flourless chocolate cake, raspberry sorbet.

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It’s Daring Bakers time again and this month brings another sweet treat that I had yet to try making myself: flourless chocolate cake.

To add to the challenge, our DB hosts also asked us to make our own ice cream as an accompaniment – and what goes great with chocolate? Raspberry sorbet, of course.

Since I am an Alternative Daring Baker, baking vegan, I would be following alternate recipes. For the cake, I turned to what promised to be a great recipe from Hannah’s Bittersweet Blog. You can find Hannah’s original recipe for the cake here. I made one substitution, using adzuki beans in place of black-eyed peas. I’ve always wanted to bake with adzuki beans and this recipe afforded me the perfect opportunity. I also cooked my cake for an additional 20 minutes as it was super moist – my adzuki beans probably contained more moisture than the black-eyed peas called for in the original recipe.

The batter tasted so good I almost didn’t want to put it in the oven – you could eat it like pudding. The baked result is an incredibly rich, thick, dense, fudgey, chocolate lover’s dream. The edges were my favourite part to be sure – crispy and chewy – I had to fight my husband for the corners. And this rich decadent dessert is not only dairy and egg-free, but gluten free as well, so bring on the indulgence.

For the raspberry sorbet I winged it. I read an article by Mark Bittman in the NY Times not too long ago about mixing a bag of frozen fruit with yogurt. He doesn’t specify amounts but I got the gist of what he was suggesting. So I grabbed a large container of plain unsweetened soy yogurt and a bag of frozen raspberries and added them to my food processor. As Bittman suggests, you can eat it right away as soon as it’s blended, but I opted to put the mixture into my ice cream maker in an effort to give it more body.

It’s probably the best homemade sorbet I’ve made so far. Sweet, tangy, incredibly refreshing – the perfect foil to the fudgey richness of that oh so chocolatey cake.

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Thanks to this month’s hosts for picking something fabulous! Be sure to check out the awesomeness that is the Daring Bakers Blogroll for inspired examples of this month’s challenge.

Our hosts ask that we share this message:

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE’s blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

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candied clementines, and cake.

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I’ve been trying out a lot of my talented fellow bloggers’ recipes lately – there is so much talent out there it’s humbling, and inspiring. Like a lot of you out there, one of my favourite blogs is VeganYumYum.

When I read a recent post about candied clementines and a bundt cake that uses them I knew I had to try it, and fast.

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Firstly, candied clementines are incredibly easy to make – now that I know how to make them, I’ll be making candied everything from now on. The scent that wafted out of that simmering pot of citrus was out of this world amazing. Though you can eat the candied clementines straight up as a dessert, I saved mine to make the candied clementine bundt cake. I was low on clementines so there were no extras to enjoy on their own this time around unfortunately – next time.

A great bonus of making candied clementines is the gorgeous sweet amber syrup left behind in the pot. Think of all the endless possibilities – you can use the syrup on ice cream, drizzled over cakes, etc. I put a spoonful in a hot mug of ginger tea and it was awesome.

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As amazing as the candied clementine experience is on its own, the cake is even better. Moist, sweet, tangy, full-bodied – you will not be disappointed by this old-fashioned delight. It reminded me so strongly of an orange bundt my mum used to make when I was a kid. As soon as I put the sweet batter to my lips I was instantly transported back to our old kitchen in the country, waiting impatiently for the cake to come out of the oven.

This cake is beautiful. It scarcely lasted 24 hours in my house before being eaten up entirely. I made sure to save a slice for my mum.

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The instructions are very clear and easy to follow. The only part I messed up slightly was due to my impatience with pouring the icing. I should have let it cool a bit more before pouring.

It was still delicious – it just wasn’t as thick and pretty as it would have been had I waited a small bit longer. I’ll know better for next time.

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Now go candy some clementines and make this cake. In case you missed it, here are the recipes for candied clementines and that special bundt cake.

doughnuts, nutmeg.

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I love doughnuts. I’ve always wanted to make my own – and you’d think that I would have by now, based on the amount I’ve consumed in my lifetime. Every now and again I’d come across a recipe and I’d put it in a drawer, or save it in some obscure folder on my computer – but I never bit the bullet. I think my reticence was due to the fact that I didn’t have a deep-fat fryer and I wasn’t quite sure how I’d fare with a skillet.

Finally, with my willing culinary assistant (read husband begging for doughnuts), the doughnut-making would be put off no more. I have to give credit where credit is due. It was a joint effort. We assembled the ingredients together. Hubby kneaded the dough. I cut out the shapes. Hubby handled the frying. I sprinkled the powdered sugar. Then we ate them together.

I can highly recommend the end product, though the frying process is a bit tiresome. Frying in the skillet was a little more trouble than I would have liked: there was a whole lot of smoking going on. Let’s just say it’s no fun having all the doors open when it’s sub-zero outside. The experience gave hubby more fuel for his ‘we really need a deep-fat fryer’ argument.  A fryer, just for doughnuts? Perhaps.

For these sweet specimens, I adapted this recipe from All Recipes for simple yeast doughnuts. They were delightful. Light-textured. A hint of nutmeg. Just the right amount of sweetness. Made dairy and egg-free. Are you tempted? To quote Homer Simpson, mmm, doughnuts… is there anything they can’t do?

Nutmeg Yeast Doughnuts

2 Tbsp flax meal
6 Tbsp water
3/4 cup scalded soy milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 packet of active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup softened dairy-free margarine, such as Earth Balance
oil for deep frying (something light, like vegetable or canola)
confectioner’s sugar for dusting

  • In a small bowl, whisk flax meal and water together until frothy. Set aside.
  • In a larger bowl, stir scalded soy milk, sugar and salt together, and set aside to cool.
  • Add nutmeg to flour, then add 2 cups of flour mix to soy milk and beat until well combined.
  • In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water, then add to milk and flour mixture. Next, add margarine and flax mixture and mix until well-blended. Add remaining flour a 1/2 cup at a time.
  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 3 to 4 minutes, then place into an oiled bowl, cover and allow dough to rise until doubled in volume – approximately 30 to 45 minutes.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to a thickness of a 1/2 inch. Cut into circles using a doughnut cutter or round cookie cutter. Set cut dough shapes aside to rise for a further 30 to 40 minutes. The dough will become light and fluffy.
  • Heat approximately one inch of oil in a very deep heavy frying pan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). A splatter guard would also be handy, as well as oven mitts or gloves to protect your hands from splatter. Fry donuts a few at a time. Cook on each side until golden brown, then remove to drain on paper towels.
  • Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar. Try not to eat them all by yourself.