Cookbook challenge: Spanakopita and cupcakes

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This weekend was a busy one in the Wiko household, and no one was busier than Hank. My parents came over to visit us for the weekend, in a thinly veiled excuse to meet their grandpup. Ever the charmer, he won them over despite his immediate wanton destruction of the new cuddly toy they’d bought him.

And of course, I decided that food was needed to welcome them to our home. They would be eating on their flight, but no one is ever satisfied by plane food. I decided that warm finger food was the way to go, which gave me the perfect excuse to make the spanakopita from Vegan With a Vengeance.


I hadn’t had spanakopita for a long time, definitely not while vegan. But these lived up to my dreamed-about-them-for-years expectations. These tasted like more than the sum of their parts, and I think it’s the dill and ground walnuts that add something special. I served these with the Veganomicon cashew-cucumber dip (yes, again- it’s that good), and had both parents seeming to either forget or not care that these were vegan and not traditional spanakopita.

If I’d had any leftover, these would have been great for Hank’s other big event of the weekend. On Saturday afternoon, we took him to a picnic with a huge group of Chadwiko’s new workmates. Of course, Hank was the star of the event and guaranteed us instant friends, but I like to think that even if he hadn’t been there, the cupcakes I took along could have won us favour with a few people.

Fauxstess cupcakes

These Vegan With a Vengeance fauxstess cupcakes were pretty tasty, and adorable too- if only for a short time. These definitely aren’t summer cupcakes, which I wish I’d realised before I invested so much time in making them. By the time these arrived at the picnic, the royal icing squiggles were growing  indistinguishable, and becoming a far less appealing smeared white mess. The ganache had also started to head south, transforming from glossy deliciousness into sticky… well, still deliciousness. Despite their increasingly unfortunate appearance, these tasted great. I prefer the chocolate cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, but the cake itself isn’t the star here- the fluffy white cream filling is. And it stood out, tasting almost store-bought, in the best way possible. As good as they were, I think I’ll wait until winter to bring these out again.

This week was a great indicator of the value of the cookbook challenge for me, getting me to try new recipes from books that have been sitting on my shelf for years. Both they and I appreciate the new lease on life and so, it would seem, does my mother, who copied out a few Vegan With a Vengeance recipes while she was here. If that isn’t the sign of a good book, I don’t know what is.

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