Vegan “Scallops” And Risotto

I’ve written before about how much I loved shellfish before I went vegan, and how that was one of the only food groups I found difficult to give up. Previously, I’ve shared a recipe for vegan “scallops” with white wine cream sauce. The recipe featured “scallops” made from king oyster mushrooms with a decadent pasta bathed in white wine cream sauce. I really enjoy using oyster mushrooms in this application. When marinated well they provided a close approximation to both the taste and the texture of scallops. I created this new recipe with fine dining in mind. Nothing says fine dining quite like scallops. To keep the upscale feel I prepared it with a creamy herb risotto, pomegranate gastrique, and a garnish of fresh micro-greens.

I feel like there’s a misconception that “fancy” food is difficult to make, but it’s really minimalist and quite simple. Consider this one for your next date night in, or dinner party. This recipe doesn’t take too long to put together, and will impress even your carnivorous friends. The most time consuming part of it is stirring the risotto while the broth cooks out. Don’t skip out on making a gastrique for this dish. If you’ve never made a gastrique it may seem tricky, but it only takes a few minutes to throw together. The gastrique adds a light touch of citrus and pomegranate that adds some freshness to the scallops.


Vegan Scallops and Risotto

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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Scallop Ingredients

  • 5-6 large king trumpet or king oyster mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth, or water mixed with vegetable bouillon
  • 1 tbsp white miso paste
  • 1/4 cup vegan white wine
  • 1 tbsp olive or caper juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • additional white wine to deglaze the pan
  • 2 tbsp earth balance or other vegan butter

Risotto Ingredients

  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup blend of chopped fresh thyme, rosemary, and sage
  • 1/2 a yellow onion
  • 2 shallots
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cube not chick’n bouillon
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 1/2 cup vegan white wine
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp follow your heart grated vegan parmesan
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

Gastrique and Garnish Ingredients

  • 1 cup of fresh micro-greens
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • seeds from one pomegranate
  • juice from 2 lemons
  • juice from 2 oranges
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegan white wine
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Cut down king oyster mushrooms into large scallop sized chunks excluding the caps. Score the “scallops” if you’d like (this helps add flavor), and set them aside.
  2. Dice the caps, and set them aside. You can cook these down and add them to the risotto for a nice textural element.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the marinade ingredients. Add the Oyster mushrooms to the marinade, and place into the fridge for at least an hour.
  4. Dice the onion, and mince the shallots and garlic for the risotto. In a large pan, or sauce pan, simmer the shallots, onion, and garlic in the olive oil. Add the diced mushroom cap, so that it can cook down.
  5. Add the arborio rice to the pan, and let it toast for about two minutes.
  6. Add the 1/2 cup of white wine, and let it cook down while stirring periodically.
  7. Add a cube of not chick’n bouillon to four cups of water. Microwave on high, and whisk to dissolve.
  8. Add the broth to the risotto one cup at a time. Allow it to cook down in between adding each cup.
  9. The risotto should be almost completely done cooking when you add the final cup of broth. When you add the final cup allow it to cook down half way, and then add in your fresh herbs, nutritional yeast, and vegan parmesan. If you can’t find vegan parmesan sub two additional tablespoons of nutritional yeast.
  10. While your risotto is cooking start the gastrique. Aim to start it about halfway through the cook time on the risotto to allow everything to finish around the same time.
  11. To make the gastrique cook minced shallot in butter in a small sauce pot until it becomes translucent.
  12. Add pomegranate seeds, orange juice, lemon juice, sugar, wine, and vinegar. Whisk periodically.
  13. Allow gastrique to cook down to about half the volume it originally was. Remove from heat, and strain. The sauce should thicken up as it cools, but if it still seems thin you can cheat a bit by putting it back on the stove, and adding a teaspoon of cornstarch mixed with a teaspoon of water to get it to thicken up.
  14. Once the gastrique and the risotto are fully cooked you’ll want to make the scallops. They only take about five minutes to cook, so just cover the other dishes to allow them to stay warm. In a separate pan heat some butter. I saved some herbs, shallot, and garlic to season the scallops with, and if you’d like to do this too add them in now.
  15. Once the pan is hot enough, you should hear it sizzle when you put the scallops down, add all of your scallops to the pan on one of the flat sides. You can add drip some of the marinade on top of them as they cook for added flavor.
  16. Keep a close eye on the scallops as they cook. Once they have a nice sear on the bottom immediately flip them. Once a nice sear is starting to develop on the final side deglaze the pan with a bit of white wine, and lemon juice. Top them with some sea salt and pepper, and then remove from heat.
  17. Plate your scallops, risotto, and gastrique up nicely with a side salad of undressed micro-greens. For our dishes we brushed on the gastrique, loaded the risotto into a small bowl to shape it, and placed it on the plate. We arranged the scallops neatly around the risotto, and garnished with citrus slices and micro-greens. Enjoy.

