Tag Archives: cream cheese

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry “Cream Cheese” Frosting

Can you guess how many seconds the frosting held up on the cupcake? Let’s not talk about it… Yes, I made the frosting wrong–but no worries! I fixed it. Only in time for my next batch which were vegan chocolate cupcakes, but it was saved. (See next picture for the un-droopy frosting). The winning recipe was definitely the vegan vanilla cupcakes, so that’s the recipe I want to share with you. Let me just say first, I ended up making a double batch of the frosting–which was enough for me to use on a batch of 12 cupcakes, a 9″ round cake, plus extra for some vegan scones I made (I’ll be sharing that with you soon). So, if you’re planning on making 2 batches of cupcakes or a 9″ layer cake, then you can stick with the frosting recipe I have–otherwise, halve it.

Here’s what the frosting looked like once I figured out that I completely underestimated the amount of powdered sugar I needed. Noob mistake. I found both the vegan chocolate cake recipe (that I just turned into cupcakes) and the vanilla cupcake recipe from Chef Chloe‘s site, who I first discovered while watching her win Cupcake Wars. My boyfriend has been very skeptical of these vegan baking adventures I’ve been going on lately in my kitchen, but this according to him is one of his favorite things I’ve ever made. The frosting was inspired by a vegan cream cheese frosting recipe from The Divvie’s Bakery Cookbook: No Nuts. No Eggs. No Dairy. Just Delicious!. I just added some pureed strawberries, hence the consistency problems, but the final product was definitely snack-on-it-anytime-of-the-day-just-because-you-can worthy.

If you want to impress your friends or family with a delicious vegan recipe (a recipe they really wouldn’t even know was vegan unless you told them–and even then it tastes so good they don’t really care that it doesn’t have any eggs or butter in it), then this is the one you should try!

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 12 cupcakes or one 9″ round cake (I doubled this)

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • L½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coconut milk, non-dairy milk, or water
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Instructions:

1. Preheat over to 350 F.

2. Sift or whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the coconut milk, oil, vanilla, and vinegar. Combine the wet and dry mixtures and whisk until thoroughly mixed. Distribute batter into lined cupcake baking pan, and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Double Batch of Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

For 24 cupcakes or two 9″ round cakes. (If you’re not going to double the cake batter recipe, only make half of this)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup strawberries, pureed
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan margarine, softened (but not melted)
  • 1/2 cup Tofutti Vegan Cream Cheese, softened (but not melted)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 7 cups sifted powdered sugar

Cream together the softened vegan margarine and Tofutti until light and fluffy with a mixer. Add the pureed strawberries and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Slowly add the sifted powdered sugar until fully combined and it’s reached desired consistency. If it’s still not sturdy enough, add more powdered sugar, a little bit at a time.

Tips: Allow cupcakes or cake to fully cool before frosting, and chill the frosting in the refrigerator before using.

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Filed under Cake, Cupcakes, Vegan

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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Filed under Breakfast, Pastries

Spiced Carrot Bread with Coconut and Browned Butter

When I started baking, my dad’s first request was carrot cake. I couldn’t fondly recall any carrot cakes that I really liked, so I assumed I didn’t like carrot cake at all. Long story short–I was wrong. Even if you aren’t crazy about carrots, does not mean you won’t like carrot cake. To say that carrot cake tastes like the name makes it sound, is like saying that chocolate cake tastes like cocoa powder. Obviously that’s not all there is to chocolate cake, and carrots is not all there is to carrot cake, or carrot bread for that matter. The difference between this carrot bread and a favorite carrot cake recipe I have made (and will eventually share with you) actually isn’t much if anything. So technically this could be a cake, but I made it in a loaf pan. What can I say? I was in the mood for a quick “bread”. To spice it up, I used a little bit of browned butter in combination with vegetable oil (ok I’m on a browned butter binge right now), dark brown sugar, a tiny bit of Irish Whiskey, plain yogurt, and shredded sweet coconut. I love the texture that shredded coconut gives to cakes and quick breads.

This ended up tasting better than I thought, and it is full of flavor. It goes perfectly with a cream cheese icing (I actually used leftover Neufchatel icing from some delicious Guava and Cream Cheese Puff Pastries I made *and am going to share the recipes with you very soon, of course*..but you can use cream cheese and it will taste even better).

Spiced Carrot Bread with Coconut and Browned Butter

Makes one 9×5 inch loaf

  • 1/4 cup (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Jameson whiskey (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 cup grated carrots (about 2 large)
  • 1/2 cup lightly toasted shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

    2. On a baking sheet, spread 1/2 cup of shredded sweetened coconut and toast for 5-7 minutes until lightly toasted.

    3. In a skillet (not non-stick) lightly brown 1/4 cup (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter on medium heat. Whisk constantly, for a few minutes, until the bubbling has slowed down and it begins to foam and darken in color. Remove from heat.

    4. In a heat safe bowl, combine the browned butter, vegetable oil, granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, vanilla extract, and Jameson whiskey. Allow to cool a bit, and then add the yogurt and 2 eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly.

    5. Allow toasted coconut to cool, while you mix together the dry ingredients: flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Fold in the grated carrots and the coconut. Stir flour mixture with the wet mixture until just combined. Don’t overmix.

    6. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake on middle rack for about 40 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Allow pan to cool on wire rack for about 15 minutes, and then invert the carrot bread onto wire rack to cool completely before serving.

    *Note*: You could omit the browned butter and replace with equal amounts vegetable oil. The flavor and texture will come out differently than my recipe, however.

    For Cream Cheese (or Neufchatel) Icing (optional)

    • 2 ounces of cream cheese (1/4th of an 8 oz package), softened
    • 1 tablespoon milk
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2/3 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar (so that there are no lumps)
    • Mix ingredients together with an electric or handheld mixer until fully blended and creamy. You may want to double on this if you like a lot of cream cheese icing, but this was enough for me.

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Filed under Bread, Muffins, Quick Bread