Category Archives: spread

The Best Pumpkin Cheesecake You’ve Had in Your Life Just Happens to be Vegan and Gluten-Free!

There’s no dessert quite like cheesecake. Smooth, creamy, sweet, decadent — what’s not to love? However, most of the cheesecakes you encounter in restaurants and coffee shops are made with tons of dairy and gluten. Since we love this delectable confection so much, we decided to make our own, using plant-based ingredients. The filling utilizes cashews and coconut milk, blended to perfection. Stunned by our stellar results, we decided to share the secret with you. You can thank us later.

CRUST INGREDIENTS

1 cup packed medjool dates, chopped
1 1/2 cups raw walnuts
pinch of sea salt

FILLING INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups raw cashews
1 small lemon, juiced (about 2 tablespoons lemon juice)
1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup pumpkin puree (about 1/3 small can)
pinch of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS

vegan whipping cream
additional chopped walnuts and/or pecans

INSTRUCTIONS

Pour cashews into a container filled with boiling water and let them soak, uncovered for one hour. Meanwhile, chop the dates and place them into a blender or food processor. Blend them until they turn into a thick paste. You may need to add a bit of water for smoothness.

Remove dates from blender or food processor and set aside. Wash and dry the interior, then pour in walnuts. Blend until they achieve a fine consistency. Add dates to the walnut mixture and blend together for a couple of minutes. They will be sticky, so add a little more water if necessary. Be careful — you don’t want your crust to be runny!

Press your mixture into a round cake pan or deep pie pan and spread thoroughly. Use a large spoon to tamp down the surface. Set the pan aside and prepare filling ingredients.

Wash and dry blender or food processor one more time. Drain the cashews, then place them into blender/food processor. Add the coconut milk, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla extract and spices and blend for 2-3 minutes. The mixture should be creamy and frothy. Pour it over the pie crust, making sure it is evenly distributed.

Place the pan in your freezer for 3-4 hours. Remove, thaw slightly, and dig in! You can top your creation with additional chopped walnuts and/or vegan whipping cream if you desire. But this cheesecake tastes heavenly all on its own!

Serves 4-6 people. Guests will be your friends for life. This is the best cheesecake you’ve ever tasted, guaranteed. You’ll want to make it again and again. It’s an excellent Thanksgiving dessert, and we’ve been known to have it for breakfast (but don’t tell anyone). Leftovers can be frozen for several weeks, and keep well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Don’t expect them to last that long.

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Herb Tofu Scallion Spread is Gluten-Free, Vegan, and Delicious on Crackers or Bread

You’ve undoubtedly had the disheartening experience of going to a potluck and encountering a slew of dairy-based dips and spreads. This can be frustrating if you’re doing your best to follow a vegan, gluten-free diet. Don’t despair! Here is a delicious, creamy spread you can make from tofu that tastes just as good as the dairy-based variety! Even your non-vegan friends will love it. They may even beg you for the recipe. The spread is healthy, since it utilizes basil and Italian parsley, herbs that are rich in vitamin C. The tofu adds protein and calcium. Much healthier than your average spread, and so easy to make!

INGREDIENTS

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 14-ounce package of firm tofu, drained
2 teaspoons white miso (make sure it doesn’t have soy sauce, which contains wheat)
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup water

OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS

black olives
capers
sliced zucchini
salad mix
carrot sticks
gluten-free crackers or bread

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan on medium setting. When oil is hot, add chopped garlic and fry for about one minute. Pour in scallions and red pepper and continue frying for about 2-3 more minutes, until the scallions are bright green. Remove from the burner and set aside.

Crumble tofu into a blender or food processor. Add the basil, parsley, sea salt, lemon juice, miso, and water (try less than 1/4 cup of water at first, then add more if mixture is too thick). Pour in the scallion/red pepper/garlic mixture and continue blending until your mixture is creamy and frothy. Scoop mixture out of the blender or food processor and transfer to a medium-sized bowl.

Serve with crackers, wedges of gluten-free bread, and condiments like black olives, capers, salad mix, carrot sticks, zucchini slices, etc. Really, the possibilities are endless. You can make an entire meal out of this tofu spread if you so desire. It’s much heartier than you might imagine.

Serves about 4 people, depending upon whether you transform this spread into a main dish or serve it as an appetizer. You can cover leftovers and store them in your refrigerator for up to three days. You don’t need to tell anyone that it’s made from tofu — unless you feel like it, of course. Your friends will be astonished! You’ll want to make this simple but elegant spread again and again.

