Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes and a birthday dedication

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I’m a planner. If I could pencil in where I’m going to be this afternoon, tomorrow, the day after that, 5 years from now, I would probably do it. I live my life by setting goals and accomplishing them, sometimes at the expense of neglecting to see opportunities that are staring me right in the face, or realizing that the path I’ve set out on isn’t even what I want. Over time I’ve gotten better at adapting to the unknowns that life throws at you, but “going with the flow” is still something I will always have to work on. It’s an ongoing process but I’ve figured out how to balance my “J” qualities with a little bit of “P”, such that I can survive when things don’t work out quite as planned.

After all, sometimes the best things in life are the ones that happen to be the most unexpected. Like reconnecting with someone you haven’t seen in a long time who also happens to reside a world away. Someone who was the most important person in my life for the better part of a year and then gone. Having disappeared as quickly as it fell into my lap, I spent awhile trying to reconcile the fact that maybe fate put him there for a reason, in that place, at that time, but that was all it was ever going to be. It was a reality I tried to accept, and for the most part, succeeded in doing so. But every now and then I would have a random dream, thought, intuition that there was more. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that if your gut is telling you something, it’s probably right. And thankfully, it was.

I’m still as much of a planner as ever, but when life hands you beautiful brown eyes and a smile belonging to someone who is smart, witty, caring, and a continuation of adjectives that will never do the real person justice, you embrace the welcome detour that takes you from Point A, to B, to C, rather than the original journey from Point A to C, and never look back. And when cette individual’s favourite cake is carrot cake, and it just so happens to be his birthday, you dedicate your carrot cake recipe to him. Because what else would you do?

J, whatever serendipitous stroke of luck, fate, or kismet brought you back into the centre of my universe, I thank it every day. You challenge me and make me want to be a better person day in and day out, for you, for me, and for us. You’re right, there’s no earthly way of knowing which direction we are going, but there are 360 degrees of possibility from whatever angle I look at it. I couldn’t have planned it better even if I tried. Happy birthday.

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes
 
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tbsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ¾ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 bar Green & Black's Organic Ginger Chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups grated carrots
Instructions
  1. Line 12 muffin cups with muffin liners and heat your oven to 325F.
  2. Mix together the dry ingredients, from the flour to the chocolate.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, whisking or stirring to blend.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated.
  5. Portion the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake at 325F for 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  6. Cool and top with the frosting of your choice (or just eat as-is).

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Nanaimo Bar Cheesecake

Nanaimo Bar Cheesecake

Nanaimo Bar Cheesecake

I need a slice of this Nanaimo bar cheesecake right now. I need it badly. Bring on the stress eating. At the moment I am in the midst of planning a trip to Europe. Holy heck is it a lot of work. I shouldn’t be stressed (trips are supposed to be fun, right?) but I am. I have spent the past 3 days straight trying to solidify all of my hotel bookings. When you are planning to hit up 6 countries, that’s a lot of different hotels to worry about. I wish I could be the type of person who just wings it and finds places as they go, but I end up planning every last thing down to the minute. Probably the last second actually. I figure that is better than getting somewhere and realizing you don’t have a place to sleep. Anyways, that is my life right now. I should be doing other things ex. studying for my GRE. I have to get through that first before I can go on vacation, yet vacation still seems more important. My priorities are skewed, I know.

More about this Nanaimo bar cheesecake though. I thought this was my own brilliant brain-child until I Googled it and realized it had already been done. Can you do anything that is original anymore? Apparently not. That doesn’t make it any less super-duper though. It’s got your classic cocoa/coconut/graham cracker crust on the bottom. Instead of the next layer being pure, sugary, yellow icing, I substituted cheesecake, dying the batter with custard powder for that Nanaimo bar look. Top it all off with chocolate ganache and you’ve got yourself an amalgamation of the 2 finest desserts money can buy.