Vegan Brownies

I know we recently made a brownie post for our refined sugar free Black Bean Brownies, but I like to have options when it comes to dessert. You really can’t taste the black beans in black bean brownies, but I can see why it might be an intimidating hurdle for a picky eater. This recipe is bean free, but just as tasty. These brownies get a nice crispy exterior that makes them perfect for decorating, or serving plain. I decorated mine using my recipe for The Best Vegan Buttercream. You can flavor your buttercream by adding in things like caramel, or chocolate. If it starts to get to thin compensate by adding a bit more powdered sugar.

It took me two tries to get this recipe perfect. The first time I tried to cut corners by using a mixer. I incorporated too much air, and that caused the butter to separate when baking. Mixing them with a spoon is an absolute must. I ended up throwing the first batch I made in the trash, because they were completely inedible. They were a thin, crunchy sheet coated in oil that ended up tasting like burnt popcorn. It really stresses me out to throw food away. If I think there’s any chance I can save something and make it palatable, even if it’s not quite what I wanted, I absolutely will. That should tell you how bad this first brownie experiment went. I learned from my mistakes, and did some in depth brownie research. I adjusted my ingredient ratios, mixing technique, and cooking temperature. The second batch turned out wonderful.

This recipe was based on a recipe my mom would make for our family. It wasn’t an old family recipe, just a recipe she found on a product label, but in my mind they were the be all end all of brownies. I used the recipe as a guide for the vegan version I created, and I think I got the recipe pretty close if not maybe a little bit better. A lot of my time spent engineering the perfect recipe is spent researching, and shopping for the highest quality ingredients I can find at a reasonable price. I try to use only fair trade ingredients which can often increase the cost, but I’ve found that usually means increased quality and flavor as well.

A good flavored non-dairy butter is a must for this recipe. I used Earth Balance. Oil is not a good butter substitution, because it lacks in the flavor and texture required. The most important ingredient in a good brownie is the cocoa, of course. Starting with a rich flavorful cocoa that’s fair trade is a good way to go. Brownies taste sweeter when you know that you’re not paying to keep others enslaved to make them. I used SACO Conscious Kitchen Certified Organic Cocoa in this recipe. It’s a bit pricey, but it’s worth it for the rich taste and fair trade label. As always, Wholesome brand Organic Cane Sugar is my go to certified vegan white sugar, and tastes great in this recipe.


Vegan Brownies

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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If you can’t find Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer you can substitute it with the same quantity of flax egg.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups vegan white sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup fair trade baking cocoa
  • 4 tbsp Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup melted vegan butter
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground sea salt

