Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ashy's Second B-day!

Last year, I did cupcakes, but now that Ash is two, she has a keen understanding what birthdays are all about – cake, candles and presents. Given that I couldn’t simply grab a cake from the store since there aren’t a lot of vegan options around, and I didn’t have the extra cash to outsource the production of a vegan themed cake, I decided to make one – and a big one at that to serve almost 20 people.

I bought 2 9x13 pans, with the goal of stacking the cake so I could serve more people. I had looked at converting other recipes to suit this pan format, but decided to go with something tried and true – Vcon’s Coconut Lemon Bundt Cake. I made the recipe twice in two separate bowls (good idea from my mom, as there’s so much batter that I wouldn’t have had a bowl big enough to mix 2 batches at once!) and baked for about 40-45 minutes, as per this site’s recommendations. It turned out great! I decided to freeze the layers on two separate cookie sheets as I made it the day before the party and find it easier to ice frozen cakes anyways.

And now here’s where my history of birthday disasters begins. I’m not sure what happened. I looked for a frosting with little sugar…maybe agave? All seemed too glaze-like and not fitting my image for what the cake would look like. Again, trying to stick to my tried-and-true mantra, I thought that I would make the same chocolate mousse topping that I did for my mom’s bday, but since I didn’t want to give Ash that this time, I thought I’d use the vegan white chocolate chips I had bought from my overly-expensive Vegan Essentials order last year. I should have noted that the term ‘Decorator's Chips’ is not the same as ‘chocolate chips’ or ‘baking chocolate’. Even though the ingredient listing is only sugar and cocoa butter, these things are waaaayyy to oily to bake with. It might turn out OK in the use of cookies, but once melted, they take on a grainy feel. It was disaster when I mixed them with the silken tofu in my food processor. After Kyle suggested mixing it up better with my immersion blender, things seemed OK – until the morning of the party.

The mousse was a gloopy mess. I tried mixing half of the ‘mousse’ with icing sugar, but I would have needed about 10 lbs of icing sugar just to get the runny mess to be a firm frosting. So I scrapped that and tried to think of another plan. I could go with VCTOTW’s buttercream frosting, but I would want to cut the sweetness with a different middle layer. I then tried heating the other half of the mousse and adding a little cornstarch and coconut extract, thinking I might be able to salvage it and make a coconut cream. Again, these damn chips stayed grainy and it was an even bigger disaster than trying to make the mousse. So I scrapped that too. I then decided to make the same lemon curd I made for my cake this year, and use all Earth Balance for the buttercream frosting (two batches required!). Everything then turned out perfectly. With everything ice cold, the filling didn’t seep out, and I could ice the cake with no issues. I wish I had time to pipe something more elaborate, but Ash was happy with the simplicity of the decorations.

Unfortunately, the disaster didn’t end there. I used the bread recipe Tracy shared with me and attempted to use it for pizza dough. I thought it was pretty runny, but I then stupidly covered it to rise using a dry tea towel. Obviously when I went to bake it, I tore away about half of the dough. Tracy told me it was good, but I’m convinced that she was just being nice.

All in all, I think everyone had fun – especially the birthday girl.


The Real Me said...

The cake turned out rather pretty and your daughter is darling.

The Walmart Vegan

vaalea said...

I found the vegan white choco chips in the huge kosher section of the Woodroffe Loblaws... they also had vegan jello... same brands as online vegan stores...