Yesterday I visited a newish vegetarian/vegan restaurant named Source. Despite the hippie-dippie vibe (their fermented tea beverages are “infused with energetic information of love”), their pizza, made in a gas-burning brick oven, was divine, dripping with so much truffle oil that it gave off that earthy pheromone scent that drives me crazy. Honestly, I didn’t know whether to eat it or to *&$#@ it. It’s odd to think that I would make a special trip to a mostly vegan restaurant to eat pizza, but I would absolutely go out of my way for one of their Magic Mushroom pies. (The restaurant’s two concessions to non-vegan food are honey, which sweetens some of the beverages, and cheese—which is not surprising, considering that one of the owners starting making homemade mozzarella in NYC more than 20 years ago).
But some of the most charming items on the menu are the vegan desserts, many of which mimic the junk food many of us ate as kids. Do you think Twinkies are gross? Well, how about a Twinkee, a vegan sponge cake filled with vanilla creme? Or maybe a Moon Pie, made with vegan chocolate chip cookies? But the dessert that really called my name was the Snowball, which came in a bajillion flavors, like lemon cake with lemon frosting and chocolate cake filled with strawberry jam and covered in thin slivers of decorative dried strawberries. After much waffling I decided on this one …
The vegan chocolate frosting covering the vegan chocolate cake may not have been as creamy as the brown sugar buttercream frosting I made last weekend to frost a birthday cake (which contained, I might add, the decidedly un-vegan ingredients of heavy cream, a bucket of egg yolks, and a whole pound of butter), but with all those well-salted crunchy peanuts coating the outside, you would never notice, and it also achieved the perfect sweet-salty balance that makes me go bonkers for chocolate-covered pretzels and salted caramel ice cream. Though I usually choose desserts that contain a healthy (or unhealthy!) dollop of cream and eggs, I’ll take this vegan version over the original Sno Ball any day, which apparently contains the following:
Sugar, Water, Corn Syrup, Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour, Coconut (Sulfite Treated), Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable and/or Animal Shortening (Soybean, Cottonseed and/or Canola Oil, Beef Fat), High Fructose Corn Syrup. Contains 2% or Less of: Cocoa, Pork Gelatin, Modified Corn Starch, Glucose, Sweet Dairy Whey, Leavenings (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda, Monocalcium Phosphate), Mono and Diglycerides, Soy Flour, Polysorbate 60, Soy Lecithin, Cornstarch, Salt, Soy Protein Isolate, Calcium and Sodium Caseinate, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Dextrose, Cellulose Gum, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Potassium Sorbate and Sorbic Acid (to Retain Freshness). Coatings Contain: Blue (FD&C Blue 1 Lake, Blue 2 Lake, Green (Yellow 5 Lake, Blue 1 Lake), Lavender (Blue 2 Lake, Carmine, Red 40 Lake), Orange (Yellow 6 Lake), Red (Red 40 Lake), Pink (Carmine, Red 40 Lake), Teal (Blue 1 Lake, Yellow 5 Lake), Yellow (Yellow 5 Lake)
I can’t think of any better reason to pull out the stand mixer and do a little baking from scratch.