S’more Cake

I have a friend going to Costa Rica for 3 months to study the environment and this weekend I got to see her and put my baking skills to use. I made a vegan cake with graham craker crumbs and it was moist and delicious. I modified the recipe from Vegan Cupcakes take over the World by my new mentor in all things delicious and animal-product free, Ms. Isa. I adore her. I feel as if I already know her. She writes cookbooks that work and are practical. I have too many vegan cookbooks that have a million ingredients that I don’t seem to have and it takes a minimum of 3 hours to make the dish. Long processes are fine, but not every day, especially when I cook at school and work. But you don’t want to hear about that, you want to hear about the cake.
There were molasses in it and soymilk, so it was deep, rich and tender crumbed. The graham cracker taste was in it, but the molasses definitely took over and I don’t think I would call it a S’more. Perhaps if I made it like Isa intended, cupcake form where there would be a mountain of buttercream frosting and chocolate, it would resemble it a little more in the mouth. My version was mostly cake, a layer of frosting and a drizzle of ganache (composed of soymilk and dark chocolate, melted). My buddy adores the sugar and all things dessert and she liked the cake, so I am proud. It was quite pretty too, I will post a picture when I buy a card to pull the data off my cellphone.
No major issues making the cake, either, so sorry nothing to complain about it.

Hooray for Isa.
Hooray for the internet.
Hooray for cakes that taste delicious and don’t depend on any animals for it’s creation.

A little circus time

I know I’m not a circus professional, nor is this foto of me being professional, but I am very proud of this moment. So ignore the ugly loose hand and appreciate me, hanging by one hand like so. I think it looks muy nice. I was honored to be asked to do a little ambient cirque at a yoga warehouse sale in Seattle about a month ago. So there I was, in the middle of clothes racks and such, climbing a rope and tooling around on a hoop.

Being vegetarian can do more for the environment than upgrading your car

There is an amazing article out there on the web and I want to provide a link to it.


In a nutshell, rainforests are being cut down so food can be grown for cows for our meat demand. The amount of land that is used for growing grain to feed cows could feed the world’s human population and end hungur. It takes 2500 gallons of water to “produce” one pound of beef. It only takes 25 gallons of water to “grow” a one pound loaf of bread. Animal agriculture accounts for 9% of our carbon dioxide emissions, it emits 37% of our methane, and 65% of our nitrous oxide. But don’t take my word for it, read Kathy’s article. She explains it much better than I can.

bloody help

I used to give blood on a regular basis because my college and high school had giant signs and made it easy for me sign up. It was a social event, free egg salad sandwiches and cookies. Since I graduated UConn, I seem to have forgotten about donating blood. So I have decided to stop being lazy and I found a blood bank in Seattle. They have a website and a current list of blood drives, times and locations in the city. You can sign up on line and have them send you an email reminder. I’m glad I took two seconds to look for a blood drive because there’s plenty of drives happening every week to my surprise. It’s amazing how passive one can get if there aren’t signs and people approaching you to donate. It takes a lot of effort to be a grown-up sometimes. The red cross has a website with searchable blood drives as well, although they are not in Seattle.

Perhaps you don’t give blood on a regular basis, or used to but have slacked like me. Here’s a few reasons why you should hurry up and make an appointment to give blood.
1. You can save someones life. There isn’t a substitute for human blood. Isn’t that enough? A pint of blood can help up to 3 people.
2. Selfish: it’s good for your body to blood let and replenish your blood supply with fresh blood.
2. Every 2 seconds in America someone needs blood.
3. If half the people who donate one time a year were to donate a second time, the Red Cross wouldn’t have shortages of blood.

So I’ll get off my soapbox now. Perhaps you are encouraged to be a little more altruistic for yo fellow peeps.

Baking with Poi, oh joy!

Today I attempted to make Poi, and then incorporate it into a Mocha vegan cake of my own devising. I had the french pastry chef at school chide me for being creative and making up my own recipe. According to him, I need to just follow recipes like a sheep because I do not know everything and shouldn’t stray from classical technique. Why the hell am I in culinary school if I just want to follow recipes all day? I could easily do that at home or work. I am not paying these teachers to make me a robot drone. Luckily not all the teachers are like that, and who knows, frenchie may just be joking and I can’t tell because I am 1. not french, 2. not a local seattlite (different humor here than east coast world) 3. not in the pastry program 4. not using butter or eggs.

Back to my experience: so I took a lovely root of poi, peeled it and steamed it for about a half hour. I used my chef instuctor’s mocajete and tried to pound and grind the taro into poi and it just spurted everywhere and was a bit grainy. My teacher told me in Hawaii they have a flat lava rock and pounding instrument….which is much different than his mocajete de Oaxaca. After a good forearm workout, I threw all the taro into the robocoupe and processed it with enough water to make “2 finger” poi, meaning it can be easily eaten with two fingers. It tasted good and not like the crap I had at a diner near Waimea Bay on the Big Island. That crap was so metallic I gagged. My poi tasted earthy and flowery. I didn’t sugar it since I was going to bake with it.

I altered a recipe I had for a vegan chocolate cake and substituted half of the canola oil for poi, but sadly it got overbaked because making cake was not my main job today. I had to cook for one of the Chef of the Day projects and that distracted me enough to bake the cake 5-10 minutes longer than needed. So, it tasted like cocoa powder, I couldn’t taste the coffee nor the poi. One of my classmates could really taste the poi. I thought it was dry and a little crumbly. It was a moist, dense chocolate cake….maybe I just want a brownie.
So my next try I’m going to melt a nice dark chocolate and swirl it into the batter, add more maple syrup and use some brewed coffee and not the bitter instant espresso.

Has anyone ventured into this cake creation world? I’d appreciate any and all advice, and I will update my trials.