When it comes to vegan baking, I'm pretty dense. - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 12-19-2009, 03:25 PM
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Okay. So here's the deal. My friends used to call me Betty Crocker. My boyfriend would have me mail him baked goods if we'd be separated for a while. My boss once told her boss, "Who made the awesome food? Hillary, of course. ***** can COOK."



I cook for everyone, because I love it and they love it.



But this whole vegan thing is cramping my style.



Everything in the cake-muffin-cakey/bread department is coming out... Wrong. It's either too dense, to flat, too chewy, or the taste is off. Seriously, nothing is AS good as the omni stuff. I'm picky as HELL when it comes to baked goods, so I'm wondering if there is anything I can do about this, or if I'm stuck with crappy baked goods because that's just what being vegan does to certain foods...



Here's a list of what I've tried and my situation, so no one has to waste their breath telling me to do stuff I've already done!


  • I've started by trying recipes as they are first. (The vegan ones at least.)
  • Then I've tried changing the flours (I've tried whole wheat flour, AP flour, and cake flour.)
  • I've got brand-spanking-new baking powder and baking soda.
  • I've tried changing the fat (apple sauce, oil, and EB - whatever the recipe didn't originally call for.)
  • I've tried changing the egg-like stuff (Ener-G, bananas, flax, again, whatever the recipe didn't originally call for.)
  • I've used vegan recipes and I've used omni recipes and veganized them.
  • I've undermixed, overmixed, and timed my mixing.
  • I've added AC vinegar.



I dunno what the deal is! So far, I've had ONE batch of whole wheat pumpkin muffins come out perfect. That's IT. NOTHING else has made me feel proud.



I've lost my baking mojo. I swear my boyfriend will be next if he doesn't get some BOMB banana bread soon! (I'm kidding, of course, but NOTHING has lived up to the omni banana bread I used to make. *sulk*)



Prior to being vegan, I never had any problems with fluffy, yummy, cakey-type baked goods. I could alter recipes, substitute things, and nothing ever came out horrible. I had an eye for it, I guess.



Vegan, though? Apparently I've gone blind. Everything sucks whether I follow the recipes exactly or try different flours, egg-subs, etc. This is even when I use recipes from good vegan cookbooks, well-rated vegan recipes online, or tried veganizing omni recipes.



I'm stuck, guys. And I'm SULKING a lot about it.



Should I be, I dunno, tripling the leavening agents in all vegan baked goods or something? Will that even help, or will it give me an off taste?



Is this just the end of my Betty Crocker reputation?



Help me!
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#2 Old 12-19-2009, 03:34 PM
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The battleaxe says if it's not a chocolate cake, she can't get it to be fluffy and light. Have you tried King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour? That might be of some help.

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#3 Old 12-19-2009, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by unovegan View Post

The battleaxe says if it's not a chocolate cake, she can't get it to be fluffy and light. Have you tried King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour? That might be of some help.



Good, at least I'm not the only one!



And I'm using King Arthur's traditional 100% whole wheat flour.



I'll look for the white stuff next time. Whilst sulking, of course.
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#4 Old 12-19-2009, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Semicharmed View Post

Good, at least I'm not the only one!



And I'm using King Arthur's traditional 100% whole wheat flour.



I'll look for the white stuff next time. Whilst sulking, of course.



The white whole wheat flour gives it a milder flavor but doesn't do much for the denseness. So says battleaxe.

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#5 Old 12-19-2009, 03:41 PM
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Ahhhh, this is the same with me. My cooking is awesome now. My baking used to be great and now its just not good. I think the milk throws whatever I'm making off. Cow milk has a really neutral taste, and the others milks I try just don't. I make some great jam filled muffins and banana walnut bread and thats it. My cookies, cakes, brownies, cupcakes, and frosting are subpar at best.



I'll have to see if others have suggestions.



Oh by the way, I use this recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/f...ipe/index.html for banana nut bread. I use ener-g egg replacer for the eggs and earth balance for butter. Speaking of which, I think earth balance also throws things that need butter off, but I'm not sure. I don't think it does in this recipe. Everyone I've given this to loves it, maybe it'll work for you.

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#6 Old 12-19-2009, 03:50 PM
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Ahhhh, this is the same with me. My cooking is awesome now. My baking used to be great and now its just not good.



This reminds me... Yes, my cooking is kickass now! I really rock. It's just the baking that is simply not as good. It's just NOT. I wanted it to be, wanted to say "oh, but I can veganize anything and it's great," but no amount of pretending will get me there. The baked goods are just not as good, period.



