Tag Archives: vegan baking

Tuesday Teaser #12: Magic Chocolate Cake and Creamy Smooth Chocolate Frosting

Tuesdays are always “Teaser Tuesdays” at Alf Hana.  We try out other people’s recipes and share our impressions and recommendations with you.

Are you a chocolate freak?  I am.  I love chocolate.

Did you know that chocolate actually has some health benefits?  Cocoa supposedly can help blood flow more easily, playing a role in the prevention of blood clots and heart attacks!  Because it also contains powerful antioxidants, it may also help reduce damage to coronary arteries.  When you choose your chocolate, be sure to choose the darkest, least processed available to get the most benefit.  *Also, be sure that if you’re watching your weight, chocolate still contains sugar and those calories add up!

Having said that, when you have a special occasion to celebrate, chocolate cake is a time-honored tradition.  There are many chocolate cake recipes around the internet, but this one is EASY, QUICK, LIGHT, healthIER than the animal-based alternatives, and TASTY!!!

This recipe originally comes from the Peaceful Palate by Jennifer Raymond, one of our favorite cookbooks!  Both the cake and the icing recipes are available online for free on compassionatecooks.com here.

We absolutely love this recipe.  I’ve made it as birthday cakes before and just recently took it in its cupcake form as a treat for a Ramadan iftar.   It makes one 9 inch cake or 12 cupcakes.

Here are some more pictures… I told you I love chocolate!

Nutritional Information (for the cake): 1 of 12 cupcakes

164 Calories; 6 g Fat; 0 mg Cholesterol; 25 g Carbohydrates; 1 g Fiber; 2 g Protein

Nutritional Information (for the frosting): 1 of 12 servings

66 Calories; 1 g Fat; 0 mg Cholesterol; 15 g Carbohydrates; 1 g Fiber; 0 g Protein

What’s your favorite cake flavor?

Alf Hana!!!


Are you a chocolate lover, a vegan and in Cairo?

Well, you probably have been looking EVERYWHERE for chocolate chips, right?  I know we always were!  In fact, for many years, I had to chop up bars of vegan chocolate so we could have chocolate chunks for our cookies….

BUT…no need for YOU to spend so much time chopping!  You can find chocolate chips now!!!!   Royal House has them in abundance.  They come in small, 200 gram bags. As you can see from the image, they are not very expensive so stock up!

Here is the contact information for Royal House, just in case you don’t know:

Royal House: Heliopolis, Roxy, in front of Merryland, behind Othman Ahmed Othman buildings

24514446 / 24514445 and for home delivery: 24514447 / 24514448 / 24514449

Now, enjoy your chocolate, chocolate lovers!

Pharaoh’s Friday #3: Egyptian Shortbread Cookies (Ghoreiyba)

I love cookies.  I can’t get enough of them.  Chocolate, chewy, crunchy, decorated, soft, with chips, with nuts, with fruits, ….oh, the varieties!

These little cookies are an Egyptian treasure.  They just melt in your mouth. Usually made around feast times, they’re kind of hard to find any other time of year.  And, of course, you rarely ever find a plant-based version that is cholesterol free!!!!  But, ours are!!!

This recipe is adapted from Sweets of Arabia by Osama El Sayed.


1 cup non-dairy butter
½ cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda

1.  Preheat oven to 170 C or 350 F or gas mark 5.
2.  In bowl of food processor, cream butter with powdered sugar and vanilla on medium speed.
3.  Mix flour with baking soda and beat into butter mixture on low speed.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Before mixing

After mixing

4.  Shape dough into balls and place on a baking sheet.  This may take some time.  Try to make the balls as smooth as possible.  If topping with nuts, lightly press thumb into center of each ball and top with one whole nut.

Rolled in balls

5.  Bake for 15 minutes, until firm but not brown.
6.  Let cool and then indulge!

Serving Suggestions and Variations:

  • top with chopped or whole nuts
  • sprinkle with cocoa
  • sprinkle with cinnamon
  • drizzle melted chocolate in thin lines across the cookie

Nutrition information (for 1 cookie):

Calories: 56, Fat: 3g; Cholesterol: 0g; Carbohydrates: 7g; Fiber: 0g; Protein: 1g

Alf Hana!!!

Another holiday treat: Vegan Creamy Jumble Drops (A.K.A. Jubilee Jumbles)

I bet you thought all the holiday cooking and baking was over, right? WRONG!  We keep celebrating until Orthodox Christmas on January 7, so lucky for you, you get some more holiday cookie recipes!!!

This one is the ultimate Christmas cookie for me.  It was a tradition with my grandmother and my mother.  And now, thanks to vegan substitutions, it is a tradition for us too!  Originally from Betty Crocker Good and Easy Cookbook, these little bits of heaven bring back oh, so many memories of past holidays around the table sprinkling colors here and there.  I hope you have as much fun making (and eating!) these as I do!!!

Makes 4 dozen

For the cookie dough:
1/2 cup soft vegetable shortening

I found this in a supermarket, but you could probably substitute samna nabety...

