Monday, April 27, 2009

Candles Everywhere

Final exams start this week, and I've got a big Inorganic lab to finish for tomorrow, but first I wanted to share the two cakes that I made for friends' birthdays in the past two weeks.

First up, is a take that I had on cookies and cream cake.  My friend originally requested a different kind of cake, but I couldn't find all of the ingredients, so I picked up some vanilla and chocolate cream filled Trader Jo-Jo's and went from there!  I didn't feel like making the chocolate cake with cookies mixed in, as per Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, so I made a simple white cake instead.

The filling between the layers is ground up chocolate filled cookies with just enough vanilla buttercream frosting to hold it together. It was actually easier to apply it with my fingers than with a knife.  The frosting has the recommended amount of vanilla filled cookies folded in as suggested by Vctotw.  Needless to say, my friend loved her cake.  Bonus picture: We took the cake to the restaurant where her birthday dinner was, and they gave me a gigantic knife to cut it with!

Next up is the tiramisu cake that I made on Thursday.  This friend was so excited for her cake that she had put in the request over a month ago!  Again, I used the recipe from Vctotw because that book is amazing and has only failed me once.I have found that there is a trick when making this as a whole cake as opposed to cupcakes. In order to get the soaking effect with the coffee and Kaluha just right, you need to cut off the top crusty bit of the cake so that it is able to absorb the liquid better. (Funny side note: my vegan roommate was munching on the top crusty scraps and thought that it tasted like cornbread!)  Since it is a cake, I also try to be a little bit more liberal with the amounts of coffee and liquor that I use. Cutting off the top does make the frosting job a little tricky, so take it slow. I don't like to frost all the way down the sides so that you can see the middle layer peeking through.  In this case, I used a half batch of the Vctotw fudge frosting to hold it together. I think that it worked really well.

As you can see, cutting it can get a little messy since the soaking softens the top portion, but it was still good, and the cake was practically gone by the time that I left the party! My friend returned the plate today and was raving about how much she enjoyed it.

It is sort of fun to be known as the awesome birthday cake person among my circle of friends, if I so say so myself.  Score for veganism!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A quick word

I'm going to be brief because I'm so busy that I shouldn't be updating at all, however, this page was looking a little forlorn, and I couldn't resist.  This week is the last full week of classes before final exams, and I have so many things due that I have no idea how I'll get them all done. So much for taking it easy my last semester. Speaking of which, my mind is blow every time that I look at the countdown on my apartment's fridge, which lists the days until graduation.

I've got a few countdowns of my own going as well. Two to be exact. Days until I go to Europe for four weeks (just bought my ticket over the weekend!): 37. Days until I relocate to Cornell: 76. Wow.

I've got several food things to share, but instead, I'm going to show what can currently describe my life at the moment.  After several things going wrong today, I had to make myself some chocolate chocolate chips peanut butter cookies. Such a good standby from eat, drink and be vegan.

And yes, that is a rough draft of my undergraduate thesis sitting underneath.  Actually, break time is over, and I'm back to work. (Story of my life for the rest of the week...)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A few admissions

I can be a very boring person when it comes to breakfast. Honestly.  More often than not, my staple consists of a slice of homemade bread slathered with crunchy peanut butter and a banana on top. Certainly not very photogenic or much of a variety.  On rare occasions, I do get a hankering for something different.

Last weekend I diverged from habit and made whole grain pancakes with raspberries.

Okay, these might not be the most photogenic either, but they were very tasty.  I used a recipe from a cookbook that I hardly use, but I was pleasantly surprised.  With no granulated sugar in the recipe and made up with whole grains like cornmeal and whole wheat pastry flour, I didn't feel like I was consuming something which would give me a sugar high thirty minutes later. (Well, maybe I got it because of the real maple syrup...)

Another experiment that I had in baking recently were these:

Yes, in case you were wondering, I really did eat them for breakfast. I'm in love with Isa's peanut butter oatmeal cookies from Vegan with a Vengeance, but the oil and sugar content makes me cringe when I consume too many at once.  This was my attempt to remedy that, but making cookies healthier doesn't always mean making them as tasty.  Because of the lessened amount of sugar and oil, they didn't get as crispy as Isa's version, sadly. Also, I must not have added enough syrup or agave, because the peanut butter flavor was off and not as strong as I would have liked it to be. Oh well. It tasted like a healthy cookie more than anything else, so I spread microwave reheated frozen raspberries on top of a few and declared it a breakfast item...

In other news, I'm officially going to Cornell for graduate school, but you could probably figure that out after my last post. I'm really excited about it and the opportunity to start this next part of my education. (Yeah, okay, I'll stop being corny.)  I'm also planning a month-long trip to Europe for June to celebrate and because I don't know when I'll be able to go back.  Though, I have hit a few snags during the planning process this week. Hopefully I'll be able to meet up with some awesome vegans, but I'm not so sure how it will all work out at this point.  I am excited about meeting up with old friends though that is for sure.