Double Daring Bakers

silueta3.jpg    It’s time for our 5th Double Challenge. What is it? Red Velvet Cake!


We got to choose our own recipe, so I went on a Red Velvet Cake recipe hunt. They all looked pretty much the same. The only differences I really found was some used strawberry juice instead of the red food coloring. I have never eaten Red Velvet Cake, so I was just going by hearsay for what it should taste like. I messed up my subs a little. For replacing the oil, I could only think of using flax meal, so the cake was a little lacking in flavor. I should have used soy yogurt or applesauce, or even a prune puree. It would’ve helped a lot. Live and learn. The cake still tasted good, most of the flavor was from the icing, the cake itself was a little bland. We did finish off all of the cake, so it must have been good!



Here is the original recipe:

Red Velvet Cake Daring Bakers Challenge #5: March 2007

Recipe: Your choice – Only requirements for recipe, cake must be red & frosting must be cream cheese frosting (Two successful recipes used by the Daring Bakers are included below)


From Mrs Wilkes Boarding House in Savannah, Georgia (as baked by Peabody)

2 eggs – I used Ener-G egg replacer

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil – I used 1 ½ cup warm water mixed with ¼ cup flax meal and ¼ cup applesauce

1 tsp white vinegar

2 1/2 cups cake flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 to 3 TBSP cocoa powder

1 cup buttermilk – soy milk mixed with lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla

5/8 ounce bottle red food coloring – only about 3/8 oz a bottle, which was plenty

Preheat the oven to 350F. Cream the eggs, sugar, oil & vinegar. Sift the cake flour, baking soda, & cocoa together. Add the flour mixture to the creamed ingredients while beating. Slowly add the buttermilk. While still beating, add the vanilla & the food coloring. Pour into three 8” layer pans & bake for about 25 minutes. Press lightly;if the layers are spongy, then the cake is done. Frost the cooled layers, assemble & frost the top & sides. Serves 12 to 14.

img_2708.jpg    batter

img_2710.jpg   cake

Red Velvet Cake Frosting – I also added about ½ cup shredded coconut

1(8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened – used Tofutti soy cream cheese

1/2 cup butter – used firm silken tofu

1 (1 pound) box confectioners sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine the cream cheese & butter & melt over very low heat. Add the sugar, pecans & vanilla & mix well. If the frosting becomes too thick, add a little milk. Frost one 8” or 9” layer cake.


Daring Bakers!

It’s time for the September 2008 Daring Bakers challenge!


This month we are doing Lavash Crackers & Toppings

To start with, our hosts for this month were Natalie from Gluten A Go Go, & her co-host Shel, of Musings from the Fishbowl! Make sure you check out their Lavash creations.

I was so excited when I saw this challenge. First of all, our hosts are vegan & gluten free, so NO SUBSTITUTIONS!!! Yeah!

We had the option of making these regular or gluten free. I wanted to try the gluten free ones, but I didn’t have a chance. I am planning on making the gluten free version next time I make these. For the dips, they had to be vegan & gluten free, which was easy for me, although I wasn’t all that creative with them.


These crackers are wonderful! The trick with these is to get them evenly rolled out. If they are a little thicker in some areas, they don’t cook the same, so some will be a little more on the flatbread side & some a little too browned. Some of mine turned out a little too brown in sections, but they still tasted great, no burnt taste at all. These do take a little time to make, but its mostly inactive rest/rise time. You can go crazy with the dips, although I was just craving some White Bean Dip, so that’s what I made. I was also making Avocado & Hummus Sandwiches, so I had some hummus too. We ate these crackers with dinner a couple of nights & they go great with Minestrone Soup & with Soy Sausage & Peppers. You have limitless options with these crackers, they are even great naked! For the toppings on the crackers, I used cumin (my fav), paprika, toasted sesame seeds (hubby’s fav), salt & chili powder (only one spice per cracker). Dried herbs would be good too. Thank you so much Natalie and Shel!!!  Oh, sorry, no pix of the dips. 


