Every once in a while I don’t really feel like baking. I want a decadent dessert that has my personal touch without my actually taking the effort to bake. So, what do I do? Semi-homemade to the rescue!
I don’t normally endorse any particular brands, but Amy’s Kitchen makes a frozen Chocolate Cake that is vegan (and gluten free). With a few ingredients that I usually have on hand, I can transform the cake into a Decadent Vegan Baker original without any high altitude fuss. I have brought this creation to parties and fooled everyone into thinking that I slaved all day in the kitchen.
Raspberry Chocolate Amy’s Cake
1 Amy’s Organic Chocolate Cake, defrosted
2 TBS seedless raspberry jam
3 oz dark chocolate
8-10 fresh raspberries
Take the defrosted cake out of the packaging and slice in half horizontally. Spread jam over the bottom half of the cake and top with the top half, like a jelly sandwich. Melt chocolate in a bowl over a double boiler. Pour the melted chocolate over the cake sandwich. Top with fresh raspberries.
My husband said, “bring on the chocolate,” so I did. I decided to make chocolates, which sounds scarier than it actually is. If you have the right equipment, making chocolate candies is as easy as melt-and-pour. The hard part is picking a flavor combination.
This is a no-bake vegan recipe, great for a hot summer’s day. It’s simple to do if you have the proper equipment: a silicon mold so you need not fuss with chocolate tempering, a silicon brush for the cleanest way to coat a mold, and a double boiler (or a small pot and a metal bowl that is large enough so its bottom doesn’t touch the water when it sits on top of the pot).
For this decadent and elegant dessert I chose chocolate cups filled with raspberry and a hint of chipotle. Raspberry is fantastic paired with the notes of dark chocolate, and adding the chili gives the taste buds a slight zing.
Spicy Raspberry Chocolate Cups inspired by Lazy Cat Kitchen
5 oz. dark chocolate
1 oz. seedless raspberry jam
chipotle powder, to taste
Boil a pot of water on the stove, then lower the heat to medium. Place the chocolate in the top of the double boiler and put it over the water. When the chocolate is melted, pull it off the heat making sure you get no water in the chocolate. Dip a silicon brush in the melted chocolate and fill in the mold cavities halfway, including up the sides. Put mold in the freezer for 20 minutes to set.
Remove mold from the freezer and place a teaspoon of jam into each cavity. Heat a pot of water to boiling, again. Re-melt the chocolate in the top of the double boiler. Remove from heat and stir in chipotle powder. Let the chocolate cool but not completely – you want it to be pourable. Pour the chocolate over the raspberry jam to fill each mold. Do not over- or under-fill the molds or it will be difficult to remove the candies. Put the mold in the freezer for 20 minutes more. Remove from freezer and carefully pop candy out of molds. Makes 6 chocolates.
Waking up to a cold morning made me want a warm, hearty muffin to chase away the chill. I thought a bright burst of fruit, with some healthy bran, ought to do the trick. Looking through my cookbooks I discovered that I didn’t quite have the exact ingredients for anything that sounded good, so I baked some muffins loosely adapted on a few recipes. It’s kinda what I do.
The recipe was already dairy and egg free, so I just made a few adjustments for altitude. The recipe was simple so it only needed a little extra flour and milk and a slight reduction in leaveners. I also used paper muffin cups instead of baking directly in the muffin tin so I wouldn’t have to scrape any dried muffins off the tin.
Hearty Raspberry Muffins adapted with what was in my cupboard from “Sweet & Natural Baking” by Mani Niall
1 1/4 cups + 1 tsp whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup wheat bran
scant 1/2 tsp baking soda
scant 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
3/4 cup + 1/2 tsp almond milk
1/3 cup liquid fruit juice concentrate
3 TBS canola oil
1 cup frozen raspberries, slightly broken up
Preheat oven to 350F and line a muffin tin with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, bran, baking soda, baking powder and salt to combine and make a well in the center. In another medium bowl, whisk milk, fruit juice concentrate, and oil until surface is bubbly. Pour liquid ingredients into the well and stir just until smooth. Stir in the raspberries.
Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake for 18-19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Makes 11-12 muffins.
Posting on Mother’s Day meant I had to do something special, something a bit fancy. Chocolate mousse came to mind but this is a baking blog and mousse isn’t baked. So, I decided to bake a chocolate cookie crust as a vehicle for my tasty chocolate mousse.
Besides a crunchy pie crust, I added a bit of glamour by making a raspberry drizzle (also known as “coulis”). The sauce adds bright color and flavor, is amazingly easy, and the leftovers are great on waffles. It rounds out this simple and fun dessert.
Chocolate Mousse Pie with Cookie Crust and Raspberry Coulis adapted from The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau chocolate cookie crust
1 cup crumbled chocolate cookies (crushed in a food processor)
1/4 cup vegan margarine, melted chocolate mousse
1 cup vegan semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or substitute coffee extract for a deeper chocolate taste)
12 oz silken tofu, drained (soft or firm, the choice will affect the texture) raspberry sauce
6 oz frozen raspberries, thawed
2 TBS vegan sugar
For Chocolate Cookie Crust: Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly oil a 9″ pie plate. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the cookie crumbs and melted butter until well blended. Press evenly into the bottom of the pie plate and slightly up the sides. Bake for 10 minutes. When done, cool on a wire rack.
For Chocolate Mousse: Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler by placing the chips in a small saucepan. Set this pan in a larger pot filled with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water. Heat over medium heat on the stove and stir the chips until they are melted.
Place the milk, extract and tofu into a blender. Process until almost fully smooth. Scrape down the sides and add the melted chocolate. Process until completely smooth.
For Raspberry Sauce: In a blender, thoroughly blend the raspberries and sugar. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer to remove seeds. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
To Assemble the Pie: Pour the mousse into the fully-cooled pie crust. Chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour. To serve, garnish with a drizzle of raspberry sauce. You can also add fresh fruit, chocolate shavings and whipped cream.