cake, 2

I found a cake recipe I really like and added it to my repertoire of basic cake recipes. It’s fluffy and moist, which is a nice combination for a cake. I made a modified vegan version. I’ve cooked it twice, once with chocolate and once without. I don’t eat soy, so I don’t cook with it. You could use soy yogurt or earth balance. I make no promises on how it will turn out.

2 tbsp ground flax meal
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup soy-free earth balance
1 1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup coconut (or almond) yogurt.
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water

0) Turn oven on to 350.
1) Take the 3/4 cup water and mix it with ground flax. The ground part is important. Put these in a pot and boil it. Eventually, it will gain the consistency of snot. Or eggs. They’re basically the same. I do this first so it has time to cool.
2) Mix earth balance and sugar. Once it’s creamed together, add cocoa powder if that’s how you’re doing it.
3) Add yogurt and the flax meal goo. Sorry for calling it goo. I love the flax jelly you can make. It’s wonderful and adds moisture and cohesion, but it looks pretty gross.
4) Add the dry ingredients. If I feel fancy, I mix the dry ingredients separately. If I don’t, I just dump them all in at the same time. If I’m adding, say, sprinkles or chocolate chips or fruit, I mix them up with the dry ingredients. The original recipe says to sift it, but I don’t have a sifter.
5) After everything is mixed, add a cup hot/boiling water. Be careful. Stirring this can be tricky.
6) Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

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Cake, 02

I had a cake vision.

It all started with DH turning 29. When he turned 28, we made him a chocolate and cardamon ice cream cake. I asked him what sort of cake he wanted this year and he made noises about the peanut butter and jelly cake (based on the recipe based on Julia’s.) The pb&j cake involved cutting the sugar and, instead, using the coconut milk as the basis for a coconut/strawberry/maple smoothie which went into the cake.

It’s a pretty dense cake, but it’s moist and fairly good, I think. (The pb came from an icing that was accidentally made and really fluffy and good.)

He also made noises about vegan cheesecake. I have never made a vegan cheesecake that was what I wanted it to be, but they’re still tasty nonetheless. I wasn’t confident in my ability to put together a cheesecake that would feed everyone and taste good and look good. At least, compared to the cheesecakes of Veggie Galaxy.

I considered this, and DH’s love of layered cakes. From this, DH’s 29th Birthday Cake Tri-Level Spectacular was born.

Or, in the words of someone at the party, “Yo dog, I heard you like cake, so I put a cake in your cake, so you could eat cake while you eat cake.”

Step one, make a vegan cheesecake.

SDS passed me a copy of the cheesecake from The Joy of Vegan Baking, by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.

6 tsp Ener-G
1/2 cup water
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
24 oz (690 g) nondairy cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

I made it without the chocolate chips. Bake at 350 for about fifty minutes. It took me longer, but I think our oven wasn’t that hot. The cake puffed up and then sunk. In the end, it was a heavily custardy concoction. It was tasty, but, like all of the vegan cheesecakes I have made, not quite what I wanted. Maybe I’ll try some agar-agar next time.

I made the cheesecake Friday night.

Step two, melt chocolate.

I’ve had fancy cakes in the past that involve layers that add textures of creamy fillings, crunchy bits, and cake. I wanted to create something that involved a mixture of layer textures. I wanted to get something a little crunchier into it. I thought about some other ways to manage this, but I wanted to start with a fairly simple, low risk method. Hence, chocolate.

Saturday morning, I melted a bag of chocolate chips using a college student’s double boiler (two pots that vaguely fit together.) If the cheesecake had been a little firmer, I would have liked to coat both sides of the cake with it, but it got gooey when I tried to remove it from the spring form pan. with a sigh, I spread the melted chocolate over one side of the cheesecake and reintroduced it to the freezer.

Step three, make the cake.

I doubled my standard cake recipe and cooked it in two spring form pans. The strawberries failed to shot up, so instead I heated the liquid and used it to brew a chocolate-cardamon black tea to give it a unique little kick. I cooked each of these in a spring form pan.

I like to use spring form pans while making “pretty” cakes because they have nice even (straight) edges that stack well and are easy to remove the cake from.

Then we, through acts of balance involving plates, spring form pan bottoms, baking sheets, and lots of elbow room, stacked the cakes on top of one another. They were then coated in some store brought frosting–that looked more like icing–and concentric spirals of raspberries and blueberries were placed on top to make it pretty.

I think the cake was tasty, but I think the cake parts were a little too dense, and the “cheesecake in the middle” was much more like a layer of custard and much less like a cheesecake in the middle of a cake. Making a less dense cake part is pretty easy, but I’m not sure the best way to try and make the cheesecake part more like my grand vision of the cake.