Vegan Deli

Vegan Deli  by Jo Stepaniak

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Raising Vegetarian Children
by Jo Stepaniak, M.S.Ed., & Vesanto Melina M.S., R.D.

Raising Vegetarian Children

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Do you have questions about being vegan? Send them to Jo using this easy form. She would be happy to address your individual concerns as well as general inquiries about vegan ethics, philosophy, practical applications, and living compassionately. Jo cannot respond to questions about nutrition or answer questions that have already been addressed in the Archives

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Vegan Wedding? Piece of Cake!

I am getting married next year. The wedding will be very untraditional except for one thing: I want a big, pretty, white wedding cake. I don't want it to be brown, sweetened with Sucanat, which is what I normally use in place of sugar. What can I use to make both a cake and a frosting that would be white? Also, what natural food colorings could be used to dye the frosting? I know of beet powder for pink, but the color we really want to use on the cake is blue. Do you have any white cake and frosting recipes in any of your books? If so, which one(s) would you recommend to make a multi-tiered cake? We will have approximately 125 guests.

Almost any recipe you would use from a standard cookbook will need to be adapted to make a large enough quantity to serve your guests. If your cake will be prepared by a professional, she or he should have no problem increasing the ingredients and adjusting the baking times for larger cakes.

The recipe I would recommend is my Celebration Cake from Vegan Vittles (page 156). It is a simple cake to make and it is very easy to multiply the ingredients. Because it is made with whole wheat pastry flour and pure maple syrup, the color is more off-white than white. For a whiter cake, substitute unbleached white pastry flour for the whole wheat flour, and replace the maple syrup with sugar. Only white sugar will give you the bright white color you are seeking. Beet sugar, which tastes and performs just like cane sugar, is vegan and can be found in many natural food stores. Another option is using an unbleached cane sugar product such as Florida's Crystals or Turbinado sugar (sometimes marketed as "raw" sugar). Sucanat also makes an unbleached cane sugar, but be sure to use the lighter, crystallized product and not the dehydrated sugar cane juice, which is very dark. These sweeteners will still impart a slightly off-white hue, but your cake will be a shade or two lighter than if you use the maple syrup. If you choose to substitute any kind of sugar for the maple syrup, use about 1/2 cup sugar per recipe, because maple syrup is slightly sweeter than sugar. Also, increase the nondairy milk to about 1 1/4 cups to compensate for the liquid that would have been supplied by the maple syrup.

For your frosting you will need something that will hold up well over a long period of time. I recommend my Heavenly Coconut Icing (Vegan Vittles, page 164), which makes a lovely white frosting. The sweetener in this recipe is apple juice concentrate. For a smoother frosting, blend it in a food processor. Another choice is my Creme Cheeze Frosting (Vegan Vittles, page 162), which is good for piping and decorating. Although it is sweetened with maple syrup, it produces a creamy white icing. It does not hold up quite as well as the Heavenly Coconut Icing, so you may want to experiment with both and see which you prefer. Another white topping with a slightly different texture is my Sea Foam Icing (Vegan Vittles, page 163). This produces a thinner icing that firms and sets up as it cools; it would be a good one to tint. To help the Creme Cheeze Frosting and Sea Foam Icing hold up better, substitute an equal quantity of Spectrum Spread for the canola oil called for in the recipes.

To achieve a naturally blue hue, I suggest you use blueberry juice made from cooked fresh blueberries. Simmer the blueberries until they are soft. Then run them through a food mill or fine mesh strainer to pulverize them and remove the skins and seeds. Use the juice or puree as needed to tint the frosting the desired shade.

If you would like to layer the cake, you can fill the layers with Lemon or Lime Curd (Vegan Vittles, page 165) or with one of the frostings suggested above. Some other ideas to incorporate a blue tinge would be to put a few whole fresh blueberries in the cake batter (dust them with flour first), or you could decorate the frosted cake with fresh blueberries. If you use the lemon or lime curd as a filling (which would go great with blueberries), you can create a confetti touch with the zest of the fruit. Alternatively, make a thick blueberry spread for between the cake layers, or simply swirl sweetened blueberry puree gracefully over the top and sides of the frosted cake.




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