Directions

  1. Melt butter in a microwave safe bowl, or measuring cup. Keep a close eye on it as it melts to make sure it doesn’t burn.
  2. Add melted butter and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
  3. Add in vanilla extract and salt. Stir to combine.
  4. In a separate bowl combine Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer, and water. Set aside for one minute to firm up.
  5. Slowly mix in the egg replacer. Mix until everything is blended, and there are no clumps.
  6. Sift in the cocoa powder a little at a time while continually mixing.
  7. Sift in the flour and baking powder a little at a time. Stir until the batter flows well and there are no clumps, but be careful not to over mix. Over mixing will make for tough brownies.
  8. Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking pan that’s at least 2″ deep. I lined my baking sheet with parchment, so I could easily remove the brownies in a full sheet to cut them evenly and decorate. If you’d like to decorate your brownies I recommend doing this. Make sure the parchment has enough overhang on the sides to easily lift the brownies out of the pan, and always remember to lightly grease your parchment for a recipe like this, so you can conveniently peal it off the brownies without tearing them.
  9. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Cook the brownies for 30-35 minutes. Check to see if they’re done with a toothpick. If it comes out clean your brownies are ready.
  10. Let your brownies cool, and cut them to serve. If you’d like to decorate the brownies let them cool, and then remove them from the pan. Measure, and cut them to desired size. Whip up some butter cream, and decorate them as you desire.

Baked Cauliflower Wings

When I was a kid cauliflower was on my list of vegetables that I absolutely hated. I always thought of it as a bad, less flavorful version of broccoli. It wasn’t until I had my first fried “cauliflower wing” that I was introduced to the transformative qualities of cauliflower. Sure, it might not be super flavorful on its own, but it soaks up other flavors like a sponge. Much like tofu, this quality makes it easy to make it taste like whatever you want. While I might not be a big advocate for things like cauliflower rice, or cauliflower pizza crust, I’ve grown to love cauliflower on its own. My favorite ways to prepare cauliflower are roasting it with a variety of spices, or breading it and serving it up with some of my favorite sauces for cauliflower wings.

Today I’ll share with you my quick and easy recipe for breading cauliflower wings. It’s super simple, and allows you the versatility to bake them, or fry them if you’d prefer. You only need a few ingredients and your favorite wing sauce/s. In this recipe we used vegan buffalo sauce, and BBQ sauce to coat ours. Feel free to experiment with some other great flavors like Thai Chili sauce, or a garlic non-dairy butter. Just make sure you check the ingredient label. Some buffalo sauces contain dairy, and some BBQ sauces contain anchovies.


Baked Cauliflower Wings

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • one head of cauliflower
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup bread crumbs, we used panko
  • 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup of Buffalo Sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • canola oil spray (optional)
  • parchment paper

Directions


1. Wash and dry the head of cauliflower. Break it down into bite sized florets.
2. Set up three bowls. In the first bowl add all of the milk. In the second bowl add all of the flour, salt, and pepper and mix. In the third bowl add the panko.
3. Dredge each cauliflower floret, and then set aside on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. To dredge them first place a floret in the non-dairy milk. Remove it allowing excess milk to drip back into the bowl, and then place it in the flour mixture. Make sure it is coated well with flour, tap of excess, and place it back in the milk. Remove it from the milk, and finally coat it thoroughly in the panko. Repeat for every floret.
4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
5. Spray the florets with just a little bit of canola oil. This will help them brown in the oven.
6. Bake the wings for 30-35 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown.
7. While the wings bake place whatever wing sauce you’ll be using in a large mixing bowl, so it can warm to room temperature and won’t make your wings cold.
8. Melt butter in a separate bowl in the microwave, and add to the wing sauce/s. Mix thoroughly. This will help the sauce coat the wings nicely, and adds an extra fatty richness. If you’d like to you can skip this step.
9. Once the wings have baked toss them in the desired wing sauce/s until they’re thoroughly coated. If you choose to only use one sauce double it from a 1/4 cup to a 1/2 cup.
10. I recommend serving with a dipping sauce, and a side salad.

Vegan Pad Thai

I love Thai food. There’s a wonderful Thai restaurant called Thai Gourmet a few minutes from our house. If you live in Pittsburgh I’d highly recommend trying them. It’s probably where we get 95% or more of our takeout meals from when we order in. They’re really great about making most of the menu items vegan if you ask. I’ve liked everything I’ve ordered from their menu, but one of my favorites will always be Pad Thai. With its perfect balance of flavors it’s popular for a reason. My version of Pad Thai might not be super authentic, or do a great homage to Thai Gourmet’s, but it’s still pretty tasty.

