Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Coffee Cake So Good I've Been Suckered Into Baking Another One For Thursday

cranberry coffee cake

Last Thursday I arrived home from work and settled down for my daily pre-dogpark snack-eating and e-mail-checking. When I opened my e-mail box there was a request from a reporter at Maclean's Magazine wanting to interview me. And what did this reporter for Canada's best known weekly news magazine want to talk to me about, you ask? Did she want to know about the book I wrote? Nope. My fascinating job? No sir. This excellent blog to which I devote a large portion of my spare time? Not really. What did she want?

She wanted my opinion of vegan cheese.

You got it, friends. When the big magazines come calling, they want to know about vegan cheese. Not that I'm looking a gift interview in the mouth or anything. I was totally delighted to chat with her on the phone. And you can bet I'll be lining up at the news stand when the issue comes out. It just felt a little funny to say things like, oh yeah, I got interviewed today. Yeah, by Macleans. What's that? Oh, you know... vegan cheese.


It's been a weird week in blogland, all told. Because what happened on Friday? Well, on Friday I got up and, as usual, made my bleary way down to the kitchen for my morning smoothie and e-mail checking. ("Jennifer, do you ever do anything other than eat and check your e-mail?" Well, sometimes I listen to records while I'm eating and checking my e-mail...) Through sleepy eyes I checked my blog stats which, in those early morning hours are usually at about 30 hits. 937 hits, read the screen.

Pardon me?

Turns out I'd been "Stumbledupon". It's happened to me a few times before, but those times my hits maxed out at 500. Not this time. By the end of the day on Friday I had 6500 hits. Holy yikes. Who are all you people? Thanks for coming by.

I'm sorry, is it gauche to talk about blog stats? Let's move on to cake.

batter batter batter

I made this coffee cake on Sunday, primarily for the Man of Science. He is a coffee cake lover. But he doesn't like nuts in his coffee cake, so I thought I'd experiment with a recipe that did not include them. "I'm making you a coffee cake, because I love you!" I told him. "That's nice," he replied, searching in the fridge for a beer. "And also so I have something to blog about," I added. He didn't seem to mind that my agenda was twofold. It helped that the cake turned out marvelously.

I brought two pieces in to work today for Diane and her colleague Matthieu. Because of the nature of our work, my other coworkers are rarely in the office, so I didn't bring any extra. Of course this meant that two other coworkers showed up and ground my gears for not bringing extra cake for them. I ended up promising to bring a whole other cake in on Thursday, when we will all be around for a meeting. I am officially the office cake-wench.

Cranberry Coffee Cake

Cake Itself:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup soymilk
3/4 cup soy yogurt
1/3 cup safflower oil
inside scrapings of 1/2 a vanilla bean (optional)
2/3 cup whole cranberries (I used frozen)


1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp vegan margarine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare the topping first by combining all ingredients until crumbly. If you're like me you have an excellent pastry cutter (a.k.a. "Brass Knuckles")

brass knuckles

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl, add cranberries, then set aside.

In a small bowl or large measuring cup, mix soymilk, yogurt, oil, and vanilla.

Mix soy milk mixture into flour mixture using a wooden spoon. Don't over mix.

Spread mixture into an 8 inch pan, cover with topping.

Bake for 40 minutes or until a chopstick stuck in the middle comes out clean.

Some Notes (Special TV Edition):

-This weekend the Man of Science and I were in Future Shop where he likes to go "just to look around". He's playing the result that looking around on his XBOX 360 as I type this. I like to see him so well entertained. On the way out of the store I noticed they had several seasons of Mary Tyler Moore for $14 each. $14 each? They're practically giving away all that fine entertainment. I hemmed and hawed for a minute, saying, "Oh, but when would I find the time to watch all those episodes?" Guess what I've been doing with all my free time since? Just guess.

-Mary Tyler Moore is actually one of the two shows I always check on when I'm looking for discounted DVDs. The other one? The Golden Girls. And you know who was on both of those shows? Betty White. And did anyone else see her host Saturday Night Live this weekend? Wasn't that excellent?

-I have been mouthing off about Betty White being a vegetarian all weekend and it turns out that's not true! Shame on me for not fact checking. She's a PETA supporter and a big proponent of shelter pets, but not a vegetarian. Fellow Golden Girl Rue McClanahan, however, is a long time vegetarian. Her recipe for tofu cheesecake is in The Compassionate Cook.


This Time Last Year: Black Bean Tacos


The Voracious Vegan said...

I have never cooked or baked with cranberries, can you believe it!?! Your cake looks amazing, I really want to give it a try.

And let's give thanks for stumbleupon, I love it when my posts get on there. Watching the numbers skyrocket is awesome, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

As someone with a surplus of cranberries in her fridge, I am super excited about this recipe. It will work well for our week late Mother's Day celebration this weekend. One question - safflower oil: can you substitute say, canola oil? I have never cooked with safflower oil before.

EK www.inajarblog.blogspot.com

Jennifer (It Ain't Meat, Babe) said...

VV: I like the cranberries because they are tart enough to balance the sweetness of the cake topping. So good!

Evey: Yes, absolutely. Canola oil or any other light vegetable oil will work. I have even used olive oil in a pinch, but it has a stronger taste that isn't too awesome in cake.

The Ordinary Vegetarian said...

Betty White was epic! I had a recent surprise on my stats from stumbledupon myself, but not nearly exciting as yours. Congrats on all the new visitors, and also on being called on for your vegan cheese expertise. Who knew being popular could be so fun, right? Even when that popularity comes from cake.

Deer Prudence said...

I love the way you write. No it's not gauche to talk about blog stats, you have the right to be so surprised/happy so!
I'm not so much into "writing comments of blog" maybe 'cause i'm too shy. But well, love your blog anyway :)
Hope you'll have more and more success so ;)
Cheers and take care!


XUP said...

I don't think it's gauche to talk about blog stats either -- especially when they soar into the thousands. Let's hope you bedazzled them all enough to keep coming back.

EK said...

This cake is AWESOME. I will write up my full success story with the cake on my blog later today, but for now I will say it was a HUGE hit at my house, and I was immediately convinced to make another one (as we managed to wolf down almost the whole thing in a morning).

Juliana said...

it looks very tastefull :)