24 November 2010

Just in case you aren't already elbow deep in flour, cranberries, and other Thanksgiving preparations, here's a savory classic (originally posted on November 8, 2009) just in time:

Vegan Pumpkin Cornbread

From October 2009 Photos

Yep, that's me sneaking a piece of this incredibly delectable, moist cornbread. The original recipe (pre-Altered Plates version shown above) comes from the fabulous Debbie McDuffee's site CliqueClack Food. I made all kinds of changes to the recipe in order to veganize it and make it Deb-friendly. But the result was wonderful.

All the folks at the George Street Co-op who tried the cornbread were very happy with the moistness and the flavors that paired so well -- mainly the corn and the pumpkin. It was a karmic return for the organic pumpkin which I had bought at the co-op while it was on sale. For those of you who may think that organic doesn't make a difference, try organic pumpkin. It's a completely different experience. You can actually smell and taste how squash-y it is. It also has a very realistic color. I ate the leftover pumpkin with some pumpkin pie spice and just a 1/2 teaspoon of agave. It was delightful.

From October 2009 Photos

Just like a typical cornbread, this one is made in a cast-iron skillet. I prepped the pan by oiling it with some grapessed oil and then letting it heat in the oven while it preheated to 375 degrees F. I recommend making it this way because it does two things: 1. It give the crust a nice crunch, and 2. you can't beat how nicely the bread comes out of the pan. Here, I'll show you:

From October 2009 Photos

From October 2009 Photos

Just a note about sweetness, I like my cornbread on the sweet side, unless it features savory ingredients like green onions (heaven!). So, if you're like Debbie and want it to be less sweet, cut the amount of agave nectar.

Finally, sometimes baked good improve over time in a tightly sealed container. The spices take their time melding with the other ingredients, the moisture changes, etc. I wish I could say that I knew for sure that this is one of those recipes, but the batch only lasted two days. You'll let me know, won't you?

Here's the recipe as I made it:

Pumpkin Cornbread (greatly inspired by Debbie McDuffee's recipe of the same name)

Yields 18 wedges


1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 cup cornmeal (next time, I'm using corn flour for a smoother finish)
1 cup pure pumpkin puree
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon flaxmeal
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar


1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spice.
2. Mix the cornmeal into the dry ingredients until well blended.
3. In a medium bowl or a very big measuring cup (10 cups or more), beat together the pumpkin, agave nectar, flaxmeal, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar until well incorporated.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture and mix until well blended. It will be very thick.
5. Let the batter rest while you oil your cast iron pan and let it heat up with the oven to 375 degrees F.
6. Once the oven is hot, using potholders, take the pan out of the oven and place it on a heat-proof surface. Scoop the batter into the hot pan (please be careful!) and spread it evenly across the pan. It won't fill the pan. It also won't rise much.
7. Bake the cornbread for 20 minutes or until a bamboo skewer comes out clean.
8. Let the cornbread cool in the pan until the pan cools down. Turn it out by placing a flat surface on top of the pan and inverting both. The cornbread should come out cleanly.
9. Cut into wedges and enjoy!

17 November 2010

Yummy Vegan Date-Pecan Coffee Cake

From November 2010

My inspiration for this gigantic cake of deliciousness is the Date-Pecan Coffee Cake on pages 218-220 of The Angelica Home Kitchen. It is truly one of my favorite cookbooks. The recipes can stand a huge amount of tinkering, and are consistently tasty and healthy.

It's a giant cake when you make it in a 9-in. springform pan, as instructed. More than likely, next time I make it, I'll be pouring the batter into cupcake cups.

From November 2010

From the (less than optimal) photo, you can see that the date-pecan-ness is really a ribbon of sweet and crunchy flavor between two very tasty cake layers (you also can see my poor job of unmolding it from the pan). It's almost like a crumb cake, with the soft crumb topping, but with much more flavor. The original recipe calls for maple sugar, but I used agave nectar and some barley malt (which I'll leave out next time, but someone asked me to try it so I did). I also used less agave nectar for the maple syrup, and it worked out just fine. The only other alteration I made was to use Cake Spice instead of cinnamon. But you could easily use Five Spice powder in a 1:3 ratio with cinnamon and get a similar effect.

From November 2010

Since I didn't make that many changes to the recipe, I don't feel right about republishing it here without permission. Instead, I'll strongly recommend that you borrow The Angelica Home Kitchen from your local library (Inter Library Loan, if they don't have it) or buy it online, if you've got the $$$. You could also ask for it as a holiday gift from someone who might need a great gift idea.

Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers!