seitan is my motor



September 2014



Frankfurter Kranz Doughnuts {Frankfurt Crown Doughnuts}

Frankfurter Kranz Doughnuts |

VeganMoFo and me are not getting along very well this year. Ironically I’ll have a lot of spare time next month, so maybe I should do my own private VeganMoFo then.

Last week I read a very interesting blog entry on The Span of my Hips. The Span of My Hips is a great blog about body image, feminism, health, fitness, and related topics. The article I am referring to here is about walking and about bodies. The author talks about how in general women are taught not to take up too much space. (Have you ever realised how differently most men and women sit, for example on public transport?) We walk differently, sit differently, and have very different perceptions of our bodies.

Quote from the article: “We wear shoes and skirts that limit our movement. We carry big purses (or even worse, clutches) that leave our hands full and/or our balance compromised. We walk and stand and sit in ways that minimize the space that we take up. We walk in ways that hamper our ability to shift quickly into action. We walk and stand and sit in ways that minimize our ability to feel the power of our bodies, and to defend them if needed.”

And not to mention, we always try to be tiny. How many woman you know are on a diet? How many do constantly tell you they want to lose weight? They moralise their food, separate it in good and bad. (And we seem to have an obligation to properly look after ourselves.) For many women eating cake is not a pleasure. It is something bad, something “naughty” and it makes them feel “guilty”. That cake has written “You will gain weight” all over its frosting. It’s not “clean food”, it’s not “healthy”, it’s not “whole”,  it’s full of “empty calories”. People fear that they will most definitely end up taking up too much space once they’ve eaten such an evil food.
If you ask me everybody deserves to eat cake. And I wish people would try not to scold themselves for it. You don’t have to explain yourself, you don’t have to tell me that you are definitely going to try this recipe once your diet, detox, no sugar experiment is over. Yes, it might be loaded with buttercream, yes, it doesn’t have as many nutrients as kale and you can’t juice a cake. But it’s pretty, it’s tasty, and after all it’s just cake and it’s fun to make it, decorate it, and eat it. It’s just food.

When I made a list of cakes to bake for this year’s Vegan Month of Food I also added Frankfurter Kranz to my list. It’s a layered sponge cake topped and filled with buttercream, and sprinkled with caramelised nuts. It’s wonderfully rich and sugary. But it’s also a lot of cake. And even if you like sugar and fat as much as I do it can be too much. So I made these miniature cakes in my doughnut pan instead, telling myself that this format change would result in less cake. Of course it didn’t but the doughnuts are pretty, they keep well in the fridge for a couple of days, and are a fantastic party contribution. And I bet your co-workers won’t say no to them either. I admit that they are a bit complicated to make and things might get messy with all the coconut oil based buttercream (melts easily) and the nut sprinkling. It’s a decadent cake and I don’t mean decadent in the sense of “naughty” and “empty calories”. It’s decadent because it will steal a lot of your time. But if you are like me and this is something you really like to do in your free time then it is a great project.

A note about the brittle nuts (Krokant): These skinned, finely chopped, and caramelised hazelnuts. They are available in most supermarkets here in Germany, but if you can’t get them they can be easily made at home. (I would recommend to use skinned nuts.)


Frankfurter Kranz Doughnuts (makes 12)

For the doughnuts:
180 g (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) sugar
120 g (1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons) softened refined coconut oil
320 g (2 1/3 cups)  all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
240 ml (1 cup) soy milk
1/4 teaspoon ground vanilla

For the buttercream:
150 ml soy milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150 g (1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons) refined coconut oil, room temperature
100g (1 cup, sifted) powdered sugar

redcurrant jelly for stuffing (strawberry is fine, too.)

For decoration:
250 g (8.8 oz) hazelnut krokant (brittle nuts)
Maraschino cherries, if you can find vegan ones, canned cherries, or fresh blueberries

To make the doughnuts:
Grease a 12-hole doughnut pan and preheat the oven to 190°C (327°F).
Cream together sugar and coconut oil.
Add flour, baking powder, salt, soy milk, and ground vanilla.
Beat well until the thick batter looks smooth. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.

