I’m back! Reporting from the kitchen just in time to catch the sweltering Los Angeles summer heat. It’s the time of year where turning on the oven is literally painful, but I just can’t stay away. I’ve missed creating desserts and recipes for the past month. Despite the fact that I did bake two cakes, a dozen cupcakes and a full Thanksgiving dinner to go into our film, it just wasn’t the same. Rushing to complete things, instead of lingering in creative process didn’t satisfy my kitchen addiction. So just having barely recovered from complete exhaustion, I already have a few projects cooking (quite literally).
First, I have to admit, muffins may have just changed my life. I’ve always enjoyed making cupcakes, in fact, I’m a pro. For the most part though, I’m not the hugest fan of eating them. Perhaps that is a result of just having had too many, but they’re just not really my thing. I genuinely do love baking them though. On the other hand, I’ve never really been into muffins either. I have this idea stuck in my head that muffins are dry and crumbly. I think the only muffins I’ve ever made personally were corn muffins, which are a breed off muffin all their own. In any case, I decided to try my hand at the banana chocolate chip muffins from The Joy of Vegan Baking and they honestly blew my mind. I altered the recipe slightly to accommodate the number of half-blackened bananas I had on hand and could not have hoped for a better result. They were super moist, with a subtle banana flavor and sweet gooey chocolate hidden inside. They were still fairly sweet but not in a dessert kind of way. I had to intervene to photograph them so they weren’t all eaten instantly. I may now officially be obsessed with making muffins. Oh the possibilities!
In an attempt to stay away from the oven, I was thinking of some alternative summer desserts. Ice cream? Slushies? Fresh fruit salad? How about Jello? I finally had the chance to try the raspberry jel dessert from Natrual Desserts. I have a tendency to snack on chocolate chips when I have a craving for something sweet (or when watching a movie, or whenever I look in the fridge) but they’re just not working out in the heat. Melted chocolate hands just aren’t attractive. I haven’t made Jello since I was probably 10 years old, and had been planning to use the package in conjunction with something else, but thought the cool fruit treat would be a perfect summer sweet.
I won’t lie, having a big blob of giggly jello was super exciting. I’ve tasted some other vegan jel desserts and they’ve been a lot more like jelly which is extremely disappointing. On top of that, the raspberry was delicately sweet with a real raspberry flavor, not an artificial blast of sugar. Of course, the best part is that there’s no gelatin, which is something that I can’t believe people consume willingly, vegan or not.
This past month Shawn’s brother, Kyle, has been staying with us, working on Brainwashed Love for the summer. He turned 18 the day after we finished filming so I promised him any cake he wanted, which happened to be coconut. Here is the part where I confess I’ve never made a coconut cake before. I knew that I could, if asked, but I can’t stand eating coconut so it never happened just for fun. Kyle and Shawn devoured the entire cake themselves in less than 24 hours (Shawn even claimed it was the best coconut cake he’d ever had) so I suppose it was a success. There are a few common baking ingredients that I don’t like personally, so I’m very lucky to have a very reliable tester to try all the things I can’t bear to eat myself. There was something very exciting about making this cake as it has so many different coconut ingredients, it was very different than my usual cakes. I can only imagine it was decadently rich. I did learn some very important lessons about decorating coconut cakes though…
1. Do not try to write on top of shredded coconut. It will look like a drunken baker wrote it even if your hand is steady.
2. Make sure any coconut you put on top is firmly pressed into the frosting, especially for birthday cakes with candles. Otherwise you will end up with coconut shreds everywhere.
That’s it for today, I’ll have many more posts on the way as I have a bit more free time on my hands. Ah to be lost in the kitchen all summer long…