Chocolate Olive Oil Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

vegan-chocolate-cake-recipe
Happy Friday! Today I give you a basic chocolate cake with a small twist. I often get a little overzealous when making desserts with unusual flavor combinations, so I had to reel it in a few times with this cake. In the end, the cake and frosting are both pretty basic: a chocolate olive oil cake with strawberry cream cheese frosting, and a little cayenne in the batter for kick. I wanted to also throw in curry! Or rose water! But I think the theme of simplicity with a sprinkle of spice is working in its favor. You best believe I garnished each slice with a grind of smoked sea salt though.

I made a mini cake (6 inches), but the recipe will make a full-sized double-layer cake.
olive-oil-cake

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 2 9-inch round cakes

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne (to taste)
3/4 cup olive oil
2 1/3 cups non-dairy milk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons strawberry jam

1/2 cup vegan cream cheese
1/3 cup vegan margarine
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
3 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons strawberry extract*

1/3 cup strawberry jam

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

For the cake: Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda in a mixing bowl. Add the sugar, salt, and cayenne and mix until combined.

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the olive oil, non-dairy milk, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract, and strawberry jam. Mix all ingredients well.

Pour batter into two prepared 9-inch cake pans and bake for 28-30 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cakes cool before proceeding.

For the frosting: Whip vegan cream cheese, margarine, and shortening with a stand mixer or hand mixer until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar, mixing after each addition. Add the strawberry extract and whip for 5-6 more minutes.

To assemble: Spread strawberry jam between the two layer cakes. Spread and pipe on frosting as desired.

*Strawberry extract can be hard to find, and sometimes tastes very artificial. Feel free to replace with strawberry syrup, strawberry jam, or another fruit extract you like.

vegan-strawberry-cake

Salted Key Lime Pie

vegan-key-lime-pie

Today is National Pie Day (not to be confused with Pi Day). I don’t need an excuse to eat pie, so it seemed like a great day to celebrate. This recipe is adapted from the Agua de Jamaica Key Lime Pie recipe in Cheers to Vegan Sweets. The addition of coconut cream adds a subtle creamy flavor to the tangy key lime base, and the sea salt makes it taste like a slice of margarita. The recipe makes a mini pie, so double the ingredients for a standard-sized pie.

Salted Key Lime Pie

Makes 1 6-inch pie

Ingredients

For the crust:
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons margarine, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For the filling:
3/4 cup non-dairy milk
1/4 cup lime juice (about 10 key limes)
1/2 tablespoon lime zest
3 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons vegan cream cheese
1 tablespoon coconut cream (or more cream cheese)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Whipped cream, coarse salt, and lime slices for garnish

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir thoroughly. If the crumbs are dry or won’t hold together when pressed, add a splash of milk to the bowl.
Grease a 6-inch pie or tart pan with margarine or cooking spray, then press the graham cracker mixture evenly over the bottom and up the sides. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until firm. Set aside to cool.

Combine all filling ingredients except the cream cheese and coconut cream in a medium saucepan and whisk to dissolve cornstarch. Turn the heat up to medium and stir frequently until very thick, 8 to 9 minutes.
Turn off heat, then stir in the cream cheese and coconut cream until smooth.
Let sit for a minute, then pour into prepared graham cracker crust. Cool completely on cooling rack, then cover and transfer to the refrigerator until firm.

Garnish the pie with lime slices and whipped cream, and sprinkle with coarse salt.

salted-key-lime-pie

Peppermint White Russian

The weather outside is frightful and the best cure is staying inside with blankets, Netflix, and a warm drink. The season is almost magical until the windchill is -15°F or you have to trudge through ice and snow (thankfully Chicago is snow-free so far!) to get to the grocery store. I’m not a fan of winter or cold weather, but I will not complain about a drink topped with whipped cream and mini marshmallows.
vegan-white-russian

This Peppermint White Russian takes the cake with a black cocoa and vanilla sugar rim, and mountains of whipped cream and marshmallows. Serve it hot or cold, or make a White Russian-hot cocoa hybrid!

This drink contains quite a few components and ingredients you probably don’t happen to have in your kitchen. That’s okay, because the recipe is more of a guideline. The black cocoa and vanilla sugar rim is delicious as is, but you could omit it or make substitutions where you see fit (agave nectar and a splash of vanilla extract could replace the vanilla bean paste!). I’d hate to make you go out in the cold. Or make hot cocoa instead of a White Russian if you don’t drink alcohol. ‘Tis the season!

