Vegan Gilmore Brownies

Vegan Gilmore Brownies

Before I get into my recipe for Vegan Gilmore Brownies I just have to say:

I

LOVE

BROWNIES

.

I used to turn all my favourite desserts into cupcakes, but over the last year that has changed. I’ve been trading at a market where I only sell brownies. I usually have a completely new “limited edition” brownie every month and this platform has let my imagination run wild! Almost any dessert can be turned into a brownie – It’s spectacular! Any flavour you love with that chewy, fudgy texture – what is not to love…?

Brownies, for me, are absolutely defined by their texture. Most folks like them fudgy and others prefer cakey (which I unfortunately can’t comprehend). There is, however, a whole different brownie texture category we like to call “chewy”…  My ideal texture lies somewhere between fudgy and chewy… Oh man, the sheer joy 🙂 A brownie you can sink your teeth into, but also doesn’t give too much resistance like a solid mass. And of course mounds of flavorful chocolate!

What Makes a “Chewy” Brownie?

The type of flour you use makes a huge difference. All-purpose flour typically contains more protein, which gives your bake more “bite” and chewiness while cake flour gives you a softer, lighter bake. If you make a pizza crust with all-purpose flour it will always be chewy, while bread flour gives you a crispy crust. So YES, you want the bite from all-purpose flour in your brownies.

Another key ingredient for a fudgy-chewy brownie is either Muscovado or Demerara Sugar. It has to be a moist type of sugar. The extra molasses/treacle/caramel helps to densify your bake.

vegan brownie recipe

What Makes a Fudgy Brownie?

Chocolate and butter create a denser, fudgier brownie. Recipes that rely solely on melted chocolate for the flavour will always be denser than recipes with cocoa powder. You start achieving that magical balance between fudgy and chewy when you use both cocoa powder and melted chocolate.

Egg Replacement:

Brownies should not contain too much excess liquid in the batter because the liquid will make them cakey. Applesauce or mashed bananas are thus not a good option. A flax egg is just the most genius vegan egg substitute! All you do is take ground flax seeds (I grind mine in a pestle and mortar), add some water and leave it to thicken for 5 minutes. Super easy! Thank you Minimalist Baker!

vegan brownies | cranberry brownies | coconut brownies | gilmore girls

Recipe Introduction:

I adore the combination of cranberries and coconut. I’ve repeatedly used this flavour combo in cookies and muffins, so it’s only to be expected that I would use it in a brownie 🙂 Only this time some Dark Chocolate was thrown into the mix as well.

This chewy-fudgy Dark Chocolate brownie is utterly incredible! The cranberries add a sharp fruity zing and also make these brownies a lovely festive treat.  The crunchy, toasted coconut flakes just bring the whole experience together visually and flavour wise. Some clients of mine have tried literally every brownie flavour I’ve made and they are in total agreement that this is my best one to date. I’ve decided to name these brownies “Gilmore Brownies” because I’ve been watching a LOT of Gilmore Girls and this brownie reminds me of them; beautiful, sharp and a little bit nutty 😉

