A week of baking vegan


(Silken Chocolate Mousse Cake)

Since my last post, I have been much busier. A little too busy to blog regularly, even though the weekend baking pursuits have continued to produce some interesting things I wish I had more time to share.

I’m taking time out from my regular butter-fests, to write about something a little different today : margarine. The reason being that I recently spent a week baking vegan. Not because I’ve run out of money for butter or grown tired of my leather shoes, but because what seems like eons ago, Hannah sent me a copy of her cookbook. In case you weren’t already a fan, Hannah Kaminsky is the voice behind BitterSweet (a blog I love and visit frequently) and the author of My Sweet Vegan.

I may be fairly inconsistent in my road towards a healthier lifestyle, but vegan baking is not something I often considered gravitating towards. Like most non-vegans, I’ve long held the view that this style of baking meant being prepared to search for hard-to-get (and often more expensive) ingredients such as vegan “sour cream”, brown rice syrup and soy creamer, or willing to make odd substitutions such as applesauce and bananas to replace butter in a recipe, or use tofu in a cheesecake.


(Hazelnut Orange Biscotti)

Rather unexpectedly then, my favourite recipe from My Sweet Vegan turned out to be a Silken Chocolate Mousse Cake (pictured above), which had a fantastic gluten-free, no-bake base, and a luscious, rich and flavoursome chocolate mousse featuring silken tofu as one of the main ingredients. Also high on my list of favourites, was the Orange Hazelnut Biscotti which featured items you’d find in most typical pantries.

The only recipe that I would not make again, of the handful that I tried, was the Black Bottom Blondies (not pictured), because I didn’t like the texture of the blondies, even though the brownie component was really delicious.

Apart from the blondie, the recipes I tried from the book were met with considerable praise from my taste-testers (all of whom were non-vegans). There were some detractors for the chocolate mousse cake who did not like the consistency of the tofu in the mousse, but you know what they say about pleasing some people some of the time..


(Crumb-topped Brownie)

After much use of margarine, soy milk and soy yogurt, I can safely say that Hannah’s book was a pleasure to bake from. In fact, I even have a renewed respect for Hannah’s talent and her passion for what she believes in.

My Sweet Vegan makes for an excellent introductory guide for those who aren’t vegan but like to try something different, or for those who already have margarine in their kitchen, and would like to expand their vegan repertoire. Refer to it when you’re feeling virtuous, or if you’re making a treat for a vegan friend. Either way, it’s a bit of a sweet win-win situation (especially when you end up with something like Sesame Chews. Who cares if it’s vegan when it’s this delicious!).


(Sesame Chews)

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  1. Hilda said,

    August 16, 2009 @ 5:21 am

    Isn’t it a surprise when you bake something alternative and it turns out to be not that different in the end and is just delicious. I had that surprise when I tried some recipes from the book Vegan cupcakes take over the world (I think that’s the title). It’s so satisfying to be able to make something decadent for someone with an allergy. Love all your set-ups, so simple and elegant. Classy is the word I’m looking for.

  2. Julia @ MΓ©langer said,

    August 16, 2009 @ 8:33 am

    Y, for someone who has been busy, you sure have been baking up a storm! I love how you have ventured into the vegan baking space. It’s something that I’ve not ever considered testing. But some of these desserts look delicious. I especially love the sesame chews. I’m a big fan of those. I am interested in the taste myself. Great work. Lovely photographs, as always!

  3. Anh said,

    August 16, 2009 @ 9:34 am

    Y, hope things are under control for you. My work load has been way over the top as well!

    I love this set of photos. Very bright and delicious. And thanks for reviewing the book. I was just thinking whether I should get it or not :).

  4. Jen @ MaplenCornbread said,

    August 16, 2009 @ 9:49 am

    I understand the work load! I hope you get some down time soon! Everything you made looks amazing!!!!

  5. Heidi said,

    August 16, 2009 @ 2:48 pm

    It’s hard to believe all of those things are vegan! They all look incredible πŸ™‚

  6. jan said,

    August 16, 2009 @ 2:58 pm

    I was so hoping you would have given us the recipe for the silken chocolate mousse cake… it looks delish! pretty plz- πŸ™‚

  7. Christie, Fig and Cherry said,

    August 16, 2009 @ 4:32 pm

    I’m always looking for good vegan baking blogs as my sister in law is vegan – thanks so much! πŸ™‚

  8. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said,

    August 16, 2009 @ 4:47 pm

    How do you find the time? πŸ˜› I have to say that the silken mousse cake looks heavenly. And considering mousse has so many eggs and so much cream I’m amazed it could be done (and also very curious)

  9. Manggy said,

    August 16, 2009 @ 8:51 pm

    Who cares indeed? As long as I get treats that look and taste as delicious as yours (and, er, no hunting for super-expensive ingredients, haha), I’m all for it! I’m not averse to tofu at all, thankfully!

