This year Easter was a little different. Last week I introduced you to my best friend Dr. Demarus Crawford-White, who is a higher education executive and a vegan. We talked at length about dessert life as a vegan. I was really pleasantly surprised and pleased to learn that as a vegan, dessert made with plant based ingredients can be just at delicious and enjoyable as dessert made with traditional ingredients. Now I say that but I had to test it for myself.
Using my rules of good food recipe finding method, I find three vegan food bloggers with drool worthy dessert recipes. This week I focused on Jessica In The Kitchen. This food influencer, Jessica, embraced a vegetarian then vegan lifestyle for improved health, sleep and mood. She has over 600 recipes on her food blog.
A quick tour of her site makes it easy to see how she’s been able to maintain her new eating lifestyle. The photographs of the dishes makes the food look heavenly. While I’ve been a meat eater all my life and rarely enticed by vegan or vegetarian meals, her food gave me pause.
When I got to her dessert page, I was drawn to the brownies and the cakes. Then I saw her vegan cream cheese frosting. Immediately I thought of Carrot Cake a traditional Easter dessert. I looked up one of my favorite Carrot Cake recipes by Jocelyn Delk Adams of Grandbaby Cakes and decided I could make her cake with a few changes and use Jessica’s frosting.
I gathered all the ingredients for the cake. In addition to the flour, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and an unbelievable amount of hand shredded carrots (which I did while watching Fatal Attraction – it’s still such a good movie), I added the suggested crushed pineapple with some of the juice.
I replaced the eggs called for in the recipe with the plant based egg substitute Just Egg (1/4 quarter cup for every one egg), the cream cheese with the plant based GoVeggie Cream Cheese and the butter with the plant based Earth Balance vegan butter.
I followed the directions to a T for the cake. For the frosting, I missed the corn starch so I doubled up on the confectioners sugar. It did not whip as fluffy but it still worked quite well.
The recipe yields three layers. I made one two layer for Easter day. I got real fancy. I made a edible nest of shredded carrots and crushed walnuts on the top of the cake. I placed three speckled egg malt balls in the nest. It looked really festive.
I reserved one layer for tasting the night before. We had to taste it in its full glory before we shared it with others – just in case I would need to go buy a replacement. My husband and I were the first to try the single layer cake. I got a forkful of cake and icing, closed my eyes and put it my mouth.
Success is the word that immediately came to mind. Success!! The faux eggs, butter and cream cheese blended supremely well with the other ingredients. The pineapples added a nice sweetness to the cake. It was definitely a bit denser than a regular carrot cake but not much.
Wow was my husband’s word! To him, he detected very little difference. It was a home run. Even with the misstep on the frosting it was a “yum” moment.
Quite honestly it turned out way better than I expected. I’ve had other people’s version of vegan desserts and had been woefully disappointed. This was not the case here.
But it was not an official win until my best friend gave it the thumbs up. Fortunately she was home when I called. I drove quickly to her home to get her seal of approval.
I proudly presented my cake and waited eagerly for the response. A woman of few words when it comes to carrot cake (it’s not her favorite but she knows a good one when she tastes it), she gave the “you did good nod.” And proceeded to eat more cake.
Success again. But maybe it was a one time event. Can I repeat it. Can the home baker make delicious vegan desserts too – n special skills – not evan a vegan but maybe I can which means you can too.
In the world today families are not monolithic when it comes to food. Some people are meat eaters. Some are vegetarians. And some are vegan. But all are usually dessert eaters and while they may eat differently for meals they can have desserts that are very much a like and can be enjoyed by all.
As you learn how to cook a variety of foods, you can be the bringer together of your family. And that is what for dessert is all about – brining families together to enjoy great dessert.
To hear more about my Vegan Carrot Cake making experience, listen to my recent podcast on Anchor.