Got apples? ‘Tis certainly the season for them, which happen to be one of my favorite foods (when super fresh and crispy, that is… when an apple crosses into mealy terriroty, it quickly becomes one of my least favorite foods). In September, we were treated to a wonderful meal at our friends’ home to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, a holiday for which apples are very significant. I baked and brought an apple cake – completely vegan – for dessert. It was a first attempt at this recipe, and it turned out much better than I expected… one of those times when I assumed the worst in recipe-testing, but was fortunately proven wrong – for the best – by the end result. It was light, sweet but not overly so, moist and full of rich, cinnamony apples.
The chunks of apple are kicked up a notch by sauteeing them first in a little Earth Balance or coconut oil, brown sugar and cinnamon. They tenderize and become so flavorful, and bake very nicely into the cake. It is by no means a cake only for Rosh Hashanah (though it’s worth noting that like all vegan desserts, which are inherently dairy-free, it works well for those who keep Kosher and are omnivorous because it can be served as part of a milk or meat-based meal) – it’s worthy of making anytime you want to put some apples to delicious use!
I also made a last-minute vegan vanilla bean cream cheese frosting that didn’t have enough time to sit, so I didn’t bring it to our hosts’ house, but we tried it later on both on the cake and via spoon… and the next day, and the day after that… and it was REALLY good.
I used Trader Joe’s vegan cream cheese (I love the “This is Not a Tub of Cream Cheese” package labeling) as the base. Based on what I’ve read online, people seem very divided over brands of vegan “cream cheeses”… certainly if something has a funny or bad taste, regardless of what it is, it’s a no-g0, but at the same time I don’t think you can eat a vegan cream cheese and expect it to taste exactly like the real thing. Not going to happen. Just find what suites your taste buds best as a happy alternative, not a direct/exact replacement or replication.
I’m still making a few minor tweaks to the cake and frosting recipes, so I’m not posting either yet. But – if you have an overabundance of apples, as many people seem to this time of year – or if you’re just in the mood for it – email me and I’ll send it to you!