Mellissa Morgan, the inspirational woman behind the successful Ms Cupcake bakery, has finally published her highly awaited first cookbook (available from May 9). Random House kindly sent me a review copy, which I've been sitting on for ages in anticipation of its publication week, when I could finally share my excitement.
So here goes.
There might already be a few vegan bakery books on the market, but this is the first major title published with the UK market in mind, complete with metric measurements (there are also imperial equivalents listed). Of course the usual suspects have been available to us over here for ages, but there is still something lost in the translation (enter my pet peeve about not weighing ingredients for baking).
Admittedly I have only got around to making four recipes thus far, but in talking to others about the book I am confident in the reliability of its contents. The strawberry banana muffins were easy to make and had the lightest texture of any muffin I've ever tried. Furthermore they stayed fresh for several days and didn't take on the consistency of a cardboard (unlike many other muffin recipes I've tried). If these are anything to go by, I'd recommend any of the other muffin recipes in the book.
And now for some cookies.
Actually, you can't go wrong with chocolate chip cookies (probably the greatest lesson my dad has taught me), so we'll move right on to the bit where the dough gets battered and fried. That's all the description it really needs, because if the words cookie dough, battered, and fried in the same sentence aren't enough to give you a foodgasm then you probably have a medical condition for which you should seek immediate help. I mean, come on, this is the stuff dreams are made of.
The other recipe I baked, obviously, was the Jaffa cakes (pretty sure this will be the first recipe 90% of British vegans make).
If you don't know what a jaffa cake is and are a fan of chocolate and orange, these cookies were made for you. Basically they are biscuits consisting of orange jelly on a soft cake base, with a chocolate coating on the top half. It sounds complicated, but the Ms Cupcake version is one of the easiest baked goods I've ever made, and the result is as good as its non vegan counterpart.
Don't be deceived by the name, because this compilation of recipes contains more than cupcakes. Chapters include Cupcakes and Muffins, Icings and Spreads, Cakes and Loaves, Easy-Bakes and No-Bakes, Cookies, and Naughtiest of Them All (read: deep fry). There is a wonderful simplicity to the recipes, yet the finished products don't present in any way as such. On top of that, Mellissa's book promotes what I believe to be an absolute truth: baking is fun. It's awash with pictures of staff getting right down and dirty with the ingredients, and doesn't resonate with the snobbish vibe so many bakery books do; don't look for your artisanal, succulent, crafted-with-love scones with zero mile farm fresh ingredients here. I don't know about you, but I appreciate cutting through the B.S. and getting straight to the point: making fabulous goodies!
So, without further ado (and with permission), here's the vegan jaffa cake recipe for you to try out for yourself. If you like it, and I think you will, please consider purchasing the book!
Ms Cupcake's Jaffa Cakes
Makes 12-15 Jaffa Cakes
- Grease a bun tray. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the flour and caster sugar. Add the milk, oil and vanilla, stirring until just combined. Drop a small spoonful of the batter into each of the holes in the prepared tray and bake for about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool in the tray for 2 minutes before turning the bases out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Melt the chocolate and margarine in a pan on a low heat, stirring constantly until combined. Remove from the heat and add the orange zest.
- Once the cakes have cooled, and before removing them from the wire rack, spoon a dollop of orange marmalade on top of each one. Spoon the chocolate evenly over the cakes so that the tops are completely covered. The excess chocolate can drip through the wire rack leaving the bottoms free of chocolate. Refrigerate on the rack for about 20 minutes until set. Keep these bad boys refrigerated until you are ready to serve them
I'd again like to extend a big thanks to Random House for sending me this book sample.