Carrot Cake Minis (for two) – Vegan

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Bake This…Today!

Looking for something to bake this weekend? Then whip these up! They take only minutes to mix up, 1/4 of the time of a regular cake to bake, and you get 100% of the deliciousness.

What is a Cake Mini? Why Bake One?

I’ve been working lately on a new style of dessert – Cake Minis. A Cake Mini is a basically just a small version of a regular cake. So, I know what you’re thinking…what’s the difference between this and a cupcake? Well, a cake mini is baked in a ramekin instead of a cupcake tin. This means no more putting an awkward, mostly-empty cupcake tin in the oven AND (perhaps the best part) easier clean up for you! Score!

But I’m not Vegan!

Oh and you don’t have to be vegan to make these. I’m not vegan. Heck, I’m not even vegetarian. But, I’ve found that when baking in small sizes, which I like to do a lot, it’s easier to make something vegan since eggs are really hard to portion out in the small amounts needed for these types of recipes. Feel free to use eggs instead of flaxseed-eggs (use 4 teaspoons egg instead of mixture of 1 teaspoon flaxseed + 3 teaspoons water).

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My first Cake Mini recipe was in one of my favorite flavors – Coconut Cream. This one is perhaps a more popular flavor (or at least one you guys have been asking for with such enthusiasm) – Carrot Cake!

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Yup, I used freshly grated carrots in these cupcakes.

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In fact, there is almost one carrot in each Cake Mini! So it’s like healthy…ish. Ok, not really, but we can pretend, right? ;)

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I doubled my recipe to make four Cake Minis since I was entertaining last weekend. It worked out quite nicely.

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I think I need another Crate and Barrel ramekin since I had to use a turquoise Le Creuset dish to bake my fourth! lol. But, really, any baking dish that is 3 inches in diameter should work.

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Anywho, like I said, this recipe really is easy and fast. Just mix dry, mix wet, mix wet mixture into dry mixture, pour, bake, make frosting, frost and enjoy. Ok, there is some time required to allow the cakes to cool to room temperature, but the best things come to those who wait, right? At least you don’t have to bake a cake for a full hour like full-sized versions! See what I do for you guys? I saved your 40 minutes of your weekend! ;)

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Carrot Cake Minis (for two)

Having a sweets craving? Why waste all the ingredients and time baking a full-sized cake when you can make just enough for you and a very lucky friend (or ok, enough for you to enjoy twice)? These Carrot Cake Minis are easy to make with a wonderful, spiced flavor, moist interior, and creamy-cream-cheese frosting. What are you waiting for? Let’s bake!

*Vegan* (with traditional substitutions listed below)

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon flaxseed meal or ground flaxseeds + 3 teaspoons water (or sub chia seed egg or 4 teaspoons egg)
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance, softened (or sub butter)
  • 3 tablespoons sucanat (or sugar, which will yield a slightly sweeter cake)
  • 1/2 tablespoon oil (use non-flavored, i.e. canola or safflower)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons non-dairy milk (or milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup carrot grated, preferably organic (about 1 1/2 medium sized carrots)
  • 1/8 cup pecans, chopped, plus additional for topping

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two ramekins (3 inch diameter) with non-stick cooking spray. Note: I’d go ahead now and set aside the butter and cream cheese used in the frosting recipe so they can come to room temperature while your cakes bake, see below for details.
  2. Mix flaxseed meal and water together and set aside to bind while you continue with the rest of the recipe.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt until ingredients are well-combined.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together Earth Balance and sucanat until well-combined. Stir in oil. Stir in flaxseed/water mixture, milk, and vanilla until well-combined.
  5. Stir wet mixture into dry mixture until just combined (careful that no flour bits remain, but that you also do not over-mix). Gently fold in pecans.
  6. Evenly distribute batter into the two ramekins. Bake until top is golden brown and cake is cooked through (or a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean), about 19-22 minutes.
  7. Cool cakes to room temperature. Run a knife around the edge of the cake in the ramekin to loosen the cake (circling a couple times until you see the cake loosening from the bottom).
  8. Frost cake with Creamy-Cream-Cheese Frosting, recipe follows, and top Cake Minis with additional chopped pecans.
  9. Enjoy!