Peppermint White Russian

Makes 1 serving

For the rim:
Vanilla bean paste
Peppermint schnapps or peppermint extract
Black Cocoa and Vanilla Sugar (recipe below)

1 1/2 ounces vodka
3/4 ounce peppermint schnapps*
1 ounce Kahlua
Non-dairy creamer, milk, or a mix of both**

Vegan whipped cream (I used So Delicious Coco Whip!)
Vegan mini marshmallows (I used Chicago Vegan Foods’ Dandies!)

*Can be replaced with more vodka and a splash of peppermint extract. Or just vodka if you’re not feeling the peppermint flavor.
**The milk can be heated if you want a warm drink. Better yet, replace the milk with HOT COCOA.

Instructions

  1. Thin out a pea-sized amount of vanilla bean paste with peppermint schnapps or peppermint extract. Coat the rim of the glass or mug with the mixture.
  2. Dip the coated rim in the bowl of black cocoa and vanilla sugar.
  3. Make the drink. Pour all three liquors in the glass.
  4. Fill the rest of the glass with the non-dairy creamer or milk. Use less milk for a stronger drink.

Black Cocoa and Vanilla Sugar

1/2 cup sugar
1/4-1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/2 teaspoon black cocoa powder

  1. Mix together the sugar and vanilla bean paste in a small bowl until the sugar is completely coated and the vanilla bean paste dispersed.
  2. Add the black cocoa powder to coat the sugar completely. Adjust the amounts of vanilla bean paste and cocoa if the mixture is too sticky or dry. Set aside.

Pancakes Recipe

Seitan Beats Your Meat is back! And with pancakes, naturally.

pancakes

This pancake recipe is an oldie but a goodie. The original, non-vegan recipe is from an old cookbook my dad and I used to make pancakes every Sunday when I was a kid. Now I make a vegan version most weekends, or on a Friday afternoon when I go to bed the night before with an image in my head of a stack of 20 (21? 22?) pancakes. That sort of thing needs to be made and photographed, stat.

In this recipe, the applesauce replaces the eggs, and the margarine takes care of the melted butter. You could probably replace the margarine with any cooking oil, but melting the margarine in a cast iron pan before mixing it in the batter adds something special. Go easy on the non-dairy milk of your choice to make a thick batter for fluffy pancakes, or thin out the batter with extra milk for thin pancakes that are soft in the middle and crispy on the edges. Add fruit or chocolate chips…go versatility! But first, let’s review the cardinal rules of pancake.

Tips for Perfect Pancakes

Tip #1: Flip your pancakes when they bubble and the bubbles begin to hold their shape. Don’t wait any longer or you’ll run the risk of burning your pancakes.
Tip #2: Lower temperature, longer cooking time. A high temperature will result in browned pancakes on the outside, but they’ll be underdone on the inside. Similarly, if your temperature is too low, the pancakes will take a very long time to cook and turn out pale and gummy.
Tip #3: A cast iron pan makes for tasty, evenly-cooked, and crispy-in-all-the-right-places pancakes! Or you could use a non-stick pan; just don’t tell me.
Tip #4: Sprinkle chocolate chips, blueberries, or any other add-ins on your pancakes before flipping.

vegan-pancakes

Pancakes

Makes 6-8 pancakes, depending on size

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or more white flour)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon margarine

Instructions

Combine all dry ingredients, stir with a whisk.
Make a well in the middle and add applesauce, vanilla, and soy milk. Stir until almost combined.
Preheat your skillet or cast iron pan at medium heat, rub some margarine on one of the pans and melt the rest in the other. Pour melted margarine into the pancake batter and stir until combined.
Drop by large spoonfuls or pour batter onto the pan and flip when bubbles start to form. Repeat until all the batter is gone.
Serve with a pat of Earth Balance, pure maple syrup, and fruit.

vegan-pancakes-recipe

Bacon Butter Pecan Ice Cream

bacon-butter-pecan-ice-cream

Yes, Bacon Butter Pecan Ice Cream. When you eat ice cream, do you often find yourself thinking, “this would be better with bacon”? No? Well, I promise there is a reason for this madness: a vegan bacon zine!

I’ve been talking about it and occasionally working on it for years, but I’m now actively making recipes and planning to design and print a bacon-themed zine very soon. If you’ve been following my posts, you may have noticed a the occasional bacon recipe like bacon vodka and Maple Bacon PBR Cupcakes. Since the bacon trend pioneers don’t appear to be calling it quits anytime soon, a bacon zine will still be ever so relevant. Filled with recipes, games, and words, printed on paper, and held together with not two, but three(!!) staples, it’ll be just what you need in your life.

