Friday, December 2, 2011

The best Red Velvet Cake that happens to be Vegan!

I am a Southern Belle at heart. I was born in Winchester, Kentucky--both my parents grew up there. We still have quite a bit of family living in the South. I love everything about Southern food, except for the high calories and fat counts! My favorite is Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese frosting.

My husband suffered a massive heart attack at the age of 44, and it was after that scare that we started to radically change our diet (Sorry Paula Deen). While I still ADORE desserts, I try to find alternatives that are Vegan and still tasty. While I wouldn't profess that many Vegan desserts are necessarily low in calories and fat, this recipe for Vegan Red Velvet Cake with Vegan Frosting does a good job of keeping down the fat grams but most importantly without taking away taste. This is a unbelievably delicious cake that is so moist and flavorful. A lot of people turn up their nose when they even hear the word Vegan without actually understanding what it means. Vegan is No Eggs, No Dairy, No animal products. I actually took an old family recipe and Veganized it. I did a test run at work this past week, and the cake was gone in less than 10 minutes. People raved about it and loved it, even though they knew it was Vegan. Many said that if I didn't tell them they would not have known! I also came up with a fun holiday spin by adding peppermint to the frosting and decorating it to look like peppermint candies! Enjoy!

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Grease and flour Q2 8" round metal baking pans-
  • 2-3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Ghiradelli)
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-3/4 cups plain non dairy milk (I use unsweetened almond but you can use any kind you like. Just don't vanilla version)
  •  1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 Tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons white  vinegar
  • 1/4 cup red food coloring (you can use2 oz bottle of  regular but I use Vegan India Tree coloring or 1/4 cup beet juice)

  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt

  • Add non-dairy milk, oil, food coloring (or beet juice), and vanilla to flour mixture and stir until just blended. Stir in vinegar until just blended

  • Immediately pour batter into prepared pans and bake in preheated oven for 35-50 minutes. To test doneness, I use a toothpick and stick it into the center until it comes out clean. If it comes out clean the cake is done. If not, then cook in 5 min. increments and test as you go along.
  • Cool in pans for 10 minutes on wire rack. Run knife around edge of pan after 10 min. then invert cakes onto rack to cool completely. Once cooled cut each cake layer in half so you have 4 total slices

  • 6 cups confectioner's icing sugar (Q1 32 oz bag)
  • Q1 8 oz container of Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese, softened (I buy mine at Whole Foods)
  • 1 cup vegan margarine ( I use Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks that I get at Whole Foods)
  • 1 cup vegan vegetable shortening (again I buy this at Whole Foods)
  • 4 tablespoons vanilla extract-(yup I said 4, what can I say, I love vanilla!)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2-3/4 cup Vegan Soy Creamer or Non Dairy Milk
  • 1 tsp Peppermint Extract (or more or less to taste)

  • In a large mixing bowl, place vegan margarine, vegan shortening and whip on medium speed until blended and there are no lumps. Then add container of Vegan Cream Cheese and blend on Med speed until smooth (about 2 minutes)
  • Start with a 1/2 cup of Non Dairy Milk or Vegan Creamer and add this to the vegan margarine/shortening mixture and mix on low until incorporated. Gradually add powdered sugar, one cup at a time and blend until mixed together on med-slow speed. If the mixture is getting too dry, add a touch more milk or creamer and continue blending on med-slow speed.
  • Add salt and vanilla and continue mixing (for about 1 minute)---add peppermint extract to taste
  • Once all ingredients are blended, turn mixer on high and beat for approximately 4 minutes. If the frosting seems too thick, add more creamer or milk and continue to blend.
  • Split the frosting up into 2 bowls and color the one bowl with red coloring (either the India Tree color, beet juice or regular red food coloring)
  • Place one cake layer, flat side down on cake plate or platter. Take about 3/4 cup icing and frost the first layer with white. Then, place the next sliced cake layer on top and ice that with Red icing. Alternate with each layer until finished. When done layering, cover the entire cake with a thin crumb coat of white icing and place cake in fridge for approximately 15 minutes to chill.

