Category Archives: Vegan

Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}A week on Swan’s Island is never enough time. It simply isn’t. Yes, there’s relaxing and hiking and quiet, but just when you start to fully decompress, you have to get back on the ferry, drive ten hours, and return to your real life. It’s the worst.Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}We keep saying “two weeks next year” but only getting half of that. I’m putting it out to the universe now: one month next year. That way, when we only get half, it’ll be two weeks. Am I trying to con the universe in to more vacation? Sure, why not. You can’t blame me for wanting to spend time with the friends we’ve made up there (even socially distanced) instead of carrying on entire relationships via Facebook.Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}I mean, would you believe that I’ve pretty much never baked for anyone on Swan’s Island? It’s true. I’ve been going there regularly for the last six years, made some friends, and know the people who own the general store well enough that they recognized me immediately with my mask on, but I’ve never really baked for any of them. They know, of course, that I bake and blog, and I always say I’m going to make something for them, but then time gets away and suddenly I’m on the ferry back to the mainland.Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}All that said, when we booked our trip in July, I decided this year was *the* year. I tested a recipe before I left Brooklyn, brought a box of potato starch and the vegan butter I like, and it took until the second-to-last day, but I baked this Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting for my Maine people. Finally.Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}I’ve never put a sheet cake on here. It’s not because I think they’re “less than” or something—I just have occasions for other configurations of cake and frosting far more frequently than I do for this super simple slice-and-share situation. But our annual Swan’s Island trip? That’s a slice-and-share situation if I’ve ever seen one. Especially in COVID, when get-togethers with people outside my immediate germ pod aren’t a thing, it was so nice to be able to wrap up and dole out slices of this Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting without having to worry about keeping layers intact.Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}As with most of what we eat on Swan’s Island, this cake was made with my trusty co-traveler/fellow Maine enthusiast, VJ, in mind. I’ve mentioned many times that she is a gluten-free vegan, and though I am not either of those things, I greatly enjoy the challenges and rewards of baking (and cooking) that way when we are together. It’s far more fun to bake when people can eat what you make…not that I’d be particularly mad about being saddled with all 15 slices of this cake. I mean, do you see that vegan Maple Frosting???Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}The pumpkin cake is a variation on the vegan, gluten-free chocolate cake I posted last year. It relies primarily on almond flour, potato starch and cornstarch for structure, and pumpkin purée and pumpkin pie spice for flavor. There are other things in the batter too, of course (granulated and brown sugars, vanilla, leaveners, almond milk), and they all bake up into a moist, tender, nicely-spiced sheet of cake. Vegan and gluten-free or not, this pumpkin cake is legit.Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Believe me when I tell you that I understand wanting to eat this cake by its lonesome straight out of the oven, or with a simple dusting of confectioner’s sugar…but also? Believe me when I tell you that a swoopy layer of Maple Frosting takes this seasonal dessert from very good to fabulous. For real.Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting is very good the day it’s made, but as with many pumpkin spice things, it’s actually more delicious the next day, after the flavors have melded. But with a cake this good around, I can’t blame anyone for not waiting to dig in. I mean, I certainly didn’t.Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}
makes a single layer 9×13-inch sheet cake

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
~1 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup pure pumpkin purée
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour (not almond meal)
3/4 cup potato starch
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/8 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/8 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

For finishing:
Vegan Maple Frosting (recipe below)
sprinkle of ground cinnamon (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13-inch cake pan. Line with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Pour apple cider vinegar into a liquid measuring cup. Add almond milk until liquid reaches the 1 1/4 cup mark. Stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes, until curdled. Stir in pumpkin purée and vanilla. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together blanched almond flour, potato starch, cornstarch, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add liquid ingredients in two installments, whisking until combined.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth to the edges with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Tap pan on the counter 5 times to release any large air bubbles. Transfer to the oven and bake 32-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each layer comes out with only a few crumbs.

Let cake cool completely in its pan on a cooling rack. Run a thin knife along the edges of the pan before inverting to release onto a platter (alternatively, you may keep it in the pan and serve from there). Frost as desired with Vegan Maple Frosting (recipe below). Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.

Frosted cake will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days and refrigerated for up to 4. Unfrosted cake may be triple-wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before frosting.

