Coffee Infused Cake with Mocha Frosting

Hi everyone! Today’s recipe is the latest rendition of crazy cake (also known as depression cake). Crazy cake is super simple and has no eggs, milk, or butter, making it vegan. However, I made a traditional style buttercream frosting, but the whole cake is still egg-free and it’s also possible to use a vegan frosting if need be.

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What makes this crazy cake different than most, is the coffee infusion and mocha frosting! First, I made a coffee syrup with a recipe from The Spruce Eats . Then I mixed some into the cake batter, giving it a mild essence of coffee. But where the flavor is especially evident is in the frosting! It really takes the cake to the next level and is a pleasant surprise to anyone expecting just plain chocolate!

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Ingredients

Cake

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. vinegar

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 cup water

1/4 cup coffee syrup

 

Frosting

Powdered sugar

Unsweetened cocoa

Butter

Coffee syrup

Half and half

 

Directions

Start by making the simple coffee syrup. The recipe is very simple, only requiring coffee and sugar. The recipe is linked above.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease either an 8×8 baking dish or two round 6 inch cake pans. Any regular cooking spray will work as will this cake release recipe from The Barefoot Baker.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Then add the wet ingredients without mixing them separately first. Stir until a smooth batter is achieved.

Pour the batter in the cake pans, ensuring even distribution if using two pans. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool. When they are, a square cake can remain in the pan and be frosted. For a round, layer cake, I highly recommend removing them from the pans, wrapping, and freezing them before attempting to frost and decorate. (I will cover this in more depth in an upcoming cake frosting tutorial.)

While the cake is cooling, making the frosting. There aren’t amounts of each ingredient specified, because just like pie crust, I never use an actual recipe. To give an idea, a layer cake will need roughly four cups of sugar and anywhere from a stick to a stick and half of butter. Then add half and half and coffee syrup, mixing with electric beaters until it just comes together. With a round cake, having a thick frosting is key, but consistency is less crucial with a square cake. A good test is to dip a finger into the frosting. If nothing, sticks it is too dry and if it feels very wet and sticky, it needs more sugar. If the consistency is just right, a little should stick, but it should feel thick.

I apologize for the ambiguity in the frosting recipe. I’m a firm a believer that the best method is to guess and add a little of this and that until it’s right. If you ever have questions though, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! Enjoy!

Egg-Free Lemon Cheesecake

Happy belated Easter! I was really hoping to get this recipe shared earlier, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it happen being that it’s the middle of yet another midterm season. Nonetheless, this is a great recipe to have on hand for the rest of spring and summer. It features a buttery crust and sweet lemon filling, topped off with a tangy curd. It’s a rather involved recipe, so I would recommend reading through it before starting to avoid any mistakes. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients

Crust

1 1/2 cups crumbled cookies*

1/4 cup melted butter

Filling

1 1/4 cup sugar

1 Tbs. lemon zest

1/4 cup lemon juice

3 8 oz. packages of low fat creamcheese

3/4 cup aquafaba (about the amount found in one can of garbanzo beans)

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup heavy cream

Lemon Curd

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup + 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup + 1 Tbs. sugar

1/3 cup melted butter

1/4 cup water

1/8 tsp. sea salt

2 Tbs. corn starch

Directions

Pour the cookie crumbs in a bowl and slowly add melted butter until the crumbs are able to stick together. (It may not be necessary to use the whole 1/4 cup.)

Grease a 9 inch spring form pan and press the cookie crumbs in the bottom. It is not necessary to build them up on the sides of the pan. Set the pan on a cookie sheet lined with foil (to catch any leaks) and preheat the oven to 325°F

In a food processor, mix 1/4 cup sugar with the lemon zest. After a few seconds, add the rest of the sugar and pulse for a few seconds more.

Cut the cream cheese into one inch pieces and using a hand or stand mixer, beat on medium speed until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and clean off the beaters as necessary. Slow the mixer and pour in the sugar before returning to a medium speed. Once the sugar is incorporated, slow the mixer again to add the aquafaba in two parts. While continuing to mix, add the lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. Finally, incorporate the cream separately.