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Eat Hearty With Our Vegan, Gluten-Free German Potato Salad (Stovetop and Instant Pot Recipe Included!)

Fall is coming on strong! We don’t know about you, but we’re craving some carbs! It’s best to stick to the healthy kind, like organic potatoes. Recently, we found ourselves with a small sack of red potatoes — don’t ask how THAT happened — and wanted to do something fancier than just boiling them and slathering some Earth Balance over the top. So we modified a German potato salad recipe, substituting tempeh bacon for the animal variety, and were wowed by the results! We purchased smoky bacon tempeh from the supermarket, and discovered that it imparted the delicious flavor that is so essential to German potato salad. Try this dish, we think you’ll be impressed by its authenticity.

INGREDIENTS

6 cups sliced red potatoes (you can use small white ones, as well, or a mixture)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
4 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
1/2 chopped red onion
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 cup stock water (from boiling potatoes)
1 package tempeh bacon strips

INSTRUCTIONS

Slice potatoes into 1/2 inch disks, cover with water, and boil on stovetop, or place in steamer basket over water in Instant Pot and cook on manual for 3 minutes and natural pressure release. The potatoes should be tender, but not too soft. Meanwhile, fry the tempeh strips in a bit of olive oil until they are crispy but not burned. Remove from pan and set on a paper (or cloth) towel to drain off excess oil. Combine vinegar, mustard, onion, liquid smoke, and black pepper in a large bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. Crumble in bits of tempeh bacon. Scoop 1/4 cup of water from the top of the boiling potato pan, or take 1/4 cup water out of the bottom of the Instant Pot once potatoes are cooked, and add to mixture. Stir some more until everything comes together.

Remove potatoes from stovetop or Instant Pot and drain excess water by placing them into a colander. Shake off any remaining water and pour the potatoes into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Stir with a large spoon. The mixture will smell divine! You’ll be able to tell when it’s done, because it’ll look delicious and you’ll want to dig right in.

German potato salad is best enjoyed hot! You can serve it all by itself, or with a side of gluten-free bread. It’s a great addition to potlucks! This dish is super-hearty, due to the winning combination of potatoes and protein-rich tempeh. Serves 4-5 hungry people. It keeps well in the refrigerator, securely covered, for 2-3 days. Warning — you may find yourself sneaking into the kitchen for late-night snacks! We feel confident that you’ll enjoy this autumnal favorite as much as we do.

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Celebrate Cooler Temperatures With Vegan, Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie

It’s already fall where we live, and our thoughts naturally turn to pumpkin treats. And what is more autumnal than pumpkin pie? Normally, this cool weather delicacy is made with eggs and condensed milk, but our vegan, gluten-free version calls for unsweetened almond milk and cornstarch (or arrowroot powder). The texture is more jiggly than a traditional pumpkin pie, but our version still tastes great and goes down smooth!

CRUST INGREDIENTS

6 tablespoons cold vegan butter or margarine (such as Earth Balance)
1 3/4 cups gluten-free flour (we used Bob’s Red Mill Pastry Flour for a light, flakey crust)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
6-8 teaspoons cold water

FILLING INGREDIENTS

3 cups pumpkin puree (2 15-ounce cans)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup turbinado or coconut sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1 3/4 teaspoon combination of powdered cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg (or allspice)
dash of sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

Pour flour into large mixing bowl, add a pinch of salt, and cut in the butter or margarine. Gradually splash in the water and form your mixture into a pliable ball. Make sure it’s neither too moist or too dry. Cover and place in refrigerator for 1/2 hour.

Meanwhile, combine the filling ingredients in another bowl and stir vigorously until they’re thoroughly combined. For additional smoothness, place the contents into a blender and whip for a couple of extra minutes. The texture should be light and frothy.

Remove dough from refrigerator and allow it to warm on your counter for a few minutes. Roll into a thin disk and press inside lightly greased pie pan. (Use coconut oil, olive oil, or vegan butter/margarine). Pull any excess dough up over the sides of the pan and tamp with the tines of a fork to create a crust. Carefully pour in batter, making sure it is spread evenly. Sprinkle the top with a bit of additional cinnamon and/or nutmeg and place in preheated 350 degree oven.

Bake for 45-60 minutes, until crust is lightly browned and separating slightly from the pan. You’ll know your pie is done by the delicious aroma! Remove pie from oven, set it on your counter, and allow it to cool. Seriously, try not to eat all of it while it’s still hot! Pumpkin pie tastes best at room temperature. Serve as is or with a dollop of vegan whipping cream (or two, or three, or…) Serves 4-6 guests, unless they’re very hungry. Everyone will rave about this delicious autumnal treat. Welcome to fall!

