Two-Layer Vegan Chocolate Cake

vegan-chocolate-cake

I want to begin by saying that, if you haven’t checked out all of the delicious recipes available at minimalistbaker.com, you’re missing out! Dana’s recipes are always flavorful and easy. This vegan chocolate cake was no exception!

I was baking for a non-vegan crowd, so it was highly important to me to find a recipe that could win everyone over. Learning to bake vegan has been a learning process, but I’m so happy to report that this recipe made it incredibly simple, with delicious results!

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Easy & Delicious Stove Top Popcorn (that just happens to be vegan)!

Coconut oil popcorn stove top popcorn easy recipe

I have heard from several friends, and have read on several web sites, that stove top popcorn made with coconut oil is delicious and easy. I’ve always been interested in trying it for myself, but for some reason, never got around to it until now. I have an air popper, and I usually add butter and salt to my popcorn after it’s popped. After being recommended the coconut oil version once again just last week, I decided to finally give it a try.

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Salad Building Made Simple

Many of us strive to eat healthy but struggle with the lack of appeal of some healthier foods. While there are perfectly delicious veggies and other things out there, let’s face it, salads can be extremely boring. I personally really enjoy fresh foods, but I have had a hard time constructing salads that keep me coming back for another bite. In the past, I’ve usually ended up losing enthusiasm and stopped making salads all together. Continue reading

Cardamom Spice Blend

1/8 tsp Ground cardamom

1/8 tsp Sea salt

1/8 tsp Ground cloves

2 Tbs Light brown Sugar

½ tsp Vanilla

1 Tbsp Maple syrup

Mix all ingredients until combined.

Pairs well with sweet potatoes, and could make a wonderful addition to cookies, scones, or glazes!

Family Tree Lemon Bars

These treats are called Family Tree Lemon Bars because they are made with lemons that were picked from a tree that has stood in my grandparents’ backyard for generations. Countless family members have harvested fresh lemons from this tree, and some still do.

For tips and advice on freezing your own fresh lemon juice and zest, see our related post!

Family Tree Lemon Bars

Shortbread crust:

  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup butter, softened (or veggie “butter” spread)

Fresh Lemon Filling:

  • 2/3 cup lemon juice (about 3 large lemons)
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • ¼ cup plus 1 Tbs All-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 4 Eggs (or vegan egg substitute – adjust measurements as needed)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting, if desired

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, blend together all crust ingredients and press into an ungreased 9 x 13 pan.
  3. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and slightly firm.
  4. While the crust is baking, mix filling ingredients together in another bowl. Pour the filling mixture over the baked crust and return to oven.
  5. Bake for additional 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool. Lightly dust the top with powdered sugar. Cut into bars to serve. Filling will thicken once chilled. Store covered in refrigerator.

Notes:

To make this recipe vegan, use an egg replacement and a vegan “butter” spread. Please note that we have not tested the vegan version of this recipe, so we cannot speak to the texture or possible measurement adjustments that might be necessary. We’d love to hear from anyone that gives this a try!

**Baking times are for use with a 9 x 13 baking pan. If using a smaller pan for thicker bars, baking time will need to be increased by 5 – 10 minutes for crust as well as for the filling.**

Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice & Zest

Fresh lemons preserving lemons easy dessert recipe lemon bars_2

If you’re lucky enough to have access to a lemon tree but aren’t sure what to do with all those fresh lemons, here’s a short tutorial on freezing fresh lemon juice and zest!

Step one should be to wash the lemons, especially if you’re freezing the zest. The next step is the longest one – zesting all those lemons! Use a box grater or zester to complete this step.

Once all the lemons are zested, lay a piece of waxed paper on a baking sheet. Place lemon zest on the waxed paper in 1 tsp clumps. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for at least an hour. At this point, the clumps of lemon zest should be stiff enough that they can be wrapped individually with cling wrap and placed into a freezer bag or jar. Label the container with measurement information and date, and store in the freezer.

Freezing lemon zest preserving lemons fruit lemon peel lemon bars easy dessert recipe_2

Juice lemons into a large bowl. We suggest juicing by hand rather than with a juicer in order to avoid a bitter lemon rind taste. Strain lemon juice to remove any seeds. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze. Once thoroughly frozen, remove cubes and place into a freezer bag. Label the bag with measurement information and date.

Freezing fresh lemon juice preserving lemons easy dessert recipe lemon bars_2

Lemon zest and fresh lemon juice both defrost rapidly for easy use in recipes!

For a delicious dessert using fresh lemons, see our recipe for Family Tree Lemon Bars!