Thursday, September 4, 2008

Cake and Brownies

Here's that wedding cake I wrote about yesterday:
The bottom layer was only about 3 (maybe 4?) inches in diameter and the top layer about 2 inches. So it was little and super cute! The cake is a vanilla-citrus flavor (lime, lemon, and orange) and the frosting is a cream cheese buttercream. The mini Gerber daisies from Artemisia will go on top. Perhaps the sister of the bride would send me a picture from the wedding (?)

And because I just didn't have enough sweets in the house, I decided to bake brownies tonight.

But these aren't just any old brownies...These are gluten-free, vegan, Fair Trade brownies!
They include not one, not two, but SIX Fair trade ingredients: chocolate, cocoa, brown sugar, vanilla, coffee, and bananas.

Now, I know you're wondering why the heck I'm baking with all these imported ingredients during the Eat Local Challenge. The truth is we're looking ahead to Fair Trade month in October at the co-op. It's a bit like Target putting out Christmas decorations in October, but we have to plan in advance! So Fair Trade is on my mind and I couldn't resist trying to pack as many Fair Trade ingredients as I could into one brownie.

Plus, when buying imported products I always like to make sure the farmers/producers were safe and paid a fair wage for their labor. Historically coffee, cacao, banana, (and other) farmers have received a minuscule fraction of the price that we pay in grocery stores. Most of the money goes to the importers and processors rather than the folks actually doing the growing. When I buy fair trade I know that I might pay a little more, but the money is going to farmers and communities who really deserve the compensation. Plus, most of the fair trade products I see are organic and co-operatively owned to boot!

I had to make these brownies gluten-free so that my sweetie could enjoy warm brownies after his adventures protesting the RNC today. He had the joy of getting tear gassed and having percussion grenades thrown at him (and hundreds of others) by cops, ATF, and National Guard officers while marching from the Capital to the RNC. So he NEEDED brownies.

You need brownies, too, though, so here's the recipe:

Fair Trade Brownies
(heavily adapted from King Arthur Whole Grain Baking)

1 cup of Earth Balance margarine
2 cups packed Fair Trade brown sugar (Wholesome Sweetners)
2 very ripe Fair Trade bananas (Oke)
1 Tbsp. Fair Trade vanilla extract (Frontier)
2 Tbsp. finely ground Fair Trade coffee (Peace Coffee)
3/4 cup Fair Trade cocoa (Equal Exchange)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups brown rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 1/2 cups chopped Fair Trade chocolate bar (Divine)

Preheat oven to 350 F and lightly grease a 9 x 11 inch baking pan. In a small pan, melt Earth Balance over medium-low heat. Stir in brown sugar until fully dissolved, then remove pan from the heat. In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Add banana and vanilla mixture and coffee grounds to the Earth Balance and sugar and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, sift together cocoa, baking powder, salt, rice flour, tapioca, & xanthan gum. Add the liquid mixture to the sifted ingredients and stir until combined. Then fold in the chocolate chunks. Spread batter in the baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the brownies comes out clean. Let brownies cool before cutting them...if you can resist!


Vegan_Noodle said...

What a beautiful wedding cake. Wish I had some fair trade brownies for breakfast right now...

Tami (Vegan Appetite) said...

That wedding cake looks awesome! And so do the brownies, of course.

pavotrouge said...

an adorable cake indeed! And I can spot Divine chocolate... I bought a bar in Dublin last month and was instantly hooked... now I can't find it anywhere here :(