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You Won’t Be Able to Stop Eating This Vegan, Gluten-Free Rhubarb/Pear/Almond Crumble!

It already feels like autumn where we live, and we’re craving warmer, heartier foods. Of course, sweet desserts are delicious any time of the year. We recently modified a traditional rhubarb/pear/almond crumble recipe by substituting Earth Balance for butter, and gluten-free flour for the whole wheat kind. Our results were stellar. You’ll keep going back to the pan for this dessert — again, and again and again. Try your hardest not to devour the entire thing!

FILLING INGREDIENTS

2-3 Bartlett pears, depending on size (red is great, but yellow will do)
2 long stalks fresh rhubarb
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup lightly packed turbinado or coconut sugar
1/2 cup light gluten-free flour (We like Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose)
fresh grated zest of one lemon
pinch of sea salt

CRUMBLE INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup chopped almonds, toasted
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup gluten-free flour
1/4 cup lightly packed turbinado sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg or cloves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
3 1/2 teaspoons vegan butter or margarine such as Earth Balance

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and toast the almonds for 5-10 minutes until slightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside. Cut pears into thin slices and cut rhubarb into small chunks. The rhubarb’s texture may seem much harder than the pear’s, but both will soften nicely while baking and achieve the same consistency. Using a large bowl, mix the pears and rhubarb together with the other filling ingredients. Set on counter to marinate for 10-15 minutes.

Grab another bowl and combine the crumble ingredients, except for the butter or margarine. Cut the butter or margarine into small pieces and stir into the mixture. It’s okay if it comes out a bit lumpy, since the butter/margarine will melt in the oven, anyway! No point in worrying when you’re so close to your goal!

Pour the filling into a square pan and spread evenly. Spread the crumble mixture across the top and sprinkle with additional cinnamon, if desired. A little bit of cinnamon goes a long way! Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let it cool, but not too much! Your crumble is best served hot.

Call 3-4 of your best friends and tell them to come over immediately, so the dessert won’t be gone before they arrive. The crumble serves 4-5 people with ease. We love it as is, but you can get fancy with added vegan ice cream and/or whipped cream. With so much sugar, this dessert is not a diet food, but it IS 100% vegan, gluten-free, and scrumptious. Welcome, autumn!

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Peach Cobbler Tastes Great When It’s Vegan and Gluten-Free!

Is it even summer without peach cobbler? We don’t think so! When temperatures are hot and peaches are ripe, what’s an enterprising chef to do? The traditional recipe calls for large amounts of butter and white sugar, but you won’t miss the rich taste when you bite into our more subtle, but equally delicious version. This cobbler is inexpensive and incredibly easy to make. You can either peel the peaches or leave the peels on. We made our recipe with peels because that’s the way we roll. The peels become soft and pliable during the baking process. Also, they’re packed with vitamins, so it seems a shame to just toss them out. You’re going to love this recipe. We guarantee it!

PEACH INGREDIENTS

5 large peaches, cut into thin wedges
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

DRY INGREDIENTS

1 cup gluten-free flour blend (We used Bob’s Red Mill, excellent!)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2 tablespoons tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour)
1 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch of sea salt (not the iodized variety)

WET INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup plant-based milk (coconut or almond work best)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

Arrange the sliced peaches in a square baking pan. Sprinkle them with the two tablespoons of sugar, cinnamon, and fresh lemon juice. Allow the mixture to marinate for a few moments as you prepare the other ingredients. Mix the dry ingredients together until they’re thoroughly combined. Add vanilla extract and plant-based milk gradually, stirring continuously to make sure no lumps form. Batter should be smooth and creamy.

Pour the batter over the top of the peaches, spreading evenly. Don’t worry if the peaches aren’t completely covered. Bake in pre-heated, 375 degree oven for 35-45 minutes. The batter should form a nice crust that will attain a lovely golden brown color. Remove from oven and set on your counter to cool. But don’t let it cool too much — this dessert is best served hot!

Serves 4-6 people with ease. Your peach cobbler is sure to be a hit. You can serve it as is, or with a scoop (or two, or three) of vegan ice cream such as Coconut Bliss. (Our personal favorite is the coconut flavor. It’s perfect for this dessert). This dish keeps well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. We have been known to enjoy leftover cobbler for breakfast. Shhhhhhhh — don’t tell anyone! You’re just going to have to try this dessert for yourself, and then you’ll know why we love it so much. Happy summer!