The Vegan Buttercream Rose Swirl

Video Tutorial for doing the Rose Swirl by Baking 911 (love that site!!!)

Now for the fun part! I have included a video tutorial on how to do a Buttercream Swirl Rose. It is so easy!!I have included some pictures below of my design process for placing them on the cake. Follow the video above for more detailed instructions on how to actually prepare the icing bag and create the rose swirls.You will want to make sure that you have a large pastry bag and 1M decorating tip. Both can be found at your local Michael's Craft Store or Local Cake Supply Store.



Thursday, August 18, 2011

Vegan Desserts Rock My World!

I have been baking for 30 years. I work during the day as a production director at a large metropolitan ad agency. And by night, I am a baker! That's right, a night shift operator who is knee deep in flour, sugar, vanilla and all kinds of other fabulous ingredients! I made my "side" business official about 2 years ago, as the demand for my bake goods skyrocketed. Moon Wink Bakery was born! Over the years, I became known in my office as the sugar fairy.....bestowing sweet treats on my co-workers each week. Just delivering the "extras" from a client order the night before.

And then, something really monumental changed my world. My husband had a heart attack at the age of 44, and suddenly the appeal of eggs, sugar, butter or any other artery clogging ingredient wasn't so appealing. Upon my urging, my husband and I made the decision to commit to a Vegan lifestyle. Not knowing a thing about it, our initial assumption was that we would be destined to a boring, tasteless, stifling diet of bland food and limited choices. How could someone whose entire passion that revolved around dessert suddenly be faced with a world without it? So....I didn't waste any time starting my research. I searched every book store, blog and website regarding a Vegan diet. My first gold mine was the discovery of a site,, that was filled with amazing tips and recipes for low fat Vegan eating. Mock "Tuna" salad made from chick peas? Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Biscuits that taste like Hardees? Beer Seitan Carnitas that taste like fajitas? Mock Chicken Pot Pie?  Black Bean Brownies? Yep, I have tried them all and they are amazingly delicious!!!!! Lindsay Nixon also came out with a book, The Happy Herbivore Cookbook which is now my most coveted possession!! I seriously would be lost without this book! Lindsay really gave me the inspiration to venture out of my Vegan shell and try new things. As a result, I started taking some risks and experimenting with my baking. What better way to test my new Vegan desserts then on my fellow co-workers. The only catch? I decided to NOT tell them things were Vegan. The result? RESOUNDING success. People raved about the chocolate Vegan cake, the triple chocolate Vegan cookies, The Vegan Banana cupcakes and on and on. In fact, after about 3 months, I finally spilled the beans and guess what....people started ordering my Vegan Desserts over my Non Vegan! Suddenly word of mouth spread, and I now have more clients than I know what to do with! And the best part is, I get to bake the majority of my orders for Vegan clients! This lifestyle change has been amazing in so many ways. It has been such a blessing to discover this new way of eating that is not only friendly to the planet and animals, but is also a miracle cure for my husband in his journey to a healthier heart. So, any one that tells you that you can't have a Vegan Dessert that Rocks your World, don't buy it! Just take a look at the pics below of some of my most recent orders! They taste even more delicious than they look!!! I am hoping to start posting some recipes soon to share with everyone. In the meantime, if you haven't already, go out and purchase Lindsay Nixon's book, The Happy Herbivore !!! You will be thrilled with all the amazing recipes!

 Vegan Chocolate Cake with Vegan "Un-Buttercream"
 Vegan Triple Chocolate Cookies
 Vegan Raspberry Cake with Vegan Raspberry Un Buttercream
 Vegan Chocolate Cake with Vegan Un Buttercream
 Vegan Kid's birthay cake!
 Vegan Toy Story Cake! Chocolate with Un Buttercream!
 Inside of the Vegan Chocolate Raspberry Cake! My favorite!
 Vegan Cake with All Natural Vegetable food coloring!

 Vegan Banana Cupcake with Vegan Caramel Frosting and Vegan Caramel drizzle
Raspberry Vegan Cake