Category Archives: cake

Apple Walnut Upside Down Cake and an evening with friends.

We were invited for dinner and board games at friend’s house this weekend and I was asked to bring dessert.

I figured I would bring a cake.  After all, everyone loves cake!  I like making cakes too.  I find them easy to put together and transport – since we would be walking.  Especially if they are a simple one layer cake without any fancy icing to get mussed up on the way.

I thought a perfect place to look for a cake recipe would be at this wonderful local food blog – The Cake Princess.

Take a look.

See what I mean.

It is the perfect place to look for cupcake recipes too – she has tonnes of those!

I made a few changes to the recipe.  I substituted Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose gluten-free baking flour with 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum and used 1 1/2 cups of apples instead of 2 cups of peaches.  Our friend is celiac and loathes cooked peaches, so the changes were absolutely necessary.  And, although I have never tried the original, I don’t think the changes detracted from the dessert one bit.  The cake was light and fluffy and the fruit baked with nuts and the wonderful carmel syrup was fantastic.  I guess by now you figured out that this is not one those healthy dessert recipes that I often feature.

Before we got to the cake and the games, we were treated to the Black Bean Skillet Casserole with Cornbread Topping that I posted on Cookbook Cooks a few months ago.  Our hostess loves this dish and has made it 4 or 5 times since posting.  EPC and I hadn’t had it since, so it was nice to be reminded how delicious it is!  She rarely cooks with a recipe and treated us to her own invention of delicious pan-fried yams sweetened with a hint of maple syrup.  EPC was delighted.  Yams are his favourite vegetable.

She also had a mix of raw orange pepper and jicama for munching before dinner.  I hadn’t had jicama in ages, so I decided that I would make a slaw with jicama later this week.

Thanks for the jicama inspiration and the lovely evening.

If you want to be delighted by this cake you can find the recipe here.

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A month of recipes from Lorna Sass’s Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure

I thought I would begin concluding this month’s focus on Lorna Sass by giving you a quick tour of her wonderful cookbook Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure.  Of course, the month is not over yet, so you can still look forward to more delights from Lorna’s Short-Cut Vegan before month’s end!

Over the last month I have blogged about  three delicious recipes from Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure: Thai ChickpeasNew Mexican Pinto Bean Soup, and Caribbean Rice and Beans.  All these dishes turned out fantastic and both EPC and I loved them. Unbeknownst to you, while I wasn’t blogging about the great dishes from this cookbook, I was making more of Lorna’s pressure cooker creations on the sly.  In fact EPC even got in the fun!

One Saturday, I whipped up Quinoa Vegetable Soup for lunch.  This was EPC’s favorite recipe out of the cookbook (so far)!  He couldn’t put his finger on why he loved this dish so much, but I think he really enjoys the taste and texture of quinoa.  Quinoa has more protein than other grains, plus it is gluten-free and makes a great quick-cooking substitute for brown rice.

On the following weekend EPC made the Zucchini Bisque with Tomatoes and Fresh Basil.  One of his favorite vegetables is zucchini, so I wasn’t at all surprised when this dish came under his radar.  The following day I came in from a walk, intending to have leftover soup for lunch, when to my surprise he was finishing off all the leftovers!  It is nice to see my husband excited about Lorna’s book and wanting to get on the pressure cooker bandwagon.  He is always up for making recipes that are as easy as they are delicious.  However, I do wish he wasn’t as excited about eating them, so I could have at least a small bowl of leftover soup!

Over the last month I only had one mishap.  This occurred when I made the mistake of using the bean cooking chart from my pressure cooker instruction booklet, instead of the one located inside the cover of Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure.  The beans were so soft, they were unsuitable for the dish I had in mind.  Of course hindsight is 20/20, so when I took at look at Lorna’s bean cooking chart inside the front cover of this cookbook and noticed her cooking times where bit shorter, I realized that I should have used Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure as a reference, which would have left me with an intact bean rather than the resulting mush.  I will know better for next time.

That brings me to the great thing about this cookbook, not only is it chock full of over 150 delicious vegan recipes, but it also includes grain, bean and vegetable cooking charts.  She also discusses pressure cookers at  great length, covering such topics as  How to Care for the Cooker, The Language of Pressure Cooking, and What Size Cooker Should I Buy?.  I found all these tips quite helpful and the format considerably engaging in comparison to my instruction manual.