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Corn, Tomato, and Cannellini Bean Salad is a Cold But Nourishing Summer Meal

When the weather is this hot, who feels like cooking? On the other hand, we tire easily in the heat and need nourishment more than ever. Such a conundrum! Fortunately, we have discovered a recipe that is incredibly simple and quick to make. The entire process takes about fifteen minutes! You’ll love the delightful simplicity of this delicious, protein-rich meal. The addition of gluten-free garlic/sage toast makes it more filling. Great for potlucks or a quick at-home meal.

SALAD INGREDIENTS

1 15-ounce can of cannellini beans (also called “white beans”)
2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (try different colors for a visual sensation!)
1 ear fresh sweet corn
large handful of fresh basil, chopped into small pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

TOAST INGREDIENTS

Olive oil or vegan butter/margarine such as Earth Balance
8-10 pieces of gluten-free bread
1-2 tablespoons fresh sage, shredded and chopped (remove those stems!)
2-3 minced cloves of fresh garlic, or garlic salt to taste (make sure salt is not iodized)

SALAD INSTRUCTIONS

Drain beans thoroughly and pour into a large mixing bowl. Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels from the corn cob and add to bowl. Add the cherry tomatoes, shredded basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season to taste with sea salt (not the iodized variety!) and fresh ground black pepper. Toss the mixture until it’s thoroughly combined. Cover the bowl and place it in your refrigerator for 1-2 hours until chilled enough to eat.

TOAST INSTRUCTIONS

Slather 8-10 pieces of gluten-free bread with vegan butter or margarine, or drizzle with olive oil. Place the bread on a cookie sheet and sprinkle dried sage on top. Add minced garlic or garlic salt to taste. Place the cookie sheet in oven at low broil setting. Broil for 2-3 minutes until bread is brown and slightly crispy around the edges. Do not burn! Remove from oven and allow excess oil to drain. Cut bread in half and arrange artfully on a plate.

Spread liberal amounts of salad across your toast and dig in! You’ll be in heaven, and your guests will be, too. This nourishing dish serves 4-6 people, depending on everyone’s appetite levels. Be sure to hydrate with fresh water! Of course, there’s always room for gluten-free, vegan beer or wine, if that’s your sort of thing. And maybe some fresh gazpacho! (See last week’s recipe). Happy summer! Have fun and stay cool in the heat.

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All-American Apple Pie That Just Happens to be Gluten-Free and Vegan!

Fourth of July is almost here, and for many folks, this day means barbeques and picnics. Quite a few of us have fond memories of chowing down slice after slice of apple pie. Even if you’re following a vegan, gluten-free diet, you don’t have to miss out on this aspect of the celebration! Our version is beyond delicious. The crust’s rich, buttery flavor comes from coconut oil. We made a lattice-style crust, because we like its visual appeal. You’ll be delighted by this scrumptious delicacy!

PIE INGREDIENTS
5-6 apples, sliced, peeled, and cut into chunks (try a variety of different apples for a flavor kick)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2/3 cup coconut sugar
4 tablespoons plant-based milk (coconut or almond is best)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon tapioca flour

CRUST INGREDIENTS
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 1/4 cup almond meal (also known as almond flour)
1 1/4 cup gluten-free pastry flour (plus more for rolling)
2/3 cups water

INSTRUCTIONS

Place coconut sugar in 1 tablespoon coconut oil and fry on stovetop until slightly bubbly. Do not burn! Add milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and apples, and continue heating for about 10 minutes. The apples should be a bit soft, but they don’t need to be cooked through. Add tapioca flour and cook for another 1-2 minutes until mixture thickens. Remove from stovetop and set aside.

Prepare crust by combining flours and coconut oil with water. The dough should be pliable but not sticky. Add more flour if the dough adheres to your fingers. Separate dough in half. Grease a pie pan with coconut oil or Earth Balance. Take the first dough section and press it across the entire bottom of the pan, creating a thin and level surface. Press dough around the edges of the pie pan with your fingers. You can tamp down the edges with a fork.

Pour apples into the pie pan, spreading them evenly. Depending on the size of your other dough half, you can either roll out a circle and place it over the top of the pie, or create a lattice crust with long, narrow dough strips. Either way, your pie will look lovely and taste delicious!

Bake in oven at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. Cool on countertop, but don’t let it get cold. Apple pie tastes best hot and fresh from the oven! Serve as is, or with some vegan ice cream or whipping cream. Serves 4-6, and if you have leftovers, they’ll keep in your refrigerator for several days. Happy Independence Day!

