Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake with Mocha Frosting (+My Vegan Anniversary!)

Lately I've been noticing people mentioning their first or second or third or twentieth anniversaries of being vegan, which made me wonder when I actually first went vegan. I knew it was sometime in 2010, but it wasn't until I looked through old PhotoBooth photos of me eating Italian ice that I realized it was sometime around May 20th, more or less, that I decided to try it. I mostly did it to test myself, to see if I could do it, and I posted a photo on Facebook every day, calling it "The Ten Days of Veganism". I didn't realize I'd like it so much that it would turn into over 1,000 days and counting. It's actually pretty funny looking back on it now because this was during my Nevershoutnever! fangirl phase (as you can see from my necklace, I always had to wear at least two or three peace signs), and I definitely only tried veganism because peta2 did an interview with Christofer Drew. Please note I do not support PETA and I no longer listen to Nevershoutnever! (except for on occasion when I feel nostalgic. I still know every word to every song... I stopped listening to his music after Harmony when his personality changed a lot, but apparently he's become super chill now and really into vegan food so he seems pretty cool again! LOL OKAY ANYWAY)

Wow, I can't believe I'm posting that photo on the internet. Anyway, in celebration of my anniversary, which is roughly some time around now, I made a vanilla cake topped with a delicious mocha frosting. This was the first time I've baked anything gluten-free that was my own recipe, and I am more than happy with the results. I'm still not a huge fan of the flavor of gluten-free all-purpose flour, but I'm figuring out how to cover it up. If you want to make this with regular all-purpose flour, use 1 cup and leave out the xanthan gum. Also, this is a single-layer cake, so you can feel free to double it if you want.

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake with Mocha Frosting
  • 1 cup + 3 tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, or other mild-tasting oil
  • 5 tablespoons pure maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coffee extract
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk

1) Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly oil a circular 8-inch cake pan.

2) In a medium bowl, combine flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3) In a separate medium bowl, mix together oil, syrup, vanilla, coffee extract, vinegar, and non-dairy milk until completely combined.

4) Add dry ingredients to liquids and mix well, until no lumps remain.

5) Pour batter into prepared pan and spread as best you can, smoothing out the top. Bake for 28-32 minutes, or until golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

6) Cool on a wire rack in pan for 10 minutes, then carefully remove from pan and let cake rest on rack until completely cook.

Mocha Frosting
  • 8 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (not melted)
  • 2 teaspoons coffee extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk (or other non-dairy milk if necessary, but coconut is best)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
In a blender or food processor, blend all ingredients until very smooth (you'll probably have to stir it a lot in between pulses). If you need to, you can add more milk until it reaches desired consistency. Chill until ready to use.

Monday, May 6, 2013

In Other News, I Am Now Gluten-Free

It's been a while since I've posted anything on here! I don't have any recipes of my own to share, but I can talk a little bit about what I've been cooking. Since I've begun making menus ahead of time and buying groceries accordingly, the quality of the food I cook has skyrocketed. I spend all of my free time cooking, and I just can't get over how much I enjoy it. I'm still cooking primarily nothing but recipes out of Veganomicon, and I am beginning to think Isa and Terry must be goddesses, because there's no way that two humans could create that many perfect recipes. I have yet to be disappointed with a single recipe.

Probably one of my favorite meals I've made from that cookbook was the Greek tofu benedict. I seriously cannot describe how much I loved it. I chose to serve it on top of home fries, which was a very good decision (and it felt most Greek to me, considering I ate roasted potatoes two or three times a day, every day, in Greece). The dill-tahini sauce was fantastic, and almost reminiscent of sour cream (I think I put too much lemon juice in it though, so it was more acidic than it was supposed to be - very good though). I might have to make that meal again soon because it was way too fabulous.

Another meal I made that I had to take a picture of because it was pretty was the Walnut-Crusted Apple-Cranberry Salad Pie from Vegan Planet. Essentially a waldorf salad in a walnut/date crust without lettuce. Unfortunately, it didn't serve well, and instead of looking like cute little piece of salad pie, it was more like a weird mess of apples and date chunks. I'm not sure what I did wrong. It tasted good though! I used raisins instead of cranberries, in case you care.

As of April 27th, I am officially gluten-free. My Crohn's is having a flare, and I'm hoping to stop the inflammation naturally. I usually get flares several times a year and, compared with the flares of typical Crohn's patients, mine are pretty mild. I've never gotten diarrhea, and typically only have bleeding (along with severe fatigue). It usually goes away on its own after a while, but this time it hasn't. So after talking with my GI, TCM, and integrative medicine doctors, we're going to try to take care of this using only alternative treatments. My TCM doctor prescribed a new herbal tea formula for me (the tea tastes like poison but hopefully it works), and I might see her soon for acupuncture. I'm also going to add boswellia supplements, in addition to the turmeric I'm already taking. But I've decided on my own to try for at least a couple weeks to eat a gluten-free diet. Gluten is a very inflammatory food, so even if it doesn't cause me to stop bleeding, it's probably still a good food for me or anyone with IBD to avoid. 

These are some gluten-free chickpea cutlets I made. My favorite recipe out of Veganomicon has always been the chickpea cutlets, and when I decided to go gluten-free, the first thing I thought was "oh my god, no more chickpea cutlets!". Thankfully, there's other people who have had the same horrible realization as me and have already come up with a gluten-free version. I used this recipe, and it was great. Instead of using the chia/flax slurry, I used xanthan gum, which worked well.

Unrelated to food, health, or veganism —— On the April 30th, I went with a couple of friends to see MGMT perform in Portland. Totally going to brag about the fact that I've been to that theater three times and gotten front row every time. It's actually ridiculously easy to get front row there; you only have to show up like an hour or two early. But seriously, MGMT was incredible. I'd seen mixed reviews online about how well they perform live, but they were way better than I ever could have imagined. I think the only reason they might not be best live was because they seemed rather uncomfortable on stage; they didn't move at all (well, to be fair, Ben was sitting, so he couldn't), and I don't think they ever made eye contact with the audience. The setlist was perfect, with a great variety from both albums plus several new songs. Siberian Breaks was magical. Electric Feel was fantastic, and the audience went crazy. This was possibly one of my favorite concerts I've attended. Also, shout out to Andrew and Ben for being the two most beautiful people on the entire planet. Here's some crappy quality photos taken on my crappy quality phone (I know my friends took better pictures, but hey, I don't have Instagram, so I'll never see them!).