In the introduction Lorna devotes a few pages to menu combinations, such as Vegan Thanksgiving, Curry in a Hurry and American Creole, which gives you an idea about which direction to head if you have a certain flavour craving.  The cookbook is well-organized and I am glad that it sticks to a traditional layout.  Although quite popular these days, I will confess that I do not enjoy when a cookbook is organized according season or menus.    Perhaps I am behind the times, but I think a cookbook is more functional when you can browse through the soup section if you are feeling like soup, rather than having to flip from page to page using the index as your guide.  Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure is divided sensibly into soup, grain, bean, vegetable, sauce and dessert sections.

That’s right, I said dessert.

Lorna does feature a section on vegan pressure cooker desserts.  It definitely piqued my curiosity and I had to try one.  She provides thorough instructions on how to make a wonderful steamed blueberry pudding cake.  I was blown away that I could make a cake in the pressure cooker and have it turn out fantastic!  The great thing about this cake is there is no oil, it is sweetened with fruit juice and maple syrup and it is totally vegan.  Although not a dessert, Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure even has  a recipe for steamed Boston Brown Bread. How much fun is that!

I have really enjoyed using my pressure cooker to make Lorna’s great recipes, so I am disappointed that she does not have another vegetarian pressure cooker cookbook.   I figured my pressure cooking adventures would be limited to one cookbook.  Luckily, when I was browsing through her other cookbooks on Amazon.ca I noticed that Complete Vegetarian Kitchen has pressure cooker instructions for many of its recipes.

I guess I need to make room for another cookbook!

Tres Leches Cake with Grand Marnier

Yesterday morning we were up early and out cross-country skiing. It was a warm winter’s day, so we wanted to take advantage of the balmy weather and get some sunshine and fresh air. Although it is tough to drag yourself out of the house on a dark winter’s morning, the boost to your energy level makes it all worth it. I also attended the symphony with friends that evening.  I figured there would be just enough time between skiing and the performance to bake a cake, so I invited them all over afterwards for some post-symphony cake and coffee.

While in Mexico last month, I did not indulge in any of the traditional deserts, so I thought why not make a Mexican desert now that I am back home. Tres Leches Cake appeared on more than one menu and after reading the recipe I wish I had indulged. As a result, I cannot make a comparison or deem whether this recipe is similar to what I would have tasted in Mexico, but it is delicious.

I made a few changes to the recipe. I substituted the same amount of whole wheat flour for white flour. With all the soaking that the cake would experience after baking I figured there would be no need worry about the cake being dry, so I added a straight 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour. I also checked some recipes for Tres Leches Cake on the internet. They all include recipes for icing or other sweet topping.  For example, the recipe that I used from Fresh Mexico by Marcela Valladolid recommended  Italian meringue.  I decided the cake would be insanely rich after soaking up the “tres leches marinade”, so I topped it with fruit before serving (I had some blueberries and mango slices in the freezer).  After my first bite of cake I realized that I had made the right choice.  In fact, I think the cake would have been unbearably sweet and paralyzingly rich with an added topping.

This cake could easily entice the breaking of New Year’s resolutions. I mean really, it is quite tough to go from loads of desserts and sweet treats during the Christmas break to none at all just because it is a new year. In appearance it is quite unassuming. I guess you could call it sneakily decadent!

Tres Leches Cake

1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup skim milk

1 300 ml can condensed milk
1 170 ml can of thick cream
320 ml of low-fat evaporated milk
2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier

  • Preheat over to 350°C
  • Butter and flour a 10 inch cake pan. Cut out a disk of parchment paper the same size as the pan.  Place in the bottom of the pan and butter it.
  • Mix the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon
  • Add the egg whites to a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until frothy. While beating, slowly add the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form
  • Beat in the egg yolks one at time
  • Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix. Add 1/2 of the skim milk and mix. Repeat until flour and milk are all added.
  • Pour the batter into your pan and bake for 35-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool slightly and then invert on a plate with  2 cm high sides
  • Poke holes throughout the top of the cake using a skewer or fork.
  • Mix the condensed milk, evaporated milk, thick cream, and Grand Marnier and slowly pour over the cake
  • Cover and refrigerate until cold. At least 3 hours or overnight.