This year I want to make the best vegan cake ever!
That is my biggest baking challenge this year.
I’m not vegan but I think I’ve mentioned this in a previous post… my sister is vegan. And my nephew, her son, is also a vegan.
That means trouble for me when their birthdays arrive. I worry and scratch my head… so very confused. I mean, I really want to bake a birthday cake for them. Just like I used to do every year before they went all vegan on me!
But I’m afraid. Yes, so super afraid. The only vegan cake I ever made was the kind that involved a cake mix in a box with canned pumpkin. Honestly, I wasn’t super delighted with it. It was, eh, ok, and edible. But it just was not the most delicious cake I’ve ever tasted or made.
I’ve seen and heard about vegan cakes and cupcakes. They CAN be done. On Cupcake Wars, I’ve seen vegan cupcakes beat the non-vegan cupcakes. So for sure, a vegan cake can be just as delicious as a non-vegan cake!
So what’s the reason for this dilemma?
My nephew’s birthday, which was a few weeks ago. He can’t eat my non-vegan cakes anymore. Not until I create my masterpiece vegan cake creation that I’m currently brainstorming and doing lots of research on.
So while I work on creating the best vegan cake ever…
I decided to make this “veganized” arroz con leche with chia seeds. It’s a birthday (rice pudding) arroz con leche. I know, it’s not… a birthday cake. It doesn’t hold birthday candles really well. But it IS dessert and it IS sweet and it IS super delicious!
Arroz con leche is similar to rice pudding but it’s not too thick and usually does not include any eggs. It’s mostly lots of milk, evaporated milk, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and rice. It’s very traditional and popular in most Latin American countries and many variations exist. AND… my mom just so happens to make the best arroz con leche, EVER. It is so good. I tell you, when I lift the lid and see this sitting on the stove…my day is so much brighter and I’m instantly overjoyed. Arroz con leche is my ultimate comfort food! I could never NOT have seconds!
Or sometimes thirds.
So for my nephew, I “veganized” this arroz con leche. I used a combination of almond milk and coconut milk. The coconut milk not only made the pudding creamy, it added a nice subtle coconut flavor. But it’s very important that you use the full fat kind; the lite kind will probably not make this pudding creamy enough. I also added soaked chia seeds to the pudding to thicken it up a bit more. It really worked so well adding more texture and body.
The cinnamon and lemon zest also work really well together in this pudding. When they simmer with the rice and milk, they create a beautiful combination of flavors. I love lemon zest and milk. Citrus and milk are heavenly together!
This vegan arroz con leche with chia is creamy, sweet, and my new favorite vegan dessert!
Arroz con Leche & Chia
- 1 cup rice (long-grain)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/2-1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 4-4 1/2 cups water
- 3 teaspoons chia seeds (dried)
- 3 cups almond milk (unsweetened)
- 1 can coconut milk (not the lite kind)
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Adapted from Ingrid Hoffman's Arroz Con Leche recipe.
|Soak 3 teaspoons of chia seeds with the 3 cups of almond milk, preferably overnight, or until they become fully hydrated.|
|Then in a heavy saucepan add rice, water, cinnamon sticks, and lemon zest. Let soak for about one hour.|
|Next, bring rice mixture to a boil on high heat. Once it reaches a boil lower heat to medium and cook uncovered for about 10-12 minutes until water evaporates.|
|Now whisk in the almond milk with chia, coconut milk, and sugar. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the pudding thickens to your preference. It will thicken more when it cools.|
|Stir in vanilla extract and dust with ground cinnamon. Serve warm or cool.|