Vegan Cookbook Reviews

Vegan Desserts by Hannah Kaminsky

triple-citrus cupcakes by hannah kaminsky

Reviewed by Gail Davis. After having my sweet tooth so soothingly satisfied by all of the sumptuously sweet recipes in Hannah Kaminsky’s first book, My Sweet Vegan,* I couldn’t imagine that there could possibly be that many more sweet surprises up Hannah’s skillful sleeve.

But to my amazement and delight, her new book, Vegan Desserts: Sumptuous Sweets for Every Season,* holds within its 240 hardbound (yes—layflat!), gloriously full-color pages, more than 100 new recipes that will tantalize any dessert-lover’s taste buds—vegan or not!

I am in awe of the imagination that guides Hannah to create such uniquely beautiful and toothsome recipes as Marzipan Tea Cake, Persimmon Blondies, Zesty Rhubarb Ripple Cake, Avocado Crème Pie, and Roasted Apricot Ice Cream with Almond Praline Ripple. As with Hannah’s first book, every recipe is accompanied by Hannah’s gloriously rich full-color photos, which will make your mouth water with each turn of the page.

Recipe sections are divided into the four seasons, but even before diving into the recipes, readers will find invaluable tips and insights in the book’s front matter that includes an expansive ingredients glossary, fun list of kitchen essentials, and an extremely helpful trouble-shooting guide. Food-sensitive readers will appreciate the food-allergy index at the end of the book that makes searching for gluten-free, peanut-free, soy-free, and tree-nut-free recipes a breeze!

Hannah’s Roasted Apple Cheesecake was a wonderful surprise! Apples and cheesecake? Who but Hannah would think of such a uniquely delectable pairing? The buttery-roasted apples, candied pecans, and gingersnap crust all conspired together to create an unforgettably delicious and creamy cheesecake.

I’m just mad about saffron. Saffron’s mad about me. Spend the extra bucks and buy yourself a few pinches of the best saffron from Iran or Spain you can find, and make this Golden Saffron Pound Cake. I think it is one of the most exquisite little cakes I have ever eaten—certainly it’s the best pound cake I’ve ever enjoyed. I actually had dreams about it after the last piece was just a memory. In my dream, I called it Mellow Yellow. It’s sooooo good!

A funny thing happened on the way to the kitchen one day. I was all set to bake the recipe for Coffee Poppy Seed Cake. I assembled all the ingredients. (I was sure I had them all on hand!) Not so. There was only one missing—the instant coffee! What to do? I searched high and low for an alternative that would work in this recipe. (Truly, what can you substitute for instant coffee? You can’t use anything that has to be brewed.)

I eyed a bag of forgotten acai powder hiding at the back of a shelf. It was finely ground like instant coffee, it tasted kind of woodsy—not at all like coffee—but strong! What the heck? I went for it, and it worked beautifully in this cake. (I can only imagine how much more amazing the cake would have been made with coffee!) Everyone at the office remarked that it tasted delicious. Kudos, and a world of thanks to Hannah for creating truly no-fail recipes like this one!

I’ve made whipped cream by chilling a can of full-fat coconut milk and then trying to skim only the cream from the top with varying degrees of success. So I was super excited to find Hannah’s recipe for Whipped Cream in Vegan Desserts. Not only does it not require that you remove the cream from the top of the can, but it tastes incredible, and unlike some other dairy-free toppings, this one holds together and doesn’t melt, even after sitting out at room temperature. Which means you can not only dollop it by the spoonful atop your favorite pie or ice cream, but you can also pipe it through a pastry bag if you want to be fancy-schmancy. (Hannah’s photo on page 234 will knock your socks off!) Here’s my silky-smooth dollop of freshly made whipped cream atop of dish of chocolate almond milk ice cream!

This review is reprinted from Gail Davis’s blog, Hungry Vegan, by permission. 

*This post contains affiliate links. If the product is purchased by linking through this review, VegKitchen receives a modest commission, which helps maintain our site and helps it to continue growing!

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