Vegan by Nature

inherent recipes from a passionate cook

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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…


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?

Salvaged Gingerbread House: December Daring Bakers

The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.

I had a bit of a disaster with my house. Everything was going fine until the dough came out of the oven. In retrospect I should have realised that gluten-free flour would have been more prone to crumbling and therefore not ideal for creating a solid structure. Nonetheless I still had pieces big enough to create a small, minimalist version of my original plan and, I quite like it 🙂

I used the cut out ginger cookie recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar.

Spelt Cinnamon and Raisin Bagels

I used a recipe from Fernley-Whitingstall’s River Cottage Bread Handbook and substitued the bread flour with spelt. I also used the overnight rise method. First time success 🙂

The key is to poach them in some molasses water first and then bake them. Really beautiful.

Hello Sunday 🙂

Blueberry swirl cannoli cups

The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.

I decided to use the vegan version of this (recipe follows) but I substituted the flour for spelt flour, the marsala wine with grape juice and brandy and the sugar with fructose!

I filled them with a mixture of blueberry jam and homemade cream…

…a mixture of soy protein powder, fructose, brandy and soya milk until you reach quite a thick spoonable consistency (sorry I was rushed and didn’t have time to measure exactly)

The cannoli dough:

2 3/4 cups spelt flour
2 tablespoons fructose
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 flax egg (whisk 2 tablespoons flax powder/meal with 3 tablespoons water)
2/3 cup marsala wine

serves 10

Preheat oven to gas mark 4/180 C/350 F

Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, shortening, flax egg (whisk 2 tablespoons flax powder/meal with 3 tablespoons water), and wine together to make a dough.

Chill in the fridge for about 1/2 hour.

Roll out dough on floured surface to about 1/8 inch think.

Cut out 4 inch circles and then roll them one way so they turn into ovals

I made mine into little cups but traditionally the are rolled around cannoli forms (needless to say I didn’t have any)



Daring Baker’s October French Macaroons!

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

To make the Vegan version of this, I used ener-g egg replacer instead of eggs, ground almonds instead of almond flour, and used my home made powdered sugar which uses fructose. I also reduced the recipe to yield a smaller batch.

Mine were Vanilla flavoured with a choco-currant filling.

For the filling:

cocoa powder
soya yoghurt
blackcurrant jam
(this bit was less measured I’m afraid)

Confectioners’ (Icing) sugar: 2 ¼ cups (225 g, 8 oz.)
Almond flour: 2 cups (190 g, 6.7 oz.)
Granulated sugar: 2 tablespoons (25 g , .88 oz.)
Egg whites: 5 (Have at room temperature)


1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery.
2. Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
3. Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. If you are planning on adding zest or other flavorings to the batter, now is the time. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.
4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806). You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.
5. Pipe one-inch-sized (2.5 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper).
6. Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F (190°C). Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored.
7. Cool on a rack before filling.

Yield: 10 dozen.