My Sweet Vegan — Book Full of Vegan Desserts: Review of Hannah Kaminsky’s Dessert and Baking Cookbook

While still preparing for her first year in university, Hannah Kaminsky created My Sweet Vegan: Passionate About Dessert (Fleming Ink, ISBN 978-0979128615), a cookbook full of tasty desserts and baked goods that don’t use dairy, eggs, honey, or other animal ingredients, but definitely do not pale in comparison to their “normal” counterparts. Many of them are even gluten-free.

First, it must be said: My Sweet Vegan looks gorgeous. It is a real coffee table book. Many vegan cookbooks only have a photo insert in the middle, but this book contains photos of all the recipes—all taken by Kaminsky herself. It is stylishly laid out and pleasant to browse.

Many Types of Desserts
My Sweet Vegan contains sweet breakfast foods (like muffins, French toast, scones, granola, and even a sweet focaccia bread), cookies, bars, cakes, cupcakes, pies, tarts, candies, crumbles, and other desserts, like Pumpkin Toffee Trifle and Hazelnut Ravioli. Strangely there are two frozen desserts (Brilliant Berry Parfaits and Green Tea Freezer Pops), but no ice cream recipes. Considering its focus on sweet stuff, this book makes a great complement to The Vegan Table

Perhaps there could have been one or two raw food “baked goods,” as raw food desserts are getting more and more popular. Also, there are only complete recipes — there’s no chapter for dessert sauces, creams, or frostings, which would be great since many people have trouble imagining how these kinds of recipes could be vegan. The recipes generally don’t list any adaptations or variations, which is also a bit of a shame.

Ingredients
My Sweet Vegan is certainly not a health or dieting cookbook, even though it is vegan. Kaminsky uses ingredients from tofu to nut butters, maple syrup, and coconut milk to create decadent desserts from Triple Threat Chocolate “Cheese” Cake to Maple Pistachio Crémes. No nutritional information is listed (which might be a good thing).

The ingredients are introduced in the beginning of the book, but sadly some of them may be difficult to find in not-so-vegan-friendly areas. Traditionally, vegan cheesecakes have been made with tofu, but many recipes in this book use vegan cream cheese, which may be difficult to find, and the same goes for vegan “sour cream” and marshmallow fluff.

Mouthwatering Flavors
Many of Kaminsky’s recipes are creative and innovative. She doesn’t hesitate to combine pomegranate with ginger and chocolate with wasabi. Green tea makes several appearances—including a new twist to the traditional tiramisu! Kaminsky turns Peach Melba into a layered cake, chocolate chip cookies into a pie, and Pina Colada into mini bundt cakes.

The tested recipes all turned out delicious. Butterscotch blondies were very sweet and butterscotchy, the zesty cranberry crumb muffins had an amazing texture (though the testers found them a bit too heavy on the orange), and the strawberry spirals impressed with both their fruity taste and their elegant appearance.

The cashew créme pear tart packed a bunch of rich caramel flavor—the gluten-free crust of the especially impressed the testers. Like many of the gluten-free recipes in the book, it was based on almond meal.

Everyone who enjoys sweets should consider getting My Sweet Vegan, and all vegans (and those who are allergic to milk or eggs) even more so. Even though most recipes aren’t gluten-free, there are so many of them that those avoiding gluten might want to get the book. The allergy index at the end makes it easy to find recipes without gluten, peanuts, treenuts or soy.