Vegan Maple Frosting
makes enough for the top of one sheet cake

4 ounces (1/2 cup) vegan butter, room temperature (I like Miyoko’s)
2 ounces (1/4 cup) shortening, room temperature (I like Nutiva)
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat vegan butter and shortening until light and fluffy. Mix in confectioners sugar in two installments, mixing until combined and fluffy. Mix in salt, followed by vanilla and maple syrup.

Use to frost the top of the sheet cake.

Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Maple Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Easy Pumpkin Oatmeal

Easy Pumpkin OatmealHello from Swan’s Island, Maine! I’m here with friends, enjoying the ocean views and crunchy leaves and I would never like to leave, thank you very much. We’ve been keeping busy doing as much or as little as we want—hiking, going to the beach, thrifting, watching TikTok, playing with my ring light, crafting…Easy Pumpkin OatmealAs usual, I have kind of taken over the kitchen. It’s just what I do, I suppose. I’ve made a couple of blog recipes (Everyday Cassoulet, Oatmeal Blender Pancakes) and still have one planned to make while I’m here. Today’s Easy Pumpkin Oatmeal, however, was improvised. It was thrown together on the fly on a lazy Monday morning with perfect light and a harbor bell ringing in the background–in a perfect world, it’s the way all my breakfasts would materialize.Easy Pumpkin OatmealEasy Pumpkin OatmealEasy Pumpkin OatmealEasy Pumpkin OatmealEasy Pumpkin Oatmeal takes ten whole minutes and is hardly even a recipe. Just toast some oats and then add some water and milk (I used almond). Bring it to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, for about five minutes or until creamy. Finish it off with some pure pumpkin purée, pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar and butter (the vegan stuff). Easy peasy pumpkin…squeezy?Easy Pumpkin OatmealI dished this up with cinnamon apples, vegan butter and maple syrup. I highly recommend eating it in your pajamas in a living room overlooking a lobstering wharf on a fall morning, but if you’re not currently situated on an island in Maine, any dining table will do.Easy Pumpkin OatmealHeads up that I’m going to take this Friday off of posting so I can enjoy my vacation, but I’m posting all our Maine meals over on Instagram, and I’ll have a full report and new recipes up next week!Easy Pumpkin Oatmeal

Easy Pumpkin Oatmeal
makes 4-6 servings

3 tablespoons butter (regular or vegan), divided
3 cups old-fashioned oats
3 cups water
3 cups milk of choice (I used almond)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup pure pumpkin purée
1/3-1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed (depending on preference)
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

For serving (optional):
cinnamon apples (the filling in this, basically)
toasted chopped nuts
maple syrup
cream
butter (regular or vegan)

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add oats and toast, stirring constantly, until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Add water, milk and salt, and turn heat up to medium-high. Stir frequently until it comes to a simmer, then stir constantly for 5 minutes or until thickened.

Stir in pumpkin purée, pumpkin pie spice, and brown sugar. Cook 1 more minute. Remove from heat and stir in remaining 2 tablespoons butter.

Serve immediately with desired toppings.

Easy Pumpkin OatmealEasy Pumpkin Oatmeal

Friday Favorites: Pumpkin II

Okay, I give in.

I’m a real stickler for keeping pumpkin (and other fall flavors) off the blog until it’s actually fall—I’m not a year round pumpkin person and you’ll never see me breaking out my stash of Libby’s on August 1st. That said, insufferable as I am, I could really go for a Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie Square right now. So, there will be no *new* pumpkin content until Wednesday, when it will finally be fall. Pre-existing pumpkin though? Don’t mind if I do.

If you’ve been here a while, you may know that I did a Friday Favorites for pumpkin three years ago, but I’ve made a lot of new pumpkin recipes since then, so let’s call this a companion piece. Enjoy these favorites from the archives! Oh, and come back Wednesday for a new pumpkin recipe, and in three years for Friday Favorites: Pumpkin III.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles

These soft, chewy cookies have a double dose of pumpkin pie spice! It’s mixed into the pumpkin dough and then whisked into a sugary coating before baking. If you are a pumpkin spice purist, these are for you.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan}

If, however, you like your pumpkin extra-shareable and with a side of chocolate, go this route. Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies are vegan, due in large part to the fact that pumpkin makes a great egg substitute. From there, I just swapped the usual butter for coconut oil. Easy peasy.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Chocolate Chip Blondies