Without further ado, this week’s post features a recipe from the forthcoming zine. If bacon in ice cream is not your thing, you can leave out the bacon and replace the maple syrup with agave or another liquid sweetener for a classic butter pecan ice cream.

This ice cream is smooth, caramel-y, and loaded with flavor and richness. The butter pecans add a punch of flavor on their own, so the bacon is more of an accent. I used chopped Upton’s Bacon Seitan for this recipe because it stays tender after cooking in the butter and sugar syrup (baking with bacon seitan often yields chewier results). I find that coconut cream yields the creamiest vegan ice cream. As I mentioned in my last ice cream post, Thin Mint Ice Cream, you can now buy Trader Joe’s coconut cream in a can without the hassle of separating the fat from a can of coconut milk. It does add a bit of coconut flavor to the ice cream, so try to choose stronger flavors or flavors that complement coconut when using coconut as an ice cream base. The buttery flavor of coconut goes well with the brown sugar and butter pecans.

Bacon Butter Pecan Ice Cream

Makes about 1 ½ pints

Ingredients

¾ cup chopped pecans
⅓ cup chopped vegan bacon
3 tablespoons vegan margarine
1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup
¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon brown sugar
14 ounces coconut cream
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup almond (or other non-dairy) milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

Toast the pecans in a dry skillet for 2-3 mins until fragrant, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in the bacon and butter. The pecans will burn quickly, so keep an eye on them.
Transfer to a small bowl, then pour in the maple syrup and sprinkle on the 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Set aside to cool.

Combine coconut cream and brown sugar in the saucepan and cook until sugar is dissolved and starts to bubble, then let boil for 3 minutes. Add milk, vanilla extract, and ⅓ cup of the pecan mixture. Let cool.

Freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Put the remainder of the pecan mixture in the freezer for the duration of freezing so it doesn’t bring down the temperature of the ice cream when you add it. Add pecans and bacon in last 5 minutes of freezing.

If you make this recipe (with or without bacon!), let me know how you like it! And I would also love to hear what kind of recipes and content you’d like in a bacon zine, so keep the suggestions coming!

Thin Mint Ice Cream

vegan-thin-mint-ice-cream

Looking for something to do with your leftover* Girl Scout Cookies? The next best thing to eating the cookies in their purest form is making a new dessert featuring the cookies. This Thin Mint Chip Ice Cream, for example.

*And I’m going to assume the only reason you’d have leftovers is because you bought four or five boxes.

A few months ago, my girlfriend came home from a visit to New York with an assortment of Girl Scout Cookies. She filled our cabinets with Lemonades and Thanks-A-Lots and lined the freezer with shiny sleeves of Thin Mints. After eating cookies out of the freezer for a few weeks, I decided to use a sleeve for an ice cream experiment.

Before ordering a case of Girl Scout cookies, do your homework. The veganness of Girl Scout Cookies varies by manufacturer (for Thin Mints especially), and the manufacturer varies by US region. Thin Mints from ABC Bakers are free of animal ingredients, but Thin Mints from Little Brownie Bakers are not veagn. Get the lowdown on the varieties of vegan Girl Scout Cookies from The Laziest Vegans, and the ABC Bakers FAQ.

girl-scout-cookie-ice-cream

I find that using coconut cream as a base for homemade ice creams yields the creamiest texture, even after freezing completely. It does add some coconut flavor to your ice cream, so keep that in mind when choosing flavors for your ice cream, or replace with another high-fat non-dairy milk or cream.

To get the cream from a can of full fat coconut milk by letting it sit at room temperature, undisturbed, for a day, then chilling it for another day. The cream will rise to the top and solidify so you can scoop it out and use it in a recipe. While this is not a complicated process, you do have to plan ahead. Therefore, I was happy to find that Trader Joe’s carries cans of coconut cream! Not to be confused with the sugary liquid used in piña coladas that is also called “coconut cream” and also comes in a can, this coconut cream contains just the cream from coconut milk. Trader Joe’s is the only place I’ve found this, so let me know if you have another source. When in doubt, read labels.

Once the logistics of your cookie and coconut cream acquisition are complete, it’s time for dessert. This refreshing mint green ice cream loaded with cookies and chocolate beats the dairy Thin Mint Ice Cream any day.