The biggest reason I developed a Pad Thai recipe is because Nick has a peanut allergy, and I wanted him to be able to experience the flavors of one of my favorite dishes. I use almonds for this recipe, but feel free to keep it more traditional and use peanuts. I’ve also subbed rice wine vinegar in place of tamarind paste, because I know it can be difficult to find if you don’t live near an Asian market. I like to make my recipes easy and attainable for everyone. If you are lucky enough to live close to a store that sells tamarind paste feel free to use it instead. You might need to tweak some of the other ingredients to get the right flavor, but it should be a pretty easy substitution.

We used Just Egg in this recipe to add a great textural element commonly found in the dish. It was nice to have a Pad Thai with fried egg in it, since I haven’t had egg from an actual chicken in going on three years now. Pad Thai is still great without the egg, but it’s nice to have the additional texture. Thai Gourmet does a great job of cooking longer strips of tofu which really satisfy my craving for the eggy texture without ordering the dish with fried egg. If you can’t find Just Egg, or don’t like it the recipe is fine without the egg. I find the egg to be a great addition that helps appease your friends and family members that still choose to be carnivores.

When it comes to the bean sprouts I’d advise skipping them, or thoroughly cooking them if you’re immunocompromised, or serving this dish to someone in an at risk group like an elderly family member, or kid. Sprouts are delicious and nutritious, but are identified as a food with a heightened risk of carrying food borne illness. If you’re not an at risk member of society sprouts are great, and a pretty necessary element of this dish. Just make sure you wash them thoroughly before consuming. If you’re unable to find fresh sprouts at your local grocery store there are usually canned sprouts in the international section.

Vegan Pad Thai

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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Ingredients

  • 1 block of tofu, we used the Nasoya extra firm pre-pressed
  • 10.5 oz Ka Me Express Pad Thai Noodles
  • 1 cup of almonds or peanuts, chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/3 cup Just Egg
  • 1/4 cup julienned carrots
  • 1/4 cup water with one cube of No Chick’n Bullion, or other vegetable stock
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 limes
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
  • 4 tbsp tamari
  • 4 tbsp coconut brown sugar, or other vegan brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp white miso paste
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tsp chili garlic paste
  • a pinch of ground white pepper
  • a pinch of red chili flake to taste

Directions

  1. Start by prepping all of your ingredients. Chop the almonds or peanuts finely, and set aside in a bowl. Slice and juice one of the limes into a separate bowl. Quarter the other lime/s into wedges. You can prep as many limes as you want, but you’ll need at least two of them for the four servings this recipe makes. Mince the garlic, and chop your green onions. We chopped the white part of the onions finer, and left the green stems of the onions bigger chunks to add texture.
  2. Prepare the sauce in a large mixing bowl. Microwave 1/4 cup water with the bullion. I use a glass measuring cup to microwave it in. You can add the miso to the water as well to help it melt. Whisk together thoroughly, and add miso and bullion water to the large mixing bowl.
  3. While the water is still hot, whisk in the coconut brown sugar to help it melt. Add lime juice, chili garlic paste, almond butter, hoisin, and tamari. Whisk together to fully integrate the ingredients.
  4. Cut tofu into small squares. In a large skillet or a wok heat sesame oil, and fry the cubed tofu. Set aside in a bowl or on a plate. I like to line a plate with a paper towel to catch the extra grease.
  5. Fry up the Just Egg according to the instructions on the bottle. Scramble it into small, bite sized pieces. Set aside with the tofu.
  6. Heat more sesame oil up in the large wok or skillet. Toast up red pepper flakes (optional) to reach whatever level of heat you desire, minced garlic, and some of the green onion. Once the ingredients become very aromatic add the sauce to the pan.
  7. Whisk the sauce periodically as you heat it. It should start simmering at the sides, and becoming thicker in consistency. Add in julienned carrots and green onion to taste. Once it has thickened up a bit add the Pad Thai noodles. You can buy Pad Thai noodles that aren’t already cooked, and cook them before starting to prepare the dish, and set them aside. Rice noodles can be tricky, and if you’re a beginner at cooking I’d recommend buying the precooked Ka Me noodles. The noodles come in two packs. Use both packs.
  8. Using tongs ensure the noodles are saturated with sauce, and then add in half of your bean sprouts. Add in some of the crushed/chopped nuts, more green onion, tofu, and Just Egg. Taste the dish to see if the spice level is what you’d like. If you want it hotter add more chili flakes.
  9. Cook for two minutes periodically turning ingredients with tongs to ensure saturation. Sauce should be nicely adhered to all of the ingredients, and not sitting in a puddle in the bottom of the wok/skillet. Remove from heat when complete.
  10. Plate with additional bean sprouts, chopped nuts, and lime wedge. Enjoy.

