Refreshing Mandarin Orange & Pineapple Cake (Vegan Friendly)

 

One warm day when my daughter Rachel was about fourteen, she bounced in the kitchen and said, “Mom, you have GOT to get the recipe for this cake called ‘Refreshing Cake’ that Cricket’s mom made today. It was cold and full of fruit and not too sweet, and creamy… and I want it for my birthday cake.”

Cricket was one of Rachel’s best friends, and luckily her mom was the sweet-natured recipe-sharing sort,  so her recipe for “Refreshing Cake” (made with cake mix, eggs, pudding mix, a cup of oil, canned fruit and Cool Whip) showed up not only at birthdays, but was our go-to Spring and Summer dessert for family gatherings.

Then Rachel grew up, married, and became a vegan, bravely waving good-bye to many of her favorite desserts made with lots of dairy and eggs.

I, too, became more health conscious in my own way. I grew up in the 70’s when our collective moms (prompted by TV and the health advice de jour) stocked the kitchen with the latest new-fangled foods: Fresca,  Tang (Why drink OJ from an actual orange when you can drink orange flavored sugar water?), margarine, IMO (A sour cream substitute. What those initials stood for is still a government secret.), saccharine, Mellorine (an artificial ice cream that melted into tile grout) and Cool Whip,  that luscious tub full of hydrogenated oil and air!

We were a generation of kids raised on NASA and  chemicals, basically eating astronaut food.

(I must hasten to add that my mother turned into something of a health nut in the decade of the 80’s, and has remained healthily and happily so ever since.)

But somewhere along the way to adulthood, I tasted real butter and ice cream (Blue Bell), promptly fell in love with the real McCoys, and began cooking with all things “natural.”

Now recipes with “artificial food” ingredients leave a slight chemical aftertaste in my mouth,  not to mention an ache in my tummy.

But with the coming of Spring, visions of that moist pineapple and Mandarin orange cake, with its pineapple-whippy-pudding frosting started dancing in my head again. Along with the thought, “I wonder if I could create a ‘real food’  vegan-friendly version of this cake that doesn’t taste like fruit flavored mashed tofu and lentils?”

I’m pleased to say that with a quick trip for a couple of specialty items at Whole Foods, I produced a Refreshing Cake that is not only chemical free, organic and vegan… it tastes better than the original to me. No weird aftertaste, no achy tummy.  Just a pure “real food” moist, yummy cake.

It would also make a great make-ahead cake for Easter lunch or dinner. A little preview tip: two cans of whole full fat coconut milk will need to go in your fridge overnight before making the recipe. This allows the “cream” to solidify and rise to the top so you can skim it off and whip it!

Becky’s Refreshing Mandarin Orange and Pineapple Cake

Serves 9 to 12, depending on size of pieces

Ingredients:

Some of the ingredients for “Better for You” Refreshing Cake

For Cake:

Dr. Oetker’s Organic Vanilla  Cake Mix,  (This mix has no dairy or eggs in the mix, so if you don’t add any, it can be vegan.)

4 eggs (Vegans use egg-replacer equal to 4 eggs.  You can click on link for recipe or buy “egg-replacer” in a box at most health food stores.)

1/2 c. coconut oil

1/2 c. applesauce (you may also use another 1/2 c. of canola or coconut oil instead, but applesauce makes it lighter in calories)

1  11 ounce can Mandarin Oranges with juice

For Frosting:

2 16 oz. cans full-fat coconut milk, chilled overnight in fridge. (You will only use the coconut cream that rises to the top.)  If you prefer dairy,  you can use 1 c. whipping cream instead.  Or 1 can of coconut cream and 1/2 c. whipping cream combined which is what I use most often as it seems to render the best of both!

1/2 c. vegan vanilla pudding mix (I used about half a package of Mori Nu vanilla pudding mix. If you aren’t vegan you can use any 3 1/2 oz. package of instant vanilla pudding mix.)

1 28 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained

1/4 c. raw organic sugar or agave nectar

2 t. good vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make the cake,  mix the organic cake mix with eggs or egg-replacer of your choice, coconut oil and applesauce. When thoroughly blended, fold in mandarin oranges with juice,  breaking gently as you stir. Pour batter into an 11 by 13 inch pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and cake springs back to touch in the middle. Cool and refrigerate until cool to the touch before frosting.

