I wanted a coffee cake recipe that was easy to convert to vegan options. Hint: Rule #1 Pick a recipe with one or two eggs. I also wanted the recipe to include berries, but I wasn't picky about the type. I perused my cookbooks first, and I found exactly what I was looking for in The Creative Breakfast by Ellen Klavan.
The recipe is in a chapter called Sweet Treats. Klavan says, "There are times--like when your Aunt Matilda is spending the night or your child is headed off to summer camp, or someone in the family needs cheering up or congratulating when a bowl of skim milk and muesli just don't strike the right note." Maybe because the book was published in 1998, but today we don't need excuses like Aunt Mildred to eat cake, do we? And we don't need to feel guilty for thinking we do.
Enjoy, I say. Maybe I'm a sucker for the hedonistic advice from my Cooking Assistant. He never feels guilty about indulging in anything.
With this recipe, you can souce ingredients locally. I used Nash's local flour for this recipe. I keep Nash's flour in my freezer and use it up within a few months.
The picture of pastry flour below is from Dunbar Farms in Southern Oregon. Check your own farmers' market for local flour.
Choose your own berries to accompany this cake.
Below are strawberries, black raspberries and raspberries. I like the idea of serving red, white and blue on patriotic holidays.
We don't have blueberries yet in the Northwest, and though it's preferable to have fresh berries, you can also use frozen berries. The only problem with frozen blueberries is, as the berries defrost, the cell walls break allowing the blue color to seep into the batter. Sometimes you can toss berries in frozen and the bleeding won't happen. I wasn't very lucky with that technique.
The batter was blue before I put it in the pan. But don't let that discourage you; it still tastes fabulous.
My Cooking Assistant loves the berries. He can be very naughty in the garden, picking all the berries for himself. We thought it was cute when we taught him how to pick berries.
It could be dangerous teaching your dog to pick berries.
This cake is not very sweet so eat it for breakfast if you like. Or serve it with berries and coconut sorbet after dinner. This recipe isn't altered much from the original recipe. To switch it to a vegan recipe is easy with only one egg, butter and milk to replace.
(Makes one 7-by 9-inch cake)
1/4 cup butter or Earth Balance buttery sticks, softened
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts or pecans
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup butter or Earth Balance buttery sticks
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg or flaxseed egg replacer for one egg
1/2 cup milk (almond, coconut, hemp, or soy)
2 cups fresh blueberries
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Butter or grease a 7-by 9-inch baking dish. With a fork, combine the butter, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon, mashing until mixture is creamy. Stir in nuts and set aside.
2. Sift the pastry flour and baking powder together. In another bowl combine the butter and sugar, blending until smooth. Stir in egg or egg-replacer. Add the flour alternating with the milk and stir just until smooth. Mixture will be quite thick. Gently mix in the blueberries.
3. Spread in the prepared baking pan and bake for 1 hour. Test with a toothpick before removing from the pan. Cool before cutting. Serve with strawberries and coconut sorbet.