Twinkle Twinkle Little Star...vegan birthday here we are!
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
My daughter recently turned two. We celebrated her birthday in Vermont, and the theme of her party was Twinkle Twinkle Little Star-- which is one of her favorite songs. We shined lights in the shape of stars onto the ceiling, had glow-in-the-dark star stickers on the wall, a nightlight projecting Planet Earth, star confetti, star balloons, and other fun outer space decorations. But the real "star" of the party was the desserts. I made a round cake with white coconut whipped cream frosting to represent the moon, and yellow cupcakes in the shape of stars.
Besides the fact that most food coloring/dyes aren’t vegan, there are studies linking them to a whole host of health problems, including behavioral issues in kids. They are everywhere: in baked goods, cereals, snacks, candy, and many other common products. Even if my daughter wasn’t vegan, I’d want her to steer clear of these toxic products, there’s just nothing good about them. With some experimentation and creativity, it's easy to find natural, safe alternatives using vegetables, fruits and spices. No chemicals involved! Check out this beautiful bright pink frosting I made using just raspberries.
For my daughter’s birthday, I needed yellow dye for her star cupcakes. With a little help from my Twitter friends, I tested out turmeric. It worked perfectly! I mixed it into the frosting little by little, and tasted it as I went along to make sure that the flavor of turmeric wasn’t detectable. What I ended up with was a beautiful yellow-colored icing. I was so happy with the results that I plan to use turmeric from now on whenever I need a yellow dye.
Here’s the recipe for the cake/cupcake batter I used-- which came out soft, moist and delicious! I also included the recipe for the two icings I used: coconut whipped cream for the moon cake, and fluffy buttercream frosting for the star cupcakes. Enjoy!
VANILLA CAKE RECIPE
1 cup Sugar
1 2/3 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Grease and sprinkle some flour into an 8 inch cake pan or round (your choice)
- In a large bowl combine sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt
- Cut the shortening into your dry ingredients
- in another bowl combine vegetable oil, vinegar, vanilla extract, and water to the bowl, mix well
- Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix well.
- Pour cake batter immediately into pan and bake
- Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean
Remove cake from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Then place the cake upside down on a plate and allow it to cool an additional 10 minutes before frosting.
COCONUT WHIPPED CREAM Ingredients:
2 (14-ounce) cans full-fat coconut milk
1/3 cup vegan powdered sugar
1. Chill coconut milk in refrigerator from 4 - 12 hours. Chill whisk attachment from mixer, if room in fridge.
2. Attach whisk attachment to mixer. Open cans of coconut milk, being careful not to stir or shake the contents inside. Carefully scoop the top, thick part of the coconut milk from inside the can; discard the remaining coconut liquid/water. Place thick coconut cream in a medium mixing bowl; add sugar.
3. Whip until just smooth and thick, about 20 seconds. Do not overmix-- mixture will fall and become thin. Use whipped cream immediately, or refrigerate up to 4 hours prior to use
FLUFFY BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
* This recipe is from the book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.
½ cup nonhydrogenated shortening
½ cup nonhydrogenated margarine
3½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup plain soy milk or soy creamer
- Beat the shortening and margarine together until well-combined and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes. Add the vanilla and soy milk and beat for another 5 to 7 minutes until fluffy.
For more delicious vegan cupcake and cake recipes, check out this book.
It should be in every vegan parent's kitchen!
Enjoy the recipes and happy vegan birthday to all!
I was really excited to make these Easter cookies, particularly the icing. I was determined to not buy any store-bought artificial food coloring, so I tested out a natural food "dye" that was safe and vegan....and came from a fruit. Using a bag of frozen, organic raspberries, I was able to create a beautiful, bright pink colored icing! Read on for this simple recipe...
Having fun making Easter cookies
Easter bunnies, chirping chicks, flowers in bloom, and....easter cookies! Holidays are always a fun excuse to make (and eat) cookies, so with the materials and ingredients in hand, my daughter Charlotte and I got started. Although I love my go-to delicious and easy-to-make sugar cookie recipe (from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar) that I use for Christmas Cookies, I decided to try out a new recipe. This is also a fun, kind alternative to coloring easter eggs.
It's pretty simple and tasty, so here it is:Vegan Sugar Cookies
3Tbsp Ener-G egg replacer powder (you can get this in any health food store or online here)
1/4c. warm water
3 3/4c. flour
2tsp baking powder
1c. vegan butter
1c. white granulated sugar
1/4c vegan cream cheese (Tofutti is a good brand)
1tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
1. Combine the Ener-G egg placer powder with the warm water, whisking until gooey. Set aside.
2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the vegan butter and sugar using an electric hand mixer for 3-4 minutes,
or until creamy and fluffy. Add the egg replacer mixture, vegan cream cheese and vanilla, beating until just combined. Gradually add the flour mixture, beating to form a stiff dough. Form the dough into two discs, wrap inplastic wrap, and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4" thickness (if it is a little hard and dry from the fridge, wait a few minutes). Using floured cookie cutters, cut out your cookie shapes, and place each on the prepared baking sheet about 1" apart. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely before decorating.
Yield: About 3 dozen cookies
Note: Don't let the "vegan" ingredients scare you off. The Ener-G egg replacer is available in most health food stores or online. Recipes call for such a small amount, that I've had the same box for more than a year. So skip the eggs, and buy a box and keep it on hand. The vegan cream cheese and vegan margarine are available in most mainstream stores nowadays, including Stop & Shop, C-Town, Key Foods, Price Chopper, Safeway, Albertson's, Publix, etc. and of course, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.
Here's Charlotte mixing up the ingredients....
...and licking the spoon (no salmonella worries because there are no eggs).
The next day we rolled out the dough and cut it into egg shapes...
Now for the best part....the ICING. Food coloring is bad news for many reasons...there's a lot of controversy surrounding its toxicity, and of course most aren't vegan. There are vegan alternatives available sold in stores and online, but I was determined to find a fruit or vegetable (of any vegan food for that matter) that I could use to color my icing...and with the help of the internet and my professional baker friend, Sarah, I found one! I used raspberries and the icing came out perfect-- it was a beautiful, vibrant shade of pink.
Raspberry Icing Recipe:
1/2c. vegan butter
10oz. bag of frozen raspberries (thawed)
4c. powdered sugar
1-2Tbsp soy/rice/almond milk (if needed to thin it out)
1) Boil raspberries on medium heat until thoroughly mixed into a sauce (about 4-5min).
2) Mix raspberries and butter in large bowl.
3) Add one cup of sugar at a time. Mixing in-between cup additions.
4) Add vanilla, and mix. If the icing is too thick at this point, add one to two tablespoons of soy milk to thin.
Time for decorating the cookies with the raspberry-flavored icing and sprinkles...
Note: You can order organic, vegan sprinkles online.
HOPPY Easter to all!