Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Chocolate Vanilla Raspberry Birthday Cake!

I'm sorry I have been absent for quite a while!  As I mentioned in my last post, I have started a new term and begun a TA position, and things have been busy but great fun with figuring out my schedule, hanging out with my sister in our new place, and enjoying getting to meet friends and investigate Jesus' life in my International Students Bible Study!  I have also been trying out a few new vegan treats, and I am excited to share some of them here in the next few posts!

Last month, it was my sister's birthday, and for the occasion I decided to try something I've never tried before - a vegan birthday cake! 

The cake base was inspired by this cake on Kathy's fun blog - Healthy.Happy.Life - which is full of bright, cheerful, and yummy-looking vegan recipes!  The cashew frosting was inspired by this one on Katie's amazing vegan dessert blog - Chocolate Covered Katie - if you're looking for a sweet vegan recipe that will be delicious for anyone, definitely check it out! 
I decided to decorate the cake with raspberries and coconut whip! 
Whole wheat pastry flour - 1.75 cups
Cocoa powder - 1/2 cup
Salt - 1 teaspoon
Baking powder - 1 tablespoon
Vanilla extract - 1.5 teaspoons
Flax seeds - 1 tablespoon
Warm water - 1/2 cup
Almond milk - 1 cup
Vegan sugar - 3/4 cup
Maple syrup - 1 tablespoon
Canola oil - 1/4 cup
Cider vinegar - 1 tablespoon
Cashews - 1 cup
Vegan powdered sugar - 3 tablespoons (more or less according to desired sweetness)
Vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon
Salt - 1/8 teaspoon
Almond milk - 4 tablespoons (more or less to facilitate blending)
Coconut whip:
Coconut milk - 1 can, separatable (I used Thai Kitchen brand - make sure you choose a brand that doesn't have emulsifiers in it so that you can separate the coconut cream from the coconut water!)
Vegan powdered sugar - 2 tablespoons (optional - more or less according to desired sweetness)
Raspberries (for writing and serving) - 1 small container

The day before serving your cake*:

Make your chocolate cake:
Preheat oven to 350 F, and oil a 9x12 baking pan.  Combine flax seeds and warm water in a small bowl and let sit a couple of minutes.  Mix flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder together in a large bowl.  In a blender, combine flax mixture with the almond milk, sugar, maple syrup, and oil, and blend well.  Then pour into the dry mix and beat well to combine.  Just before pouring into the baking pan, stir in the cider vinegar.  Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and come out clean.  Then remove pan from the oven to cool.  Once cooled, place covered in the refrigerator overnight to cool completely.

Prepare for your frosting:
Soak your cashews in about 2 cups of water for the night.

Prepare for your decorations:
Place your can of coconut milk in the refrigerator.

The day of*:

Make your cashew vanilla frosting.  Drain your soaked cashews, and blend in a food processor with 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Add almond milk 1 tablespoon at a time to facilitate blending (I used about 4 tablespoons).  Add powdered sugar 1 teaspoon at a time to desired sweetness.  Process until the mixture is very smooth and creamy.  Spoon out 3/4 of frosting, leaving 1/4 in the food processor.

Add 1/4 cup of raspberries to the remaining 1/4 of the frosting and blend until smooth.  It should have a light purple colour.  Spoon into a separate container.**
Remove your can of coconut milk from the refrigerator.  Gently turn the can upside down and open it.  Pour out the coconut water into a separate container to use for other purposes (I recommend using it in a smoothie), and then spoon out the dense coconut cream.  Whip using a hand blender or a food processor, adding sweetener as desired, until the cream creates peaks. 

Remove your chocolate cake from the refrigerator and invert onto a serving dish. Spread your vanilla frosting evenly over the top of your cake.
Spoon your purple raspberry icing into a small ziplock bag, and cut off one corner to make a small hole to squeeze the icing out (or, if you have one). Add your coconut whip to another bag.  Use your raspberry icing and coconut whip to decorate the cake as desired.
Top with remaining raspberries for decoration.  Celebrate! :)


*Although I say that some things should be done the day before and others the day of, there is flexibility!  I have specified the things that should really be done in advance, but except for the actual assembly of the cake, (which should be done the day of so it looks neat and fresh), as well as possibly the blending of cashew frosting with raspberries, other things like blending your cashew vanilla frosting and whipping your coconut whip can also be done the day before you serve your cake.  For me, having things to do on two days allowed me to prolong the fun of baking! :)

*If you would rather have a different flavor or colour of icing, feel free to try other berries - I think strawberries or blueberries could also produce a nice colour and texture. You could even go crazy and try adding a small amount of blended kale, beet juice, or carrot juice to create other colours!  The colours will probably be more gentle than if you are using traditional food colourings, but I really liked being able to use plant foods to create the dyes. :) 

I hope you enjoy the birthday cake!  :)

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