Archive for the ‘Dessert’ Category

After I had my daughter, eleven years ago, Proeteasa Joan brought me this lovely cake along with Florentine Cannelini Soup.  She hoped that the iron from the molasses and the spinach would help me recover.  I’m still touched by her thoughtfulness.

She gave me a copy of the recipe with these notes:

This heirloom recipe for Molasses Cake was found in the 1920 cookbook of Therese Farrell.  Cooks in the old days (remembering my mother and grandmother, now) were artistic in their cooking and thus, a cup of flour may not necessarily be a level cup because they cooked by feel and by experience.  It may be that this batter is a bit thin, however, if it was I would still try it first and see if it worked.  Again, we have to remember that the gluten content of today’s flour is higher and less flour can make more volume than it once did.

I like this cake with cool applesauce and a dash of cinnamon.


1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup molasses

3/4 cup lard (use shortening or some other suitable vegan solid fat)

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 level teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 level teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 heaping teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 cups strong, black coffee at room temperature


  1. Lord, bless my work.
  2. Grease and flour 9 x 13 cake pan.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  3. Cream together sugar, molasses, and shortening.
  4. In a separate bowl sift together flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and baking soda.
  5. Cool 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) strong, black coffee to room temperature.
  6. Combine the dry mixture with the lard/sugar/molasses mixture.
  7. While combining, slowly add the black coffee and stir vigorously until all ingredients are well mixed and a smooth batter is formed.
  8. Pour into prepared cake pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45 minutes.  Test with a toothpick or butter knife.



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Today’s recipe comes from a very lovely friend. She has years of experience in vegan cooking and baking, so you can trust this recipe works.

According to J:

This next one is based on a banana bread recipe I changed to suit my pumpkin loving ways.

1 mashed ripe banana
2/3-1 cup pumpkin puree
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup oil (I used grapeseed oil)
2 cups flour (white whole wheat and spelt flours both work lovely if you are into that sort of thing)
3/4 tsp each baking soda and baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or its equivalent in separate spices)
Splash each vanilla extract and your favorite non dairy milk
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1.  Lord, Bless my work.

2.Preheat oven to 350.

3.  Mix wet ingredients.

4.  Mix in the rest of the ingredients(except splashes of vanilla and milk) until well incorporated…. it will be a bit thick.

5.  Add splashes of non dairy milk and vanilla and mix well. Spread in a 9 x 5 in loaf pan and bake for 1 hour.

6.  Let cool for at least 30 mins. before enjoying.

Thumbs up to adding walnuts for protein and grapeseed oil for healthy fat!

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Happy St. Patrick’s day!  Not celebrating with corned beef is a fact of Orthodox life.  But, no Shamrock Shake on St. Patty’s day is almost too much for me.  I know that fasting foods should be simple and plain.  On this very important feast day (I was raised Catholic) I claim oikonomia.

Plus, Shamrock Shakes are healthy.  One of my favorite funnymen Remy, of GoRemy.com, says in his McDonald’s rap:

“They say, ‘you’re playing with a cardiac arrest, my boy’
Only thing bad for my heart’s when they forget my toy
Now I’m-a have a milkshake, but before you rant
It’s made of shamrocks–now that’s a plant”

The real McD’s shake has no plants, but mine does.  The peppermint extract covers the taste of the spinach.  Soy milk offers protein.   The coconut milk or cream of coconut is important to make the shake creamy.  You need the fat to make it more like the real McCoy.


Fasting Shamrock Shake

8 Ice Cubes

Soy milk

3 Tbsp cream of coconut, or coconut milk (if you use plain coconut milk you may want a sweetener)

1 Tbsp frozen spinach, or equivalent raw spinach

1/2 tsp peppermint extract

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. Place ice cubes in blender, add enough soy milk to almost cover.  (About a cup)

Step 3. Blend thoroughly, until smooth.  Add additional ingredients and blend until very smooth.  Drink it up!

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Fasting Chocolate Cake

Most fasting baked goods lack luster.  This chocolate cake is a big  exception!  Sometimes I make this on nonfasting days when I am short on eggs and milk.  The reaction between the vinegar and baking soda give the cake its height.  Add the vinegar last and pour directly into the pan for best results.  You may never go back to boxed cakes again.

A tablespoon of instant coffee is a tasty addition.  Also, if you want this cake to have some protein you can use substitute 1/2 cup of oat flour (grind a 1/2 cup of oatmeal very fine) for a half cup of wheat flour and throw in some walnuts.

UPDATE: This is the most popular post on the blog.  If you’d like to make this cake without oil you may substitute mashed banana, avocado, applesauce (or a mix) of those three for the oil.  However, if you do you’ll need to grease your pan or at least line it with parchment.


Fasting Chocolate Cake

3 cups flour

2 cups sugar

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

6 Tbsp cocoa

2 cups water

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla

2 Tbsp vinegar

Step 1. Lord,  bless my work.

Step 2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl add dry ingredients, stirring to combine.  Add wet ingredients in order of appearance, stirring to combine.