1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch + 2 tablespoons water
1 cup non-dairy milk + 1 tablespoon cornstarch, mixed
1 tsp vanilla
2  and 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 – 6 oz package non-dairy semi-sweet chocolate morsels (170 g)

For the icing:
2 tablespoons non-dairy butter
3 cups powdered (confectioners’ sugar), sifted
1/4 cup non-dairy milk plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch, mixed

1.  Heat oven to 375 degrees (190 degrees F or gas mark 5).
2.  Mix  shortening, sugars and cornstarch and water thoroughly.
3.  Stir in milk and vanilla and mix.

4.  Sift flour, soda and salt together and stir into mix.
5.  Blend remaining ingredients.

6.  Drop with tablespoon 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake until a light touch with a finger leaves no imprint..about 10 minutes.

7.  Ice using the Burnt Butter Glaze while still warm.

Instructions for the Burnt Butter Glaze:
1.  Heat 2 tablespoons non-dairy butter until golden brown.
2.  Beat in, until smooth, 3 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar and 1/4 cup non-dairy milk + 2 teaspoons cornstarch.

3.  You may need to heat this up between batches.
4.  Sprinkle with your choice of colorful topping.

Nutrition Information for one cookie:
Calories: 123, Fat: 3 g; Cholesterol: 0 g; Carbohydrates: 15 g, Fiber: 0 g; Protein: 1 g

Alf Hana!!!

Sweet Semolina Cake (Basbousa)

It’s the end of the third week of VeganMoFo! We’ve really been having fun veganizing Egyptian favorites for you.  Here’s a round up of this week’s recipes:

So, let’s top the week off with something sweet!  Basbousa is a favorite dessert among Egyptians.  It’s heavy and full of sugar, but it certainly is a special treat.

For the cake:
2 cups semolina

1 ½ cup sugar
½ cup shredded coconut (optional)
1 cup minus 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk (we used soy)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons non-dairy butter (we used samna nebeti)
¼ to ½ cup roasted almonds, sliced or pistachios, chopped

For the syrup:
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the cake:
Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 (375 degrees F or 190 degrees C).  Oil a medium size casserole pan.
1.  Mix the semolina, sugar, non-dairy butter and baking powder with your hands.

2.  Combine the non-dairy milk and the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to make a slurry.

3.  Add the non-dairy milk slurry to the mix.  Stir until a dough forms.

4.  Pour the dough into the casserole pan.  Be sure it is spread evenly in the pan.

5.  Roast the almonds or pistachios by heating them on low heat in a skillet until lightly brown.

6.  Place almonds or pistachios on top of the mix.  If you like you can cover the entire cake, only half or leave it plain without any nuts.

Basbousa before cooking

7.  Let the basbousa sit for an hour.  (Make the syrup now, so it has time to cool.)
8.  Put the basbousa in the oven and cook for 30 to 45 minutes.

Basbousa after cooking

9.  When you take the basbousa out of the oven and it is still hot, pour the cooled syrup over the cake, being sure to cover all the sections of the cake.

Pouring the syrup

For the syrup:
1.  Heat the water and sugar on low heat until it boils.
2.  Add the lemon and cook for 2 minutes.
3.  Add the vanilla and cook for 1 more minute.
4.  Remove from heat and cool before putting on the hot basbousa.

Serving Suggestions and Variations:

  • Use pistachios or almonds to top.
  • Cut in diamond shapes to serve.
  • Use coconut in the mix, if you like.

Nutritional Information (for 1 piece of 20):
Calories: 240; Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 0g; Carbohydrates: 50g; Fiber: 1g; Protein: 3g

Alf Hana!!!

Creamy Butterscotch Buttons

Well, I must confess I love sweets.  It’s very hard for me to resist cookies, cakes, puddings, cobbler, chocolate, … I could go on!

I must admit the recipe I am about to share is not the most nutritious recipe.  It is true that we should avoid processed foods and sweets and focus on whole foods for the majority of our caloric intake.  However, every once in a while, for a special occasion,  it is nice to have something sweet for a treat.  Eat one at a time and share with friends!

This recipe makes approximately 43 cookies.  It is veganized from a recipe from The Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbook: Biscuits and Slices.


  • 3/4 of a cup of vegetable margarine (ghee or ‘samna’)
  • 1 more tablespoon of vegetable margarine (ghee or ‘samna’)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (or 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla crystals mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of water)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
  • 1 and 1/4 cups of self-raising flour, sifted (or 1 and 1/4 cups of flour and 2 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, sifted)


1.  Preheat oven to gas mark 4 (180 degrees F or 350 degrees C).

2.  Beat vegetable margarine, vanilla, sugar and maple syrup in your mixer long enough for it to be light and fluffy.

3.  Sift the flour (or the flour and baking powder).

4.  Add to the margarine and sugar mix.

5.  Scoop enough batter to fill a teaspoon into your hands.  Roll the batter into a ball.

6.  Place the balls on a cookie sheet a few centimeters apart.  Then, with a fork, flatten each to make the distinctive lined pattern on each cookie.

7.  Bake in oven for about 20 minutes or until firm.  Cool them on wire racks.