Thin Mint Chip Ice Cream

Makes about 1 ½ pints

Ingredients

14 ounces coconut cream
¾ cup sugar
1 cup non-dairy milk
2-2 ½ teaspoons peppermint extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Green food coloring (optional)
10 Thin Mints
¼ cup chocolate chips, chopped

Instructions

Combine coconut cream and sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.

Remove from heat and stir in the milk, extracts, and food coloring, if using. Let cool. Keep the chocolate and Thin Mints in the freezer until it’s time to add them to the ice cream so the ice cream maintains its temperature when you add the chocolate and cookies.

Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions, adding the Thin Mints and chocolate during the last five minutes of freezing. Serve garnished with extra Thin Mints, and chocolate syrup, if desired. Enjoy!

thin-mint-ice-cream

You may have noticed that Seitan Beats Your Meat took an unexpected hiatus over the past several months. Adding a full-time job to my schedule, moving to Chicago, and living out of boxes for a little while got in the way of creating recipes, doing photoshoots, and hoping to make posts on a regular basis. Now that life has settled down quite a bit and I have a place to live with everything unpacked for the first time in a year, I’ll be back with content (and maybe post some photos of my new kitchen and workspace!). I’ll still focus on quality over quantity, but gaps between posts will be weeks, not months.

I’d also like to announce that I’m vending at Paper Moon Pastry‘s upcoming Vegan Vortex Market in Chicago this Saturday! I will have copies of Cheers to Vegan Sweets, zines, and other fun stuff at my table. The market is a showcase of local vegan businesses, authors, and artists so you’ll find food, dessert, handmade gifts, books, art, and more. All of the details are on the Facebook event. Come on by for lunch and check out the goods!

vegan-vortex-kelly-peloza

I’ll be back very soon with another recipe and post!

“But that’s life. One minute you’re on top of the world…”

…the next minute some secretary’s running you over with a lawn mower.”

joan-holloway-cake

Hey, remember when Lois the secretary runs over Guy MacKendrick’s foot with a lawnmower at Joan’s going away party? And right after he got his foot in the door?! (Thanks, Roger.)

After two days of Betty, I felt that this week needed some silly comic relief. Here is Joan’s cake after the splat heard ’round the office.

“Vodka and Mountain Dew is an emergency.”

peggy-mountain-dew

Welcome to the second installment of Mad Men Cocktail Fridays! In season 4 of Mad Men, SCDP takes on Mountain Dew as a client. Given the task of creating cocktail recipes, the copywriters can’t figure it out because they are focused on ignoring Peggy’s authority. While Peggy is busy “pioneering the science of wet blanketry” because she insists a cocktail needs at least three ingredients, they drink vodka and Mountain Dew. A group of incompetent copywriters could be classified as a minor emergency, so Peggy probably deserves a glass of “Rocket Fuel.” Firing Joey was probably a better reward.

Rocket Fuel

Joey says, “It tastes good because it still basically tastes like Mountain Dew.” Peggy says it’s great for young people and hillbillies.

Ingredients

Vodka
Mountain Dew

Instructions

  1. Get a glass.
  2. Pour in Vodka and Mountain Dew.
  3. Stir with a pen or pencil.
  4. Consume.
peggy-mountain-dew

Photo credit: AMC

This marks the end of Vegan MoFo week two. Stay away from the Rocket Fuel this weekend and come back Monday for the third week of Mad Men MoFo!

“Our hams are worth fighting for.”

*Warning: this post summarizes a plot line of a ‘Mad Men’ episode and speaks about character development. It does not contain major spoilers, but read on at your own risk.

sugarberry-ham

In Mad Men‘s season four premiere, ‘Public Relations’, Peggy and Pete orchestrate an unconventional and unofficial publicity stunt that involves actresses fighting over a Sugarberry ham in the grocery store. As planned, the stunt is written up in the paper and leads to a spike in Thanksgiving sales for the ham company. Peggy proudly composes a tagline: “Our hams are worth fighting for.”

All goes well until the actresses start fighting in real life, one sues the other for assault, and they both end up in jail. Peggy goes to Don, who is distracted and unaware of the stunt, in need of money for bail. Despite the success of the original stunt, Don is not too happy with the outcome. He visits Peggy at home and insults her in front of her boyfriend, but she’s not going to take it. As Peggy gains confidence, she no longer holds Don on a pedestal, and these factors, along with others make for Peggy’s expeditious character development. One of Don’s most notable existential crises lasts throughout season four and Peggy’s role in his life at this time leads to moments in which they see eye to eye. Their relationship throughout the series, strictly platonic, goes in many directions beyond mentor and protégé, and season four witnesses some of the best of these moments.

