Food Plant

chocolate-pumpkin pudding cake
September 23, 2008, 6:57 am
Filed under: sweet | Tags: , , , ,

remember this?

the housemate and i love pudding cakes, the fruits of fall and spiced baked goods.  half of a large pumpkin can was still sitting in our fridge after last week’s pumpkin sticky buns, and i wanted to try the pumpkin-chocolate combination that i saw in many recipes last year. our standby pudding cake recipe comes from VWAV, but its chocolate-rum flavour and the weird food-science behind the pudding bottom made me hesitant to experiment.  off to the internet i went, to seek a preexisting chocolate-pumpkin pudding cake recipe.  i found none! it might just be google’s fault, but i think you should all be ashamed for not inventing one and sharing it already.

well, i went ahead and jammed my pureed pumpkin into the aforementioned recipe, making just a few changes to accommodate the pumpkin and ditch the rum.

it went thus:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (for wheat free, use equal amounts barley and oat flours.)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice mix (i improvised 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 nutmeg and a bit of ground ginger and allspice)
  • 1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder, divided
  • 1 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin (a standard/small can will yield enough, or get a large one and use the other half to make a double batch of pumpkin cinnamon rolls)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
my trick for an improved top:
after ten minutes in the oven, take out the cake and evenly sprinkle:
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin spice mix
  • 1 or 2 Tablespoon large grain sugar (such as turbinado)
then continue to bake as usual.
    instructions (lifted from
  1. Boil some water in a teakettle, preheat oven to 350°F, and grease a 9-inch springform round cake pan (non-springform works at least as well.)
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin spice, 3/4 cup of the sugar, and 1/4 cup of the cocoa. Add the pumpkin, oil, and extract, and mix into a thick batter.
  3. Spread batter into cake pan. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cocoa and sugar.
  4. Pour the boiling water into a glass measuring cup, add the maple syrup to the water, and pour this mixture on top of the cake batter.
  5. Place cake on a cookie sheet in case of pudding overflow and bake for  35 minutes – Don’t forget the sugar and spice intermission after 10 minutes.
  6. Let cool just a bit; while the cake is still warm, place it on a large plate (your plate should have a slight edge to prevent spillage).
  7. Throw on a scoop of vanilla soy ice cream if you like, and you’ve got yourself one impressive dessert.

stuff i’ve been up to
April 12, 2008, 5:35 pm
Filed under: main, sweet

i forgot to mention the very successful experience i had with baking susan’s mini tofu quiches in traditional (that is, EB laden) pate brisee crusts. i made the little things for a lunch potluck that took place during the last lecture of the semester. not only did no one realise they were made with unusual ingredients without being told, i got several unsolicited compliments, my favourite of which was “your quiches are off the hook!”

so it’s exam period, which means that i shouldn’t spend time on new and time-consuming dishes, but i do it anyhow. yesterday i ended up making two. the first was an old israeli favourite that originally involves poached eggs and i decided to try using the tried and true quiche batter (actually, the slight variation that susan uses for omelette.)

shakshooka is in the same category as hummus in the sense that it’s a popular israeli dish of arab origin that has a working-class charm and simple ingredients, and yet is the subject for endless arguments over the proper ingredient list and preparation method. everyone seems to think theirs is the tastiest and most authentic, if the 200 comments under every recipe online are any indication.

the ingredients generally agreed on are tomatoes, eggs, olive oil (and salt and pepper, but those are too obvious to mention in the wiki article!) beyond that, common additions are bell peppers and garlic, onion, cumin, paprika or various middle eastern chili pastes. some further fancy it up with fried eggplant or more pointless animal products. and here i am, shaking things up even further by saying: no eggs! the sauce is the tasty part, anyway. the sulfuric things are mostly there for some added richness and a texture contrast, so nothing irreplaceable there.

speaking of texture contrast, i won’t post a recipe until i managed to make the tofu batter a bit firmer and played around with the sauce (i think i might be in the anti-onion camp.) here are some photos for now:

the second thing i made were my first ever cupcakes for home consumption. to be honest, i find cupcakes much more fun to make and decorate than eat. the exception would have to be a cupcake that isn’t overly sweet and comes in an interesting flavour. i’ve been planning to try london fog cupcakes for awhile, but an unexpected sogging of the loose earl grey bag led me to finally make them yesterday. the concept is simple:

make an earl grey cupcake and top with vanilla buttercream, preferably one that’s flavoured with vanilla syrup for drinks instead of an extract. again, i won’t post a recipe until the tea ratio is measured and perfected, but if you can’t wait it might help to know that i used modified versions of golden vanilla cupcakes and raspberry buttercream from “vegan cupcakes take over the world”, with a dash of cinnamon on top.

pictures, for a change
September 15, 2007, 5:09 am
Filed under: main, snack, sweet

anna and i had a pie baking date planned for today. she loves blueberries and lots of crust, as the final result clearly shows. to make the very decadent crust, i followed the instructions for pate brisee found here and added a 1/4 cup of cubed non hydrogenated shortening, to get the same ratio of fat to flour as in the lovely crust my roomate uses, which can be found here.

for the blueberry filling, we used

4 cups frozen wild blueberries
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 cup sugar
2 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp fine lemon rind
1/2 tsp cinnamon
(next time i will try 5 or 6 cups blueberries,3 T corn starch and accordingly generous with the other ingredients.)

mixed together in a bowl and baked in the crust, in a 9″ pie pan, at 400f for about an hour. we almost ran into the problem of scorched rims and under-baked middle, but a crust protector (fashioned out of aluminum foil covering the edges) proved to do just what the name says. to make things pretty, we brushed the crust with some wine jelly and sprinkled with large sugar crystals. anna brilliantly covered up minor aesthetic damage with cutout dough flowers ❤

by the time it was ready, kay had just returned home and we were all extremely hungry, so we ate the hot pie with a bowl and spoon. i can’t say we regret it, but be warned that the filling only sets once the pie cools to room temperature.

blueberry pie

done with the appetizer, we joined efforts to make kimbap with what we had around.



including: tofu marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, minced garlic and sugar; eggplant, sweet potato and carrots julienned and fried; cucumber; bits of white miso (only in one roll.)

this was my first time eating korean sushi, and i am pretty sure we’re in love. sure, sushi in japan is a fine dining experience and kimbap in korea is thought of as junk food, but i’m not the kind of food snob who would be bothered by this, in particular, when garlic and roasted sesame oil are involved.

import from ice cream recipes yields ice-creamier smoothies.
September 7, 2007, 8:11 pm
Filed under: drinkable, sweet

frozen fruit bits for two, handful cashews, almost covered in liquid (soy, rice, juice, etc. water may require more cashews.) drop of vanilla or desired extract, correct with a tad of sweetness if needed. blend to a thick smoothness (should take longer than the average smoothie.) best in a rather fast and sturdy blender, for flimsies cashew pre-soaking should work.