Lately, I’ve been baking vegan a lot. Cupcakes for the Kü-Ché, tarts, cakes and more cupcakes. I also started eating mostly vegan due to ethical reasons and also to try some recipes by Attila Hildmann, who sent me two of his cookbooks which have been translated into English recently.
Attila is a vegan cook and some kind of celebrity here in Germany.
To be honest, he occurred to me like some celebrity poser at first, posting work-out photos of himself very frequently, alternating with advertisements for his cookbooks, cooking tools or even vegetables of his own brand. But then I tried out his recipes and learned that he actually seems to be a very talented cook, although he certainly knows how to place his products and himself on the market and media.
And that’s what makes him so unique and successful as a vegan cookbook author. He manages to demonstrate to a large audience that vegan dishes can be both mouthwatering and simple, contrary to prejudices towards vegan cooking up until now, thereby making vegan nutrition a little more suitable for the mass.
Recently, he sent me two of his newly available in English cookbooks, “Vegan for Fun” and “Vegan for Fit” to review them. While the latter is rather a diet program, including tips for workouts, both books include lots of recipes for delicious-looking dishes.
When flipping through the pages, I noticed a lot of “fast food” favorites like pizza, burgers, common pasta (meat sauce, carbonara), mushrooms in cream sauce – but all vegan recipes, without calling for overly fancy ingredients or any weird seeming cooking techniques (as my former experience with “veganized” recipes had been).
Vegan for Fun is structured into chapters, starting with Attila’s philosophy – he approaches veganism not only as an ethical phenomenon (“Doctrines are out”) but also as a more healthy way of living, including sports and the wide range of super foods as ingredients for delicious meals.
Next, there is a small chapter on a few ingredients that might not be so familiar to everyone, like soy whipping cream or guar gum. Attila describes what they are, how to use them and where to buy them, and I think this can be really helpful to anyone who is new to vegan cooking.
And then, there are the recipes – hearty, yummy all-time favorites in vegan versions (“Really satisfying”), party food recipes (“Veggie party”), “Vegan to go” includes snacks and meals you can prepare ahead and eat for example at work for lunch, some low-calorie recipes (“Light and delicious”) and also a chapter on delicious desserts (“Sweet rewards”), my favorite :) Each recipe is accompanied by beautiful pictures, some small background information (like nutritional values, recommendations for serving or information on the use of a special ingredient) and the ingredient measurements are listed in volumes (cups, tablespoons, teaspoons) as well as in metric units.
On the last pages, there are some more tips for grocery shopping, kitchen tools (which are not absolutely necessary in my opinion but certainly can be helpful) and sources for more information about vegan nutrition. All in all, the b00k is structured in a really interesting, informative way and the recipes are suitable for everyday cooking necessities.
It might be not such a big surprise that the first recipes I tried were baking recipes – which fortunately worked out pretty well. Attila’s Carrot cake for example was added to my favorite recipes immediately. But I also baked savory things, a hearty quiche to be precise. As I really liked the result, I thought I’d share my version of the recipe with you.
|Vegetable Quiche || vegan
makes one 24 cm Quiche, adapted from Vegan for Fun by Attila Hildmann
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsps baking powder
about 1 1/2 tsps salt
1 cup vegetable margarine (I used Alsan)
3 tsps. sugar
1 – 1 1/2 cups roughly chopped vegetables of your choice
(I used a handful of mushrooms, 1/3 red bell pepper and 4 stalks mangold)
3-4 tbsps. olive oil
1 cup soy yogurt
1 cup oat cream
4 tbsps corn starch
lots of nutmeg (preferably freshly ground)
It’s strawberry season! At least here in Germany, those red cuties can be found everywhere at the moment. At the supermarket, the farmer’s market, or on top of cupcakes. These cupcakes here, for example.