I love a good blondie recipe! These are quick and easy and studded with chocolate chips. Can’t wait to make a batch in Maine in a few weeks.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Spice Latte Cookie Squares

I’ve never loved Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Lattes, but I will gladly throw pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and granulated espresso into cookie bars and then top them off with a thick layer of vanilla buttercream. What can I say? I’m filled with contradictions.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Babka

This, the one and only babka on this blog, was a labor of love. I made 18 of them before I got this recipe how I want it. This is so delicious, y’all. Buttery brioche dough is filled with pumpkin pie filling, twisted together, baked until golden and made glossy with a pumpkin spice syrup. Enjoy this yeasted cake for breakfast or a snack, or use it for a hyper-seasonal French toast.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

Puff Pancakes are my all-time favorite weekend breakfast, so of course I had to make a pumpkin version! Super easy, super delicious. This is perfect for any lazy morning, or as a Thanksgiving breakfast.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinCheesecake Swirled Pumpkin Bread

This quick bread is actually a half-batch of my Pumpkin Bundt Cake swirled with cheesecake and baked in a loaf pan. It’s very simple and a stunner every time.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Pie with Toasted Pecan Crust {Vegan, Gluten-Free}

Everyone needs a great pumpkin pie recipe, and while I have a more traditional one in the archives, I think this vegan, gluten-free version is my favorite. The filling is lightly sweetened with maple syrup and coconut sugar and the crust is made primarily of pecans, cornstarch and coconut oil, and the whole thing is really fantastic. Put it on your Thanksgiving menu, or maybe just make one for the hell of it.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Oat Dog Treats

Yes, I even have pumpkin for pups! These nutritious five ingredient treats come together in a food processor, and though they are for dogs, they are delicious for humans too. That’s right, I have to taste test everything on this blog. Even the dog treats.

Have you made any of these or any of my other pumpkin recipes? What’s your favorite thing to make with pumpkin? Let me know in the comments or on social media!Friday Favorites: PumpkinFriday Favorites: Pumpkin

Easy Stovetop Peanut Butter Granola

Hello! I’d say happy Wednesday, but it’s…just Wednesday. The Wednesday after a holiday weekend in the middle of a pandemic. Happy is a stretch.Easy Stovetop Peanut Butter GranolaBut you know what is happy—er, what is making me happy? This Easy Stovetop Peanut Butter Granola. It’s super crisp, crunchy and peanut buttery, and took fifteen whole minutes to make. That’s the magic of stovetop granola. When you skip the oven, it takes 1/3 of the time! Oh, and it only makes a quart. Add this to the list of small batch recipes we all need this year!Easy Stovetop Peanut Butter GranolaThis isn’t my first go-round with peanut butter granola or stovetop granola. Nope! This is a combination of two of my favorite granolas for maximum efficiency. Maximum efficiency is important when we’re discussing how to get Easy Stovetop Peanut Butter Granola into our faces. We’re trying to do it efficiently. To that end, there are five steps in the stovetop granola-making process and they’re all super easy.Easy Stovetop Peanut Butter GranolaCombine the wet ingredients. Whisk your oil, brown sugar, maple syrup, natural peanut butter, vanilla, cinnamon and salt together in a measuring cup. This provides the majority of the flavor in your granola and help it get good and crispy.Easy Stovetop Peanut Butter GranolaToast the dry ingredients. Combine your oats and chopped peanuts in a heavy pan over medium heat. Stir them around for about 10 minutes, until fragrant and a little darker in color. Don’t burn ‘em.Easy Stovetop Peanut Butter GranolaAdd the wet ingredients to the dry. Pour your peanut butter/maple/brown sugar/oil mixture into the oats and peanuts.

Toast everything together. This is the part where you stir everything for another five minutes, until the sticky stuff is all absorbed and everything has darkened and smells very peanut buttery.Easy Stovetop Peanut Butter GranolaCool. Scatter your granola on a rimmed baking sheet on a rack and let it come to room temperature. This is the part where your granola gets real good and crispy while you decide how you want to serve it. I highly recommend yogurt, raspberries and an artful drizzle of peanut butter.Easy Stovetop Peanut Butter GranolaYou may notice that Easy Stovetop Peanut Butter Granola isn’t particularly cluster-prone. This doesn’t bother me in the slightest, but if you are a cluster person, you can reduce the oats and peanuts down to three cups total volume and keep everything else the same. Alternatively, swap the maple syrup for a thicker sweetener like honey or brown rice syrup, and maybe bump it up to 5-6 tablespoons. Either of those should work some clustering magic.

