My nephews say HI! My new little relative is super cute, and is quite possibly the most peaceful baby I have ever seen. The whole time I spent at my sister's, he barely cried at all - he even smiled when he woke up from a long nap! Unfortunately I can't post a face picture (my sister doesn't like having them on the internet, which I understand), but just look at his baby fingers - squeezing my finger (and, as I can see, some of my hair!) the way only newborns do. ;) He had just learned to smile intentionally, and gave us some totally heart-melting baby smiles.
It was also really nice to see my oldest nephew, who just turned two, and whom I hadn't seen for several months. The last time I met him this summer, he could only speak short sentences - and now he talks like a radio and has also learned to sing. :) How I wish they lived closer to me!
Our visit involved lots of playing with Bob the Builder, Postman Pat, and their friends...
Since I missed my nephew's birthday party last month, we brought some cake along.
If I had made this cake for grown-ups only, I might have used a rich chocolate cake as a base and also added more chocolate and no banana to the filling (I'm not a big fan of banana in layer cakes) - but since this was enjoyed by a toddler as well, I used a mild vanilla cake and a more neutral tasting chocolate mousse. The cake was loved by us all. :)
Basic Vegan Vanilla Cake
I have originally copied this recipe from somewhere; but unfortunately, I have written it down by hand, and not saved the source.
- 2 c all-purpose flour
- 1 c unrefined sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp egg substitute powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 tbsp canola oil or melted vegan margarine
- 1 1/3 cups water
In a large bowl, combine the wet ingredients. In a separate bowl (or a sifter ;)), combined the dry ingredients, and blend into the wet mixture. Mix gently until well combined, but do not over-mix.
Pour the batter into the pan. Bake in the lower part of a preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the cake starts to pull away from the sides and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool in the pan for a few minutes, and then remove from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Mild Vegan Chocolate Mousse
- 250 g/9 oz silken tofu
- 1 ripe banana
- 2 tsp vanilla sugar (you can use 1 tsp vanilla extract instead)
- 170 g/6 oz chocolate chips
My chocolate mousse turned out a little grainy, and I blame it on the tofu. The tofu I used is silken tofu, but I have had the same problem with this brand earlier, too - it just doesn't turn smooth and silky like most other brands, no matter how much you blend. However, it was the only silken style tofu in the store I visited, and since it was organic as well, I went with it anyways. Everyone else said they couldn't notice the grainy texture at all, so it was still good. :)
I cut the cake into two layers, and filled it with freshly frozen raspberries from my parents' neighbors' garden. Mmm...summer!
I didn't use anything to moisten the cake, as I expected the raspberries to release enough juice/water as they melt. However, the cake turned out a little dry, so next time I would use a little vanilla soy milk or raspberry juice for moisture.
*Please note! Be careful if using store-bought frozen raspberries: there have been several norovirus (food poisoning) outbreaks in Europe traced back to contaminated Polish raspberries. Unless you can find local - and definitely clean - raspberries, I suggest thoroughly heating them first, or using berry preserves instead.
Spread the chocolate mousse over the berries...
...and make one of my favorite chocolate glazes to top the cake with. I use this glaze on almost everything - including one of my very favorite summer treats, a vegan chocolate-blueberry cake.
Recipe from here. The chocolate cake here is really good, too!
- 1/2 c sugar
- 4 tbsp margarine
- 2 tbsp non-dairy milk
- 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
Stir in the vanilla, and pour over the cake. Spread quickly, as this dries really fast! I was a little too slow (once again ;)), hence the slightly uneven surface.
Add any sprinkles or decorations you like... I believe the red flowers and the bear's red shirt were not vegan, but since I was the only vegan and they were on the top of the cake only, I just didn't eat them. If I had had more time, I probably would have attempted to create the decorations from scratch (using marzipan) - but as I only had a short evening to prepare the cake, I went with the store-bought ones.
As I brought the cake to my sister's, I made the cardinal mistake of an aunt: I left the cake on the countertop while we ate lunch. As you can guess, my sharp-sighted little nephew spotted the bear cake, and promptly lost his appetite for lunch. I guess I still have things to learn before I have children of my own, huh? ;)
I hope I won't spoil your appetite, but I can't help but show you the scariest Jack O'Lantern ever, spotted near my sister's house:
Obviously he has seen his better days! :D