Our Favorite Coffee Crumb Cake

This coffee crumb cake is so good, it’s becoming a problem. Usually I get tired of eating the same thing every day. This has been (somehow) sitting around for almost three days now. One piece remains. I’ve been eating it for breakfast every day….and snack…and late night snack. Not only is that unusual for me, but the terrible thing is I could make another one right now and continue eating it every day. There are no eggs in this recipe. There is only 2 tablespoons of butter, and the only reason there’s butter is because I didn’t have any Earth Balance. I’ve been curious to try it, but A. I can’t find it in any store and Whole Foods is 30 minutes away, and B. I’m kind of broke. Since I didn’t want to use all butter (I would have, if I had Earth Balance, the way the recipe at VeganYumYum does), I tried making the crumb topping with only canola oil. The result was a not so good texture or flavor. Instead, I decided to use 2 tablespoons of butter to give it a nice flavor and texture, but the rest is canola oil. The crumbs are even better than before.

I’ve made Cook’s Illustrated’s New York Style Coffee Crumb Cake more times than I care to count, with the exception that I used sour cream like the recipe over at Smitten Kitchen. My boyfriend Manuel always said to me,”It can be better.” That obviously frustrated me, and after x amount of times of making it and tweaking the recipe slightly every time, I finally decided to look up a vegan crumb cake and found this recipe. You can imagine how much Manuel thought I was wasting my time making this. If you can’t please a man with a recipe with butter, is it possible to please him with a version without? Apparently, it is. This may be a rare case. The short prepping from him before I put it in the oven went the same as it always does when he doesn’t think something will come out good, but tries to be consoling about it. Me: “It’s going to taste good, don’t worry.” Manuel: “Alriight babe, good luck! Just don’t be upset if it doesn’t come out the way you want it to.” Me:*ticked off look on my face*. Thankfully, this one won him over. The original recipe wasn’t rocket science and it wasn’t even difficult to make–but after making this version, which is beyond super easy, I’m kind of like,”Whyy didn’t I know about this recipe before?!” Plus, it’s cheaper to make. It’s healthier. And….more delicious? (that wasn’t a question, just bewilderment)

Deep down, I knew that Cook’s Illustrated’s version wasn’t perfect. The cake was never anything super special on it’s own, and the crumbs were always a little bit too crunchy for me. So one thing I changed was the amount of flour in the crumb topping. It was way too much, even when I used cake flour it never produced the crumbs I wanted. I didn’t want mush on top, but I wanted something that had the big chunks of crumbs but then melted in my mouth with sugary-cinnamon-y-ness. I think I got that part down in this recipe, and I didn’t even use cake flour.

I am so happy that I found this wonderful recipe on VeganYumYum. I changed a few things here and there, but this is officially my go-to coffee crumb cake recipe. It’s not even what I consider,”A recipe for health conscious eaters”. It’s just yummy. The cake is moist, fluffy, and my favorite thing about this crumb cake is that is gets better every day. Manuel tried it, and immediately said,”This is the best one yet.” “I TOLD you” was my response, even though I too had my doubts. I was just happy to be right this time.

Me = a happy girl.

Our Favorite Coffee Crumb Cake (“Almost vegan”) – adapted from VeganYumYum

Serves 9 (8×8″ square pan)

Crumb Topping

  • 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter (you can use Earth Balance Margarine if you want)
  • 5 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Cake

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 Cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 Cup canola oil
  • 1/3 Cup coconut milk+ 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Powdered Sugar, for dusting

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Line an 8×8 square pan with aluminum foil and coat with nonstick cooking spray. Or, if you don’t have aluminum foil, spray the insides of the pan well with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Mix the melted, warm unsalted butter (or Earth Balance Margarine), canola oil, dark brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a medium sized mixing bowl. Add the flour and blend thoroughly to combine. Let sit for about 10 minutes, while making the cake batter.

3. Mix cornstarch with water in a small separate bowl until thoroughly mixed, let sit.

4. Mix coconut milk, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla in another small separate bowl.

5. Whisk the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder until fully combined in a mixing bowl. Add the coconut milk, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla mixture. Then add the cornstarch and water mixture. Mix everything together until fully combined and smooth, but don’t overmix past that point.