Pour the filling into the spring-form pan and smooth out the top. Place the pan and cookie sheet on the top oven rack and bake for one hour and 15 minutes. When the time is up, let the cake rest in the hot oven for another hour. During this entire time, it is essential that the oven is not opened as it can cause the cheesecake to crack or cave in. After resting in the oven, the cheesecake can come out and cool at room temperature for another two hours before going in the refrigerator to set up for a few hours more.

After it is out of the oven to cool, start the lemon curd. In a small saucepan, heat the cream, lemon juice, sugar, butter, water, and sea salt on medium heat. Whisk frequently. After about 2-3 minutes, add the cornstarch and whisk continuously until it thickens. You will know the curd is thick enough when it has a custard-like consistency and the whisk leaves a mark in it. Allow to cool slightly before spreading over the cheesecake, but do not wait for it to set up completely, as it would be hard to spread. Any leftover curd can be stored in the refrigerator for two weeks.

After the whole cheesecake has chilled in the refrigerator for at least three hours, the pan can be released and the the cake is ready to be served. I also piped some lemon buttercream around the border just to give it a cleaner look around the edges. Enjoy!

Notes

*For the crust, I used the cookie recipe linked above. However, I chose to omit the chocolate chips to avoid introducing too many flavors to the cheesecake. Run the cookies through a food processor for about a minute or until you have small crumbs.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hi everyone! It’s finally spring, but remember way back around Christmastime when I shared a recipe for  Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake? Instead of a standard graham cracker crust, I always like to use cookie crumbles, so I wanted to share my favorite recipe. If you’re looking for the perfect cheesecake crust material or just want a batch of warm, hearty cookies, this is just the recipe! (Also check back next weekend for new Easter cheesecake! 🐣)

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This original recipe that I adapted always caused the cookies to spread very thin and as a result, they were pretty brittle. I changed two things so they hold they’re shape and are more chewy than crisp. The first is that instead of using granulated white sugar, I substituted powdered sugar. I also chill the dough for 30 minutes prior to baking. Feel free to keep the dough in the refrigerator longer for convenience’ sake, but it won’t make anymore of a difference after the initial half hour.

Ingredients

2 sticks butter, softened

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup boiling water

1 tsp. baking soda

2 cups rolled oats

1 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions

  1. In a deep bowl, cream the butter, sugars, and vanilla.
  2. Add the flour and salt and mix until combined.
  3. Dissolve the baking soda in boiling water and add to the mixture.
  4. Fold in the oats and chocolate chips
  5. Chill the dough for 30 minutes to reduce spread. It can stay in the refrigerator for longer, but doing so won’t have any extra effect.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  7. Role the dough in to balls about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter and place on the baking sheets.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly golden on top.

Notes

  • Substitute raisins for all or half of the chocolate chips to make a delicious batch of oatmeal raisin cookies.
  • Whatever cookies you can’t eat within a few days can be stored in the freezer for a few months.

Cranberry Orange Scones

In today’s recipe, I’m going to combine aspects of two classic favorites: Lemon Raspberry Scones and Orange-Raisin Irish Soda Bread. Since cranberry orange everything is a must in the winter, I took the idea of orange-raisin (or in this case cranberry) from the soda bread and replaced lemon zest with orange zest and raspberries with cranberries in the scones. The results were delightful! Plus there is only a 1/4 cup of sugar in the entire recipe and they are only 108 calories a piece. I may have found my new favorite scone!

Start by preheating the oven to 350°F and lining a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking matIf using the buttermilk substitute, combine the skim milk and vinegar in a small bowl and set aside. If you’re using regular buttermilk, you don’t need to do anything with it at this time.

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In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and zest. Cut in the butter and mix it in using a pastry blender or by hand. If you happen to not double check that you have butter in the fridge and realize the only butter on hand is frozen (as I may or may not have done a time or two), try using a cheese grater instead of cutting it.