Photo credit: AMC

Photo credit: AMC

Since Sugarberry is a fictional company, I decided to create “print” advertisements using Peggy’s tagline. On my search for an appropriate typeface to use for the ads (thinking I ought to use one that at least existed in the ’60s!), I came across this article on Mad Men‘s props and typography. It’s an interesting read and points out that many typefaces used in the show were created for use on computers and were thus a few decades out of place. After sifting through 1960s-inspired psychedelic fonts, I decided to keep it simple and settled on variations of Futura.

The vegan ham recipe is a seitan roast from Taymer Mason’s Caribbean Vegan (the recipe can be found here on her blog). My mid-century modifications include the addition of Coca-Cola (2013 Coca-Cola, 1961 bottle) in the glaze, and the pineapple, cherry, and clove garnish before baking in the glaze. I decided to style the photos with the early ’60s in mind.

vegan-ham-mad-men

Other plot lines in ‘Public Relations’ include Don bombing a newspaper interview, pitching an ad to prudish Jantzen swimwear, and some of the main characters’ changing family units. Season four is definitely a turning point for the series, and it’s a wild ride. What are your favorite moments of the season? Or Don and Peggy’s relationship?

“I made French toast.”

Don: “What’s on this?”
Sally: “Mrs. Butterworth’s.”
Don: “Go get it.”

Don: “That’s rum. Read labels.”
Sally: “Is it bad?”
Don: “Not really.”

This exchange between Don and Sally happens in season four’s ‘The Beautiful Girls’ when Sally Draper proudly presents homemade French toast to her father. (“Oh daddy, I do it all the time. And there’s no shells in it.”) This episode serves a generous helping of seemingly lighthearted situations that are immediately qualified with some of Mad Men‘s signature dark humor. Like many a character in the show, Sally’s attempts to prove herself end with her falling flat on her face. Literally.

*Warning: spoilers ahead in this post and most other ‘Mad Men’ MoFo posts. Spoilers are often necessary to provide context and write freely about the show. I’ll make a note in future posts when they are spoiler-free!

sally-draper-french-toast

Sally Draper’s coming-of-age story begins in the latter half of the 1960s, where the way the world works, and her world, is shifting. A precocious child from season one, she’s now a child of divorce (cue hysterical Betty: “She’s from a broken home!”) in an era when such a topic is taboo, and carries a longtime insistence that she is, in fact, an adult.

Sally’s role in ‘The Beautiful Girls’ begins when a woman finds her on a train to Manhattan, specifically Don’s office, trying to avoid the fare collectors. Sally expresses her hatred for Betty, back talks Don’s fling of the month Faye Miller, and begs her father, in the thick of his season four downward spiral, to let her live with him. When Don’s secretary suddenly dies at her desk, the employees of SCDP attempt to take care of it without alerting Sally (or their clients), resulting in a darkly humorous series of events. Faye takes Sally back to Don’s apartment, where stilted conversation ensues.

don-sally-draper

Photo credit: AMC

In attempt to prove her adulthood to Don, whom she places on a pedestal for the greater portion of the series, she makes breakfast for him. The fatal flaw of her plan is when she mistakes rum for Mrs. Butterworth’s, revealing that she still is very much a child. While that metaphor was likely in place for viewers, Sally would not appreciate it.

If Sally photographed her food in 1965 with her brand new Kodak Instamatic 404 (that’s Instagram for those of you born in 2001), her set-up might look something like this. A disregard for the subtlety Betty attempts to epitomize, mod patterns, and audacious colors. Groovy.

mad-men-french-toast

Sally’s story in this episode ends when Betty comes to SCDP to retrieve her runaway daughter. Sally’s immediate response is to RUN (I can’t say I blame her). Unfortunately, Sally’s escape is stopped by a trip and fall, but she finds comfort in a hug from Megan Calvet. With Faye’s stature unmoved and out-of-focus in the background, the Mad Men creators foreshadow Don’s abrupt transition from Faye to warm, kind Megan as a wife and mother figure for his children. Sally gives up momentarily and returns to Betty with her bruised knees and ego, not for the first or last time.

megan-sally-draper

Photo credit: AMC

 

Take a page out of Sally’s book and make The PPK’s Fronch Toast, then “mistake” rum for maple syrup. It’s not bad; take Don’s word for it. Or you might take a more palatable route and add the rum (or rum extract) to the batter prior to cooking, or make a maple butter rum sauce in lieu of syrup.

mad-men-the-beautiful-girls