Carrot Loaf Cake

This brunch cake, slightly adapted from an eat-your-veggies recipe in Parents magazine, is beautiful for an Easter gathering or any other springtime event.

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 Ener-G eggs
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1 and 1/2 cups shredded carrots

For the glaze:

  • 3 ounces non-dairy cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plain non-dairy creamer
  • Chopped pistachios
  1. To prepare the cake, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, and nutmeg in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Make the Ener-G eggs in the bottom of a large bowl. Whisk in the brown sugar, oil, and applesauce. Add the flour mixture to the applesauce mixture, then fold in the shredded carrots.
  3. Spoon the mixture into an 8×4-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 minutes. Cool completely.
  4. To prepare the topping, stir together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Begin adding the creamer a little at a time until you reach desired consistency. For a frosting, add only a few tablespoons. If you want more of a drizzled glaze, add the full 1/2 cup.
  5. Sprinkle the top of the cake with chopped pistachios as the finishing touch.

Spring Vegetable Pie with Dill Biscuits

I spotted this recipe in Parents magazine and immediately knew it would make the perfect centerpiece of a vegan Easter brunch, with a few tweaks. The family declared it worthy of a restaurant.

Ingredients:

For the vegetables:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 thinly sliced leeks
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 chopped celery stalk
  • 1 chopped fennel bulb
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (14-ounce) drained can quartered artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup chopped asparagus
  • 1 (16-ounce) package frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 3 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups vegetable broth

For the biscuits:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Scant 3/4 cup plain soy milk
  • 1 Ener-G egg
  1. To prepare the filling, heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks, carrots, and celery; saute for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the fennel and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook for 3 minutes. Add the artichoke hearts, asparagus, peas, parsley, and tarragon; cook for a final 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook for 3 minutes, whisking constantly. Gradually add the broth, then continue to cook for about 5 minutes, whisking frequently, until the mixture thickens. Pour over the vegetables in the skillet.
  4. To prepare the biscuits, combine the flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Cut 6 tablespoons butter into small pieces and cut into the flour mixture with a pastry blender until it resembles coarse crumbs. Gently stir in the dill.
  5. Pour the lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup and add the soy milk to measure 3/4 cup. Let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk together with the Ener-G egg. Add the soy milk mixture to the flour mixture, stirring to form a soft, sticky dough. Drop by spoonfuls over the vegetable mixture to form 6 biscuits.
  6. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake at 450 degrees F for 20 minutes, until the biscuits are lightly browned on top.

Easter Magic

Here are a few ideas to make Easter magic happen and the holiday feel special, even though this year isn’t quite back to normal or extended family gatherings, yet.

Go to a Drive-By Easter Bunny

Sitting on the bunny’s lap is out, but check if your town has a local Easter bunny photo opportunity from a safe distance, even if that just means waving to him out the window. Included goody bags were a definite bonus!

Turn Jelly Beans into Lollipops

On Easter Eve, we “planted” jelly beans in a cup of dirt (a.k.a. a mix of chocolate cookie crumbs and chocolate cake mix).

Add a little water and tell the kids that the Easter Bunny’s magic will make them grow into lollipops overnight.

Imagine Travis and Veronika’s delight when they came down and saw that the lollipops had “sprouted”!

Easter Egg Hunt

I had a few extra tricks this year to make sure the kids’ egg hunt was their best one yet. First, I color-coded the eggs for the first time, to cut down on squabbling. Travis got green and yellow, and Veronika’s were blue and white.

As double insurance against any egg fights, Veronika’s were all hidden down low…

…and Travis’s were up high, corresponding to their relative heights. Toddler and big kid both could hunt at their own pace, with no grabbing for the same eggs.

What were your favorite Easter extras this year? Please share in the comments!