  10. Angelynn said,

    August 16, 2009 @ 10:03 pm

    Could we get the recipe for the silken chocoloate mousse cake? It looks scrumptious!

  11. shaz said,

    August 16, 2009 @ 10:07 pm

    Y! Even busy you cook up a storm. All those treats look amazing, and very tasty. If you didn’t tell me they were vegan, I’d probably never guess. I used to use margarine all the time because butter was too expensive (in Malaysia) – but not sure I can go the tofu in cake route just yet.

  12. veggie wedgie said,

    August 16, 2009 @ 10:10 pm

    I have made the crumb topped brownies ad they are out of this world delicious!

  13. Al said,

    August 16, 2009 @ 11:11 pm

    Thank you for baking vegan:)
    You’re always inspiring and I hope some prejudices about vegan food will be sweep sweetly away by this amazing post

  14. Ave said,

    August 17, 2009 @ 3:09 am

    Would you share the recipe for the silken chocoloate mousse cake?

  15. Irene said,

    August 17, 2009 @ 3:56 am

    Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos! The silken mousse cake sounds aaaamazing! I’m going to be making dessert for a lactose intolerant friend pretty soon, so I’ve been looking for a great vegan dessert that won’t make her feel left out.

  16. celine said,

    August 17, 2009 @ 4:49 am

    hooray, Y! your pictures are fabulous, as always.

  17. Caitlin said,

    August 17, 2009 @ 6:42 am

    Ditto – who cares if it’s vegan if it looks and tastes that delicious! You might convince me to try out her book, especially if many of the recipes only call for pantry items. I hope things at work calm down soon, so we can get back to chatting and you can get back to baking and posting πŸ™‚

  18. Irina @ PastryPal said,

    August 17, 2009 @ 6:52 am

    Very open-minded of you to venture into vegan baking. I have a handful of vegan friends who ask me to bake vegan, but I keep dragging my heels. I tend to not want to make questionable ingredient substitutions. These photos you posted look as good as any non-vegan dessert (especially the silken chocolate mousse cake), so maybe it’s time finally step up.

  19. anna said,

    August 17, 2009 @ 7:23 am

    Alternative baking can be so much fun!! I am still not a fan of omitting eggs since they are magical little sort-of orbs but it’s an awesome way to explore new flavors & textures. That chocolate cake looks really good!!

  20. arfi said,

    August 17, 2009 @ 11:48 am

    Good post, Y! I’d love to enjoy vegan baking as an alternative. When the first time I was introduced with gluten-free baking, I thought they won’t be as good as the wheat ones. But, they are! The texture can be different but the taste is just similarly delicious. Good job on alternative baking.

  21. Jill said,

    August 17, 2009 @ 11:59 am

    I love the first picture of the silken chocolate cake! Beautiful! Lately, I’ve had clients ask if I make vegan/gluten free, etc. desserts–this looks like a pretty good resource I may have to check out! Thanks for sharing the feedback on the recipes you tried. πŸ™‚

  22. Betty said,

    August 17, 2009 @ 1:40 pm

    The chocolate tart and the crumble look divine! πŸ™‚ Although I am a bit skeptical about the tofu in the chocolate tart… but if you say it’s good, then I’ll believe you!

  23. cakebrain said,

    August 17, 2009 @ 2:17 pm

    gosh, I didn’t even think about doing vegan baking before I saw that chocolate mousse cake. Perhaps I ought to consider these alternatives more often! Gorgeous pics!

  24. Tony said,

    August 17, 2009 @ 3:02 pm

    That chocolate mousse cake looks too good to be true AND I can’t believe it’s vegan! Hannah is amazing – I love her blog, too!

  25. the caked crusader said,

    August 17, 2009 @ 5:27 pm

    I panicked when I read your headline because I read it as ” a week of baking vegans” and started pondering if it was legal!
    Great looking bakes – as always, and not a roasted vegan in sight!

  26. Alli said,

    August 17, 2009 @ 7:35 pm

    Lovely to hear your voice back on your Blog, I missed your regular posts! All the recipes look delicious, I keep saying I should make more vegan since a colleague in work is vegan and she misses out on a lot and it’s not that hard really to make things vegan.

  27. Simon Food Favourites said,

    August 17, 2009 @ 9:29 pm

    the Silken Chocolate Mousse Cake looks define. can’t believe it’s gluten free goodness.