A few months ago I found a recipe for vegan strawberry cake and wanted to try it as soon as there were fresh strawberries available again. So I baked cupcakes out of the batter, topped them with whipped chocolate ganache frosting and some more beautiful strawberries. People at the Kü-Ché liked them pretty much, so I thought I’d share the recipe with you :)
|Strawberry cupcakes with chocolate frosting (adapted from Kurryleaves) || vegan
makes 12 cupcakes
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cups sugar
0,75 tsps baking soda
1 pinch salt
3/4 to 1 cup strawberry puree (about 300g strawberries)
1 tsp vanilla
3/8 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
200g dark (vegan) chocolate
30g vegan butter
150g vegan whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
100-200g strawberries for decoration
My former flatmate Thilo used to make this unbelievably yummy cake called “Russischer Zupfkuchen” (Russian pluck cake, roughly translated) and ever since he moved out, my other flatmates requested I should bake it. He always just threw all ingredients into a bowl, eyeballing the amounts, never measuring anything exactly but always got a beautiful and tasty cake. Wonder how he did that, lots of experience perhaps?
When doing some research about the origin of russian pluck cake, I figured out that it does not really seem to be a russian cake. What’s funny is that there are said to be cakes like this one in some regions of russia, but apparently they’re called “German cake”.
Soft cheesecake with a crumbly chocolate crust, sprinkled with the remaining chocolate dough plucked into chunks, that’s basically what russian pluck cake is. It is pretty popular here in Germany, people tend to like the combination of cocoa and moist cheesecake filling, especially my flatmates. So I made a whole baking tray and cut the cake into nice handy bars. Turns out that I like cake bars, somehow. You can cut them into smaller bars and eat them piece by piece, enjoying every crumb, or just dig in, if you’re in a hurry and late for an exam like me this morning.
Enough of the cake shape philosophy, here’s the recipe. As I am not as talented and/or experienced as Thilo, I wrote all the measurements down for you.
This version of russian pluck cake is rather heavy on the eggs and the vanilla, my flatmates seem to like that, but I think you could also vary a little with the ingredients.
|Cheesecake bars with chocolate crust
makes one baking tray
|Ingredients – for the crust:
50g cocoa powder
3 tsps. baking powder
200g granulated sugar
for the filling:
1 kg low-fat quark
125ml (1/2 cup) milk
3 tbsps. vanilla
250g butter, melted
250g granulated sugar
60g corn starch, sifted
I’ve never been good at saying goodbye.
Last week I quit the job I had been working at during the last year. I had been working in the kitchen there, nothing special. But nevertheless I’m going to miss my coworkers, the way they made me laugh and have fun during work. To make farewell a little sweeter, I brought cake – no big surprise, is it?
Whole-grain crust with a hint of cinnamon, a layer of marzipan covered under the last of fading winter’s apples. A few caramelized almond slices on top and done is this simple but good tart. Ready to be enjoyed in its crumbly, juicy and sweet yummyness (is that a word, yummyness? Anyway, I hope you know what I mean to express). And it is able to bring comfort, to make people smile, even at rather sad occasions.
|Apple and almond tart
makes one 22cm tart
180g whole grain flour
120g + about 30g butter
60g + 3 tbsps. granulated sugar
1/2 – 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. kirsch
2-3 tbsps. sliced almonds
Sweet, moist, yummy. I think that describes these Apple Cupcakes I baked today pretty well.
Topped with Matcha frosting and some candied apple peel they got their finishing touches to be served tomorrow. The slightly bitter note of Matcha complements the sweet and fruity apple taste in a nice way, and my flatmates seem to like these cupcakes. If you want to try one yourself, come to the Kü-Ché tomorrow afternoon:
Kü-Ché at neun10räume
Moltkestraße 11, 35390 Gießen
open 2 p.m. – 7 p.m.
For those of you who do not happen to be around Gießen tomorrow, why don’t you bake them yourself? I translated the recipe of the cupcakes for all of you non-German speakers into English, although the recipe is not mine, all credit goes to Lillifred at chefkoch.de.
|Super moist apple muffins || vegan
makes about 20 muffins
recipe from here
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 medium apples, shredded (I kept the peel and candied it for decoration!)