6. Pour batter into prepared greased pan. Break off large chunks of the crumb topping mixture (they don’t have to be exact same sized, just good sized pieces) and lightly sprinkle them evenly over the batter. (I like to take a big piece in my hand, and just rub it with my fingers and let the pieces break off over the top of the batter into random sized crumbs, instead of spending a lot of time rolling out pieces of crumbs).

7. Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes or until crumbs are lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean. Original recipe says up to 50 minutes, but mine was done within 35.

8. Allow to cool (unlike me) completely before eating. Or not. :) Don’t forget to sprinkle with powdered sugar, makes it prettier.

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Happy Easter! Carrot Coconut Layer Cake

My dad loves carrot cake. Particularly (mostly) this one. The cake is super moist and flavorful, and the cream cheese frosting makes it divine. I remembered that since it’s Easter (doh), I should probably contribute a recipe to the blog in celebration. Pastel colors? I has none. I know, I’m like the only person with a baking blog in this country without any pastel colors for Easter. Then I found these pictures lingering on my computer…and it suddenly clicked. I thought,”Easter…bunny…carrots…carrot cake!” I cheated though. I totally forgot to buy carrots at the grocery store, so that I could make this for tomorrow. (Ok, that’s a lie–it didn’t even occur to me to make this.) Therefore, I am providing these pictures from a couple of months ago…before I got a tad but better at taking pictures. I never wanted to do this, but I’m going to make an exception because this recipe cannot wait for my trip to the grocery store. I shall share it with you NOW! Trust me, it’s delicious. I might just have to hop to the store tomorrow as fast as I can tomorrow so that I can make this for my family again.

Carrot Coconut Layer Cake
Makes 2 9 inch cakes (for a layer cake)

Cake Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (I sifted mine first)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 cups peeled and grated carrots
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (I used sweetened)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients – adapted from ‘The Essential Baker

  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Butter the edges and bottom of two 9″ cake pans, and line the bottom of both with parchment paper.

2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl until well combined.

3. In a larger bowl, whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and vegetable oil until well combined and then, blend in eggs one at a time until fully mixed.

4. Slowly add in dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and beat until well combined. Mix in the grated carrots and shredded coconut until fully incorporated.

5. Pour batter evenly into the 9″ cake pans about 2/3 of the way full. Bake in oven for about 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cakes with be puffed up and browned on top.

6. Cool in pans for at least 15 minutes and then transfer over to cooling racks with a baking sheet underneath. Allow to fully cool and make the cream cheese frosting, by mixing the ingredients together until light and fluffy.

HAPPY EASTER!

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Vegan Oatmeal Cookies

I’ve made these 3 times (or was it 4?…) in the past week. Even though I’ve had a hard time chewing things, these have been soft enough for me to chew. I made a mini batch last night for a family get together and instead of a tablespoon measuring spoon baking at 8 minutes, I did a teaspoon worth of dough for each cookie and they took only 4 1/2-5 minutes to bake. Not only were they adorable, but everyone literally ate them up. Since it was up against the key lime pie with chocolate graham cracker crust (I’ve made the key lime pie more than 4 times now from Bobby Flay’s Throwdown recipe, but I only had chocolate grahams this time) and pecan bars that are the best recipe for those who think,”I love pecan pie, but I don’t want to make a pie crust“, like myself (recipe will be up eventually!), these were a success to say the least.

My family kept taking another vegan oatmeal cookie and saying,”Mmmm” and “I heard ‘vegan’ and thought it would be gross, but they’re delicious.” I guess I’m going to be making them again for tomorrow night. Although, the key lime pie and pecan bars did not go unnoticed. My boyfriend continued eating some that I left at home for us until 2am, and he was blaming me for his addiction. He said something along the ridiculous lines of,”I have pecan bar obsessive compulsive disorder.” I don’t remember exactly how he worded it (I was tired), but it’s too bad because I’m pretty sure it was direct quote-worthy.

