The future of our planet belongs to the youth, who will continue to push veganism forward. What better way to welcome the new year, with all of its hope and promise, than to share delicious recipes by an ambassador from the new vegan generation – 17 year old LAIKA reader and cooking aficionado, Franny Gould. “We can communicate our ideas through vegan cuisine,” says Franny. “While many students in my high school bake for their peers and teachers, my baked goods never fail to spur a discussion about the merits of veganism.” Here she shares two original celebratory creations, which she also photographed, followed by a heartfelt essay.
citrusy kombucha cupcakes
Makes 10-14 cupcakes
3 heaping tablespoons melted vegan butter (I used Earth Balance Coconut Spread)
1 cup sugar
1⁄2 cup nondairy milk (I used Silk Original Cashew Milk)
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup kombucha (I used GT’s Original)
1⁄4 cup orange juice (with or without pulp)
Zest of 1⁄2 lemon or orange
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine vegan butter with sugar. Add in in nondairy milk, vanilla extract, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Combine until smooth and let the mixture sit for a couple of minutes.
Set aside the flour and the kombucha in two different bowls.
After the mixture is set, add a little bit of the flour to the mixture and stir. Then add a little bit of the kombucha and stir. Repeat this until all the flour and kombucha are in the mixture.
Add orange juice to the mixture and mix until smooth. Then add zest and stir.
Insert cupcake liners into cupcake tins and pour mixture into 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 of each tin. Bake for about 25 minutes (or until cupcake top is golden brown). Let cool before adding the frosting.
5 heaping tablespoons vegan butter at room temperature (I used Earth Balance Coconut Spread)
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 teaspoons kombucha (I used GT’s Original)
Zest of 1⁄2 1 lemon or orange
Optional vegan dark chocolate
Beat butter until smooth. Then add 1 cup of powdered sugar and beat until completely smooth. Mix in vanilla and 1 tbsp of whichever kombucha you choose to use.
In increments, mix in the remaining 3 cups of powdered sugar. Add zest.
Once the mixture has a thick consistency and is frosting-like, either scrape into an icing bag or spread directly on cupcakes. Decorate cupcakes as desired (I used chocolate drizzle, raspberries, and blackberries).
Optional chocolate garnish: melt chocolate and drizzle onto frosted cupcakes.
Quantities depend on the number of guests
Toasted thinly-sliced bread, cut into triangles
Extra or super firm tofu, cut into triangles
Extra virgin olive oil
Sriracha (or other hot sauce depending on preference)
Crushed red pepper flakes
Toothpicks or sandwich picks
Using a skillet, simmer tofu triangles in EVOO and Sriracha. In another skillet, sauté cauliflower in EVOO.
To construct the canapé, start with the toast, then place on a couple of leaves of arugula, then the Sriracha tofu triangles, followed by more leaves of arugula, and finally the cauliflower.
Sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes. Secure with a toothpick or sandwich pick.
Louder Than I Thought
by Franny Gould
I used to think I wasn’t good enough to be an activist. I thought that political, economic, and social change could only be accomplished by those with some level of fame, some degree of importance. I thought that as a young, idealistic vegan, I should be seen and not heard.
In the fall of 2014, I participated in the People’s Climate March in Manhattan. Although already a vegan, I wasn’t yet doing much advocacy on behalf of the vegan community. Somewhere along the march, I saw a sign that read “Raising Animals for Meat causes 51% of greenhouse gas emissions, cuts down more than 14,000 acres of rainforests everyday, uses more than 11 times more fossil fuels than producing plant protein. Save Earth, try vegan.” This information was not news to me, but I still did a double-take at the display. The girl holding the sign was no more than 7 or 8 years old. She was standing on the sidewalk, facing the procession of marchers.
There was something about her face, the way she stared straight into my eyes. Her message was a kind of powerful that I had never experienced before. It combined her vulnerability — a plea for the protection of her generation’s future — with her determination to convert at least a few marchers to veganism. She may have not been prominent in her stature. But she was an activist.
When it comes to fighting for social justice, I may not have as big of a voice as a celebrity. But I do have a voice. And by simply keeping the conversation alive, I am an activist.
2016 will be a momentous year for me, as I graduate from high school and begin college. And it will also be a momentous year for veganism, as the stigma of being a vegan will continue to die. Ever since I went vegan, I’ve been known as “Franny the Vegan” and have been asked every annoying question possible. But I believe that this year the unproductive questions about plants’ emotions and protein intake will finally be replaced by genuine curiosity and forthright discussions. ∎
From the Editor: Do you have a vegan story to tell and love making things? Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org and you may be featured in our Reader Spotlight on the LAIKA site!