Here is the recipe for you:

Recipe Reference: The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread, by Peter Reinhart. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA. Copyright 2001. ISBN-10: 1-58008-268-8, ISBN-13: 978-158008-268-6.Here’s a simple formula for making snappy Armenian-style crackers, perfect for breadbaskets, company & kids…It is similar to the many other Middle Eastern & Northern African flatbreads known by different names, such as mankoush or mannaeesh (Lebanese), barbari (Iranian), khoubiz or khobz (Arabian), aiysh (Egyptian), kesret & mella (Tunisian), pide or pita (Turkish), & pideh (Armenian). The main difference between these breads is either how thick or thin the dough is rolled out, or the type of oven in which they are baked (or on which they are baked, as many of these breads are cooked on stones or red-hot pans with a convex surface)…The key to a crisp lavash,…is to roll out the dough paper-thin. The sheet can be cut into crackers in advance or snapped into shards after baking. The shards make a nice presentation when arranged in baskets. Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers

* 1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) unbleached bread flour or gluten free flour blend (If you use a blend without xanthan gum, add 1 tsp xanthan or guar gum to the recipe)
* 1/2 tsp (.13 oz) salt
* 1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast
* 1 Tb (.75 oz) agave syrup or sugar
* 1 Tb (.5 oz) vegetable oil
* 1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) water, at room temperature
* Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, or kosher salt for toppings

1.  In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt yeast, agave, oil, & just enough water to bring everything together into a ball.  You may not need the full 1/2 cup + 2 Tb of water, but be prepared to use it all if needed.

2. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Sprinkle some flour on the counter & transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should pass the windowpane test (see … ong-Enough for a discription of this) & register 77 degrees to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), satiny to the touch, not tacky, & supple enough to stretch when pulled. Lightly oil a bowl & transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.


2. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), & slightly tacky. Lightly oil a bowl & transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

3. Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size. (You can also retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator immediately after kneading or mixing).

4. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Mist the counter lightly with spray oil & transfer the dough to the counter. Press the dough into a square with your hand & dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Roll it out with a rolling pin into a paper thin sheet about 15“ by 12“. You may have to stop from time to time so that the gluten can relax. At these times, lift the dough from the counter & wave it a little, & then lay it back down. Cover it with a towel or plastic wrap while it relaxes. When it is the desired thinness, let the dough relax for 5 minutes. Line a sheet pan with baking parchment. Carefully lift the sheet of dough & lay it on the parchment. If it overlaps the edge of the pan, snip off the excess with scissors.


4. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Lay out two sheets of parchment paper. Divide the cracker dough in half & then sandwich the dough between the two sheets of parchment. Roll out the dough until it is a paper thin sheet about 15“ by 12“. Slowly peel away the top layer of parchment paper. Then set the bottom layer of parchment paper with the cracker dough on it onto a baking sheet.

img_2736.jpg    img_2738.jpg  Pre-baked5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Mist the top of the dough with water & sprinkle a covering of seeds or spices on the dough (such as alternating rows of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, kosher or pretzel salt, etc.) Be careful with spices & salt – a little goes a long way. If you want to precut the cracker, use a pizza cutter (rolling blade) & cut diamonds or rectangles in the dough. You do not need to separate the pieces, as they will snap apart after baking. If you want to make shards, bake the sheet of dough without cutting it first.5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crackers begin to brown evenly across the top (the time will depend on how thinly & evenly you rolled the dough).

6.  When the crackers are baked, remove the pan from the oven & let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes.  You can then snap them apart or snap off shards & serve.


RECIPES – Toppings
You may use your choice of topping/dip/salsa/relish/spread for your lavash crackers as long as it is vegan & gluten free.
Honeydew – Peach Salsa from The Splended Table ( … eydew.html)Try the salsa with grilled seafoods & poultry, or over rice noodles. Chile could be added to taste. Is best eaten within several hours of preparation. Use organic ingredients if at all possible.
* juice of 1 lime
* ½ teaspoon minced garlic
* ¼ to ½ cup finely diced red onion
* 1 Red Fresno & 1 Hot Yellow minced chile (seeds removed)
* 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar,
* ½ ripe sweet honeydew melon, cubed into bite-sized pieces
* 4 small, ripe peaches, peeled & cubed into bite-sized pieces
* salt & freshly ground black pepper
* 1/3 cup minced fresh coriander, or coriander & mint combined

In a medium bowl blend the lime juice, garlic, onion & chilies. Let stand 20 minutes, then blend in sugar & fruits with salt (a generous pinch) & pepper (to make piquant) to taste. Refrigerate up to 3 hours. Fold in fresh herbs just before serving.

Copyright 1997 Lynne Rossetto Kasper, all rights reserved.