These are soft and chewy cookies, the way I like them. My boyfriend prefers crunchy, so you could add a couple of minutes to the baking time, if that’s your preference too. They are so easy, and they are definitely a way of introducing people to a vegan recipe for those who don’t know what vegan is, would never think to try anything vegan, or just to make a healthier cookie. There’s no eggs and no butter, that is not a bad thing! I’ve done some thinking about the whole vegan diet. I picture myself walking by a bakery and saying,”Oh darn, guess I can’t have a cannoli or a piece of cheesecake.” –or being in the presence of my mom’s famous cucumber and dill bread bowl (which is going down tomorrow night) or her also very famous taco dip and stare at it and say,”Sorry mom, it’s too bad that has cream cheese and sour cream in it.” I love being able to eat ice cream, or chocolate cake, or whipped cream. I know there’s vegan ice cream and vegan chocolate cake, but I’m struggling between wanting to do something that I feel like is the right thing on one hand and being intimidated by the changes I’d have to make (which does mean spending more money) and what I want to eat on the other. I believe a vegan diet is healthier than what I’m eating now, but I have many conflicting thoughts on it at the moment. I actually wrote an entire post during the day that this was on my mind the most, and have it saved in my drafts. Since my last post was my first non-recipe post, I didn’t want to bore everyone with more rambling (which is what I’m doing now).

So, maybe in the future I will post it. For now, here’s the vegan oatmeal cookies. P.S. You don’t have to be vegan to make vegan cookies, and you don’t have to avoid vegan recipes just because you’re not planning on going vegan. I think we all hear these names like,”vegetarian” and “vegan” and we think,”Nah, I’m not going to be vegan, why would I make anything vegan?” Well, it just may be yummy! In my opinion, these are pretty darn yummy. People have told me they like them better than regular oatmeal cookies! Also, it doesn’t have to be made with tofu to be vegan (to all you tofu dislikers). Try these and enjoy!

Vegan Oatmeal Cookies – adapted from Alicia Silverstone’s ‘The Kind Diet‘ (I found the recipe at ParisPastry)
The recipe says it makes 10-12 cookies for regular size, but I made a half batch once of tablespoon sized dough and got about that many. Also, the mini batch made over 40 cookies for me.

    Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup maple sugar (you could also use dark brown sugar, but then I don’t think it’s technically vegan)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup raisins, chopped walnuts, or chocolate chips (optional, and the chocolate chips I have aren’t vegan)

Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

2. Combine the oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the syrup, oil and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir to combine. Fold in the raisins, nuts, or chocolate chips, if you’re using them.

3. Scoop out a tablespoon size amount of dough (use a measuring spoon to be exact) if you want regular size cookies, or a teaspoon size for mini cookies (the dough will look like it won’t even become a cookie, but it will!) Using your hands, roll the dough into balls and place on the baking sheet. Press down slightly to flatten the tops. For tablespoon size cookies, bake for about 8-10 minutes or until very lightly browned. For teaspoon sized mini cookies, bake for about 5 minutes. Tip: Allow to cool for a couple of minutes on the baking sheet before moving to a wire rack, because they will be so soft and fragile, they won’t hold their shape.

4. Allow to fully cool, and then eat & enjoy!

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Filed under Cookies, Vegan

Wisdom Teeth Extraction + Vegan Curiosity?

All 4. 2 impacted. Fun! ;) I got them removed on Monday morning. I was a nervous wreck. I have always had a fear of dentists, of surgery, and of anesthesia…so you mix all 3 together and let’s just say it was a good thing they had me take a tranquilizer the night before and an hour before. I somehow was composed enough that when I went into the surgery room, I said,”I forgot to brush my teeth this morning, is there somewhere I can brush my teeth?“. They said it was fine, but that there was a bathroom at the end of the hall that I could use. I walk almost drunkily to the bathroom and look around. There’s the toilet. There’s the sink. There’s the mirror. No toothbrush. No toothpaste. Oh, snap. In my drowsy state, I had assumed they would have some in there since they told me I could brush my teeth in the bathroom. Instead of walking back in and requesting a toothbrush and toothpaste, I decided I was much too tired to care and simply said, “Oops, I forgot my toothbrush.” Yeah, like I didn’t realize before walking to the bathroom that I didn’t even bring one with me. I’m so clever. I proceeded to lie down in the chair.

