Just Desserts

I have a dear, wonderful friend who is allergic to just about everything.  So when I find a recipe that is nut-, gluten-, dairy-, and yeast- free, I get excited.  When it’s dessert, I get really excited!  Recently I came across a wonderful blog about healthy desserts:  chocolatecoveredkatie.com.  While drooling over the chocolatey goodness, I found these Blondies.  Secret ingredient: beans.  What?!?  Gross!!!  Yet, so crazy they just might work.  I knew immediately that I needed to make them for my friend.  They turned out so good that I doubled the recipe and baked up a batch the next day for my boyfriend’s birthday party, where they were an instant hit!  You’ll just have to trust me when I tell you that beans can make some fabulous cookies.  Or, you could break out the food processor and make them yourself.  (Use a food processor.  It will save you both time and a lot of swearing.)

While I was doing all that baking, I needed to make a birthday cake, of course!  The BF had requested something chocolate, but he is a peanut butter fiend like me, so I decided on chocolate cake with peanut butter icing.  My first attempt at the cake involved vegan-izing my mom’s devil’s food recipe.  I replaced the eggs with Ener-G egg replacer and ended up with a small, flat-ish cake that left its bottom on the pan.  It tasted good, so I decided it wasn’t a total loss.  But after I looked at its skinny layers for a few hours, I knew I needed another layer.  I whipped up the easy chocolate cupcake recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.  You should buy this book, so I’m not giving you the recipe (copyright infringement?).  Just know that when you buy it, you can use the Basic Chocolate Cupcake recipe to make a single 8″ round cake layer.  Double it for two layers or a 9″x13″.

As for the sticking to the pan problem: My genius mother had the solution.  First, spray the pan with oil.  Then, trace the pan on parchment paper, cut to fit the pan, and stick it down.  It might not be necessary to grease the bottom if you do this, but the oil helps the circle to stick, since parchment has tendency to curl up.  I successfully dumped Layer #3 out of the pan, and after letting it steam off for a few minutes, I carefully removed the paper.  Perfect.  Thanks Mom!

Although I’m not willing to divulge the cake recipe for fear of being sued, I will give you the icing recipe.  My mom makes a non-vegan version of this that is also divine.  This makes enough for a layer cake, a 9″x13″ cake, or two dozen cupcakes.

Peanut Buttercream

1/2 c margarine

2 T shortening

2/3 c creamy peanut butter

3 tsp vanilla

2 1/2 c powdered sugar

2-4 T plant milk

1.  With an electric mixer, cream together the marg and shortening until smooth.  Add PB and vanilla, beat until very smooth, 2-3 mins.

2.  Beat in sugar; mixture will be very stiff.  Dribble in milk a little at a time until frosting is pale tan and very fluffy.  Add more sugar or milk in small increments to adjust the thickness.  (I found that I need a little more milk than called for.)

3. Frost your completely cooled cake and revel in the peanut buttery deliciousness!

Hooray for blurry cell phone pics and sprinkles!

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