Tahitian Almond Dipping Sauce by Robert Yarosh & Lisa Soto, from The Complete Book of Raw Food, Lori Baird, Editor.
* 1 1/2 cups almond butter
* 1/2 cup pine nuts
* 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
* 1 clove garlic
* 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (you may want to add more juice or add some water, depending on the consistancy you like).
* 1 1/2 tablespoons agave syrup or honey

Blend all ingredients together until smooth (in your blender or food processor). Serve with your favorite crackers & fresh fruit.


For the rest of September

4th week of September is National Wild Rice Week

September 22nd is National Ice Cream Cone Day

September 22nd is National White Chocolate Day

September 23rd is National White Chocolate Day – Either they couldn’t make up their mind, or they just really like white chocolate.

September 24th is National Cherries Jubilee Day. Cherries Jubilee is a fancy dessert made with liqueur.

September 25th is Crab Meat Newburg Day – huh?

September 25th is National Food Service Employees Day – be nice to them, they give you your food!

September 26th is National Pancake Day

September 27th is National Chocolate Milk Day – try some chocolate almond milk, its heavenly!

September 27th is National Corned Beef Hash Day – shouldn’t this be in March?

September 28th Strawberry Cream Pie Day

September 28th is Drink Beer Day – hello!

September 29th is National Coffee Day

September 30th is National Hot Mulled Cider Day

Sorry, I’m late.

September 15th is National Linguini Day – yummy

September 16th is National Guacamole Day – even yummier

September 17th is National Apple Dumpling Day – not so exciting, not a big fan of apple desserts

September 18th is National Cheeseburger Day – I’ll celebrate this one with a black bean burger, hold the cheese

September 18th is National Play-Dough Day. – How fun!, just don’t eat it 🙂

September 19th is National Butterscotch Pudding Day

September 20th is National Rum Punch Day

September 21st is International Banana Festival – awesome!  Bananas are so good for you and can be used in so many ways!

September 21st is National Pecan Cookie Day

National Days for the second week of September

2nd week of September is National Waffle Week – we actually had waffles this morning for breakfast.

2nd week of September is Biscuit & Gravy Week

2nd week of September is National Vegetarian Awareness Week – celebrate by going meat free today!

September 8th is National Date Nut Bread Day

September 9th is Weinerschnitzel Day & National Hot Dog Day – aren’t these basically the same thing?

September 10th is TV Dinner Day – try one of Amy’s frozen dinners, they are a little healthier

September 11th is National Hot Cross Bun Day

September 12th is National Chocolate Milkshake Day

September 13th is International Chocolate Day

September 13th is National Peanut Day

September 13th is Snack a Pickle Time – how random, yet cute – they are a great snack, low in fat and calories

September 14th is National Cream Filled Donut Day

September 14th is Eat a Hoagie Day

National Food Days for September

September is National Biscuit Month

September is National Chicken Month – Quorn or Boca anyone?!

September is National Cholesterol Education Month – its important to realize how much cholesterol is in things, especially things like cheese!  Best to cut them out, but always good to be aware.

September is National Honey Month – Yummy, try substituting agave nectar instead and give the bees a little break.

September is National Organic Harvest Month – Shop organic this month!

September is National Potato Month – one of the best foods out there for you.  It has been studied and proven that you can live off of just potatoes, and the participants didn’t get bored with their food either!  Try a little sweet potatoes too, they are great.

September is National Rice Month – Another awesome choice.  Try including some brown rice in your diet to get the full nutritional benefit.

September is Better Breakfast Month.  – I’m all for that!  Steel Cut Oats anyone!!

September is National Mushroom Month. About 700 varieties of mushrooms are known to have medicinal properties. Wow! 

September is National Papaya Month. Papayas are a rich source of antioxidant nutrients (such as carotenes, vitamin C & flavonoids), B vitamins (folate & pantothenic acid), minerals (potassium & magnesium) & fiber.  I actually prefer dried papayas. 

September 1st is National Cherry Popover Day.  Some actual cherries would be better and less fattening 🙂

September 1st Wine Season Begins – What are some of your favorites?

September 1st Oyster Season Begins – okay, not celebrating that one.

September 2nd is National Welsh Rarebit Day – Huh?

September 4th is National Macadamia Nut Day – Yum, but be careful, they may be great for you, but they are full of fat!  Watch your quantities.

September 5th is National Cheese Pizza Day – I think I’ll pass.  Now, a veggie pizza, I’d be all over that.

September 6th is National Coffee Ice Cream Day – okay, passing again.  I just don’t like coffee, sorry.

September 7th is National Acorn Squash Day – Definitely celebrating.  I LOVE acorn squash, hubby, not so much though.

Enjoy September!