Creamy-Cream-Cheese Frosting

*Vegan substitute listed below*

Makes enough to top 2 Cake Minis. I actually made this with real cream cheese since I’m not vegan, but there are vegan cream cheese products out there that you could use. Check your health food store for options. :)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tablespoon Earth Balance, room temperature (or sub butter)
  • 1/2 tablespoon cream cheese , room temperature (or sub vegan cream cheese, i.e. Tofutti)
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. Combine Earth Balance, cream cheese, and powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Using a handheld mixer, slowly mix until dry sugar is mixed into the Earth Balance and cream cheese. Then on medium to medium/high speed, whip frosting for a minute or so to get it light and fluffy.
  2. Apply frosting to Cake Minis from previous recipe.

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Nommmm!

I still have a full list of additional flavors you guys have requested and trust me, I will enjoy every moment working on those new flavors for you! :) You can check out the list of future Cake Mini flavors (or reader requests) here.

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Vegetarian Entrees That Make Everyone Happy (Even Meat Eaters!)

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On Tuesday I had a super fun lunch date! As (pretty much) a workaholic, lunch out with friends is often a rarity. I usually end up working through lunch, silently munching my eats whilst enjoying a phone conference or working with spreadsheets. I was really looking forward to getting out for fresh air to have some QT with a friend.

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I met up with Kelly of Foodie Fresh for a quick bite to eat at the Roots Farm Food truck.

(next four photos were shared by Kelly – thanks girl!)

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Kelly (looking fab in her pretty yellow sun dress may I add)

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Moi

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We both got the roasted chicken pita with sauteed squash and creamy sauce – plus side salads.

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Everything was wonderful as always!

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Hubby brought me an anniversary cupcake. Yup, our 3 year anniversary was Tuesday. You can read more about our wedding in the Bahamas by clicking here.

Anywho, I got stuck on a late phone conference until 7:15pm, so we didn’t celebrate Tuesday night. I was feeling pretty drained at getting home so late (I’d been there around 8:45am).

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Instead, we went out for a casual lunch al fresco at Mac’s Speed Shop.

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After my long day, I just wanted to decompress outside with fresh air and good local eats.

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I ordered the Big Boss Brewing Co. Angry Angel…

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…but ended up switching with hubb’s The Duck-Rabbit Amber Ale.

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Hubby and I ordered a combo plate to share. It was more than enough.

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Ribs, pulled pork, pulled turkey, beef brisket, texas toast, mac and cheese, and collard greens.

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Dinner was indeed relaxing and very enjoyable.

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After jumping late on the fitblog chat, I decided to bake.

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I worked on a play of those carrot cookies I’m obsessed with ordering at lunch, but a healthy version. I made it a little too healthy, though – it tasted kind of like a flour-y muffin-cookie. A mookie? Anywho, it needs tweaking before I share the recipe. Trust me…you wouldn’t want to bake it as is.

Vegetarian Entertaining – Vegetarian Entrees

So on Monday, I introduced four tips on Vegetarian Entertaining (for the Omnivore Host). At this point, you may be wondering, “Why are you talking about vegetarian entertaining when I clearly see meat dishes pictured above?” I am not a vegetarian or vegan. However, I appreciate both eating styles, and I have many friends who are vegetarian or vegan. I think especially being involved with the healthy living blog community, I’ve learned how to entertain for both my omnivore and meat-free friends at the same dinner party, so I’m sharing my tips with my other meat-eating friends for future entertaining events.

Yesterday, I talked about Side Dishes to entertain Vegetarians and Vegans.

