Project Food Blog #4: From Upside Down To Right Side Up

153 comments

Like stilettos hobbling on the cobblestone in Paris, baking of the vegan variety can be just as treacherous to navigate.

In my dream world, I would own a cookbook like this:

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In reality, vegan baking often requires throwing caution to the wind, a healthy dose of trial and error, and a will to succeed.

(And let’s be real, a few choice words at times…)

I’ve had pancake flops galore.

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Blueberry muffin ‘bricks’.

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And clumpy custard.

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Just to name a few!

But then that moment occurs when time stops and every failed recipe is forgotten.

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Not even Brownies with a bad hair day could take this moment away from you.

You smile.

You cackle with delight.

And you tuck this day away in your memory for you never know what tomorrow’s baking adventures will bring.

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Sometimes in life, we need to turn things upside down to make them right side up.

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Gingerbread Caramel Pear Upside Down Cake: A Step-by-Step Guide

What do you get when you combine Thanksgiving dinner, your mother-in-law’s birthday, and your Aunt’s birthday all into one weekend? One spectacular occasion with loved ones and a couple of Fall-inspired celebration cakes!

For the full recipe in PDF format, click here.

First things first, preheat oven to 325F, take a deep breath, and visualize success. You are half way there already!

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Grease cake pan(s). You can use one 10-inch cake pan or a combination of smaller sizes. I used a 6, 5, and 4-inch pan for a 3-tier cake.

Gather up the troops!

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Peel.

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Now cut 1/4 inch slices.

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Set aside and prepare to make cascading caramel ribbons!

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In a sauce pan, combine 1/2 cup of brown rice syrup and 6 tablespoons of Earth Balance butter. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and then reduce heat to low. Add in 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup, 1 tablespoon of smooth peanut butter, and 2 teaspoons of fleur de sel. Stir well.

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The caramel will start to develop nicely and thicken up after a few minutes.

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Relieve any residual stress by making figure eights.

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Stir over low heat. After a few minutes, you will have a delicious, cascading ribbon of caramel.

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Pinch yourself.

But wait, there is more work to be done before vegan baking victory is yours!

Remove the caramel from heat and pour into the cake pan(s). You only have a window of about 20-30 seconds before the caramel starts to harden, so move quickly!

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Just not too quickly or you might drop the pan in the process…

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But then again you probably aren’t dangling a huge camera from your neck so you should be safe. ;)

Next, layer the pear slices on top of the caramel (I think I was on my 3rd vegan caramel attempt at this point).

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Set aside your cake pans and grab a mixer or some old-fashioned elbow grease. Gather the following ingredients: 1/2 cup sugar, 3/4 cup Earth Balance, 1/3 cup blackstrap molasses, 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, 1 cup almond milk, 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 3/4 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel, 1 tsp ground ginger, and 1 tsp ground cinnamon.

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Whip the sugar and Earth Balance until fluffy.

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In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (molasses, maple syrup, almond milk, and vanilla).

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In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients.

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Now take your wet mixture and add a bit to the fluffy sugar mixture. Mix on low to medium speed.

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Add a bit of the flour and mix for another 10 seconds or so.

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Alternate the wet and dry ingredients until heavenly gingerbread cake batter is achieved.

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(Feel free to lick the screen if it makes you feel better. I won’t tell.)

Distribute the cake batter into the cake pan(s).

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I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to have lots of fun here!

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Spread with a spatula until smooth as silk.

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Now for the fun part…

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I’m sure you can find a way to ‘clean’ the bowl. ;)

Bake for about 35-45 minutes depending on the size of your pan(s). Full baking instructions here.

Grab a plate or cake stand and place on top of the pan.

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Flip over and hope for the best. Gently tap the top of the pan and carefully remove the lid.

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As I said, sometimes things must be upside down to become right side up. Words to live by, I say.

Stack tiers (if necessary).

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Sift confectioner’s sugar over top.