Refreshing Cake before frosting

Using an electric mixer, whip the coconut cream as you would cream until it has the consistency of whipped cream.  (Or if you prefer to use dairy, whip 1 c of heavy cream. I often use half coconut cream and have whipping cream.)  Add 1/2 c. of vegan pudding mix (save rest for another cake, another day:)  and continue to beat.  Add vanilla and 1/4 c organic sugar or agave.   Fold in the can of well-drained can of pineapple.  ( Really squeeze the juice out, pushing pineapple against the colander holes.)   Keep in fridge until you are ready to frost.  If frosting feels too thick, add a little pineapple juice until it has the consistency of easy-to-spread, slightly stiff,  whipped cream. If too thin, let it set in fridge for up to an hour and it should thicken.

Whipped Coconut Cream with Pineapple folded in

When the cake is chilled,  frost with coconut-cream-pineapple frosting. You may want to garnish with a little flaked coconut. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in fridge until you are ready to serve. I think this cake tastes even better the next day or two as flavors have a chance to chill and mingle.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Refreshing Mandarin Orange and Pineapple Cake (Vegan Version)
The URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com/2012/04/04/refreshing-mandarin-orange-pineapple-cake

Strawberries Romanoff

When my daughter Rachel was about three or four,  I jotted down some of the adorable phrases and words that I loved to hear her say.  “Tears” were called “cwy dwips” (cry drips), and a “suitcase” was a “cuse box.”  Her  word for “strawberries” was “STA-biddies” which I still remember her saying, her whispy blond hair blowing around her as she bit into the ripe fruit, grinning while sweet red juices rolled down her chin.

Well, “sta-biddies” are in abundance now, and on sale today!

When I saw them overflowing the grocery display, my mind drifted to  Strawberries Romanoff, a delectable concoction of strawberries served under a creamy fluff of brown-sugar cream, spiked with brandy, rum or bourbon.   I first tasted this summer dream treat at La Madeleines, a wonderful French cafe, popular in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.  Whenever I visit Rachel in Texas,  we do our best to go to lunch at La Madeleines and I always order Strawberries Romanoff for dessert.

Last summer,  when my mom was visiting Denver,  I tweaked and combined a few recipes I found online and produced this version of Romanoff cream  which we like even better than the dish from La Madeleines!  Mom and I sat around the kitchen counter and licked the bowl completely clean!

It only takes about five minutes to make the sauce, making this an easy, refreshing and beautiful dessert for these long Spring and Summer evenings.  It looks oh so elegant, too.

Becky’s Strawberries Romanoff

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 c. whipping cream

6 T.  powdered sugar

1 c. Greek Yogurt, plain (may also use sour cream)

6 T. brown  sugar (Plus a T. more for garnish)

2 T. bourbon (or scotch, rum, brandy or your favorite liquor; or 1 T. vanilla or rum extract if you prefer non-alcoholic)

2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and rinsed (You may keep them whole, or slice them, your preference. If they are tart, you may want to sprinkle a bit of sugar on them as well to sweeten them up some.)

Directions:

In a medium mixing bowl, whip cream into soft peaks, slowly adding powdered sugar to the whipped mixture.

In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together Greek Yogurt, 1/3 c. brown sugar and bourbon.

Add yogurt mixture to whipped cream and fold in until well combined.

To serve, spoon strawberries into martini glasses, about 2/3 full, place generous dollop (about 1/3 c.)  of Romanoff sauce over top of each.   Sprinkle a little bit of brown sugar over the sauce for garnish.  

Variations:   You can also layer the strawberries and sauce in parfait like fashion.   Big wine glasses, or pretty bowls can also work in place of martini glasses.  The powdered sugar helps  the cream hold its shape so that it will keep for a couple of days in a sealed container.  One of the reasons I always used powdered sugar instead of granulated when I make whipped cream.

Veganize This: Try coconut milk “whipped cream” and any of the many varieties of plain non-dairy yogurt.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Stawberries Romanoff
The URL:http://welaughwecrywecook.com/2012/03/23/strawberries-romanoff/
© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved


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