfied with how this one turned out.

Another tough one for making the recipe Vegan, but I shall not be deterred. I used a meringue recipe provided here (Thanks to K.Anush):


Servings: Makes 12- 15 small meringues


1-1/4 tsp plus 1 tsp soya protein isolate powder (this should be at least 90% protein and preferably unflavoured)
2-1/2 tbsp water
6 tbsp caster (superfine) sugar, granulated sugar or icing (confectioner’s) sugar, mixed

3/8 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1/8 tsp cream of tartar or 1 tsp cider vinegar

An electric mixer (it would be too difficult to whip by hand but a hand-held mixer will suffice, which is what I used)


Preheat the oven to 110°C/230°F. Grease a large baking tray adequately. Place the sugar in a small bowl and stir in the guar or xanthan gum and 1 tsp soya protein powder. Set aside. Place the water in a mixing bowl and sprinkle over the 1-1/4 tsp soya protein powder. Whip at the highest speed on the dial (i.e. not a ‘turbo’ setting) until mixture has increases in volume considerably and becomes a dense white foam that forms small, soft peaks when the whisk is lifted.

Usually, as you whip, the mixture foams and the bubbles increase in quantity, and become smaller and are closer to each other; the mixture grows white and fluffy. This takes about 10 minutes, sometimes longer, so be patient. (If you experience problems at this stage, you can add the cream of tartar or vinegar and a foam should soon form).

Now, add the cream of tartar or vinegar and whip at high speed until the mixture thickens and forms slightly stiffer peaks. I have known the mixture to reach a stage where the bowl can be turned upside down and it doesn’t fall out. However, don’t try this unless you are sure it’s safe!

With the mixer running on medium speed, add a tablespoon of the sugar mixture. When the foam stiffens, increase the speed and add the remaining sugar in three or four batches, working quickly. As soon as the sugar is incorporated, add the next batch. Then, whip for no more than a minute till the mixture is thick and glossy and forms fairly stiff peaks when the whisk is lifted. Now, you can turn the bowl upside down!

Place heaped tablespoons of the mixture onto the prepared baking tray, or pipe into swirls. Bake for 1½ – 2 hrs until meringues are hard to the touch. They should also come off the tray easily. Allow to cool before removing from the tray and serving. They will harden further on cooling.

Vegan Chocolate Mousse (mascarpone):

110g block of tofu

4 tsps soy yogurt

juice of 1/2 lime (more if you like that tangyness)

2 tsps melted vegan margarine

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup + 1tbsp cocoa powder

I like to add vanilla seeds and on this occassion almond flavouring

If desired you may wish to add in some agave to make it sweeter, my sweet tooth isn’t huge.

Blend this altogether until deliciously smooth and leave in the fridge for at least three hours to set up nicely.

Then assemble as you please 🙂


Daring Baker’s Rose and Almond Profiteroles :)

The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a piece montée, or croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.

This was some challenge. I tell you I broke into a sweat during the cooking process as I wanted so much for these little mamas to have a hole in the centre! I began with this recipe I found I had to add 1/2 tbsp more of ener-g and in the end could have incorporated a good deal more sweetness.

I also froze the pate a choux before baking to increase the space between the marg and the batter. I did get holes! A little more cakey than pastry but for a first time even I was impressed!

The cream filling was based on a lovely piping cream recipe from this old book I have to which I added almond flavouring to one and rosewater and raspberry puree to the other. I can share this recipe if you’d like. It’s fail safe.

Procastinating Baking: Banana Chocolate Swirl Squares

I can’t bear throwing out food and had a bunch of bananas kicking about and was amidst the land of exam study so…

I adapted the recipe from Babycakes banana bread. I halved it between two bowls and in one I subbed 1/2 cup of flour with cocoa powder. I usually find I have to bake mine longer than their 35 minutes. However my oven isn’t the best.

Think I’ll take them to the women’s library on Monday, to its off to the freezer for now!

Bye, bye squares…

Tofu-oyster mushroom burgers

It is beginning to get warm around here and after the end of my six day week I didn’t fancy making anything too elaborate.

