Monday, March 11, 2013

Banana Cake with Almond Butter Frosting

My friend hinted to me the other day that her birthday was coming up, so my scripted response was, "What kind of cake do you want?" She said she needed some ideas, so I sent her my cake page on Pinterest with about 2000 cakes and she happened to pick the one that I made for my birthday last year. Weird. But not so weird because it's a delicious cake from the tolerant vegan.

yes, the letters are like that on purpose..

I love that the recipe calls for 3 whole cups of banana. I think that came out to about 6 large bananas for me. Any banana baked good should use a whole bunch of bananas for optimum nanna-i-ness, in my opinion. And because I'm a banana fanatic, I add a box of banana flavored pudding. (It won't taste artificial, only give a little extra oomph to the natural banana flavor. My mom scoffed at this artificial addition when I first dumped the box in, but said she could only taste fresh banana in the finished product and thought the cake was great.) Pudding mix is also cornstarch based, and cornstarch is a great egg-replacer. Not that you need it here..especially with all the banana. But it will make for a better texture. Using pudding mixes is one of my favorite easy ways to flavor cakes. Just cut down the sugar in the recipe a bit and add it with the dry ingredients. If you're like my mom and hate the idea of a processed pudding mix going into homemade food, then you can leave it out. It also tastes just fine and banana-y without it.

I made the cake at work a few days before because we happened to have 80000000 overripe bananas. I had always planned on using my mayo frosting, since I think it's similar to, yet better than cream cheese frosting. And then I used the last of the vanilla in the cake.. and the mayo frosting pretty much needs vanilla so you won't guess you're actually eating mayonnaise on top of a cake. The only other extract we had was almond..and we had plenty of almond butter...


Yes, of course...almond butter frosting.

And it was fabulous. 

This one has more Vegenaise/almond butter and less powdered sugar in the frosting than the birthday one.
This one has more powdered sugar in the frosting. I could pretty much mold this frosting with my hands. It was almost fondant texture.

So here is my banana cake (only slightly modified from the tolerant vegan) with almond butter frosting.

Banana Cake with Almond Butter Frosting
3 cups flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 box banana flavor pudding mix (Jell-o banana creme is accidentally vegan.)
1 cup melted Earth Balance
3 cups pureed banana
1/2 cup almond milk
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 and grease 2 8 or 9 inch cake pans. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside. I prefer pureeing my bananas, to make it less banana bread-like, so pour your almond milk into the blender and add a few bananas at a time until your blender bowl says 3 1/2 cups. I think that's actually easier than mashing and measuring out 3 cups anyway. Add the rest of the wet ingredients to the blender and puree until smooth. (I also like emulsifying the fat too.) Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk until combined. Bake 25-35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. 

Make the frosting.

Now here I didn't measure out any ingredients and I came out with different textures each time I did it. Basically you want to use the regular mayo frosting recipe with the higher sugar amount, but use almond extract (but much less almond because it's so strong) instead of vanilla and add almond butter. This is what I estimate my amounts to be. If you want it stiffer, add more sugar, softer, add more Vegenaise and almond butter. See the pictures above for different consistencies.

1/2 cup grapeseed Vegenaise
1 lb powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2-3 tablespoons almond butter

You don't even need an electric mixer for this. It whips up smooth with just a hand whisk.

To add chocolate decorations, melt some chocolate chips, put them in a zipper bag, cut off the corner and pipe designs onto parchment paper. Transfer the paper to the fridge for 5-10 minutes and then peel off your decorations!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Bean Baked Goods

All of these went into baked goods!
Black bean brownie recipes have been around forever thanks to diet books, but have gained some positive popularity in the past few years. I heard people say you can't taste the beans. But I was suspicious..and curious so I finally decided to try a few bean recipes.

The first one was the Deep Dish Cookie Pie from Chocolate Covered Katie and it got me hooked. I believe I picked this one to try when I was out of flour. It uses oatmeal and beans as the base. I made it 3 times as specified with different kinds of white beans in each. I tried chickpea and navy, lima and cannellini, and great northern..and all worked great! I have to admit I added extra vanilla because I was paranoid about the bean taste..but I gave these to several groups of people who were all fans and no one guessed there were beans in them. As a bonus, these are gluten-free if you use gf oats.

Next I tried a recipe from Robin Robertson because the picture with the recipe looks fantastic!.. Unfortunately I was not a huge fan of these. As often with baked goods containing banana, I could taste the banana and was not a fan. I served them warm and people liked them, but cold they were not up to par. These were also very cake-like, which I don't like in brownies. (Why not just eat cake, yo?) 


I then decided to try my hand at my own recipe. I liked CCK's idea of using ground oatmeal instead of flour and I like being able to dump everything in the food processor to mix. 

And I like peanut

Peanut Butter Black Bean Brownies

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 cup agave
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup peanut butter, separated
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 fahrenheit and grease an 8x8" pan. Add all ingredients, except chocolate chips and 1/4 cup of the peanut butter to a food processor and process until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips and pour batter into pan. Heat remaining 1/4 cup of peanut butter in microwave or on stovetop and pour over batter and swirl. Bake for 20 minutes.


While not necessarily "healthy" with all those chocolate chips, these do count as high fiber and high protein for a baked good. And they taste great too.