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A vegan, Fall-inspired celebration cake that is easy on the eyes and delicious too.

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But, perhaps gingerbread just isn’t your thing.…

(I won’t mention any names.)

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If apples, spices, and caramel are more your thing, just take the above recipe and make 3 easy swaps:

  • Swap apples for the pears
  • Swap maple syrup for the molasses
  • Swap cinnamon for the ginger

 

This is what I’d like to call a 2 for 1 cake. Who doesn’t love a good baking bargain?

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For this Spiced Apple Upside Down Cake, I used three 7-inch cake pans, but you can use one 10-inch pan.

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Flip & Stack.

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If you are feeling truly crazy and adventurous make yourself another batch of caramel and go to town.

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This may be illegal in some countries.

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Please don’t ask me to choose. I just couldn’t.

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And when you see your mother-in-law light up with her beautiful smile, you will say it was worth every second.

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Cheers to our loved ones near and far and to delicious food and drink!

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Note: This is my official entry for Project Food Blog Challenge #4. Voting begins at 9am EST on Monday October 11th. If you enjoyed this post I would greatly appreciate your votes in carrying me into the next round! Click here to vote. Thank you!

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{ 153 comments… read them below or add one }

Alexandra October 10, 2010

Absolutely amazing!!! I hope you win!

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Freya October 10, 2010

Oh. My. Days.
You are so creative in the kitchen!! If I subbed the ginger for cinnamon, that is one INCREDIBLE recipe (or 2!)! If you don’t get through to the next stage, no-one deserves to! Love it :)

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Alexandra October 10, 2010

Absolutely amazing!! You are definitely going to win!

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Nicole @ yuppie yogini October 10, 2010

That has to be the most beautiful step-by-step I’ve ever read….ah-mazing! Good luck!!

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Lin October 10, 2010

Angela, this is amazing!!!!! I love your step-by-step directions!!! I am in awe of the vegan caramel… YUM!

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carol October 10, 2010

OMG!!!!! This looks so yummy and your directions are fabulous!!!

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Katey @ Bonne Sante October 10, 2010

Damn, if I wasn’t at college I WOULD be licking the screen!

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Helen October 10, 2010

I so wanted to lick the screen!! I am making a note to try this ASAP, you are so awesome and creative!

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Daniel October 10, 2010

You have such amazing creativity and talent in the kitchen and with your camera! Do you just make these recipes from a whim, or do you have like… a “cake template” and a “cookie template” that you kind of work with and then just adjust things? I’d really like to bake more but I haven’t done a lot so I was just kind of wondering how to start haha.

And the picture of the figure-8 is phenomenal! It’s really well-shot and it reminds me of a fancy 8 like you’d see on an old grandfather clock.

Nice job, again, you’ve got my vote. ;)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 10, 2010

Thanks! :) I don’t have a template, but I often adapt my previous recipes or others that I am inspired by.

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Megan @ Sweet On October 10, 2010

oh my! you have outdone yourself, but i say that every time! you are truly doing what you are meant to be doing. amazing! xo

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Jaya October 10, 2010

Beautiful and simple extravagance on every level. Photos. Writing. Recipe. Family.

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Melissa Goldfuss October 10, 2010

Your cakes are beautiful, Angela! You have my vote, as always!! Enjoy time with your family!! :D

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Ashley October 10, 2010

You’ve done it again!! Simply amazing. Love the stacked tiers. Gorgeous! Can’t wait to meet Enyor Dreemz in a few weeks!! ;)

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Lisa October 10, 2010

You are amazinggggg!

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Holly @ couchpotatoathlete October 10, 2010

Angela this is so beautiful! I want caramel. NOW.

And I love that Eric and his mom have the same smile :)

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Laura October 10, 2010

OMG that’s gorgeous! Who takes the pictures? I know you do a lot of them yourself, but how did you get the ones of the pouring batter and flour? How many arms do you have!? Next picture of you should feature a superwoman costume!