These babies hit the spot. Flavoured with garlic, seasoning, cumin seeds and lime juice. With the addition of some sweet red onions.

I served this up with cabbage salad with creamy parsley dressing, orange-tomato relish, roasted red peppers and plain old avocado. Nourishing 🙂

And slice…


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Daring Bakers: Steamed Pudding!!

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

For my vegan, wheat free version of this pudding I took this recipe and made a few alterations.I omitted the hazelnuts, dates and date syrup. Instead I popped in some agave, fresh raspberries, spelt flour and cranberry jam in the centre.

The steaming contraption:

My puddings took slightly longer to cook than the recipe suggests but I think this is simple characteristic of my oven. That aside, it produced a lovely, fluffy pudding with just the right amount of cocoa to compliment the sharp raspberries. Do give it a go!

Daring Bakers: Tiramisu

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

Well this one was going to be a challenge indeed. To make a tiramisu which depends so much on eggs into something Vegan and Gluten Free. But deterred, is not me!

As usual I kind of did some research then did my own thing.

A couple of days in advance –

For the Marscapone:

1 block of homemade tofu (featured in an earlier post except not pressed; just drain away the liquid)

OR 1 block of silken tofu

2 Tbs lemon juice

pinch salt

1. Mix all together in a food processor and leave to one side.

Pastry Cream:

1/4 cup corn starch
1/2 cup beet or other vegan sugar
2 cup soymilk
1 vanilla bean, scraped
pinch of salt

1. Mix together the corn starch with 1/2 soymilk until well combined

2. In a saucepan mix together the other ingredients, bring to the boil on a medium heat then reduce to a simmer.

3. Slowly pour in the corn starch mix whisking constantly to prevent the mixture going lumpy. This will thicken very quickly.

4. Leave on heat until resembles the consistency of a thick custard.

5. Set aside to cool.

For the cream layer of the tiramisu:

1. Combine the marscapone, pastry cream and some chocolate liqueur (traditionally you use marsala wine but I didn’t have any so Tia Maria was a good substitute)

2. Leave in the fridge, at least over night.

For the ladyfingers:

I found mine were quite cakey and less crispy but tasty and they were sufficient for this recipe since they get soaked later on anyway.

1 Cup gluten free flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/3 Sugar
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 Pinch Salt
1/2 Cup Soy Milk
1/4 water
1 Tbs Lemon Juice and Zest from the lemon
3 Tbs Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1. Preheat oven to Gas 6. Line a square baking dish with greased parchment paper.
2. Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl and the remaining ingredients in another.
3. Mix the two together, mix should be a pourable cake batter but not as thin as crepe batter.
4. Bake for approx. 10-12 mins until just golden.
5. Leave to cool in the dish for 5 mins then carefully turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
6. Once cooled cut to desired shape.

On the day of assemblage:

Coffee mix:

1/2 cup brewed espresso
1/4 cup of sugar (or to suit your tastes)
3 Tbsp Tia Mia (or other liqueur)

To assemble:

Soak each of your ladyfingers in the coffee mix for a few mins each.
Layer these in alternate stratas in your desired serving dish with the pastry cream/marscapone mix.
Leave in the fridge overnight to get the best out of it.
(I know the waiting times are insane!)

Before serving sprinkle with cocoa powder and dig in, serve chilled!


Amaretto and Raisin Nanaimo Bars

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and

Before this challenge I was ignorant to the glorious creation that is nanaimo bars. I found a Vegan recipe for the custard layer from Sarah Kramer’s ‘Vegan a-go-go’ made with my own homemade powdered sugar and an added dash of amaretto. I also made my own chocolate topping straight from cocoa butter, cocoa powder, vanilla, pinch of salt and soy milk. My base layer was a combination of the leftover spice crumb base from our Christmas cheesecake recipe and some raw coconut ice sweeties I had in the freezer. I shoved some sultanas in with the raisins, just for effect. All gluten-free and all natural sugars too!

Here we are, frosty from the freezer:

And then some…

…with ice cream?