Thanks for the link, btw... I got some slightly overripe organic bananas today on sale for $2. And by "some" bananas I mean "fifteen" of them! So I was planning on freezing some for smoothies and then making banana bread. I'll give that recipe a try!
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#7 Old 12-19-2009, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Semicharmed View Post

Okay. So here's the deal. My friends used to call me Betty Crocker.



Me too dear, me too. I used to be a kick-ass baker before going vegan. Problem is - I honestly do not care for 90% of vegan baking - cakes, cupcakes, cookies, muffins, breads. (I know that's sacrilege to admit, but it's true!!) I go to all these Vegan Bake Sales, Vegan Potlucks, Vegan Meetups, and try up all sorts of "goodies" and... well... bleh. I honestly think my standards are hopelessly too high?



I guess not *all* of my baking is a disaster - l baking make great pies, cheesecakes, and fruit cobblers, two or three cookies recipes and the Impossible Chocolate Cake. That is it.

Dryer, bready-cookie-baked stuffs are a MESS!!!

And yes, I have tried EVERYTHING you have listed, SC, and yes, I have "Joy of Vegan Baking" and "Vegan Cupcakes..." and on and on and on... either my tastebuds were irreparably damaged when I was not vegan or my ability to bake was retarded when I turned vegan... I love being vegan and would never ever go back to the dark side, but it's frustrating indeed, especially when people rave over the recipes in cookbooks (like those mentioned above) and my results are not all that thrilling - . Just SO GLAD someone else has run into this problem too.....
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#8 Old 12-19-2009, 04:19 PM
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Just SO GLAD someone else has run into this problem too.....



Oh man, me too.



I feel a bit better now. I thought maybe I had just lost The Touch. And, like you, it's not like I'll be headed back to baking with milk eggs and butter... But it's still a bit sad. I keep thinking people are raving because they WANT stuff to be *that* good, not because it's truly that good. (Stubbornly, I've now decided if me, you, s0ad, and Uno's wife can't do it then it CAN'T be done.)



So as long as it's not just me... I can live with that. I'll just have to keep trying and searching for those one-in-a-million rogue vegan baked goods that DO seem wonderful and delicious!
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#9 Old 12-19-2009, 04:25 PM
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Okay, I don't bake much because I am a complete lazy ars. BUT, I do make these when my nanners get old and nasty and it's always ALWAYS great. So that's a start, we can study it and decide what makes it work and use these results w/ the rest of it.



Check this out and tell me what you think...my kids go nuts for it and so do I (even the mixing spoon tastes great)



https://www.veggieboards.com/boards/s...n-Banana-Bread
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#10 Old 12-19-2009, 04:44 PM
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<<<---suffers, too, from mediocre vegan baking.



Some things I've learned - when it doubt, make a fruit crisp; most drop cookies turn out pretty darn well, and boost the baking powder by 50% in cakes and quickbreads. I also take things out of the pan ASAP, and flip over when possible to help dry out the bottom.

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#11 Old 12-19-2009, 06:12 PM
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I was a fairly mediocre baker before I went vegan but I always was fairly pleased with my results. (I'm a sucker for anything sweet). Now, I'm a fairly mediocre vegan baker and I'm pretty much always am pleased with my results. I suppose it's a matter of standards....

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#12 Old 12-19-2009, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Treehugger267 View Post

Okay, I don't bake much because I am a complete lazy ars. BUT, I do make these when my nanners get old and nasty and it's always ALWAYS great. So that's a start, we can study it and decide what makes it work and use these results w/ the rest of it.



Check this out and tell me what you think...my kids go nuts for it and so do I (even the mixing spoon tastes great)



https://www.veggieboards.com/boards/s...n-Banana-Bread



Will do. thank you! I have fifteen bananas needing to be used.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Poppy View Post

<<<---suffers, too, from mediocre vegan baking.



Some things I've learned - when it doubt, make a fruit crisp; most drop cookies turn out pretty darn well, and boost the baking powder by 50% in cakes and quickbreads. I also take things out of the pan ASAP, and flip over when possible to help dry out the bottom.



I'll keep that in mind. Shockingly, I've yet to make a fruit crisp.



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Originally Posted by saxyphonist View Post

I was a fairly mediocre baker before I went vegan but I always was fairly pleased with my results. (I'm a sucker for anything sweet). Now, I'm a fairly mediocre vegan baker and I'm pretty much always am pleased with my results. I suppose it's a matter of standards....



