Saturday, October 23, 2010
Bring on the Bear Cake
I'm finally back! :)

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
Preheat the oven to 175 C (350 F). Grease and flour a round 9-inch cake pan, and set aside.

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
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. In a food processor, blend the tofu and banana until smooth. Add the chocolate and vanilla, and blend until well combined. Try to resist eating it before you fill your cake... ;)

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.


Chocolate Glaze
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
In a small saucepan, bring the sugar, margarine, milk, and cocoa to a boil. Stir frequently; then reduce the heat to a simmer for two minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and stir for another five minutes.

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
 
posted by Seglare at Saturday, October 23, 2010 | Permalink |


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