But, real talk? This salty-sweet stuff is already pretty magical. I mean, maybe this year has lowered my expectations, but peanut butter granola you can make in fifteen minutes? Magic.Easy Stovetop Peanut Butter Granola

Easy Stovetop Peanut Butter Granola
makes about a quart

1/4 cup olive oil (or coconut oil or canola oil)
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup well-stirred natural peanut butter (creamy-style works too)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups honey-roasted or salted peanuts, roughly chopped

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

Combine oil, brown sugar, peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in a liquid measuring cup. Whisk together with a fork. Set aside.

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add oats and chopped peanuts. Cook, stirring constantly, until very fragrant and toasted (about 10 minutes). Do not burn.

Add liquid ingredients and stir to coat the oats and peanuts. Continue cooking, stirring constantly for 4-5 additional minutes, until sweeteners are incorporated and granola no longer looks wet.

Remove granola from heat. Transfer mixture to parchment-lined pan and allow to cool completely.

Store granola in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three weeks.

Easy Stovetop Peanut Butter GranolaEasy Stovetop Peanut Butter Granola

Homemade Chocolate Shell

Homemade Chocolate ShellHomemade Chocolate Shell has appeared on here a few times over the years, but always as a part of another recipe. I’ve used it to finish an ice cream cake, as a dip for truffles, and just as a drizzle, but we all know chocolate shell shines brightest on a scoop of ice cream. It’s high time that it gets its own post.Homemade Chocolate ShellChocolate shell is both entertainment and dessert. It goes on ice cream (or anything cold) like chocolate syrup and then magically transforms into a hard edible shell right in front of your eyes! It’s no wonder the popular store brand is marketed as Magic Shell.Homemade Chocolate ShellThe “magic” of chocolate shell was a mystery to me for years—how did they do that?! Turns out, mostly with ingredients and preservatives that I’d rather not ingest whenever I get a hankering for a bowl of ice cream with a snappy chocolate topping. Imagine my utter delight when I discovered Homemade Chocolate Shell could be made with just two easy-to-find, vegan ingredients!Homemade Chocolate ShellHomemade Chocolate ShellYes, all you need to make Homemade Chocolate Shell are four ounces of bittersweet chocolate and two tablespoons of coconut oil. Melt them together, stir until smooth, and then drizzle—or let’s be real, pour—it over a scoop (or three) of ice cream. Then watch as the glossy sauce magically turns into a matte shell in a matter of seconds! It works because coconut oil solidifies at 76F, but that’s way less fun than calling it magic.Homemade Chocolate ShellNot only is Homemade Chocolate Shell made of less-terrifying ingredients than the store bought stuff, it’s more delicious, too. You control the quality of ingredients here, and that goes double since there are only two of them. This batch was made with Trader Joe’s Pound Plus Dark Chocolate and refined coconut oil because those are things that I like and keep on hand.

You may wonder, why refined coconut oil? The answer is simple: because it doesn’t taste like coconut. I like my Homemade Chocolate Shell to taste only of chocolate. That said, if you only have extra virgin coconut oil and don’t mind a little coconut flavor in your chocolate shell, it will work just fine.Homemade Chocolate ShellHands down, my second favorite part of eating Homemade Chocolate Shell is thwacking through it with the side of a spoon. There’s nothing quite like that satisfying snap and the shards of cold chocolate that melt in your mouth.

My first favorite part of eating Homemade Chocolate Shell? Actually eating it. Duh.Homemade Chocolate Shell

Homemade Chocolate Shell
makes about 3/4 cup

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons coconut oil (preferably refined/high heat)

Combine chopped chocolate and coconut oil into a small bowl. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until melted. Let cool 8-10 minutes for optimal pouring consistency (so it doesn’t melt off whatever it’s coating). Pour or drizzle over ice cream or use as a dip for other frozen treats.

Leftover chocolate shell will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. Reheat by microwaving in 10 second increments, stirring in between, until pourable.Homemade Chocolate ShellHomemade Chocolate ShellHomemade Chocolate Shell