01 April 2013

Vegan Viands #8: Cinnamon Cake

My mom is visiting!! She came in this weekend for a concert that I was in last night (we performed Tippett's A Child of Our Time, which is an amazing work that you should see if you ever have the opportunity). Because this weekend was also Easter weekend, we decided to have a very small Easter dinner. Had Shana been in town, maybe we'd have had an Easter/Seder mash-up, but I digress. At our dinner was just me and mom and two good friends. Since one of these good friends went to culinary school, when he offers to make something, I jump on it (he even makes amazing salads). He made our main course (pork for the omnivores and delicious marinated tempeh for me) and salad, so I made vegan au gratin potatoes, asparagus, and dessert. Delicious, delicious dessert that I knew everyone loved.


This recipe is actually one I would never have looked at had I not been hunting for a dessert with a lot of cinnamon in it for a friend a few summers ago. The reason I'd never have looked at it is because it is originally a Paula Deen recipe. I don't think anything she makes is vegan. Before Ellen DeGeneres went veg*n, Paula Deen was on her show and made something like dark chocolate fudge dipped in cheese wrapped in bacon fried in butter and dusted with powdered sugar. Oh dear. Regardless, in my search for a cinnamon-heavy dessert, I saw this recipe and decided I had to try to make it vegan. It turned out so well that I made it again and again and again. The lightly crunchy topping, dense and moist cake, and gooey layer in the middle combine to something decadent. Make it, you won't be disappointed.


Maggie's Vegan Cinnamon Cake
Ingredients
1 box yellow cake
2 tsp. ginger
2 T. cinnamon, divided
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1, 4 oz. box instant vanilla pudding mix
1, 12 oz. tub vegan sour cream
4 "eggs" (I use Egg Replacer here)
1/2 c. canola oil
1/4 c. white sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar

Directions
Preheat oven to 350
1. Mix together white sugar, brown sugar, and 1 T. cinnamon, set aside.
2. Combine yellow cake mix, remaining 1 T cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg, stir well to combine (or use the lowest speed of your mixer).
3. Add pudding powder, sour cream, eggs, and canola oil, mix on low to incorporate then on med-high for about a minute.
4. In an 8x8 pan, spread half the batter then sprinkle with about 2/3 of the sugar mixture.
This is before the sugar mixture.
5. Spread the rest of the batter on top of the sugar mixture, then sprinkle with the rest of the sugar mixture.
6. Bake for 45-50 minutes.

Helpful Hints

  • The past few times I've made this, I've experimented with lining the 8x8 pan with wax or parchment paper and spreading half of the batter on the paper and then lifting the paper out to put the rest actually in the pan. After sprinkling the sugar mixture, I attempt (ungracefully) to flip the layer on the paper in to the pan. It's actually a reasonably successful method but I'm not quite satisfied with it yet. Maybe next time I'll spread the batter on the paper, then in the pan, then flip the pan over on top of the paper and then flip the whole thing? If I do that, I'll let you know. 
  • I've found that this batter does not stick to my dark non-stick 8x8 pan. If you have one that is not non-stick, you may want to lightly grease the pan. 
  • In the directions, I said to "spread" the batter. This is not a pouring activity; it is solidly a spreading activity. 
  • Although it doesn't come to the top of your 8x8 pan, it will by the time it is done. Thus, take care that there are not oven shelves too close together or you may have a mess on your hands. 

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