I have to make that, as soon as I can maneuver better on my poor broken foot!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 10, 2010

haha thanks :) I just learned how use a tripod and the camera timer!

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Laura October 11, 2010

Just beautiful! As a veteran blogger to a newbie, do you recommend getting a good camera and tripod right away? Or should I just play with what I have. Looks like you’ve gotta be pretty swift and dexterous. I think I’m drooling over here. Those cakes look great!

On another note, what is the vanilla bean paste you speak of? The only ones I’ve seen have more sugar than vanilla it seems. I often use extract, or just a piece of the bean if I’m throwing it in the vitamix for a smoothie, but that wouldn’t work for a cake.

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Lizzie October 10, 2010

That’s a really great photo of your MIL – you can definitely see Eric in her!! :) It looks like you had a warm (and yummy!) Thanksgiving. Fun! :)

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Nicole October 10, 2010

I think i’m in love…. that looks AMAZING!!!!

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janetha g @ meals & moves October 10, 2010

Ha! I love that first photo and the would-be title of the book. You’re cute. Your recipe/entry is phenomenal! You have had my vote throughout the whole challenge, I really am rooting for you! This was awesome.

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Kristina @ spabettie October 10, 2010

illegal indeed… these look perfectly delicious.

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Heather October 10, 2010

Love the cook book by Enyor Dreemz!! hehe

I just drooled all over my computer…………..no seriously!!

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Lily @ Lily's Health Pad October 10, 2010

Wow! I am just so impressed with your recipes lately. Especially the Project Food Blog Challenge entries! These cakes look out of this world.

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jaime October 10, 2010

To die for! I think you are inspiring me to be a baker. Don’t worry, all the credit will go back to you!

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christina cadden October 10, 2010

OMG, it was awesome! I will be making the apple one!

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Emily October 10, 2010

Gorgeous and ridiculously decadent and delicious-looking. If only your treats were not so far away!! Good luck!!

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Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) October 10, 2010

You are so talented! I am drooling over that caramel right now. YUM!

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Judy October 10, 2010

Great recipe, the photos and the end result look scrumptious.

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Chelsea @ Strawberry Sweat October 10, 2010

Ha, I love the picture of you with the makeshift vegan cookbook. Maybe “Enyor Dreams” really wants you to make one instead?

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Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine October 10, 2010

How do you do it? Everytime I come to your site I’m just enamored with what you’ve made. This looks like yet another winner. Drool.

PS- making the black bean soup pumpkins for my family tonight!!

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Kath October 10, 2010

These photos are absolutely gorgeous Ange!

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Mary @ Bites and Bliss October 10, 2010

Healthifying a recipe’s always tricky- I couldn’t imagine veganizing them all, too!! But somehow you pull it off- even your flops look good! :P

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Anne P October 10, 2010

Great photos and fun post! I want some :)

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Laurab @ foodsnobstl October 10, 2010

Running to make this right now!

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Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty October 10, 2010

Wow…

that’s all I can say.

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Emme October 10, 2010

Simply amazing! I love reading your awesome, inspiring posts!
<3 Emme

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maren October 10, 2010

Wow. That looks so delicious. Beautiful pictures as well. You’re so talented!

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Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul October 10, 2010

Thank you for including the recipe in PDF – so helpful! This looks truly delicious!

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Exercise and Eat October 10, 2010

Perfection!

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DebZ October 10, 2010

This is the sweetest recipe narrative I’ve ever read! I may volunteer to make Thanksgiving dessert just so I can try this out.

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sippitysup October 10, 2010

Does Mr. Dreemz write any other useful books? Like perhaps one entitled “How to Keep your 1971 MGB Convertible Running Worry Free for the Rest of Your Life”?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 10, 2010

yes I believe I saw that copy in the bookstore. Shall I hold one for you? ;)

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