Tag Archives: vctotw

Another Cake, What is Wrong With You!??!!!?

Clearly there is some demon compelling me to turn on the oven in 90 degree weather.  Demon, thy name is birthday month.  Everyone is born in August.  There is some surplus in baby-making that goes on around the holiday season and results in subsequent massive cake consumption in the month of August.

So, what up Chocolate Mocha Cake with Strawberries and Chocolate Buttercream Icing?

Cake Recipe can be found in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.  Isn’t it about time you own that?  I multiplied the recipe by 1.5 and filled two 8 inch cake pans with the batter.  I also added some instant espresso powder just for kicks.  I’ve heard that espresso gives chocolate a deeper flavor.  Mmm.


1/2 C vegetable shortening

1/2 C margerine

4 C powdered sugar

1/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder

2 T maple syrup


  • Mix the shortening and margerine together until combined and creamy.
  • Add in the powdered sugar and whisk until thoroughly incorporated.
  • Add the cocoa powder and mix until color is even throughout.
  • Stir in the maple syrup until thoroughly combined.
  • Chill in the fridge until ready to use.

I added the maple syrup because I felt like the icing needed something to make it richer.  Since the cake wasn’t too sweet, the icing flavor wasn’t cloying.  I thinly sliced up strawberries and added them in with a layer of the buttercream between the two cake layers.  As the cake set up in the fridge, the strawberry juices soaked into the cake and added even more moistness.  Awesome.

We had the cake at a restaurant in Silverlake to celebrate my friend Greg’s birthday.  Our waitress was so nice that we gave her a big piece.  So … the cake was eaten Monday night.  It’s now Friday night and I’m still getting compliments on how good it was.

Those people aren’t singing “Happy Birthday.”  They are singing “Thank You Sweet Baby Jesus In Diapers For Inventing This Cake” to the tune of the Hallelujah Chorus.  And the birthday boy with his eyes closed?  He’s not laughing – he’s having an out-of-body cakesensory experience the likes of which human minds cannot conceive.


Sorry about the blurry nighttime pictures.

It Puts the Buttercream on It’s Cake Or Else …

Aaaah it’s Daring Bakers time again kiddies!  This time the recipe is a:

Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream
From Great Cakes by Carol Walter

I managed to be in a foreign kitchen for yet another challenge.  Faaabulous. However, the timing was perfect because I was on vacation with my family and for our annual “Happy Birthday to Everyone” party, I am the delegated cake-maker.  I didn’t tell anyone in my (Southern, meat, butter, cheese, milk loving) family that this happened to be a vegan cake until after everyone finished swooning over how delicious it was.  Oopsies?  I also had to explain what the word vegan meant to a couple people, but hey, it’s all about spreading the word one cake at a time.

I must be honest, I cut a lot of corners trying to make this recipe as close to the original as possible – and vegan.  The hard part was figuring out how to substitute the obscene amount of separated eggs.  So, I made two 9″ cakes – based on a VCTOTW recipe for Almond Cupcakes.  In one cake, I used corn starch as an egg substitute and soy yogurt in the other.  Silly me forgot which cake was which when they were in the oven so my experiment was for naught.  One of the cakes rose a lot higher and was fluffier (probably the soy yogurt?) and the other was denser and rose 2/3 as much as the other.  It would be good to know which was which!  I skipped the whipped cream all together because I simply didn’t have the resources to make it work 😦 The buttercream was also a VCTOTW recipe with my filbert almond paste added.  That’s right kiddies, it’s all almonds all the time.  I used the VCTOTW ganache recipe – can we see a theme here?

Oh, isn’t that lovely?  Obviously I need to work on my ganache skills.  I think I just needed to make a bigger batch and do a second cover.  I read a few tutorials, and next time it will be shiny and smooth like a really nice hairstyle.

I did use rum in my sugar syrup and in the buttercream – I like the added kick that alcohol adds to baked goods.  When I worked in a French bakery, we brushed layer cakes with cointreau and other liquers.  I also used apricot preserves to cover the crumb layer under the ganache.  I hate fruit with chocolate (except strawberry) but the apricot flavor was just a whispy hint of something special – really lovely.

The final product was immensely lauded.  The joke going around the table was how impressed everyone was with my skills – my driving to the bakery and picking up cake skills.

A rather unappetizing look at the inside of my cake – but it was devoured so quickly that this is all I got!  This isn’t my proudest Daring Bakers attempt, but I think it might have been the most delicious (so far).

Almond Mocha Cupcakes


I can’t even explain how good these are. I took them to a party and they were met with grunts of appreciation. That’s really all I need to make me happy. I should marry a caveman.  The whole process took a pretty long time since I had to make the mousse, ganache, and cupcakes separately and THEN let them all sit long enough to have everything chilled during assembly.


I took the Hazelnut Mocha recipe from VCTOTW and changed everything over to almonds because I am cheap frugal! It also helps me to not devour an entire pan of cupcakes by making them with something I’m mildly allergic to. I tricked myself out of gluttony. The inside of these are stuffed with an almond mocha mousse and covered with the rich chocolate ganache and a sprinkling of chopped almonds. I used my coffee grinder to make almond meal for part of the flour since I don’t have a food processor. It worked perfectly, considering all I needed was 1/3 cup almond meal.


They are soooo rich and have an amazing chocolate/almond/cinnamon/nutmeg explosion going on. It took me twenty minutes to eat one because my eyes kept rolling back in my head and I feared an all out food coma. I also have a bunch of leftover mousse and ganache that will either be turned into a pie or some truffles. We’ll see where the weekend takes me!