Vegan since 1975, I decide to answer the question, "What DO you eat?" These posts tell about some meals and recipes my family and I have enjoyed over the years.

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Vodka Infused Tea Cakes--Lemon or Orange



These VODKA INFUSED TEA CAKES can also be made with fresh organic lemons and oranges, but a couple of months ago I washed and sliced into thin rounds several of each, layering them separately in tall jars with organic sugar sprinkled between the layers, and covering them with vodka. In a few days the vodka had become a very fresh tasting liqueur, and the sunny looking jars made me happy every time I opened the cupboard, their yellow and orange brightness a fine contrast to the drab end of winter. I used up the liqueur, was left with all the sugared fruit, and I knew what I wanted to make with them.

Equipment Needed
2 oiled--loaf pans
1 large--sheet pan
chopping or grating device
juicing device
bowls
whisk
measuring devices

Dry
3 1/2 cups--organic whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup--organic sugar
1 Tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon--non-aluminum baking powder
1/2 teaspoon--salt

Wet
1 cup--organic lemon or orange rind, with lemon or orange juice added in (have 3 of each on hand if they are small)
1/2 cup--organic sunflower oil
2 cups--water

Glaze
1/2 cup--organic sugar
1/2 cup--fresh organic lemon juice or orange juice, or 1/2 cup lemon liqueur plus 1/2 squeezed lemon or 1/2 cup orange liqueur plus 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Liqueurs, if desired--make a few weeks ahead of time, when you see a good price on organic fruit
1 or 2 tall quart glass jars
3 thinly sliced--organic oranges or lemons
1 cup--organic sugar
2  quarts vodka





When I was in high school I worked in the kitchen of a farmstand that made the most delicious and sought after tea cakes made in the shape of loaves. They weren't vegan tea cake loaves like these are, but I tip my hat to dear Mrs. Cook, who is my inspiration. They were so popular we often had to rush them out to clamoring hordes while they were still hot from the oven. Otherwise, they are best made far enough ahead so they have a chance to cool. Though I can attest to their being mighty tasty when they are still hot. I had to try three pieces to make sure they were good enough. They are.

Either lemon or orange vegan tea cake loaves can be made, and the recipe should make two medium sized ones. But, I am going to a party tonight, so I thought I would make both kinds, and happily the recipes made enough for two larger loaves, and three smaller loaves that could be left behind.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and oil two large loaf pans.

In a medium bowl whisk three and a half cups of whole wheat pastry flour until it has no clumps. Add in a half teaspoon of salt and one tablespoon plus a half teaspoon of baking powder, whisking these in with the flour. Add in a half cup of organic sugar, whisking it in.

In a food processor or in a bowl with a sharp rounded cutting tool, chop up a cup of lemon or orange rinds until they are in very small pieces. Use a grating device if you have one. Mine were whole sliced fruits, so were a little more juicy, and I did them in a bowl with a chopper. If you peel fresh fruit to use the rind, you can then juice what's left to add in with the batter. Measure the rind/juice until you have a loose cupful, then pour on a half cup of sunflower oil.

Mix the wet rind and oil into the flour until it is pebbly looking. Then pour in two cups of water, and whisk it all together, using a fork to make sure all the flour is incorporated. I have to do that because my bowl has straight sides.

Pour this batter into the two oiled loaf pans, filling them three quarters full. Bake the cakes for forty to forty-five minutes, depending how big your pans are. I took my smaller loaves out at the earlier time. Mine were obviously done, but if you aren't sure, you can prick them with a toothpick, or just press down on their tops. They should be firm.
Let the cakes sit in the pans cooling, on a rack if you have one. After about ten minutes or so, use a knife to cut around the edges if you have to (I didn't), and slip the cakes out of the pans and onto a cookie sheet with sides.

Mix a half cup of sugar with either a half cup of lemon or orange liqueur, or with fresh squeezed lemon or orange juice. Since I used the liqueur, I also added in half a squeezed fresh lemon to the lemon glaze, and a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to the orange glaze. Stir it together, and then spoon the glaze over the cakes, being very thorough about covering the entire top. If they are sitting in a puddle of juice by the time you are done, all the better.
The next part I haven't quite got down yet, but the point is to now broil the glaze on the top of the cakes a little. Be sure to keep the oven door open for this, with you standing by with potholders, turning and adjusting the loaves so they don't get as burnt as mine got. It will only take a couple of minutes or so. I used the high setting on my broiler, so next time I would start with the low setting, and so should you, if you have that option. If you haven't a broiler, just return the glazed cakes to a hot oven until the sugar crystallizes.

Let the cakes sit until cooled, if you can.

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