 

Whisk the buttermilk, applesauce, and honey in a medium sized bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until the dough has come together, but do not over mix. If the dough is still very sticky, add some extra flour. Gently fold in the cranberries.

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Turn out half of the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a circle, roughly six inches in diameter. Using a butter knife, cut the circle into 12 portions. Place each scone on the baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until the scones turn slightly golden. Test them with a toothpick when you suspect they are ready. Then place them on a cooling rack. Enjoy!

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Ingredients

  • 3 Tbs. buttermilk  or 3 Tbs. skim milk + 1/4 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (plus extra for kneading)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 7 Tbs. cold butter
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 3 Tbs. raw honey
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 Tbs. orange zest

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. If using the buttermilk substitute, combine the skim milk and vinegar in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and zest.
  4. Cut in the butter and mix it in using a pastry blender or by hand. If your butter happens to be frozen, try using a cheese grater instead of cutting it.
  5. Combine the buttermilk, applesauce, and honey in a medium sized bowl.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until the dough has come together. Do not over mix. If the dough is still very sticky, add some more flour.
  7. Gently fold in the cranberries.
  8.  Turn out half of the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a circle, roughly six inches in diameter.
  9. Using a floured butter knife, cut the circle into 12 portions. Place each scone on the baking sheet.
  10. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
  11. Bake for about 15 minutes or until they turn slightly golden. Test them with a toothpick when you suspect they are ready. Then place them on a cooling rack.

Makes 24 scones

108 calories per scone

 

Spaghetti Pie

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all having a great day! Today I want to feature a family recipe of mine that my sister Lauren at LuBerry Pie posted a while back. Just as a side note (and I know this mentioned at the end of the post), since I make everything egg-free, flax seed works wonderfully in this recipe instead of the egg whites. Directions for this is listed in the variations. Enjoy!

LuBerry Pie

Today I am going to share a simple and delicious recipe that my mother shared with me. It is extremely adaptable so there are plenty of ways to spice it up if you are looking for something a little more exciting; however, even the most basic version is a crowdpleaser.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. spaghetti (or pasta of choice)
  • 1 lb. shredded cheese (I recommend mozzarella, but you can mix in other kinds for added flavor)
  • 2 egg whites
  • Your favorite pasta sauce! (I used Newman’s Own Marinara)

Instructions:

  1. Cook pasta according to the directions on the box.
  2. While pasta is cooking, separate egg whites from yolks and beat.
  3. Rinse pasta with cold water to cool. (This is very important to prevent the eggs from cooking when they hit the pasta!)
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine cooked spaghetti and egg whites, fully covering all of the spaghetti.
  5. In a 9 x 13…

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Avocado Salad with Feta and Chickpeas

Hi everyone! Today I’m going to share my all time favorite salad. This avocado salad is my go-to lunch whether I’m at home or on the go. It’s so absolutely delicious, simple, and satisfying. The avocado is full of unsaturated fats and the lime juice gives it some pizzazz. The chickpeas and cheese provide a great vegetarian source of protein, too! Enjoy!

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 Makes 1 serving

Ingredients

1 avocado, diced

1/4 cup chickpeas

2 Tbs. crumbled feta cheese

2 Tbs. cilantro, chopped

1 Tbs. scallions, chopped

Juice of half a lime

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Combine avocado, chickpeas, and feta in a bowl.
  2. Toss with lime juice.
  3. Garnish with cilantro and scallions.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Enjoy!

Egg-Free Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake

Merry Christmas! Today I would like to share a brand new recipe that I must admit is not totally clean. However, it is completely from scratch which is the most important part. Plus this is a Christmas Special Edition post, so we can indulge a little. 🙂

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For my family’s Thanksgiving this year, I tried my hand at my first ever cheesecake. It had a double chocolate chip cookie crust, pumpkin spice filling, chocolate ganache topping, and some buttercream piped around the border to clean up the edges. I know, it was probably the least healthy thing I’ve ever made, but in my defense it was 100% from scratch–even the cookies for the crust. I plan to publish the recipe sometime in the near future, but I would like to try it with low-fat cream cheese first to knock off a few calories, especially since it worked really well in today’s chocolate cheesecake.