Vegan Black Bean Brownies

Refined Sugar Free

I’ve had a sweet tooth my entire life. My palate has certainly advanced past some of the overly sweet things I used to love as a kid, and now I prefer things with rich dark chocolate and a small amount of sugar. I’ve always been a fan of sweet over savory. If I could get adequate nutrition for dessert I’m not sure I’d have it for every meal, but I’d certainly have it a lot. Unfortunately the world doesn’t work that way, and sweets should be an occasional treat and not a meal replacement. I’ve been trying to lose some weight recently, and reach a healthier BMI. This has involved limiting my dessert intake to once or twice a week, and trying to make smarter choices about what sweets I do consume.

While I’ve been trying to be healthier I do still consume refined sugar, and I forget that for some people that’s a big no-no. Disclaimer: I’m not trying to say that these are healthy. They’re just a bit healthier than eating a lot of refined cane sugar, because the coconut brown sugar is lower on the glycemic index. A lot of the dessert recipes I post on the blog can be made without refined sugar, and with coconut brown sugar or other natural sweeteners. If you want to use a liquid sweetener like maple syrup, or agave you may need to experiment a little bit and adjust the amount of moisture you add with other ingredients as well as cook time. I have no beef with bleached white sugar as long as it’s vegan, but I realize why some people do and wanted to provide a decadent sweet option for those who are more health conscious. This brownie recipe is decadent, deliciously sweet, fudgy, and by default refined sugar free. You really won’t miss the bleached white sugar, I promise.


Vegan Brownies

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Caramel Sauce Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Wholesome coconut brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Brownie Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup Wholesome coconut brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 16 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl combine all dry brownie ingredients. Sift each ingredient as you add it to the bowl to prevent clumping.
  2. In a food processor combine drained and rinsed black beans with coconut milk and vanilla extract, and puree until smooth. You may still see some flecks of skin. This is fine. You won’t notice it in the consistency of the brownies.
  3. Grease an 8″x8″, or similar volume baking dish. You can line it with parchment if you wish. I usually don’t, because I make my brownies in a glass Pyrex dish, and they come out very easily as long as the pan is greased.
  4. If you want to add an add in like chocolate chips, lightly coat them in flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom, and gently fold them into your batter. This step is optional, and the brownies are very rich and flavorful with or without.
  5. If you’d like to make caramel sauce to marble into your brownies like we did do so at this time. Melt vegan butter down in a small sauce pan on low heat, and then stir in the coconut brown sugar.
  6. Once coconut brown sugar has melted combine the full fat coconut milk. Simmer until mixture starts to bubble all the way throughout, and turn a slightly darker color. If you dip a spoon in the mixture it should still be fairly runny, but will ultimately coat the spoon. Remove from heat immediately after it reaches this consistency.
  7. Allow your caramel to set for a few minutes.
  8. Spoon some of the caramel sauce on top of the brownies in ribbons. Using a toothpick make whatever design you like. Save some of the caramel to pretty them up more after baking.
  9. Preheat your oven to 350 and cook brownies for 25-35 minutes. Check with a tooth pick to see if they’re done.
  10. Allow brownies to cool before cutting and serving. If you’d like to you can add some more caramel to the top. The caramel may bake down a bit and leave some gaps in the top of your brownies, so it’s a good idea to conserve some caramel to touch these up.
  11. Top with sea salt, sprinkles, nuts, and more if you’d like. Enjoy.