1 medium apple, cut into cubes
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 cup sparkling water
1 package (about 3 tsps) baking powderoptional: frosting or other toppings
Take the urban flair of a coffee shop, the coziness of a tiny, cute bakery, mix in some friendly staff and put the whole thing into a medium-sized two-story space in Hanover Mitte. Add organic ingredients, good coffee – et voilá: Bean’s since coffee is what you get.
I came across this place last week after shopping for some vintage tableware and decided to take a short break there. Turns out this was a really good decision, as they serve really delicious drinks and snacks – all from certified organic produce – in a warm, welcoming ambiente. Beautiful hot chocolate, steaming rooibos tea and the best poppy seed cake I’ve had in a long time was what we tried.
They serve the usual range of coffee varieties like plain coffee, cappuccino, espresso, latte macchiato and several flavoured coffee drinks plus about 10 tea specialties and homemade hot chocolate (white or dark). The latte macchiato I had tried some time ago had a very smooth milk froth and good-tasting espresso, which in my opinion is a key factor characterizing good cafés. They also offer several cold drinks, freshly made sandwiches, a soup of the day and house-baked cakes, if I remember correctly. Prices are affordable, I’d say a little cheaper than at well-known brands like Starbucks, and if you keep in mind that all ingredients are from organic produce, that’s really reasonably priced.
What I also liked about this café was the stylish, lounge-like but still comfy interior in combination with simple decorative details like the display with coffee syrups for sale or the guestbook-wall on which customers are invited to write feedback directly onto the wall. I apologize for the quality of the pictures, as I did not have my camera with me, all I could do was taking some snaps with my cell phone.
So if you appreciate good coffee from organic produce in a comfortable, fresh ambiente, Bean’s in Hanover might be worth a try.
Bean’s since coffee
opening hours: monday – saturday 8.30 am – 8 pm
Recently, I’ve become involved in a few new and very interesting food projects. The first one is the Kü-Ché, the student-run Café which I wrote about last year, remember? I’m baking for the guests every week now, and it truly is a lot of fun. I love spending time there, serving my baked goods to friends and guests and having an afternoon without stress every week, some comfort time in between exams and other duties.
The second project is a vegan website, an online guide to local vegan restaurants, a cooking show and a recipe database which will hopefully launch sometime soon! Although I am not a vegan myself (“just” vegetarian), I do see the advantages of a vegan lifestyle in addition to ethical reasons. For example, a vegan nutrition is much more eco-friendly (plant-based food causes significantly less water use and pollution with greenhouse gases in comparison to foods from animals), especially if it is based on seasonal & local foods.
So I thought this vegan website would be a fun & interesting project to participate in, and so far, I haven’t been disappointed. And although I’m not so familiar with vegan baking yet, I realized how tasty the results can be. Try these Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry frosting and come see for yourself – they’re sooo good, believe me. At least that’s what friends & guests at the Kü-Ché said ;)
They would also be great for Valentine’s Day, if you’d like to bake something for that occasion. Pipe the frosting from the middle of the cupcake towards the outside, and voilà – cupcakes looking like pink roses is what you get ;)
|Chocolate cupcakes with raspberry frosting || vegan
cake batter recipe adapted from deliciouseveryday.com
makes 20 cupcakes
|Cupcakes – Ingredients:
60g dark (vegan) chocolate, chopped into rough chunks
275g plain (all purpose) flour
45g cocoa powder
3 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
1¾ cups (450ml) coconut milk
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1¾ cups (350g) brown sugar
1¼ cups (320ml) sunflower oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
|Chocolate “ganache” & Frosting – Ingredients:
125g dark (vegan) chocolate
30g coconut milk
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
250g vegan butter (at room temperature)
300g frozen raspberries (defrosted)
1 – 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
optional: sugar pearls