Step 3. Pour directly into an UNGREASED 9×13 pan.  Bake 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Step 4. Sprinkle with powdered sugar to decorate.

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This fasty friendly banana bread recipe comes to you in honor of my dear, sweet toothed friend, JMT.

Honestly, I can’t make any grand claims about the nutritional benefits of this bread.  It does have a whole banana or two so that’s good.  You could easily add a scoop of nutritional yeast to this bread. Any sweet you make at home is safer than anything made by Little Debbie.  That  little, red- haired, Bakeress of Babylon makes some pretty dangerous stuff.  Of course, if you read the ingredients a lot of her treats are fast friendly – but so is plastic.

A wholesome banana bread for Lent.

Adapted from American Wholefoods Cuisine

Banana Bread

1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 c wheat germ (or 1/4 c more flour)
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c chopped nuts (optional)
1/4 c oil
1/2 c honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 c mashed banana (or one cup banana 1/4 c applesauce)

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. Combine dry ingredients, including nuts.  Combine wet ingredients and stir into dry mixture until thoroughly combined.  This makes a thick batter, like cookie batter.

Step 3. Spread batter in an oiled and floured loaf pan.  Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, transfer to a rack to cool completely before cutting.
**If the batter seems impossibly thick you could safely add 1/4 c more oil

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Fasting Orange Cake

This year our family has 3 Lenten birthdays.  That is why I am glad to have this delicious cake.

You will need 1 tablespoon of orange zest.  The zest is the orange part of the skin containing the orange oil.  You don’t want to gouge the skin all the way to the white part, the pith.  The pith is bitter.  To zest an orange you can use an orange zester to make neat little curls or a grater to shave the skin.  Your other option is to use a paring knife to make big giant pieces of zest that you mindlessly plop into the batter instead of at least chopping them into attractive bits.  Oh, Martha Stewart, why aren’t I more like you?  I recommend making little bits of zest to improve the flavor and appearance of your cake.

A few years ago, when I copied this recipe, I did not mark what kind of pan to use.  I think a little cake pan would work, a 9×9.  I’ll tell you what not to use:  a bundt, a 10.5 inch springform, or an angelfood pan.  Fortunately, the cake tastes good no matter how it looks.

If you are really cool you can frost this cake using 1/2 cup thawed orange juice concentrate and 1/2 cup powdered sugar.  Drizzle the cake and make it look beautiful.  You can do it.  Heaven knows I can’t.

Orange You Glad It’s Fasting Cake

1 1/2 c flour

1 cup sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup orange juice

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 Tbsp orange zest

1 Tbsp vinegar

1 tsp vanilla

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.

Step 3. In a small bowl stir wet ingredients together.

Step 4. Stir wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring until combined.  Pour into pan.  Work quickly as the baking soda and vinegar give the cake heighth.

Step 5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.  Let cake cool completely before frosting. 

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Pumpkin Cookies

Day two of the great fast.  Ready to devour your brother yet?  I am ready to go hunt up a chocolate tree myself.

Our first desert recipe is courtesy of my loving sister in law.  She brought us a tin of these great cookies after our cross country move.  See, told you she’s thoughtful.  (I have made a few adjustments from the original recipe to improve the nutritional value.)

One cup of old fashioned oatmeal (rolled oats) has five grams of protein.  One cup of whole wheat flour (4 ounces) has sixteen grams of protein.  Two thirds of a cup of walnuts has about 12 grams of protein.  The nuts are optional, but they are a complement to the grain proteins.  Molasses has iron and other trace minerals.

This recipe calls for pumpkin, a vitamin rich vegetable.  Actually, all orange foods have something in common- massive amounts of beta-carotene.  The body turns beta carotene into vitamin A.

My grocery store only carries pumpkin seasonally.  I used a small sweet potato boiled and pureed.  You may also use any orange winter squash.  (Not yellow summer squash.  Winter squash has a hard skin.)  If you use a fresh cooked vegetable AND choc/carob chips make sure that you cool the vegetable first.  If you don’t it will melt the chips before you bake the cookies.  I made this mistake on my second batch.  Unfortunately, that made the cookies too ugly to picture.  Martha Stewart I am not.

For a chewy cookie follow the recipe as written.  For a soft, cakey cookie add 1 tsp baking soda to the dry ingredients.  Bake for 15 minutes.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups flour

1 1/3 cups rolled oats

¾ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

1 2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup oil

1 Tbsp molasses

1 cup canned pumpkin, cooked squash or sweet potato

1 tsp vanilla

¾ c carob chips or fasting chocolate chips (optional)

3/4 c walnuts or pecans

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease or (line with parchment paper) two baking sheets.  These cookies are really sticky even on a nonstick sheet-you have to grease the pans.

Step 3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Set aside.

Step 4. In a large bowl, combine sugars, oil, pumpkin, and vanilla.  Add dry ingredients, folding to combine.

Step 5. Drop by tablespoon onto baking sheets about one inch apart.  Bake for 20 minutes.

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