Vegan Cookie Dough Cake

Yesterday was my birthday, yay! Since we couldn’t go out and celebrate due to the fact that there’s a global pandemic going on I decided to bake myself a cake. I also took the time to make some cake pops with the cake cuttings and leftover buttercream, and chocolate ganache. This was my first try making cake pops, so I’ll be perfecting my cake pop abilities before sharing that recipe with you.

I’ll go into details about how to decorate your cake like I did after the recipe, but you don’t have to have all of the decorating supplies that I used for this cake to make a good cake. If you don’t have piping tips, palette knives, icing scrapers, or a lazy susan that’s okay! The key is mastering a good sponge cake. The decorating comes secondary to that. If you have the perfect sponge I’m sure your friends and family will still be delighted and impressed even if you smear your buttercream on with a knife.

When making this recipe you can just make the basic sponge, and ice it with buttercream if you don’t want to make the cookie dough. I filled the layers, and topped it with cookie dough, because it’s my favorite and it is my birthday cake. When I was a kid I would frequently steal raw chocolate chip cookie dough from the kitchen when my mom would bake. I often find myself still finding reasons to “sample” my own dough as I bake as an adult. Only now there’s much less of a risk of food born illness since I’m not eating raw eggs, and dairy.

If you’d like to go all out and decorate it as I did you can use our recipe for vegan cookie dough. I halved the recipe, and left out the baking soda to make this. There seemed to be no need to waste baking soda, since I wasn’t going to cook the dough.

This sponge recipe is another one from my maternal grandmother Billie. She used it in most of the wedding cakes she would make. It took me several months to figure out how to make this tried and true recipe vegan, and learn how to adjust it for the sizes of cakes I wanted to make. In this post I’ve adjusted the measurements to fit three 6″ diameter by 2″ height layers. If you have any questions about how to adjust it for different sized cakes feel free to get in touch, and I’ll try to help you out as best as I can.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: advanced
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Sponge Cake Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups vegan white sugar
  • 1 cup sparkling water
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter (one stick)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)
  • 2 tbsp bobs red mill egg replacer
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt

Decoration Ingredients

  • 3 cups buttercream frosting
  • 1 cup vegan cookie dough
  • 6oz full fat coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups vegan chocolate chips or baking chocolate

Making the Sponge Cake


1. In a large mixing bowl sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
2. Melt the vegan butter in a mixing bowl, and coat dry ingredients with it. Gently chop together being careful not to overwork the flour. Coating the flour with oil helps prevent it from becoming overworked when you mix in the wet ingredients. This will allow for a fluffier cake.
3. In a small bowl combine Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer with water as directed on the package. Let sit for a minute.
4. Mix egg replacer into the dry mixture, making sure it is thoroughly incorporated.
5. In a separate bowl mix together the sparkling water and vanilla.
6. Add the wet ingredients into the flour mixture, gently stirring until there are no clumps. Try not to beat the mixture, as it will kill the carbonation, and overwork the flour.
7. Coat the vegan chocolate chips in a light dusting of flour. This will prevent them from sinking to the bottom of your pan when baking.
8. Fold the flour coated chocolate chips into your cake batter.
9. Thoroughly grease your cake pans, and if you have parchment paper add a lightly greased parchment round to the bottom of each pan. You can cut the parchment to size, or order precut parchment rounds. I strongly recommend this, as it makes the cake come out very cleanly every time.
10. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Once your oven reaches temperature cook your sponges for 15 minutes. Check them at fifteen minutes to make sure they are not becoming over done. They should still be soft in the middle at this point. Check them after another ten, and then another five minutes. They should take about 30 minutes to cook at this temperature, but it may depend on your oven. All it takes is about two extra minutes for your vegan cake to become over done, dry, and chewy.
11. After 30 minutes check each sponge again with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean they are done. Remove them, and place them on a cooling rack.
12. Once they are completely cool you can level the top, and if you wish trim off the crispier cake from the sides and bottom. You can do this using a large cake knife, a cake leveler, or even a piece of unflavored dental floss. When trimming the sides I recommend using a smaller cake pan, or cake board as a template. Just place it on top of your sponge and cut around the outside. This will prevent over trimming, or uneven trimming. If that sounds like too much of a hassle for you, feel free to leave the “skin on”. Trim the top though, or the layers will slide off or just sit very uneven.
13. If you’re not interested in making a fancy cake that takes a lot of time to decorate you can add on your buttercream, or other icing at this time. I recommend making our homemade Best Vegan Buttercream.

