Virtual Vegan Potluck – Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie with Fresh Berries

Welcome to the third Virtual Vegan Potluck! It’s been great to see this grow so much each time! In case you just happened upon my blog and don’t know what the Virtual Vegan Potluck is, it’s a blog circle of recipes by vegan and vegan friendly bloggers. You can start at the beginning by going to Vegan Bloggers Unite, or see the blogs before or after me in the potluck by following the Go Forward and Go Back links at the bottom of this post. I’m excited to be participating again, and I’ve brought one of my favorite dessert recipes to share!

This recipe originally came from Vegetarian Times many years ago, and I’ve made a few modifications to it over the years. This pie is pretty easy and quick to make, and it’s perfect for sharing! Who doesn’t love peanut butter, chocolate, and berries? I wish I could give each of you a slice in real life!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

I make the crust from scratch because many store bought graham cracker crusts aren’t vegan. Most graham crackers contain honey, but Nabisco Originals don’t. Making a graham cracker crust from scratch isn’t too hard and doesn’t take much time. I think they’re tastier than the store bought versions too! You can also use ginger snaps, vanilla or chocolate wafer cookies, or any other type of cookie or cracker that is dry and crumbly to make a crust. That’s one of the things I like so much about this pie, it’s easily customizable. In addition to changing the flavor of the crust you could substitute almond butter or cashew butter for the peanut butter, and you could top the pie with anything you like – nuts, vegan whipped cream, bananas, etc. Make it your own!

Graham Cracker Crust Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 10-11 whole crackers)

1/4 cup sugar

dash of salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

5 Tbsp melted vegan butter (Earth Balance or organic Smart Balance)

Graham Cracker Crust Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375°.
  • Place the graham crackers in a ziploc bag and seal it shut. Use a rolling pin or a wooden spoon to crush the crackers into crumbs.
  • Pour the crumbs into a mixing bowl and add the sugar, salt, and cinnamon to the crumbs. Stir until combined.
  • Melt the vegan butter and drizzle it over the crumbs. Mix it with a fork until combined.
  • Pour the crumbs into a 9 inch pie plate. Press them into the bottom of the pie plate and up the edges. They should stick together. If any holes form, make sure you fill them in.
  • Bake the crust for about 10-15 minutes. If the sides of the crust slouch down after baking, gently use the back of a spoon to push the crust back up the sides of your pie plate. Let the crust cool fully before putting the filling in.

Ingredients for Pie Filling:

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 12-oz. container silken tofu
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • berries for the top

Directions for Pie Filling:

1. In a food processor or blender, combine the silken tofu and maple syrup and blend until smooth. Add the peanut butter and blend it again until it’s smooth.

2. Melt the chocolate chips, either using a double boiler or heating it in 30 second intervals in the microwave until melted. Stir the chocolate frequently as it melts. Add the melted chocolate to the food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Pour the filling into your cooled graham cracker crust. Smooth the top out and refrigerate the pie at least 20 minutes to firm up.

4. Place the berries on top (or use your topping of choice). You can use fresh berries when in season or thawed frozen berries other times of the year. Keep the pie refrigerated. Enjoy!

Be sure to check out the rest of the potluck by following these links! The blog before me is Mama et de Bebe Hawk and the blog after me is Deerly Beloved Bakery. You can also start at the beginning by visiting Vegan Bloggers Unite!

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Vegan Ice Cream Cake

Growing up, my mom would make me ice cream cakes for my birthday sometimes, and I wanted to try recreating that in a vegan version. I often make my own vegan ice cream and I have a really yummy chocolate cake recipe, but I wanted to try making a yellow cake. I’m so partial to chocolate cake, that I had actually never made a vegan yellow cake. I started hunting around for recipes and one in particular popped up in a few different places. I’m not exactly sure where it originated, but I followed the recipe from the blog The Ramblings and Recipes of a Vegan Goddess. It baked perfectly, rising up nicely, but not too high so it was still easily stack-able. This will definitely become my go-to recipe when I want to make a yellow cake.

I also followed the butter-cream icing recipe from that blog post. I added in some lemon extract and it tasted good and did the job, but it came out more like a thick glaze or thin icing than I was expecting. I probably need to adjust the ratio of powdered sugar to vegan butter next time, or I’ll use the chocolate peanut butter frosting that I make for the Moosewood Chocolate Cake. If you have a good vegan icing recipe that you like, feel free to post it in the comments. I haven’t found a basic vanilla one that I love yet.

For the ice cream filling, I made a basic vegan ice cream base and added in fresh strawberries and chocolate. The fresh strawberries made the texture of the ice cream a little too icy, but fresh fruit tends to do that. It was still yummy though! I would recommend using my Mint Chocolate Chip, Coffee Chocolate Chip, or Almond Pistachio recipes, or invent your own flavor! You could also use a store bought vegan ice cream.