Heh... I suppose so. I'm a hopeless baking perfectionist. To the point where I now have rules in place that I'm not allowed to throw things away if I decide they're crap because the males in my life want a chance to evaluate them first - often, they think the food is just fine!
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#13 Old 12-19-2009, 06:38 PM
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Maybe I'm just not so picky, but I have had a lot of success with The Joy of Vegan Baking. In fact, the chocolate chip cookie recipe (with walnuts added) is a favorite of many people and is often requested (yes, by omnis).



I have noticed though that ingredients are important. Things don't seem to turn out as well when I am at my parents using their ingredients than when I am at home using my own (generally organic stuff).
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#14 Old 12-19-2009, 09:29 PM
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I have a fail-safe chocolate-chip-cookie recipe. I'm OK there. And pies, fruit crisps, cobblers - all of that's fine. OK, and my pie-crusts are REALLY good. That's one thing I can do. It's mainly breads, cakes, cupcakes, etc... Ingredients DO matter, I agree there. I think maybe it's just me and I don't like certain baked goods any more...
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#15 Old 12-19-2009, 09:36 PM
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I'm kind of backwards here. I love vegan baked goods but some omni baked goods are too rich and heavy for me. Would take one of my vegan chocolate cakes with fruit baked inside before I would take an icing covered vanilla slice...but I've never been into things that were too sticky sweet and prefer more earthy foods.
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#16 Old 12-19-2009, 11:29 PM
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I'm getting into baking more and I like the results but not as good as a professionals...

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#17 Old 12-20-2009, 01:37 AM
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Well I am very fussy, and pride myself on fooling omnis, and I do this so well that I have even had cupcakes stolen.



My tips:



I always use cake flour for cakes and cupcakes. There is no point in making these "healthy" with whole wheat flour, in my opinion. No one should eat cake every day, so make it from white cake flour. I usually need to add an extra 1/4 cup to a cake recipe, if the recipe calls for all purpose flour.



Add an extra 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder when subbing cake flour in a recipe that doesn't call for it. Actually, 1/4 teaspoon extra never seems to hurt any recipe.



I never use soy or tofu in baking for omnis. I always use oat milk, which gives a beautiful golden color. When something needs to be white, I use almond milk.



I always use cold Earth Balance for the creaming the butter and sugar stage. Adding a teaspoon of liquid lecithin helps the emulsification. I have never seen this in any vegan recipe; it's just something I thought up. I dislike the oiliness of some recipes, which is why I never use liquid oils, and sometimes even Earth Balance will leave an oily quality, and the lecithin fixes this. It's worth experimenting with.



I've never been into fat substitutes like applesauce etc., and I have never used typical vegan egg replacers like ground flax or potato starch. I make cakes and cupcakes that fool omnis, and have them asking for more, and asking for the recipes, and I also make very good yeast breads. I don't make quick breads much, or muffins.



I also suggest The Joy of Vegan Baking, and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I modify almost every recipe in VCTOW, as described above, and have made lots of people very happy on their birthdays.

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#18 Old 12-20-2009, 05:26 AM
 
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Sonufa***** (post just got deleted randomly).



Anyway, I was going to suggest this recipe:

https://www.veggieboards.com/boards/s...Chocolate-Cake. I've made it probably 100 times, and only when I left it in the oven too long, did it turn out poorly. Pouring the liquid in using the "wells" is important, imo though. The water also needs to be *cold*. This recipe always creates doubters of its veganacity. Throw on some "butter"cream frosting and you're good to go.



The banana bread recipe I often use is this one: https://www.veggieboards.com/boards/s...t-Banana-Bread. I really have made it with one year olds. If you want it more bready, I'd add a bit of baking powder and maybe a couple T more flour. This one is sort of a coffee cake texture.



My other "oh my god" recipe (which I haven't made now in like a year, I realize) is this carrot cake one: https://www.veggieboards.com/boards/s...an-Carrot-Cake. It's a bit involved, but very yummy. My sister even commented, when eating a specialty bakery's carrot cake, that mine was better.



I think that a lot of it though, really is trial and error. Finding out that tofu works better as a binder than applesauce in cookies, or that you might need a bit extra baking powder in some cakes.



Do you have a favorite recipe or two from your pre-vegan days? Maybe we can offer some specific suggestions.

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#19 Old 12-20-2009, 07:16 AM
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Things you haven't mentioned trying yet:



1. Sift all dry ingredients

2. Don't make low-fat anything

3. Get an oven thermometer

4. Try different milks (ricemilk is lighter than soy, mimicreme is heavier than soy, etc...)

5. Do not use Ener-g unless you have to, OR use it in conjunction with another egg replacer (i.e. one Ener-g egg + 1 tofu egg).



The egg replacer background as I see it is this....

