I’m still working on that stack of long-lost Christmas cookbooks, and I’ve finally run into one that is going in the ‘to be sold’ pile and I doubt I’ll be trying much from it: Vegan Cakes and Other Bakes.
First and foremost for the record, I like baking and vegan cooking; I’ve done a good bit of vegan and alternative ingredients baking. My biggest problem with this set of recipes is that it seems to rely on a few things that would be difficult for me to get, such as soya cream (soy for those of us in the US), spelt cream (I didn’t know this was even a thing), fresh yeast (not common in most US grocers), and cream stiffener (I don’t know what this is, and there’s nothing in the glossaries and info sections to tell me). The introductory vegan intro materials are brief but actually pretty good and specific so it works if you know some of that stuff, and also if you don’t. And yet it assumes you know what “cream stiffener” is; I get the function, it’s in the name. But what is the product, either brand or content?
In a way, the above is kind of too bad because there are some things in here that do look interesting like Pudding Pretzels and Pumpkin Buckwheat rolls. The pretzel recipe is basically pretzels, although the recipe does not require the brief dip in hot water so can you still really call this pretzel, with a vanilla custard filling that does involve custard powder thankfully now available in the international sections of several of my local grocery stores. The rolls look interesting because they are gluten free, I like buckwheat as a flour base, and the spice blend (anise and allspice); my issue with this one is that there is no actual pumpkin in the recipe, just seeds. Not that that’s a bad thing in itself, but I think that if you call it “Pumpkin” it should contain actual pumpkin, and since I know that buckwheat is actually really good with banana bread, I was hoping maybe pumpkin might be similarly made more interesting in baked goods.
I was also excited to see the poppy seed strudel since my Polish aunt makes that every year at Christmas and it’s good, but hers is not vegan and may not be alcoholic (this one is both of those things). It’s a little random but not unwelcome to have a “Winter and Christmassy” section in a general baking book. This section also has a recipe for what are basically Linzer cookies or Jammie Dodgers since the filling is strawberry, not lingonberry.
The more I think on it, I might try a few of the recipes, and then determine if it’s worth it tracking down some of the less available items. To be continued….