Great Cakes!

“Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon”- Dalai Lama

It does not feel like Christmas, we decorated a little Friday and I've been to the mall a few times during the madness, but until today, there's been little snow and I haven't been watching Christmas specials so maybe that's it.  
Photo from the State Library of Queensland, Australia

Last Christmas, I talked about holiday dinner, gift giving, and greeting ideas. For my birthday I talked about healthy gifts,this year, however, we decided not to do gifts and life is even easier than when we became vegetarians. Though we're letting that tradition go this year (and gathering less stuff for it), we are definitely having dinner and definitely  making it together. I love cooking and baking with my family. It gives us some time to do something fun together and then we have a meal. Yay! So this year, I'm going to talk about a few of my favourite recipes. 

First- Dessert!- Vegan Bread Pudding and Great Cake (Quickly)

Vegan Bread Pudding
This dessert is great because not only is it yummy, it doesn't have to be too sweet, and you can load it with fruit if you like, but also it's made of stale (but still edible and cheap) bread. Here, in the Montreal neighbourhood of NDG, you can get 3 loves of day-old whole bread for 4.50$ at Snowdon bakery, so it's nice and inexpensive.

It's also really simple:

  • In a bowl mix :
    • About 3 cups liquid (almond milk, water, etc)
    • .5 brown sugar  or sugar substitute
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
    • Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cocoa, or other flavor.
    •  Fruits and raisins if you like 
  • In another bowl gather 5 cups torn bread  (I like to use whole wheat).
  • Mix the liquid in until bread is soggy. Let it soak for about 10 minutes. If the bread is not mushy enough, add a little more liquid.
  • Grease a pan and scoop in the mixture.
  • Photo by Vegan Feast Catering
  • Garnish with spices as desired.  
  • Bake that thing at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown
The result of the above is a soft cake best eaten warm. It goes nicely with a scoop of ice cream.

You could make many variations: add flaxseed, berries, chocolate chips, nuts, try other sorts of bread. A savory bread pudding might also work. My Mom quite enjoyed our blueberry one this weekend. Go nuts and enjoy!

Quick Great Cake (Bajan Christmas Cake)

I'm not sure that this dessert is terribly healthy, but one of my sisters and I had wanted to make it for a while and since I've got a recipe that works, it counts as something I've learned, and it's going in! Also, it's mostly made of fruit.

This is a traditional Bajan cake served around Christmas, there are similar cakes in other parts of The Carribean and Britain. It is sometimes known as a black cake or Christmas cake. Traditionally, the fruit base soaks for at least 3 weeks, but Carolyn, Scott, and I were not feeling patient,and we had heard you can make it quick. Anyway, since dried fruit and some of the other ingredients were on sale, we decided to try out this delicious cake. We had pretty good results combing a few recipes, (including one from Tryone Davis and his awesome Bridgetown catering and deli).

You will need:
  • 5 cups minced dried fruits-We used raisins, cranberries, dates, and prunes
  • A little lemon juice
  • .5 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • .75 cup rum
  • .75 cup flour
  • .5 teaspoon baking powder
  • .5 pound butter or margarine
  • .5 teaspoon salt
  • .75 cup Falernum or wine
  • .5 teaspoon vanilla
Photo by CJC
  • Mix minced fruits with half of sugar, lemon juice,  and .25 cup each of rum and Falernum or wine. 
  • Add water until the mixture is covered. Let it simmer until gooey. Make sure the fruit stays covered by adding more liquor or water throughout the process- we ended up adding .25 cups each of Falernum and rum and some water.
  • Cream the butter and the rest of sugar. Mix the eggs in one at a time and the vanilla.  Gradually add the flour and baking powder.
  • Then mix in the fruit mixture.
  • Grease a 9x13 inch pan and pour in the mixture.
  • Put a pan of water on  the bottom rack and the cake on the top rack.
  • Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour, then remove the pan of water. Let it bake for 1.5 to 2 more hours. 
  • Once the cake is somewhat springy to touch, poke holes all over it and pour more liquor over it. ( We used about .25 each of Falernum and rum). It is recommended to let it sit for about 2 days to soak up all the alcohol.
Photo by CJC

This is one drunk cake! All that booze helps preserve it, but since we eat it quickly, we might put in some water instead of some the liquor next time. This will help cut back on cost, and make the cake a little more driver friendly. Either way it is delicious!

If you're looking for some other fruity dessert recipes or maybe vegetabley dinner foods, check out these these other recipes and food posts. (I made that Sweet Potato Curry Friday for my father; it is always a hit).
Have you got a favourite recipe? Something you're making for the holidays? Leave a comment, I'd love to hear it. And- if you like what you read, don't forget to share, subscribe, or follow me on Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook.

Eat well, Charlotte


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