Ener-g -- It's good for binding but not for texture. If you're using them, whip them up a BUNCH in a small food processor or immersion blender.

Flax eggs - They really need to be whipped up a bunch for best results. Same whipping instructions above

Banana - Works fine in quickbreads/cakes, but will make things cakey, sweeter, denser, and taste of banana.

Applesauce - Same as banana, except without the flavor thing. Applesauce in cookies will leave them cakey.

Tofu egg/Soygurt egg - I find these pretty interchangeable. They replicate eggs best in cookies, and do fine in cakes and quickbreads/muffins too. I think it might have something to do with the protein, since one thing you're removing when you take out egg is a bunch of protein.

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#20 Old 12-20-2009, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Semicharmed View Post

Everything in the cake-muffin-cakey/bread department is coming out... Wrong. It's either too dense, to flat, too chewy, or the taste is off. Seriously, nothing is AS good as the omni stuff. I'm picky as HELL when it comes to baked goods, so I'm wondering if there is anything I can do about this, or if I'm stuck with crappy baked goods because that's just what being vegan does to certain foods...



Yep me too. The only things I have managed to make that tasted nice were rock cakes and shortbread. I have much more of a savoury tooth though so it doesn't bother me too much. I've tasted vegan cakes in restaurants that taste fantastic though. Probably very unhelpful comments to make lol.
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#21 Old 12-20-2009, 07:59 AM
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Oh I feel your pain!

Try adding in the whole gluten and corn intolerance thing, and then there's another level of obstacles to overcome. Thank God for gluten free flours and flax meal as egg replacer.

I've had similar disappointments in baking as well, but have had a few surprising successes.
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#22 Old 12-20-2009, 08:01 AM
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I want to add that a cook friend of mine who is a well regarded baker at the local Hare Krishna temple uses yogurt as an egg replacer in her cakes (because egg is not used in ANY of their food). Soy yogurt for the vegan cakes. I think she told me 1/4 cup per egg or something. Anyway, there may be more to it but her cakes are really yummy and moist.
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#23 Old 12-20-2009, 08:03 AM
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stick to general baking rules:

cold ingredients usually are helpful

always sift flour!!!

mix dry ingredients separate from wet, add wet to dry

do NOT overmix, especially when using baking soda/vinegar to create air pockets (needed for food to be light and fluffy)

keep trying
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#24 Old 12-20-2009, 08:09 AM
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I've had quite the opposite experience. Note I'm not actually vegan, but most of my cooking and all of my baking is vegan. The exception is baking bread, which was always, always vegan for me, and I've been baking bread for the past 10 years with good results.



I didn't bake very much (except from bread) before I was vegetarian, but I bake a lot now, and I've successful results each time. I gravitate towards cupcakes, but also bake cakes, muffins, cookies, I've veganized welsh cakes, and also make vegan icing of various kinds. I also tend to use half wholewheat and half white pastry flour with very good results. I most recently made a vegan lemon drizzle cake, and that went down very well. I feed my baked goods to omnis, who all rave about them and ask for more.



I almost never use margarine in cakes, always oil, and they never come out oily. Flax seeds work great, I've never used egg replacement powder, and, to be honest, I steer clear of recipes that require it. As I've already said, my use of whole wheat flour has probably benefited my cakes and cookies, rather than ruined them.



I'm not sure which factor messes up your cakes, but there are a lot of vegan recipes out there that work quite well. I use fairly simple recipes, I also make heavy use of VCTOTW, and sometimes substitute ingredients from non-vegan recipes, too. It's always been great, so it can be done! Good luck with your vegan baking!
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#25 Old 12-20-2009, 11:38 AM
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My tips:

I always use cake flour for cakes and cupcakes. There is no point in making these "healthy" with whole wheat flour, in my opinion. No one should eat cake every day, so make it from white cake flour.



OH DEFINITELY! I like the "healthy" attempts even less...



Quote:
Originally Posted by SomebodyElse View Post

an extra 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder when subbing cake flour in a recipe that doesn't call for it. Actually, 1/4 teaspoon extra never seems to hurt any recipe.



[...] Adding a teaspoon of liquid lecithin helps the emulsification. I have never seen this in any vegan recipe; it's just something I thought up. I dislike the oiliness of some recipes, which is why I never use liquid oils, and sometimes even Earth Balance will leave an oily quality, and the lecithin fixes this. It's worth experimenting with.

Now these ideas might be do-able. I'll have to try... I've seen lecithin in quite a few recipes over the Internets... just haven't tried it. Is there an easy place to get it?



Quote:
Originally Posted by SomebodyElse View Post

I've never been into fat substitutes like applesauce etc., and I have never used typical vegan egg replacers like ground flax or potato starch.