Ingredients for Ice Cream Layer:

2 cups soy creamer
1 cup soy milk divided
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
3/4 cup of sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
Any extracts or add-ins you choose

Directions for Ice Cream Layer:

  • Note that the ice cream needs to be made the day before so it can be frozen into the same shape as the cakes over night.
  • Mix 1/4 cup of soy milk with 2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder and set aside.
  • Heat up the remaining soy milk, soy creamer, and sugar over medium heat until boiling.
  • Remove from heat and add the vanilla and any other extracts you choose. Then add the soy milk and arrowroot powder mixture. The liquid will thicken because of the arrowroot powder.
  • Put the mixture in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours to fully cool. Freeze according to your ice cream maker directions. The bowl for the ice cream maker usually has to freeze over night before churning.
  • In the last few minutes of churning, add anything else you choose to create the flavor you want – for example chocolate chips, cookie dough, nuts, candy, etc. Line an 8 or 9 inch cake pan with parchment paper, and pour the mixture into the pan. Place it into the fridge overnight to firm up.

Cake Ingredients:

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups cold water
1 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp vanilla extract
4 Tbsp lemon juice

Cake Directions:

  • This recipe makes two 8 or 9 inch cakes for layering. Preheat oven to 375°. Line the bottom of two 8 inch or 9 inch cake pans with parchment paper. Lightly oil or grease the top of the parchment paper and sides of the pans.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, combine the water, oil, and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  • Once the batter is mixed, add the freshly squeezed lemon juice. The lemon juice won’t make the cake taste lemony. The acidity of the lemon juice interacts with the baking soda to help the cake rise. Give the batter a quick stir to combine the lemon juice and then immediately pour the batter evenly into the two pans.
  • Bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes. They are done when a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes. Then, gently turn the pans over, supporting the cake with your hand, until the cake comes loose from the bottom of the pan. Flip it over onto the surface you want to ice the cake on. Gently remove the other cake from the pan and place it onto a plate or cooling rack with the bottom facing up. This will make it easier to layer the cakes once they’re cool.
  • Allow the cakes to fully cool. You can put them in the fridge to speed up the process. You don’t want them to be warm since you will be layering ice cream in the middle and it will melt.

Assembling the Ice Cream Cake:

  • While your cake layers are cooling, make your icing. Choose your own favorite icing recipe, try The Vegan Goddess’ recipe, or if you want a chocolate frosting try the Moosewood recipe.
  • Once the layers are completely cool, you are ready to start assembling. Your first cake layer should be on the tray or surface that you want to use to ice and serve the cake. If the cake top is very rounded and puffy, you might want to slice the top off to make it flat. When I made this recipe, however, this wasn’t necessary. Pop the ice cream layer out of the cake pan, using the parchment paper to help you pry it out if needed. Place the ice cream layer centered on top of the bottom cake layer. Place the top cake layer on top of the ice cream layer.
  • Ice the top and sides of the cake. You can decorate the top however you like. I decided to keep it simple, and I dusted some cocoa powder over the top and placed a strawberry in the middle. Keep the cake in the freezer until you’re ready to serve it. If it melts, the ice cream and frosting will run down the sides, so you don’t want to leave it out too long.

Quick and Easy Vegan Strawberry Shortcake

Don’t forget, today is the last day to sign up for the Virtual Vegan Potluck! I signed up for the Main Course Category. The list of participating bloggers is pretty long. Check it out if you haven’t already!

I’ve been moving to a new apartment these past two weekends, and in the midst of the move I needed to make a birthday cake. I had my sights set on Strawberry Shortcake. Normally I would just make one from scratch, but being a little tight on time, I decided to try out a vegan Cherrybrook Kitchen Yellow Cake Mix.

I have to say the cake turned out pretty well! It’s dense, which worked well for strawberry shortcake, since that traditionally has a more biscuit-y cake. The only problem I ran into was that the cake started to fall apart as I turned it out of the pan, so that derailed my plans of cutting it through the middle to create layers. I would buy this mix again though if I needed a quick vegan cake.

I topped the cake with Cherrybrook Kitchen Vanilla Frosting, which is also vegan and gluten free. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting. It’s more of a glaze than a frosting and has a very sticky consistency, kind of like the filling of a Cadbury Creme Egg. On it’s own I wasn’t fond of it, but once it was combined with all of the other elements of the strawberry shortcake it was good. I’m not sure that I would use it again though.

I added a little Soyatoo Soy Whipped Cream and some fresh strawberries. The soy whipped cream has a somewhat distinctive soy taste, which I wasn’t really fond of, but again, with all of the other elements combined it worked. I might try their rice whip version next time to see if that has a better taste.

 

Overall, each element combined together into a really yummy finished product despite some of their individual downfalls. Sticky, sweet, strawberry goodness!