To make the buttercream:
In a small pot combine soy milk and cornstarch. Whisk until the starch is dissolved, then bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Boil or one or two minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. Set aside and let cool to room temperature. Whisk in vanilla.
Beat together coconut oil and powdered sugar.
Once the cornstarch mixture has cooled to room temperature carefully beat it it into the coconut oil mixture.
Pease note that if your two mixtures are not at room temperature, everything will curdle or turn into a liquid mess.

Remove the doughnuts from the pan and cut them in half lengthwise. Spread the bottom half with a thin layer of jelly. Spread the top half with buttercream. Please note that due to the use of coconut oil the buttercream will melt easily. You can place it in the fridge for a short time if this happens. You can also place the doughnuts in the fridge as soon as you’ve spread them with buttercream.

Put the two halves together and carefully frost with buttercream. Again, if it starts to melt, place the buttercream (and maybe the doughnut you’ve been decorating) in the fridge for about 10 minutes.

Try to sprinkle as much of the krokant on the frosting as possible and place the doughnuts in the fridge while you fill  a pastry bag with a star tip with the remaining buttercream. Decorate the doughnuts and top with a cherry or blueberry. Store in the fridge but remove about 30 minutes before serving.



September 2014



Chocolate Blackcurrant Cake with Marshmallows

chocolate blackcurrant cake |

I admit that it looks like I was very lazy when I made this cake. I simply took my sachertorte recipe and swapped out both the filling and the topping. I needed a birthday cake and had started out with a different recipe. When I took the cake out of the pan it fell apart and the whole kitchen was covered in crumbles in no time. I feel a bit cheap for posting an almost identical recipe again, but what’s the use of a recipe blog if you only make every recipe once? And at least the jam recipe is new.

blackcurrant jam |

Blackcurrant Jam (makes 1 jar):
300 g (10.6 0z) fresh or frozen blackcurrants
300 g ( 1 1/2 cups) sugar
100 ml water

Place the ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Cook for 30 minutes and then transfer to a sterilised glass jar. Seal and let cool completely before using.

chocolate blackcurrant cake |

Chocolate Blackcurrant Cake with Marshmallows

(makes one 20 cm or 8 inch round cake)

For the cake:
110 g (1/2 cup) refined coconut oil (softened), cubed
125 g (1/2 plus 1/8 cup) sugar
120 g (1/2 cup) plain soy yoghurt
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
150 g (5.3 oz) chocolate (70%)
2 tablespoons soy milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
180 g (1 1/2 cups) flour

150 g (5.3 oz) blackcurrant jam

For the topping:
200 g (7 oz.) dark chocolate, divided
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
a handful or two of mini marshmallows

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease a 20 cm (8 inch) round pan and set aside.
In a bowl combine coconut oil and sugar. Use a hand-held mixer to cream together these two ingredients.

Add yoghurt and vanilla and beat again. The mixture should look a bit curdley now.

Set aside and melt the chocolate. Pour into the yoghurt mix still using the hand-held mixer, beat well to combine. Then mix in the soy milk.

Sift together baking powder, salt, and flour and add to the remaining ingredients. Beat very well until the batter is smooth and no lumps remain. Please be aware that this batter is supposed to be very thick. Don’t add more liquid.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and use a large spatula to smooth the batter. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely before removing it from the pan.

Remove the cake and place it upside down on a cooling rack. Use a large serrated knife to carefully slice the cake in half. Use a large spatula to remove the upper half and place it on a second cooling rack or a piece of parchment paper.

Heat the jam in a small sauce pan. Spread on the bottom half of the cake. Place the second half on top.

Keep the cake on the cooling rack and set aside.

Melt 3/4 of the chocolate together with the vegetable oil. Frost the cake. sprinkle the marshmallows on top of the cake. Melt the remaining chocolate and drizzle over the marshmallows. Store in the fridge until the chocolate is set.

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