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Anyway, this whole endeavor inspired me to take a standard chocolate cheesecake recipe and make a Christmas edition by making a peppermint chocolate ganache and topping it off with some crushed candy canes.

Now this is a pretty involved recipes, so be sure to read through the whole thing before you start and make sure you have plenty of time to spend in the kitchen. Enjoy and merry Christmas!

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Ingredients

Crust

1 1/2 cups homemade chocolate chip cookie crumbs

1/4 cup melted coconut oil or butter

Filling

1 cup dark chocolate chips

2 Tbs. melted coconut oil or butter

2 8-oz. packages of 1/3 fat cream cheese

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tbs. raw honey

1 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa

2 tsp. pure vanilla

1/4 tsp. sea salt

Chocolate Peppermint Ganache

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

1/3 cup whipping cream

1 tsp. melted coconut oil or butter

1/4 tsp. peppermint extract

Crushed candy canes

Directions

Grease the bottom and sides of an 8 inch spring-form pan with canola spray or melted coconut oil.

Put the chocolate chip cookies in a food processor and grind until they are just small crumbs. Use your favorite type of cookie, but I strongly recommend using homemade ones. Once I perfect a recipe, I will share it! Other options include graham crackers or Andes mint-chocolate cookies. Feel free to get creative!

In a small bowl, mix the cookie crumbs with the melted coconut oil or butter. Then press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.

Add approximately an inch of water to the bottom of a double boiler and melt 1 cup of dark chocolate chips on medium heat. Stir every few minutes and be sure not to get any water in the chocolate. When the chocolate chips are melted, remove from heat and stir in 2 Tbs. of melted butter or coconut oil. Allow the mixture to cool for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a large, deep bowl, combine the somewhat-cooled chocolate mixture, cream cheese, sugar, honey, cocoa, vanilla, and salt. Use an electric mixture to mix all the ingredients until smooth and creamy. Be sure to scrape down the sides every so often to ensure that everything is well combined.

Put the filling in the spring form pan and using a small offset spatula, smooth out the filling until it is even across the pan.

Bake for 30 minutes, making sure to not open the oven! Any rapid change in temperature or humidity can lead to cracking.

Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake rest in the oven for another 30 minutes, still not opening the door. When the time is up, let the cheesecake cool for approximately 30 more minutes before letting it chill and set up in the refrigerator for at least three hours and up to overnight.

When the cheesecake is completely cool, it is time to make the ganache! Put the remaining chocolate chips in a glass bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the whipping cream and oil or butter to a boil on medium heat. Pour it onto the chocolate chips and let sit for five minutes. When the time is up, whisk the mixture until it all comes together. Then add the peppermint extract and mix it in.

Pour the ganache on the cheesecake and smooth it out with a small offset spatula. Sprinkle crushed candy canes over the top for a finishing touch. Be sure to do this right away before the ganache cools and hardens. Serve with whipped cream.

Merry Christmas!

Tips

Make sure you put together the spring form pan correctly. Otherwise, oil from the crust will leak into the oven causing a huge mess. I’ve learned this the hard way. Three times to be exact.

Line a baking sheet with foil and put the spring form pan on it while baking. This will prevent any major mess in the event that some leakage does occur.

Again, whatever you do, do not open the oven until it is time to take it out. I know it’s tempting, but this is crucial to cheesecake success! This is also where it becomes imperative that the pan is put together correctly and a baking sheet is below the pan. If you have to open the oven to clean up burned butter as the house fills with haze, the cheesecake will surely cave in the middle. (Yes, I also learned this the hard way.)

If the cake does cave in, the ganache will likely fill the crater, but not the edges. What you can do to remedy the situation is make a little buttercream frosting and pipe a boarder around the cake. No one will know that it’s caved in and you get frosting too!

Don’t cover the cheesecake in the fridge until it is totally cool to prevent condensation from collecting on top. If this does happen, dab it off with a paper towel.

Make the chocolate chip cookies ahead of time and store in the freezer until you want to make the cheesecake.`