Vegan Gilmore Brownies

Photo by hollywoodreporter.com

Vegan Gilmore Brownies
 
Author:
Serves: 16
Ingredients
  • 210 g Vegan Butter/Margarine
  • 60 g Dark Chocolate (at least 65% cocoa solids)
  • 140 g White Sugar
  • 100 g Demerara/Muscovado Sugar
  • 2 Large Flax Eggs
  • ½ Tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • ½ tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 130 g All-Purpose Flour
  • 80 g Cocoa Powder
  • 5 g Salt
  • 65 g Dried Cranberries
  • Coconut Flakes/Shredded Coconut
Instructions
  1. Spray the inside of a 17 x 27 x 3 cm (7 x 10,5 x 1 inch) brownie tin with non-tick cooking spray. An 8 x 8 inch square tin will also work just fine. Line the tin with baking parchment so that it goes up the sides and 3cm (1 inch) over the rim. This makes the brownies easy to pull out once cooked and cooled.
  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF.
  4. In a medium sized pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. As soon as the butter is melted and begins to simmer, add in the chopped dark chocolate and turn off the heat. Stir around thoroughly every 30 seconds until the chocolate is completely melted into the butter.
  5. Keep the pot on the stove and stir in the sugar and salt. Leave to sit for 5 minutes and stir very well. Remove the pot from the stove.
  6. Beat in the vanilla, apple cider vinegar and flax eggs.
  7. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the pot and stir well with a wooden spoon to combine. At this point I like to transfer the mixture to a standing mixer and beat it on low speed for 3 minutes. If you don’t have a standing mixer, just keep stirring the mixture with a wooden spoon for 3 minutes. Do not skip this step – it significantly improves the texture of your brownies.
  8. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, making sure to spread out the batter into the corners of the pan. Distribute the dried cranberries evenly over the mixture. Push them down into the mixture with a spatula and then smooth the surface once more.
  9. Sprinkle coconut flakes on top of the brownie mixture and carefully push them down slightly into the batter so that the two adhere to each other.
  10. Bake for 35-40 minutes, turning after 15 minutes. It is important that a skewer tests clean. Remove the brownies from oven and let them cool completely before removing them from the tin. Slice the brownies with a sharp knife. Some of the coconut fakes may squish down the sides – this is completely normal. Enjoy!

Coolio, that’s it 🙂 Thanks for reading!

See you in 2 weeks

Aurelia 🙂

Hi! I’m Aurelia 🙂

I help HOME BAKERS to become FOODIE BAKERS & make profit from it! Recipes from my own Foodie Home Bakery, BEST baking tips & food adventures.




Vegan Carrot Cake

Vegan Carrot Cake

The Story Behind My Vegan Carrot Cake:

Deciding to develop a vegan carrot cake recipe is not a decision I made overnight. First of all, before 2015 the word “vegan” in any recipe title really put me off… The general public (which I am part of) tends to connect the terms “gluten free”, “dairy free” or “vegan” to tasteless, substandard food. I definitely did. Vegan eating seemed like this distant, sad lifestyle. I now feel like an idiot for having had this view of vegan eating! Boy was I WRONG!

In 2015 my perspective was weighed and measured by many things I was exposed to online and through my mother (a dietician).

What Changed My Perspective?

I am a huge fan of the show Unique Sweets! One episode gives me more entertainment than most movies. Really. I am a food nerd. On one episode they stopped by at Divine Pie by Alissa Martucci… These pies are RAW, vegan, gluten free, sugar free and dairy free…

“Oh my word! WHAT could possibly be in them?” I thought, since my whole fridge and pantry had just been disqualified from participating.

Here is the video, I was just amazed to see such flavour and beauty come out of ingredients that are actually not weird or gross at all! And the public LOVE her pies… non-vegan eaters LOVE her pies. Yay for Divine Pie! Extremely inspirational!

Another Vegan Bakery featured on Unique EatsErin McKenna’s Bakery, formerly known as Baby Cakes. These goods are actually baked, but once again everything is gluten free, vegan, soy free and sugar free. Erin McKenna was diagnosed with a bunch of allergies, so she had to re-invent baking to work for her. The public loves her creations as well! They now have 3 stores across the US! And they don’t just make cake. I’m talking cookies, brownies and DOUGHNUTS too! What blows my mind is that she has shared all her recipes with the world. I have one of her cookbooks 🙂

And then there came Cupcake Richard… Fellow South African, Wida (her last name remains a mystery) develops vegan, sugar free, gluten free recipes. Her work is just strikingly beautiful! She photographs everything herself as well and her recipes are absolutely delicious. I guess the idea that she is South African too, made me realise that even I could bake vegan goods. Vegan baking is not an untouchable thing only engaged in by Californians or something. The term “vegan” became less scary to me because of her. Thanks Wida!

These women challenged me to see baking in a new light and open myself up to new possibilities. I am eternally grateful!

Why Vegan Carrot Cake?

My cousin sent me a link one day for “Vegan Crazy Cakes”. I bookmarked Mary’s website that same day! When I saw the texture of these cakes I was sucked in in seconds and HAD to try these recipes out. They are sensational! Carrot Cake is kind of a basic cake here in South Africa. You’ll find dozens of coffee shops here that would rather have Carrot Cake available in their shop and not Chocolate Cake. Carrot Cake is just such a favourite in South Africa. I used Mary’s recipe as a base and adapted from there.