I began to panic once they started strapping me in, as if I was in some insane asylum. “This is for this”, “This is for that”…oh gosh. This is actually happening. My surgeon rolled up my sleeve and inserted something into my arm. I asked what it was and he said it was what was going to put me to sleep. Just before I had time to freak out about it, I remember suddenly being in a dream. A few seconds later, I remember a yellow room. Blur. My boyfriend on my right and a woman on my left. I remember talking to them, but I don’t remember what I said. I thought it was a dream, but apparently, it was me coming out of anesthesia. The next hour also felt like a dream. Wheelchair. Gauze out of my mouth. Why is my lip like this? We’re at CVS. My dad is on the phone saying I’m being difficult. I’m laughing. I feel high. I’ve never been high before, am I high? I’m home. I’m taking my meds. I feel more high. Wow my lip is fat.

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Guava and Cream Cheese (or Neufchatel) Puff Pastries

Guava is not for everybody. I personally think guava smells a little funny, tastes a little funny, and it’s just not something I would ever crave–unless someone tempted me with one of these. Then I’d gladly consume the guava, and enjoy it. By itself? Not so much for me. For anybody who has never tried guava, give this recipe a try. I know tasting your ingredients before baking with them is a good rule of thumb, but I waited until they were done baking before I tasted the guava, because I already know I don’t like it by itself and I didn’t want to completely turn myself off to them before they were even done baking.

My boyfriend’s dad loves guava, and he once had me eat some with cream cheese while sitting at the dining room table for one of their Sunday lunches. He told me to try it before proceeding to tell me a story, which I only half heard once he said the first sentence–it was something along the lines of:

“Now, a sweet and ripe guava has to have worms in it.”

Since then, I’ve checked out the Wikipedia page for guava, and didn’t see anything about that. I will have to ask him again whether it was that particular guava I was eating that had worms in it, or if he was saying all ripe guava has worms. I’ve read a lot of (American) people online saying,”Stay away from guava with worms in it!”, but according to my boyfriend’s dad (Venezuelan), those are the best tasting guava there are. Obviously you don’t eat the worms, unless that’s your cup of tea. And obviously mine did not have worms in it, at least not when I bought it, since it was packaged and in the form of a block of paste. Worms or not, I don’t find guava all that sweet or delicious. Once it baked, however, encased in the buttery and flaky puff pastry and surrounded by the yummy Neufchatel mixture, guava was suddenly,”Mmmm“.

My favorite thing about these pastries other than that they are crazy yummy (and addictive, which is not one of my favorite things about them) is that they can sit around all day or all night and still taste good, whether you pop them in the microwave or just eat them as is.

I bought a frozen package of puff pastry that came in 2 large sheets. Each sheet had 6 rectangle shapes already ready to just peel away to use individually. Once thawed, I used a pizza cutter to cut the rectangles out. I decided to go with making individual pastries instead of one large one, partly because the dough seemed made for that and also because I liked the idea of having individual pastries, so that one could be all mine.

I have to be honest, I was a little intimidated by the recipe for this that I found on Epicurious, with all the specific instructions with all the measurements, etc. For someone like me, that is uber confusing. By making them smaller, it made it more “common sense” for me. I knew I had to leave a border around the edges, and since it was smaller, I didn’t really need to measure much.

For each pastry, I used two pieces of the rectangular pastry that were already scored into the frozen sheet of dough. My first batch I did roll out the first sheet of dough to about 12×10 inches, but the second batch I was lazy and didn’t roll it out at all, and it came out just fine. The thing to making these is just leaving an even border (about 1/2 inch) all along the edges to ensure that your filling can be locked in when you place the second piece of dough on top and crimp it together with the egg and water wash acting as a glue. I laid one piece of the pastry dough out, filled the center with a rectangle spread of the Neufchatel mixture, and then on the edges of that, made two rows of the guava filling in strips. With the other piece of dough that was the same size, I folded in half lengthwise, and made lazy slits with a pizza cutter (you can use scissors or a knife too) making sure to leave 1/2 inch border on the top, bottom, and side. When I opened it up, it just looked like slits throughout the middle of it. Once it bakes, they puff and open up, so that you can see the filling inside. So don’t worry when you layer it on top and it doesn’t look like the final product.

