Tag Archives: vegan sweets

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!!!


Pharaoh’s Friday #14: Easy Breakfast Konafa

During Ramadan, the Eastern sweets take over our taste buds!  We love all the delicacies especially since so many of them are prepared using plant-based ingredients.  However, I must admit I have not mastered all of them yet!!!  I promise I’m working on them, but in the meantime, take a stab at this really EASY  EASY recipe using konafa….
As we posted recently, konafa is basically shredded phyllo pastry.  There are all kinds of ways to eat and this has got to be the easiest!!!  We like to have it as a special treat for breakfast sometimes.  It is especially easy during Ramadan when we can find fresh konafa in our corner shop!
Serves 2
125 grams of konafa
1 tablespoon corn oil
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1.  Cut or tear the konafa into small, bite size pieces.
2.  Heat the oil and konafa in a pan on low heat until golden brown (about 5 minutes).

3.  Remove from the heat and add the sugar, raisins and cinnamon.

Nutritional Information: 1 of 2 servings (about 85 grams)
304 Calories; 11 g Fat; 0 mg Cholesterol; 47 g Carbohydrates; 2 g Fiber; 5 g Protein

Serving Suggestions and Variations:

  • Try adding some walnuts, peanuts, pistachios, almonds, or your favorite nut.
  • Would chocolate work?
What’s your favorite Middle Eastern sweet?
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!!!

‘Butter’ Cookies with Date Filling (Kahk)

What’s a feast without something sweet for dessert?  Following up on yesterday’s post about fetta, a traditional savory dish for Egyptian feasts, we’d like to top it off with another tradition: kahk.  This cookie is very special, only eaten at feast times, and, as usual, there are several variations!  You can eat it without any filling, with a date filling, (as the following recipe explains), or with walnuts!  You know you’ve made perfect kahk when the cookie MELTS in your mouth.

Guided by another friend’s recipe, we have developed this vegan version.  My taste testers were very pleased with this adaptation of their traditional favorite.  [Thanks Nevine!!!]  Give it a try and let us know what you think!

Makes about 17 cookies

For the date filling:
63 grams (about 3) dried dates, coarsely chopped
6 grams (about 1/2 tablespoon) of non-dairy butter [*For our Egyptian readers: we used ‘samna nebeti’]
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

For the cookies:
250 grams of flour, sifted (about 2 cups)
188 grams of non-dairy butter (about 2 cups) [*For our Egyptian readers: we used ‘samna nebeti’]
7 grams (about 1 package) of active yeast
10 grams (about 1 tablespoon) powdered sugar plus about 3/4 of a cup reserved for dusting
50 grams (about 2 teaspoons) lukewarm water

Make the date filling:
1.  Heat the dates, butter, and cinnamon on medium heat until melted and sticky.

Melting the filling

2.  Let the mix cool.

Cool the filling

3.  Shape into flat balls.

Date filling for kahk

4.  Set aside.

Make the cookies:
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 (350 degrees F or 180 degrees C).
1.  Heat the non-dairy butter (or samna) until almost boiling.
2.  Add the flour to the melted butter or samna and mix in a food processor for about 2 minutes.

Making the flour mix

3.  In a separate container, mix the yeast with the sugar in lukewarm water.  Leave the mixture to sit for 5 minutes.
4.  Combine the water mixture and the flour mixture with your hands until the water is absorbed and the mixture becomes smooth.  (Don’t worry if the flour mix seems watery even before you add the water mixture.  It will work into a ball as you mix with your hands.)
5.  Keep kneading the dough until smooth.

Kneading the dough

6.  Divide the mix into smooth, round balls.
7.  Make an indentation in the ball to add the filling.  Add the filling and then shape the edges of the ball around the filling again.

Steps for adding filling: Starting top left: Make the ball, make an indentation, add the filling, wrap the edges around the filling again into a ball, make a criss-cross design on top using a fork or tool like the one in the picture

8.  Put the filled cookies on cookie sheets and make lines across the cookies with a fork.  We used a special tool for this kind of cookie available in the local stores (see the above picture).  Doing this just provides some texture for the powdered sugar to cling to when cool.
9.  Let the cookies rest for 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours in a warm place.

10.  Bake them in an oven at gas mark 4 (350 degrees F or 180 degrees C) for about 25 minutes. They should be a bit golden, but not brown.

11.  Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on the sheets for about 5 minutes.  Then, place them on wire racks to completely cool.
12.  When completely cool, dust with reserved powdered sugar.

Nutritional Information (for 1 cookie):

Calories: 109; Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 0g; Carbohydrates: 15g; Fiber: 1g; Protein: 2g

Alf Hana!!