Converting Non-vegan Recipes

Written by on Jul 23, 2014

Occasionally, there comes a time when I will come across a non-vegan recipe that just sounds too good to simply pass up. I am very much a firm believer in the ability of anyone to convert over recipes. Provided you have a general understanding of the chemical composition of the ingredients you are using and the roles each play in a dish, you should be able to successfully reproduce some of your favorite recipes. In regards to baking, I find the dishes  that have a higher rate of success, usually have no more than 4 eggs or a cup of butter. Usually, anything more than that will require too much tampering and tweaking to the recipe that you might as well just get a new recipe that is actually vegan. Below is a wonderful breakfast cake that I converted over from one of my culinary heroes- Martha Stewart.

Blackberry Cornmeal Cake

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk (1/2 cup non-dairy milk + 1 1/2 tsp vinegar)
2 large eggs (1 Tbsp egg replacer + 4 Tbsp hot water)
1/4 cup non-dairy sour cream
7 tbsp unsalted butter, melted + 1 Tbsp for skillet  ( 7 Tbsp non-dairy butter, melted + 1 Tbsp for skillet)
2 containers fresh blackberries (5.6 ounces each)
1/4 sugar for sprinkling + 2-3 Tbsp Turbinado sugar for sprinkling
1 orange, zested

Preheat your oven for 375 degrees.

Begin by “souring” your milk. There are many ways that vegans can get around not using buttermilk in a recipe. The general ratio is 1 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar to a cup of non-dairy milk. Measure out your milk and set it aside so it can curdle. Next, measure out your egg replacer. Grab a bowl and a clean whisk. Add the hot water and mix until it’s thick and foamy.  Add the milk to your egg replacer and whisk in the sour cream. The sour cream will not only help bind together all of the ingredients in the cake but it should also give it softer texture, similar to a coffee cake.

Throw a 10″ cast iron skillet or springform pan into the oven to warm up. Add the tbsp of butter. It should melt and coat the sides of the pan. (If you forget this step, your berries will fall and stick to the bottom of your pan.)

Sift together the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Create a well in the middle. Pour in the milk mixture as well as the melted butter. Whisk until smooth. Pour the batter into the skillet. Dot the top with the fresh blackberries. Sprinkle with both sugars.

Bake for 45-50 minutes. You want the edges to be browned and starting to pull away from the sides. Let rest for 30 minutes. Zest your orange over the top right before you’re about to serve.  To add a little flare, I usually dust the top of the cake with a thin covering of powdered sugar.


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