Magic Chocolate Cake (vegan)


Magic Chocolate Cake (vegan)
Author: 
Recipe type: Cake, Bakery, Snack, Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 9
 
This vegan cake is made without milk or eggs and is moist, dark and delicious. It is a simple snack cake that can be put together in minutes without any special tools or ingredients provided you have unsweetened cocoa on hand. It is easy to make at the last minute for unexpected guests. Cakes like this one were developed during the depression era when butter and eggs were expensive or unavailable. For the holidays, I like to use mint flavored chocolate candies to make a light topping for the cake. All it really needs is a dusting of powdered sugar, but you can make that even more attractive by placing a pretty doily over the cake and sprinkling the sugar on top of that. Carefully remove the doily, leaving the pretty design in place.
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • Icing, mint chocolate candies, or powdered sugar as desired for the top
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Mix the flour, sugar, salt, soda, and cocoa together. Sift into an 8x8 inch ungreased cake pan. Make three depressions. Pour oil into one, vinegar into the second, and vanilla into the third well. Pour the water over all, and stir with a fork until the batter looks even in color and well blended.
  3. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean or the top springs back when pressed lightly. Top with Andes Mints or chopped Frango Mints while the cake is hot and spread them over the surface after they have had a couple of minutes to melt, frost with your favorite icing when the cake is cool or dust with powdered sugar.

Tropical Pineapple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


Tropical Pineapple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Bakery
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 15
 
This tasty tropical cake contains no butter or oil (except for preparing the pan) if you don’t add frosting. You can replace the frosting with just a dusting of powdered sugar or serve it with a dollop of whipped cream, but the cream cheese frosting is rich and delicious. It is a dense cake, not a fluffy, tall one, and a small piece is a good-sized serving. We like it with sliced banana under the frosting and toasted coconut on the top. You can add other fruit to the cake batter if you like. This should be really good with some chopped cranberries in the cake, but I haven’t tried that yet. I serve it directly from the pan, but if you want you can remove it from the pan after 10 minutes and cool it on a rack before you frost it.
Ingredients
Cake
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour + 1 tablespoon for preparing the pan
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 can 20 ounces crushed pineapple packed in juice - undrained
  • 1/2 cup broken walnuts
  • Oil, butter or pan spray for preparing the pan
Frosting
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (Do not use the salt if you are using salted butter.)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted if there are lumps
Optional
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 1 cup toasted shredded coconut
Instructions
Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 pan with butter, oil or pan spray. Dust with flour by pouring in a tablespoon of flour and tipping the pan around until the whole surface is covered with flour. Tap the pan upside down over the sink or trash bin to remove any excess flour. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir to mix well and break up any baking soda lumps if you have some. Mix the wet ingredients and add to the dry ingredients stirring just until combined. Stir in the nuts. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until the cake is golden and springs back to a light touch.
  2. Cool the cake. When it has cooled, you can cover the surface of the cake with banana sliced into thin coins just before you frost the cake.
Frosting:
  1. Cream the butter, cream cheese, salt and vanilla together until soft and fluffy using a hand mixer or stand mixer. Beat in the powdered sugar. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake. If you used the banana slices, you can put small dollops of frosting on banana slices and use an offset spatula to spread the frosting evenly over the cake. If desired, sprinkle toasted, shredded coconut over the frosting.

Thanksgiving Sugar Cookies


Thanksgiving Sugar Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Bakery, Cookies, Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 5 dozen
 
Just about everybody loves sugar cookies and these buttery cookies with the melt-in-your-mouth addition of cream cheese are especially lovable. They are flavored with the warm spices of the holiday season. If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, you can use cinnamon and a little nutmeg, grated with a microplane instead. They are not like the heavier shortbread cookies, nor as “tough” as a rolled or pressed cookie. The flavor is more complex than a Snickerdoodle and I don’t find these cookies to be as doughy. They are fairly delicate and crispy and it is very hard to eat just one…or two…or three. While I call them Thanksgiving Sugar Cookies, I am thankful that they are delicious any time of year. I was trying to count how many I made in this last batch so I could write the number down for you with some authority, but I started eating them as I put them on the cooling rack. I’m pretty sure it made around 5 dozen cookies.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter – 2 sticks or 1/2 pound (leave at room temperature for about an hour)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (leave at room temperature for about an hour)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar + more for dipping a glass to press the cookies
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (only if using unsalted butter)
Instructions
  1. Cream the butter and cream cheese together in a large bowl. Beat in the sugar (and salt, if using) until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Mix the flour, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice together until the color is uniform. (Be sure to get any lumps out of the baking powder before pouring it in the flour.) Stir the dry ingredients and wet ingredients together just until combined. Chill an hour or more to firm up the dough to make it more manageable.
  2. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Roll tablespoons of the dough into balls quickly with the palms of your hands. Place them on ungreased cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. A one-tablespoon spring-loaded scoop makes this very easy. Fill a shallow bowl with granulated sugar. Rub a very small amount of cookie dough (to make the sugar adhere) on the flat bottom of a glass or a small metal measuring cup that fits in the shallow bowl. Dip the glass in the sugar and flatten each ball of dough into a thin circle, dipping the glass back into the sugar for each cookie.
  3. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from the cookie sheets and cool on wire racks.

Streusel Topped Sweet Potato Casserole


Streusel Topped Sweet Potato Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: Sides
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 18 1/2 cup servings
 
Adapted from Cooking Light.
Ingredients
Potato Mixture
  • About 5 pounds of sweet potatoes
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray or oil
Streusel Topping
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chilled butter (1/2 stick), cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Drain and cool until you can touch them. Gently pull off the potato skins and cut the potatoes into large chunks. Beat at medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until the potatoes are smooth. If you are appliance free, use a potato masher. Combine the half and half, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and egg. Add the mixture to the potatoes and mix until evenly combined. Spoon the potato mixture into the baking dish.
  2. To make the streusel, pulse the pecans a few times in a food processor leaving some large chunks and set aside in a small bowl. Pulse the flour and sugar to combine them. Add the chilled butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the pecans and pulse 2 or 3 times until the nuts are distributed. If you don’t have a food processor, chop the nuts with a knife. Mix the flour and sugar. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender, two knives, or a fork. Mix in the chopped nuts. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the potato mixture. Cover and bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 25 minutes or until the topping is browned and the potatoes are thoroughly heated.