Friday, 8 November 2013

A Long Weekend of Birthday Baking

Gaaaah, this post is about one month late but I still wanted to share three recipes I had tested out during the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. Over that long weekend, I baked goodies as presents to three birthday girls: a childhood friend, a church friend, and my beloved grandmother. Without further ado, some eye-candy for you to indulge in.

Building the Vegan Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake
Once I confirmed that my childhood friend, Tiff, was a fellow fan of pumpkin, I decided to go all out for her birthday cake. We were celebrating her 'entrance into adulthood' with a 'baby turkey' (aka Costco rotisserie chicken) dinner, Disney movies, and a sleepover. Sounding epic? Just wait until you hear about this Vegan Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake I made her. Alternating layers of chocolate pumpkin cake and crustless pumpkin pie, glued together with whipped coconut cream. I could eat the whole cake and feel [almost] guiltless. I just got some teasing from my best friend, looking down on the cake just because I mentioned it's vegan. Whoa whoa now, don't hate on vegan food! Vegan food can be de-lish, as proven by this cake.

Completed Vegan Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake
It was my first time using and eating whipped coconut cream, oh my goodness, Coconut Crumpet went on a vacation to heaven. I stuck a can of Rooster Brand Gold Label Coconut Milk into the fridge overnight for the vegan whipped cream. I highly recommend using this particular coconut milk because of its high, high, high fat content. It's super rich, thick, and coconutty. All the coconut whipped cream recipes I've seen online use the 'full fat' cans of coconut milk, which yield about half a can of whip-able coconut cream. The Gold Label Coconut Milk yields more than 3/4 can of coconut cream!! It was enough to frost this loaf-sized cake. 

As for the actual cake part of the cake, I used a pumpkin chocolate brownie recipe and adapted this crustless pumpkin pie recipe. While the brownie turned out fine, I took my Rachel-ifying a little too far for the pumpkin pie layer. It was bubbling in the oven like a cauldron and rose about five times the height that it should have, then I almost burnt it, and all that height collapsed as it cooled and some batter stuck to the sides of my loaf pan. Thankfully, the taste was fine and it would be ready to become a cake with a bit of a trim.

On the same day as I decorated this cake, I baked up two more birthday presents. Some Cranberry Orange Ricotta Muffins for my grandma and Soft Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies for a church friend, who is a lover of peanut butter and chocolate.

Cranberry Orange Ricotta Muffins
These muffins follow the same recipe as this Blackberry Lemon Ricotta Muffins I already have on the blog. This ricotta muffin recipe yields the fluffiest muffins ever; it is a must-try! I replaced the blackberries with cranberries, lemon zest and juice with that of an orange, and sprinkled the tops with turbinado sugar before baking. The raw sugar gives a beautiful sparkle and delicious crunch to the finished muffins. It's just unfortunate the the sugar will dissolve by the next no more crunch :(

Soft Baked Peanut Butter Cookies
And finally, a batch of soft-baked peanut butter cookies, packed with chocolate chips and peanut butter chips of course. These were soooooooooooo good~~ Totally my type of cookie: soft, thick, chewy, peanut-buttery... I'm drooling again. You probably want to know what recipe I used right? Well head over to Sally's Baking Addiction; she has a plethora of cookie recipes with a good mix of healthy recipes too! 

I altered a few ingredients as softened (not melted!) coconut oil replaced the butter and Reece's peanut butter chips and chocolate chips instead of M&M's. The base of the cookie can be made vegan with the use of coconut oil. 

Soft Baked Peanut Butter Cookies
Even though many peanut butter cookie recipes recommend sticking to the regular creamy peanut butter stuff that is laden with sugar, I went ahead and used my natural peanut butter. The trick is to make sure the separated oil is very thoroughly re-incorporated (stir it every time you open the jar) and the jar is kept in the refrigerator. By keeping the natural peanut butter cool, the texture becomes creamy instead of runny.

I forgot to press down on the cookie dough before baking, which is why my cookies look a lot smaller and fatter. That isn't really bad at all as there will just be more soft cookie inside to enjoy!

Well, I hope that these little posts of "what I've been baking" is interesting. Halloween is over and now we're charging full force into Christmas. While I had a fun Halloween dressing up as a minion (I have a slight obsession with those yellow pill-shaped creatures), Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. No arguing. I cannot wait for Christmas and all the festive deliciousness that happens during December; hopefully I'll be able to post about my successful recipes! Pumpkin pie anyone? The perfect Vegan Pie Crust can be made by following my recipe here. I'm still working on a perfect pumpkin pie filling so please check back soon! The Crumpets will try our best to post as often as we can between our busy schooling ;) We have lots to accomplish before we wander into the scarier-than-Halloween land of university...dundunDUNNNN..

Love from Coconut Crumpet's Corner ♡

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