Decorating the Cake

  1. Make the buttercream.
  2. Set the appropriate sized cake board on the lazy susan. In this case the appropriate size cake board is 8″ for a 6″ cake. Using a board that’s a few inches larger in diameter allows you room to decorate, and makes it easier to transport the cake.
  3. Apply a small amount of icing dead center on the cake board. Smear it a bit with the palette knife to cover more area. Place the bottom most layer of the sponge cake. Use a large round piping tip. Start in the middle of your layer, and spiral all the way out to the very edge of the layer. Use your palette knife to make sure the icing is level and even.
  4. Add some crumbles of the cookie dough, and apply a thin layer of icing over top so the next layer of sponge cake will stay in place.
  5. Stack the next layer. Repeat the icing and cookie dough application.
  6. Stack the top most layer.
  7. Using the palette knife apply a crumb coating to the outside of the cake. This should just be a thin layer of icing all over to lock in any crumbs. You should still be able to see parts of the sponge cake through the icing.
  8. Allow your cake to rest in the refrigerator for about an hour. This will “set” the crumb coat.
  9. Add another layer of butter cream after the crumb coat has set. I used a wide, flat, ribbon piping tip to pip the icing all the way up the sides of the cake. Make sure there is some over hang over the top of the cake. This will allow you to make nice sharp edges. Spiral the icing on the top of the cake with the ribbon tip.
  10. Using a bench scraper, or an icing scraper, hold it at an angle against your icing. Apply a slight amount of continuous pressure while you turn the lazy susan. Remove any excess icing from the bench scraper as you go. This should create a nice flat, perfectly smooth layer of icing on the outside.
  11. Using some wax paper, and a fondant smoother gently smooth the top of the cake. Start by placing the wax paper over the edges, and gently tamp them down around the outside of the cake, then move inward. Smooth until the top is flat and even.
  12. Return the cake to the fridge to chill for an additional hour. While it is chilling you can make the ganache.
  13. In a small sauce pan heat up 6 oz of coconut milk. Cook until the milk starts to simmer
  14. Add chocolate chips or baking chocolate to a heat resistant bowl. I used a pyrex for this. Pour the coconut milk over the chocolate. Allow it to sit for five minutes.
  15. Whisk coconut milk and chocolate until it is smooth and shiny with no clumps.
  16. Refrigerate the ganache for 15 minutes, or until it is a little cooler than room temperature. You want it to be warm enough to run, but cool enough that it starts to set up quickly.
  17. Remove your cake from the fridge. Using a spoon apply small ganache drips from the top sides of the cake. Add slightly more ganache for larger drips, and less for smaller drips. Create a variety of lengths. Spoon some ganache over the top of the cake, and gently spread with a spoon being careful not to smear the buttercream into the ganache.
  18. Return to the fridge to set.
  19. Using the remaining butter cream find whatever star shaped piping tips you like, and pipe accents on the bottom and top of your cake.
  20. Add a variety of sizes of cookie dough crumbles to finish it off, and voila you have a cake that will impress anyone at the party.