Nanaimo Bar CheesecakeNanaimo Bar Cheesecake

Nanaimo Bar Cheesecake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
2 of the best desserts combined; nanaimo bars and cheesecake!
Author:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ cup sweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil (if needed)
  • 1 pound Philadelphia light cream cheese
  • ½ cup plus 2 tbsp. white granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. custard powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 bar chocolate (70g)
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Heat your oven to 350F. Line an 8 inch springform pan with parchment paper, both on the bottom and the sides.
  2. To make the crust, combine the melted butter, cocoa, graham cracker crumbs and coconut. If the mixture is too dry, at the 1-2 tbsp. of olive oil to help it hold together. Press it into the bottom of the lined pan and bake at 350F for 5-7 minutes.
  3. When the crust comes out, turn the oven down to 325F. Fill a loaf pan (or any other oven-proof dish) with hot water and put it on the bottom rack of the oven. This helps to prevent the cheesecake from cracking.
  4. To make the filling, beat the Philadelphia cream cheese until smooth. Add in the sugar and continue to beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Next add the custard powder and then the eggs, one at a time.
  5. Pour the prepared filling into the pan on top of the crust. Bake at 325F for 35-40 minutes, or until set around the edges while remaining slightly jiggly in the centre. Cool to room temperature before topping with chocolate ganache.
  6. To make the ganache topping, heat up the cream. Pour it over the chocolate to melt it and then pour this over the cooled cheesecake.
  7. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before you are ready to slice and serve.

Nanaimo Bar Cheesecake Nanaimo Bar Cheesecake

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

vanilla bean ice cream
Oh hi guys. I guess I kind of dropped off the face of the planet there for a bit. Well 3 days, but it sure feels like longer. In that time I honestly did not touch anything related to blogging. No new posts, no Facebook updates, no scouring the interweb or communicating with other food bloggers. I could attribute this to the busy start of a new semester but that is not the truth. In the past I have always found time for this site, no matter what other things are going on at school or otherwise. The break had more to do with the feelings I have been having towards blogging lately. As you may or may not know, I don’t make any money from this site. It is purely a hobby, but over the past little while it has started to feel more like a chore. I set up these expectations for myself that I had to blog regularly, at least 3 times a week, to ensure I was creating new and relevant content to expand my readership. Progress did not really occur as quickly as I would have liked and putting 20 hours a week into this thing for fun was not so fun anymore. Burned out isn’t the right word to describe it, more like a combination of frustration and anger sums it up better. Maybe my expectations were too high and I should have lowered the bar. Then I got thinking about what I really want to get out of this whole shebang. Yes, I would like to increase traffic. Yes, I would eventually like to make some money from it if I am doing it anyways. But do I actually want a career food blogging? Not really. If some sort of unforeseen opportunity came up I would definitely consider it, but otherwise I have a career plan in process and it is one that I really enjoy. So why am I getting so stressed out about this blog?
It’s probably the competitiveness in me that says I can’t do anything without diving headfirst into it and not looking back. I don’t want to write a blog that no one reads. I don’t need to be the next Joy the Baker but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I want some recognition. Despite my efforts, right now I feel as though I have not really accomplished much. And those feelings make it really difficult to commit myself to this when I know that it isn’t going to effect my livelihood in the long run.
Where do we go from here, or more specifically, where do I go from here? I have put far too much work and effort into this to throw in the towel, I know that much for sure. At the same time, I know the focus has to be on creating something that I enjoy and obsessing less about readers and followers. Which is hard because it is a blog, not a diary. I am giving serious thought to switching over to WordPress though. I have used it at work and I definitely think it is the next step in bettering this site. Who knows? I could get to it this afternoon or continue to put it off for the time being. Decisions, decisions.
That’s where I am at right now. As for a recipe, today I have more ice cream coming your way. We are well on our way to assembling all of the components into a homemade ice cream cake. Have a great weekend everyone!
vanilla bean ice cream
vanilla bean ice cream
vanilla bean ice cream

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Adapted from David Lebovitz

Ingredients

1 cup milk
1 vanilla bean, split in half and seeds scraped out
3/4 cup white sugar
pinch salt
5 egg yolks
2 cups whipping cream

Instructions

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk, vanilla, sugar and salt. Allow it to steep for at least 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile pour the whipping cream into a bowl and place this bowl in a sink filled with ice water. Put a fine mesh sieve on top of the bowl so you are all ready to strain your custard when the time comes.
3. Place the egg yolks in another bowl. Reheat the milk and gradually whisk it into the eggs to temper them. Pour everything back into the pot and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
4. Pour to custard through the sieve, into the whipping cream. Stir to help it chill off (you want to do this as quickly as possible so that the eggs do not overcook).
5. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours.
6. Once chilled through, churn the custard in an ice cream maker for 20-25 minutes, or until it reaches the consistency of soft serve. Freeze and enjoy!

vanilla bean ice cream
vanilla bean ice cream
vanilla bean ice cream
vanilla bean ice cream