Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Here's my confession: I have yet to master the vegan cake. Papa and I rarely eat sweets, and now that the boys are competing I've stopped baking random treats for them as well. I think I have attempted a cake once in the past 18 months and that was a vanilla "wacky" cake and I didn't really care for it. We've purchased one fancy vegan bakery cake, but didn't like it either (yucky soy whipped icing) and didn't repeat that expensive mistake. For this year's birthdays we've celebrated with 1) peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, 2) a bag of Skittles, 3) Joe-Joe's cookies, and 4) apple pie.

However, I needed a cake this evening. I was moping all day because today is my mom's birthday, but she has been gone for nearly 7 years now. I gave myself permission to wallow in self-pity. I almost decided that I deserved not to cook our main meal, but frugality won out over the expense of a restaurant meal. Then toward last afternoon I realized that I can do this for the next however many decades, or I can find a different way to spend this day. Why not bake a cake instead, and celebrate her birthday and her life rather than grieve her absence in mine? Being irritable and unhappy for a whole day just takes away one day of my life, a day I will never get back.

Growing up our favorite family birthday cake was yellow cake (Betty Crocker) with chocolate frosting (again, Betty Crocker). I decided to recreate this cake to honor my mom's birthday.

I thought I was out of regular sugar, but found some lurking way back in my pantry (because I almost never bake anymore, and use sucanat when I do need a little sugar). I had a vanilla cake mix from Trader Joe's that I had intended to veganize for Papa's birthday before he chose to have pie instead. That plus a stick of Earth Balance margarine, a cup of Silk almond milk, and some Ener-G egg replacer was mixed into a cake. I powdered the the remaining sugar in my Vitamix, then made a frosting of margarine, almond milk, vanilla extract, salt, cocoa powder, and my homemade powdered sugar.

I love traditions. I wish I had started this one 7 years ago instead of today, but it is what it is.

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