This year for my birthday I decided to bake myself something in part because my freezer is still full from the sourdough baking times of about two months ago and I usually go for a small ice cream cake. I was assisted by a library find I may now have to purchase: Bakerita (of the blog of same name). The general premise is supposed healthier baked treats in that mostly natural less processed ingredients are featured, as are quite a few gluten-free and vegan options. You really do need to pay attention to an individual recipe though, since they are organized by general outcome, not diet category.
My one general complaint is that, given the sort of dietary mishmash present, that there isn’t consistent info on substitutions, like if I tried all the vegan options as they were, but maybe wanted to try this one cake recipe that was not vegan, what would be the best way to do that.
For example, the cake I want to try first is “Orange Cake with Coconut-Yogurt Frosting”. All the ‘dairy’ is coconut based, flax is the main binding agent, and the cake is gluten free (tapioca, coconut, and almond flours). Top it all off with dried orange slices (one of my favorite sweet munchies) and raspberries (I’ll probably use blueberries since they are more in season- i.e. cheaper- right now). Instructions are pretty straightforward, namely mix the wet and dry, combine, bake. While the cake cools, make frosting.
However, what if I wanted (and I kind of do) to try the Apple Spice layer cake? The process is pretty similar, the flours are again a gluten free combo, but this recipe calls for eggs, no swap out option noted. This strikes me as a little odd because the rest of the recipe does have non-dairy milks and creams. The recipe is not labeled vegan, rightly so, but I still wonder why this one does not have the swap option, while the other cake, which granted is not a layered one and involves fewer eggs, does have that possibility. I’m not actually vegan so I might still go for it, but the inconsistency bugs me a little.
The one thing I have already tried, Cranberry-Orange Pistachio Cookies, actually do have the vegan swap (1-1 flax for egg equivalent) and these turned out really well, especially since I did not use dried cranberries because I had dried unsweet dried cherries that needed using. This was a good idea because otherwise I think the cookies would have been too sweet; there is a good bit of sugar involved.
Given the health emphasis in the introduction and many recipe headings, I find the amounts of sugar and fat a touch misleading. These are sweets, not health foods, in recipe and result. Are they a bit less bad than conventional version? Maybe, but the preachy holier than thou intros make this sound like a weight loss friendly book, which it most certainly is not. Also, coconut flour and sugar cost about 4 times as much as their conventional equivalents; the book does at least have the decency to acknowledge the cost of some of the ingredients, but the recommendation to buy bulk is not the solution the author seems to want it to be since that’s still not cheap. Seriously, getting set up with the main ingredients costs more than the book itself. Hopefully, the cookies are a good indicator, and this will all be worth it, but we’ll have to see