  28. Arwen from Hoglet K said,

    August 17, 2009 @ 9:34 pm

    I’ve been wondering about vegan chocolate mousse, so hearing it recommended by a non-vegan makes me even more curious about trying it. I love the way you’ve captured the reflection of the cake too.

  29. lisaiscooking said,

    August 18, 2009 @ 12:29 am

    I would have a hard time giving up butter for margarine, even if it were a natural product. But, everything pictured here look fantastic! The chocolate mousse cake looks like it has a lovely texture.

  30. Hannah said,

    August 18, 2009 @ 3:34 am

    I can’t thank you enough for your thoughtful, honest words. You did a more thorough review than most, vegan or not! I’m so happy that you approached the book with an open mind, and found most of the recipes to be a treat. Although I’ve got to say, I’m a bit jealous… You photography puts mine to shame! πŸ˜‰

  31. Trissa said,

    August 18, 2009 @ 7:36 am

    What a great idea – we cooks never cater enough for those that have diet restrictions. The crumb topped chocolate looks amazing.

  32. Anita said,

    August 18, 2009 @ 8:34 am

    It’s great to have some vegan cakes/slices tried and tested. The mousse cake looks lovely, I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying it. Thanks for the review of some of the recipes from the book, will keep it in mind.

  33. Trisha said,

    August 18, 2009 @ 8:58 am

    Oh my goodness these are wonderful creations! That mousse cake is definitely a sight for sore eyes!

  34. Howard said,

    August 18, 2009 @ 10:07 am

    I was wondering where you were, my weekly reading was not the same. I like the look of that crumbed topped brownie, vegan or not!

  35. veron said,

    August 18, 2009 @ 10:57 am

    These look gorgeous! The mousse cake has me drooling!

  36. Forager said,

    August 18, 2009 @ 5:30 pm

    You make vegan an option even I’d consider! Actually – maybe only for these treats.

  37. Aran said,

    August 18, 2009 @ 10:11 pm

    They look wonderful and I will definitely look for the book!

  38. Darina said,

    August 19, 2009 @ 1:27 am

    Vegan baking is not something that I would ordinarily consider but that Silken Chocolate Mousse cake looks astonishingly delicious. The sesame chews are calling out to me as well. Your photos are lovely, as always.

  39. Karine said,

    August 19, 2009 @ 12:20 pm

    This mousse looks great!

    I used to be intimidated by vegan cooking. However, one of my former colleagues is vegan and everything she makes seems just easy , good and healthy! I kind of feel bad about my diet when I think about hers lolol

  40. Megan@Feasting on Art said,

    August 20, 2009 @ 7:51 pm

    Oh my so many delicious things in one post! I might have to try going vegan for a week – it would be ok if I had this cookbook!

  41. Cakelaw said,

    August 21, 2009 @ 9:00 am

    OMG – the mousse cake looks amazing! I think baking vegan would be great if the taste is just as good as non-vegan baking – it’s just that my experience with margarine etc in the past has bene that it is no good in pastry, biscuits etc – for some reason, it just doesn’t work. However, this book sounds like a winner with recipes like this – I will have to give it a try.

  42. artandlemons said,

    August 23, 2009 @ 5:06 am

    This chocolate mousse cake looks utterly gorgeous and tasty! A must try soon…

    Oh, and I have a little award for you on my blog…


  43. Y said,

    August 27, 2009 @ 9:30 pm

    Dear everyone, thank you for the comments. I’m afraid I’m still a butter-baker at heart, but at the same time it is heartening to know that there are great vegan-based alternatives out there that taste delicious and that are well worth the effort.

    I’m also flattered that my rendition of Hannah’s chocolate mousse cake has been so postively received. For those interested in trying it for themselves, I highly recommend getting Hannah’s book, My Sweet Vegan, for that particular recipe, and other mouthwatering ones πŸ™‚

  44. BigGirlPhoebz said,

    September 18, 2009 @ 9:55 am

    These options look amazing. My friend (and favorite baker) went vegan for a while and I found while eating her experiments that the hardest thing to replicate was cookies. There’s nothing I love more than a good cookie, and there I agree with you that you really must stick to butter. Still, this recipe for carrot cookies was the only treat that really won me over: http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/2009/01/cooking-for-others-cookie-or-dough.html

    thanks for all the great recipes!

  45. Taranii said,

    September 26, 2009 @ 9:23 am

    wow, these look lovely. I have this book and you’ve now inspired me to try out the recipes!

  46. Josie said,

    October 26, 2009 @ 2:39 am

    everything you make is so gorgeous and looks so delicious! you must have magic in your fingers!

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