If you want to sick with making your main course a meat-dish, and you don’t want (or can’t) make an additional vegetarian entree, then see yesterday’s post. Otherwise, read on for tips on making Vegetarian Entrees solo and ones that everyone (even meat-eaters) will like:

Make a Second Entree Vegetarian

If you’re an omnivore hosting a dinner party, chances are good the majority of your guests are meat eaters, too. You may want to make a meat dish as an entree for the majority, but you can also make an additional entree for your veg friends. I think if you did this, it would not be expected. I think your veg friends would be both surprised and thrilled to see that you took the time to make an extra entree just for them. So while this may not be the easiest solution, it is possibly one of the most impressive. If you have the time and the money, then go for it. You can make a smaller entree if the minority (or just one or two) guests are vegetarian. However, don’t be surprised if the other guests want to try out the veg-based entree.

Say you’re having a Mexican themed evening. You could make chicken enchiladas in the main baking dish, and a smaller version with just beans and cheese inside (probably best to put it in a separate baking dish) for your veg friends.

Whenever we’re grilling out, if my veg-friends are coming over, I love to make these easy Quinoa Veggie Burgers. And while hubby downs his beef burger, I usually prefer the quinoa one!

Let Your Veg Friend Bring an Additional Entree

See letting your veg friends bring a side dish from yesterday’s post.

Make the Main Entree Vegetarian

Some people may see making the main entree vegetarian as putting out your meat eating friends. However, just think of all the yummy things you (and probably they) eat all the time that are meat-free that you love. Cheese pizza anyone? And this veggie lasagna recipe by Kath rocks (I’ve made it a couple times now!). And for something a little more “crazy”, a noodle bowl is one of my fave vegetarian meals (I eat them all the time!)

If you’re really worried about the meat-eaters, you can always make one or two meat-based appetizers so they can get their fix, but really…a vegetarian or vegan meal can be enjoyed without even missing the meat! I do it all the time! Maybe they’ll discover a new dish to fall in love with. Maybe they’ll have an eating epiphany like I did so long ago.

Don’t Make an Entree at All

Let your guests make the entree. Let me explain…you could provide all the key ingredients that your guests could use to create their own perfect entree. A great example of this is a pizza party. I once went to an awesome pizza party at Kath’s house. Matt had made everyone their own pizza dough, and we all got to pick our toppings from a huge assortment of various veggies, cheeses, and other ingredients. You can do the same. It’s easy and entertaining. Omnivore friends can pile on the pepperoni. Vegetarians and Vegans can tailor their pie to their liking.

Go Exotic

Many eats in other cultures are commonly vegetarian. Host a themed party and roll with that idea. Try an Indian theme. Make your own naan (see previous topic about getting guests involved and let them choose their naan toppings – salt and pepper, cilantro, garlic, red pepper flakes, and other basic ingredients could help them customize). Whip up some rice. Make Chana Masala. Yum!

Make Something Meat-Ish

Make something similar to something your omnivore friends are familiar with to ease them into eating sans meat. Some meat eaters are die-hard and will need coaxing. Everyone has at least one of these friends. You know who I’m talking about. Grilled tofu isn’t going to be as appetizing to them as Tempeh Shepherd’s Pie. The latter even looks like something they’re familiar with! Heck, just say it’s “Shepherd’s Pie” and see if they notice (ok only do that if you know them well enough to know that’s ok). That’s right meat-friend…come to the greeeeeen siiiiiide. ;)

Vegetarian Entree Recipes from around the blogosphere

Here are some wonderful vegetarian AND vegan entrees from my blog friends:

Know of any other good vegetarian/vegan entree recipes? Share the recipe link in a comment. :)

Entertaining for your vegetarian and vegan friends may seem scary at first, but it’s not only easy, it’s fun to think creatively on ways to keep everyone happy and full.

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Want to help get better vegetarian options at more social eat-togethers? Share these tips by clicking the Facebook-Like button, tweeting this post, or using one of the other “share” buttons at the end of this post.

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Vegetarian & vegan friends – What entrees do like to share with your omnivore friends and family?

Omnivores – What vegetarian/vegan entrees do you enjoy without missing the meat?

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