This Vegan Carrot Cake is super flavourful, moist and has a perfect texture! You would never guess it’s vegan.

Vegan carrot cake | vegan carrot cake recipe | vegan carrot recipes

Frosting:

Vegan frosting can be challenging in South Africa. We don’t really have vegan cream cheese available and I refuse to just use a heap of vegan butter. I need substances with flavour.

Some research was in order. I came across a brilliant vegan frosting recipe that uses coconut milk! Check out the video here for Whipped Coconut Cream.

I did however use vegan friendly icing sugar and not stevia – it turned out great! The most fascinating thing for me was that the whipped coconut cream doesn’t disappear against the flavour of the vegan carrot cake. It compliments it so well and the flavours merge together beautifully!

Vegan Carrot Cake
 
Author:
Serves: 16
Ingredients
  • 420 g Cake Flour (or POY gluten free flour)
  • 1 Tbsp Cinnamon & 1 tsp Ginger
  • 2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ Tbsp Salt
  • 100 g white sugar
  • 180 g Demerara/Muscovado sugar
  • 50 g Golden Syrup
  • 30 g Sweet Molasses
  • 300 g Applesauce, unsweetened
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 240 g Canola Oil
  • 460 g Grated Carrots
  • 80 g Seedless Raisins
  • 150 g Drained Crushed Pineapple
  • 70 g Toasted Pecans
  • 2 cans Coconut Cream (full fat), refrigerated overnight
  • ½ T Vanilla Extract
  • 60 ml Icing Sugar
  • Toasted Pecans to decorate
Instructions
CARROT CAKE
  1. Preheat your oven to 170˚C.
  2. In a large mixing bowl add the oil, vanilla, applesauce, sugars, syrup and molasses. Whisk together on high speed for about 30 seconds till well combined. At this point he mixture needs to stand a bit so that the sugars can dissolve a little.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices and salt. Stir together with a balloon whisk until well combined.
  4. Prepare 2 9-inch tins for baking. For me this means to spray the sides of the tins with oil, line the bottom with parchment paper circles and wrap moist towels around the outside. I do this so that the cakes rise perfectly level. Read more on this technique.
  5. Whisk your wet ingredients again for 10 seconds. You do not want to incorporate air. Add all the sifted dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix together by hand with a metal spoon.
  6. As soon as most of the flour is absorbed, add in the carrots, crushed pineapple, raisins and toasted pecans. Stir well until fully combined - remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl as well.
  7. Divide the batter between your two prepared 9 inch cake tins.
  8. Bake on the middle rack of your oven for 45-55 minutes. Check with toothpick to make sure it comes out completely clean. This cake is already very moist, so you don’t need to under bake it to ensure a moist cake.
WHIPPED COCONUT CREAM FROSTING
  1. Pour all liquid off the refrigerated coconut milk so that you are only left with the cream. Scoop the cream out into a mixing bowl.
  2. Beat the coconut cream on medium speed for 1-2 minutes till smooth. Don’t overdo it with the beating, take your time and go easy.
  3. Add the vanilla extract to the bowl. Sift in half the icing sugar and beat together until combined.
  4. At this point it is important to start tasting… I like frosting that isn’t too sweet, but it all depends on your preference here. Gradually sift in the remaining half of icing sugar and even more if you desire.
  5. Spread half the frosting on the first layer of cake and top with some chopped toasted pecans. Place the second layer of cake on top. Spread the remaining frosting on the second layer of cake. Top with more toasted pecans in whichever way you like. I like putting a ring around the outer edge.

I do hope that you will give this vegan carrot cake a try! Comment from a 50 something, traditional type man that ate it: “Never mind it being vegan; this is some of the best Carrot Cake I’ve ever had!”

In my next post I’ll be sharing an incredible baking secret on how to make your cakes rise perfectly level! You will never have to cut off half the cake, due to a domed top, ever again. This tip also keeps the outer edges of your cake moist, so you won’t need to trim off the edge either. The entire cake is just a lot more moist and tasty!

Thanks for reading!

Aurelia 🙂

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