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Vegan, Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Casserole is Delicious Any Time of Year!

When we think of sweet potatoes, we usually envision Thanksgiving dinner. However, this vitamin-packed, naturally sweet vegetable is great during any season. Did you realize that sweet potatoes are high in fiber, and filled with vitamin C, potassium, vitamins B3, B5 and B6, copper and magnesium? They’re one of the most nutritious foods you could ever place inside your mouth. And so good! If you have leftover applesauce, this recipe is a great way to utilize it. You can take this casserole to a Fourth of July potluck as a side dish, or serve it at home with a salad and/or loaf of gluten-free bread. The possibilities are endless! For a festive touch, we used purple sweet potatoes for our recipe, but you can use the more common orange ones, as well.

INGREDIENTS

4 cups sweet potatoes (approximately 4 small or 2 large)
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt (NOT the iodized variety)
pinch of ground nutmeg or cloves
1 cup chopped pecans
extra pinch of cinnamon for topping

INSTRUCTIONS

Wrap the sweet potatoes in foil and roast in your oven at 450 degrees for 1 hour until thoroughly soft. Remove from oven and cut in half. Allow the pieces to cool. Scoop the softened portion from the skin and discard or eat the skin. Place sweet potato pulp in blender or food processor with the applesauce and combine thoroughly. Melt the coconut oil in a pan on your stovetop and pour into mixture. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg (or cloves), and salt and continue blending. Your mixture should be smooth and creamy, but not runny.

Ladle the mixture into a square baking pan and sprinkle chopped pecans across the top. Be sure to spread them evenly. Add a sprinkle of extra cinnamon if you desire. Bake in oven at 375 degrees for approximately 30 minutes until the casserole bubbles slightly around the edges, and the pecans are a dark brown color (but not burned).

Remove from oven and allow to cool on your counter. Serves 4-6 people as a generous side dish. This casserole is so sweet, you can even enjoy it as a dessert! Pairs well with a side of vegetables, salad, brown rice, quinoa, and pretty much anything else you can imagine. If you have leftovers, cover tightly and keep them in the refrigerator. Delicious whether hot or cold! And don’t forget the gluten-free beer or wine. Every day is a reason for celebration! Bon Appetit.

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Our Yummy, Vegan and Gluten-Free Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Will Fill You With Summer Nostalgia

Many of us have fond summer memories of sitting outside in the warm sun, digging into generous helpings of pineapple upside-down cake. Of course, the traditional recipe utilizes eggs and milk, but these ingredients aren’t necessary for our delicious version. Our recipe uses fresh pineapple instead of canned. Colorful pomegranate seeds replace the usual Maraschino cherries. We recently baked this dessert for a Memorial Day barbeque, and were delighted by the stellar results. Try it for yourself, and we think you’ll agree.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups fresh pineapple, chopped into small chunks
1/4 cup coconut oil
scant cup plant-based milk (coconut or almond works best)
juice of 1/2 lemon
8 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
1 1/4 cups almond meal
1 1/4 cups all purpose, gluten-free flour
2 heaping teaspoons baking powder (make sure it’s aluminum-free)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Pomegranate seeds for topping (optional)
Vegan whipping cream (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Grease a square baking pan with vegan butter, coconut oil, or other oil of your choosing. Line the bottom of the pan with the pineapple chunks, making sure they are evenly distributed and not too lumpy. Melt the coconut oil, keeping a watchful eye so it won’t burn. Pour oil in a large bowl and add the milk, lemon juice, maple syrup, vanilla, salt, and almond meal. Stir thoroughly, then add flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix well until the mixture is moist but not runny. Add additional flour if mixture is too moist, or milk if it’s too stiff. It should have a slightly fluffy texture.

Ladle the batter into the baking pan, making sure it is evenly spread across the pineapple chunks. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. You can employ the toothpick or fork-in-the-middle method to see whether it’s done. Remove your cake from the oven and set on your counter to cool. Once it’s cooled, you can flip the cake over onto a large plate. If you like, decorate your creation with a pomegranate seed garnish (or fresh, de-pitted cherries, if you prefer). Serve as is, or get fancy with some vegan whipped cream.

Serves 4-6 happy people with ease. This cake keeps well in your refrigerator, securely covered, for several days. We sincerely doubt that it will be around that long. It works well as a dessert, but certain individuals have been known to enjoy it as a breakfast food. We won’t reveal their names. Enjoy your cake, and welcome to summer. At last!

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