I also tried making another version without the slits, and just poking holes in the top. Bad idea. They Neufchatel mixture (which actually has eggs in it) cooked like scrambled eggs inside. The holes poked in were not enough for the air to escape as it puffed up, so definitely go with making slits in each one if you don’t want guava and scrambled egg puff pastry!

To be honest, I can’t imagine how yummy these would be with cream cheese. Neufchatel is definitely more mild and not as flavorful, so next time I will go with cream cheese. To make up for the lower calorie and fat content (just kidding, if I had used cream cheese, I would still do this) I made an icing with the leftover 2 ounces of Neufchatel. I had an 8oz package of Neufchatel, and cut it into 8 equal cubes. 6 for the filling and 2 for the icing. It was completely necessary. Although, once I did that, I got so impatient that I only took one picture of them with the icing.

You’re going to have to make these yourself if you want to see more, because mine are gone baby, gone.

Guava and Cream Cheese (or Neufchatel) Puff Pastries – adapted from Epicurious

  • 1 package of frozen puff pastry (2 sheets)
  • 1 egg (some for egg wash and some for cream cheese mixture)
  • For the Guava Mixture

  • 2/3 cup guava paste, pureed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons citrus juice (lemon or lime both work)
  • For the Cream Cheese (or Neufchatel) mixture

  • 6 ounces of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon coconut milk (optional)
  • Leftover egg
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the icing

  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 ounces cream cheese

1. Allow frozen puff pastry to thaw at room temperature, while getting the fillings ready.

2. Take 1 egg, and measure out 1 1/2 tablespoons of the egg and beat lightly in a small bowl with 1/2 tablespoon of water. This will be the egg wash mixture. Keep remaining egg for the cream cheese mixture.

3. Combine 6 ounces of cream cheese, leftover egg, sugar, vanilla, and coconut milk and mix with electric or handheld mixer until smooth and creamy.

4. Cut guava paste into small chunks and measure out about 2/3 cup (doesn’t have to be exact). Puree guava with either lemon or lime juice in a food processor. If you don’t have one (like me), you can use a handheld mixer, but it will take a while for the mixer to break up the cubes into a puree, so have patience. I actually heated up the guava in the microwave to soften it.

5. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and place in a 425 degree oven to heat up while preparing the pastries.

6. Cut 6 rectangles out of one sheet of thawed puff pastry dough. This will make the first 3 pastries. While they are baking, you can prepare the other 3.

7. Take two rectangle pieces. On a lightly floured surface, lay one down in front of you the long way (it will look like the one in my picture with the fillings on it) and take the other and fold it in half lengthwise.

8. With the piece folded lengthwise, score a 1/2 inch border for the top, bottom, and one side that you aren’t going to make the slits on. On the side you’re going to cut the slits, space the slits evenly from each other and cut them about 1 inch long (not going past the 1/2 inch mark on the opposite side).

9. With the other rectangle dough for the fillings, fill the center in a rectangle shape with the cream cheese mixture, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edges. Then lay two rows of pureed guava paste on lengthwise on top of the cream cheese mixture, leaving a space between them in the middle.

10. Brush the outer 1/2 inch edges with the egg and water mixture, unfold the other piece of pastry dough, and layer it evenly on top of the one with the filling. Press together with fingers and then seal tightly using a fork. Brush the outside with the egg wash, and set aside. Continue doing this for the remaining 2 pastries.

11. Remove the hot baking sheet from the oven, and carefully transfer the 3 pastries onto the sheet. Bake in the oven on the middle rack for about 15 minutes, or until they have turned golden browned and puffed up. (Keep an eye on them) Cool them on a wire rack, while you bake the next batch of 3.

12. For the icing–mix the cream cheese and milk together and slowly add the powdered sugar. Blend well with handheld mixer on medium speed, until creamy and make sure there aren’t any lumps. (Sift the powdered sugar first to avoid this). Drizzle over the warm pastries.

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