Exactly! Like you said earlier - and I agree, no one should be eating cake (cookies/baked goodies) every day, so make it the way it's supposed to be made. Full of fat or white flour or whatever it needs to turn out "right"...unless you like the drier, breadier, heavier stuff...



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Originally Posted by SomebodyElse View Post

I also suggest The Joy of Vegan Baking, and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I modify almost every recipe in VCTOW, as described above, and have made lots of people very happy on their birthdays.

Haven't had luck with either book, but I really haven't tried to modify... very much. The only modification attempts didn't go so well, so I just decided I wasn't that interested in continuing to make things I didn't like...





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2. Don't make low-fat anything

THIS^^^



Quote:
Originally Posted by rabid_child View Post

5. Do not use Ener-g unless you have to, OR use it in conjunction with another egg replacer (i.e. one Ener-g egg + 1 tofu egg).

The egg replacer background as I see it is this....

Ener-g -- It's good for binding but not for texture. If you're using them, whip them up a BUNCH in a small food processor or immersion blender.

Flax eggs - They really need to be whipped up a bunch for best results. Same whipping instructions above

Banana - Works fine in quickbreads/cakes, but will make things cakey, sweeter, denser, and taste of banana.

Applesauce - Same as banana, except without the flavor thing. Applesauce in cookies will leave them cakey.

Tofu egg/Soygurt egg - I find these pretty interchangeable. They replicate eggs best in cookies, and do fine in cakes and quickbreads/muffins too. I think it might have something to do with the protein, since one thing you're removing when you take out egg is a bunch of protein.

GREAT IDEAS about egg replacer! I rarely (OK, never) use banana or applesauce but the others all work for me just like you described...
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#26 Old 12-20-2009, 11:40 AM
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I'm going to take everything into account (and feel blessed that TNS responded individually, and basically just the way I would have!) and give a few more recipes a shot.



I have such a massive headache right now, or I'd respond in a more comprehensive way.
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#27 Old 12-20-2009, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Tofu-N-Sprouts View Post

Now these ideas might be do-able. I'll have to try... I've seen lecithin in quite a few recipes over the Internets... just haven't tried it. Is there an easy place to get it?

Either in a health food store, or better grocery stores that have health food, natural food, or vitamin sections. It comes in a brown glass bottle, and is very sticky, thick, and dark gold.



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Haven't had luck with either book, but I really haven't tried to modify... very much. The only modification attempts didn't go so well, so I just decided I wasn't that interested in continuing to make things I didn't like...

I think the best recipe to try from VCTOW is the Coconut Lime cupcake recipe, provided you like coconut and lime. I've also made this as a plain coconut cake, without the lime, and frosted with dark chocolate "butter"cream. I do sub cake flour in this recipe.



I can't find them on my computer, but if I do find them somewhere, I will post my modified recipes for the white and chocolate cakes from that book. Another really popular one is the Lemon Macadamia cupcake recipe. Each recipe is also enough for one 8-inch round cake pan, but you have to almost double the baking time.



And yes, sifting is a must! I sift before measuring, and sift all dry ingredients together before adding them to the wet ones. I used to think this wasn't necessary, when I first started baking as a kid, but it is a step that can't be skipped.

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#28 Old 12-20-2009, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Semicharmed View Post

I'm going to take everything into account (and feel blessed that TNS responded individually, and basically just the way I would have!) and give a few more recipes a shot.



I have such a massive headache right now, or I'd respond in a more comprehensive way.

Ugh, I hope you feel better. I had one yesterday. :/

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#29 Old 12-20-2009, 12:25 PM
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I didn't read the whole thread because I got too excited that this has happened to other people too!!! I HATE cooking so baking was my thing. I was amazing at it and I did it all the time. But after countless cupcake disasters, icing failures and chewy gross cookies I have lost my confidence!

I HATE it. My mom has mastered the making of vegan muffins and loafs (and she isn't even vegetarian!!) but I was the one that usually made all the sweet stuff. The only success I had was will a pumpkin pie and apple strudel at Thanksgiving. I don't even want to admit how many cupcakes I have had to throw away because they are inedible!!



I am now going to go back and read the rest of this thread and hopefully learn some new tricks!!
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#30 Old 12-20-2009, 01:30 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 3,814
I don't know how to help you, but I will say that I totally feel your wail of dismay, as vegan baking prowess that stands to my absurdly high culinary standards is a big thing holding me back from true veganism. Seriously. I can't figure out how to correctly bake a cake or loaf of bread that doesn't turn out like a flour brick. And I love to bake...
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