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.)
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.