Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mothers' Day Duo: Matcha Orange Pots de Creme and Orange Carrot Ginger Cake

To all of the moms out there: Happy Belated Mothers' Day!  Here's my duo of desserts for you on your (though belated) special day--one dessert that's completely healthy and one that's completely indulgent, just the way it should be. :-)

Years ago, when I was in third grade, my mom became a vegetarian, and so from a fairly early age, I grew up in a meat-free household (which I didn't entirely mind, since I'm pretty picky when it comes to meats anyways).  Meat free, though, didn't mean dessert free in any sort of way, but my mom, over the years, has been experimenting and trying out desserts that are egg- and dairy-free as well.  This orange-carrot-ginger vegan cake is our hands down favorite.

Trust me when I say that, though this cake is vegan, it rivals even the best of the full-on dairy and egg cakes.  It's super moist and perfectly dense, with the spiciness of ginger and the sweet tartness of orange.  I like to have it sans frosting, with just a simple orange and maple syrup glaze and then piled as high as I can with mandarin orange slices.

As much as my mom loves this cake, though, part of me is convinced that she's always slightly annoyed whenever I make it.  For some reason, I always insist on topping the cake with a fresh cut orchid flower, which means stealing a precious blossom off of one of her orchid plants.  *smiles innocently.*  Granted, though, that I do buy her orchid plants for Mothers' Day, so I make up for it!  :-)

On the indulgent side, we have orange matcha green tea pots de creme, which are packed full of rich creaminess and the complete antithesis to the vegan cake.  The fragrant and slight bitterness of the matcha complements and balances out the hint of sweet orange in the cream really well--I definitely liked how this combination turned out.  These pots de creme made a great pairing with the fresh and earthy carrot cake, too, since the texture of the carrots and walnuts in the cake helped enhance the creaminess of the pots de creme.

I hope everyone had a wonderfully lovely Mothers' Day.  I always feel as if on Mothers' Day, we shouldn't merely limit our thanks and appreciation to our own mothers, but also we need to recognize all of the women who have helped us through our lives and given us motherly guidance and advice.  The older I get, the more I realize that the truth that it takes a whole village to raise a child, and all of you motherly-s out there need a extra special shout-out of thanks!  Here's wishing I could send a duo of desserts to all of you!

And, of course, to my own mom-- thanks.  :-)  And sorry I steal all of your orchids.

Read on for recipe...

Matcha Orange Pots de Creme
makes eight 2oz. ramekins, or four larger ones

4 egg yolks
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 oz. sugar
3-4 tspn matcha green tea powder
zest of 2 oranges
2 tspn Grand Marnier

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare eight 2oz. ramekins in a water bath, filling the water half-way up the sides of the ramekins.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and set aside.
3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, cream, vanilla sugar, matcha powder, and orange zest. Whisk thoroughly and bring to just a simmer.
4. Temper the egg yolks by pouring the heated milk mixture gradually into the yolks, whisking the entire time. Once the milk and yolks are combined, whisk in the Grand Marnier.
5. Strain the custard through a fine sieve into the eight prepared ramekins. Cover the ramekins tightly with aluminum foil.
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the edges are set but the creme still jiggles a little when gently bumped. Remove from oven, remove from water bath, and let cool completely.
7. Cover the custards with saran wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Carrot Orange Ginger Vegan Cake
makes one 9" round cake
adapted from John Robbins' May All Be Fed: Diet for a New World

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tspn baking powder
1 tspn baking soda
1 tspn ground cinnamon
1/2 tspn freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tspn salt
3/4 cup unfiltered apple juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup maple syrup
zest of 1 orange, freshly grated
3 medium carrots, grated (~1 1/2 cups)
2 tspn freshly grated ginger
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Oil and flour a 9" round cake pan, line the bottom of the pan with parchment and grease again.  If desired, wrap even bake strips around the cake pan.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  Set aside.
3. In a blender or food processor, puree the apple juice, vegetable oil, raisins, maple syrup, and orange zest until smooth.
4. Add the grated ginger and carrots to the apple juice mix and pulse a few times until just combined.
5. Fold the carrot and apple juice mix into the prepared dry ingredients, using as few strokes as possible and being careful not to overmix.
6. Fold in the chopped walnuts.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out cleanly.  Meanwhile, make the glaze.

for glaze:
3 Tbspn maple syrup
2 Tbspn freshly squeezed orange juice

1. Whisk together the syrup and orange juice.
2. When the cake has cooled for about 10 minutes, liberally brush the glaze on top of the entire cake.  Let cool completely.
3. Top cake, if desired, with mandarin orange slices and more glaze.



  1. This cake looks really nice and sounds delicious! I love carrotcake :)

  2. A great present for Mother's Day. The food looks excellent. Remarkable presentation.

  3. Looks yum and healthy! Happy belated mom's day :)

  4. Wonderful presentation!..I've never tried carrot cake and don't know what it taste but because of your post, I think I will tell my mom to make a cake like this..

  5. What a nice cake ! I'd love to have this and your little pot de creme with my mom !

  6. This is such a delicious cake! I used honey instead of maple sugar- it is so yummy!

  7. This is such a delicious cake! I used honey instead of maple sugar- it is so yummy!

  8. Wonderful presentation!..I've never tried carrot cake and don't know what it taste but because of your post, I think I will tell my mom to make a cake like this..


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