*This post was submitted by Dozen Flours.
It's been a while since I've dragged out the fondant supplies but it was well worth the effort. I was asked to make this cake for my friend's son, Connor, to celebrate his first birthday. Stephanie asked for simple fire engine cake that would be big enough to feed about ten people, but I couldn't help but get but get a little carried away.
Since little Connor's tummy isn't really ready for all the dairy and gluten that are standard fare in a traditional birthday cake, I suggested that I make a vegan cake that was also gluten free. After a little bit of discussion, Stephanie eventually picked a carrot cake with chai buttercream and I set to work.
I know what you're thinking, but if you've never tried a vegan cake, you're in for something really special. I love that the ingredients aren't muddled; instead textures and flavors are celebrated boldly. When I first moved here ten years ago, I tried my first vegan apricot thumbprint cookie from The Flying Apron Bakery
and I was hooked forever! So I was thrilled when I received their cookbook, "Flying Apron's Gluten-free & Vegan Baking Book
" from my friend Mandy for Christmas. I was so excited I think I actually jumped up and down! I couldn't wait to try making one of Jennifer Katzinger's recipes in my kitchen.(Thanks Mandy!)
As for the design of the cake, I didn't have a muse really, but made the cake just by looking at a few photos online and imagining it in my head. To make the cake, I baked one single layer half-sheet cake and cut it into three pieces that were roughly 10" x 5" (I used a tissue box measure the pieces). With the left over cake, I cut two small squares about 3" or so leaving one nice piece to snack on (or to give your lactose and egg intolerant neighbor) and stacked those on top to create the front part of the fire truck. I used the chai buttercream to fill and frost the cake, chilled it for about an hour to firm up, and finally covered and decorated it using Satin Ice fondant.
And because I love this cookbook and bakery so much, I'm giving away one to one lucky reader. To enter, just leave me a comment below (no email please) and please be sure to include a link to your blog or your email address in your comment. *If you don’t provide a way for me to contact you, you will not be entered to win! Contest is only open to those that live in the United States (my apologies to my foreign readers!) All entries must be received by January, 15th. A winner will be selected at random and announced on Sunday, January 17th. Sorry - this contest is now closed.
And the winner is.... Samantha, entry 27! Congrats Samantha!
Vegan Carrot Cake with Chai "Buttercream"adapted from Jennifer KatzingerCake
2 cups of brown rice flour
1 1/4 cups garbanzo/chickpea flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup of canola oil
2 cups water (room temperature)
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1 cup agave syrup
1 cup frozen 100% pineapple juice concentrate that's been defrosted and at room temperature
5 medium organic carrots, grated (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 cups chopped walnuts
1 cup golden raisins
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Spray either 3 9" cake pans or 1 half-sheet pan with plan vegetable cooking spray and then line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the rice and chickpea flours, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
In very large bowl, combine the canola oil, water, vanilla, agave syrup, and juice concentrate together. Stir together until it's pretty well combined.
Add the flour mixture to the canola oil mixture and mix together until thoroughly combined. Be sure to break up and clumps.
Using the bowl that you had previously used for the flour mixture, combine the carrots, coconut, walnuts, and raisins. Mix it together as best as you can (it's okay to use your hands!) and then fold it into the canola/flour mixture until it's combined.
Pour the batter into the pan(s) and shake it a bit to even it out. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the tops of the cake is slightly golden brown. Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack before you remove it from the pan. Once it's totally cool, you can frost it. Chai "Buttercream"
1 2-pound bag of powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
2 1/2 teaspoons ground clove
2 cups vegetable shortening (you can also use solid Palm oil but it can be hard to find)
3/4 cup really hot, strongly steeped chai tea (I like Numi's Ruby Chai
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a little bowl combine the salt, cardamom, and ground clove. Add it to the powdered sugar and mix just until it's combined. Sift the powdered sugar mixture and set aside.
In a stand mixer, beat the vegetable oil by itself on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Slowly add the powdered sugar mixture in three batches, beating until soft and somewhat incorporated, being sure to scrape down the bowl and the beaters at least once.
Add half of the very hot chai tea and mix together by hand, doing you best to break up the sugar mixture. The hot tea should soften the sugar mixture and although it will still be thick and lumpy and probably even a bit difficult to mix, it will eventually soften up and absorb the majority of tea. Repeat the process again with the remaining tea and mix together as best as you can. Put the mixing bowl back on the stand mixer and mix on low for about 20 seconds, just to get it moving in the bowl. Gradually increase the speed to medium-high and mix for a long as five to eight minutes until the buttercream comes together and you don't see any clumps of shortening. Be sure to scrape down the bowl and the blade (yes, even if you have a Beater Blade!) When it's good and incorporated, cover it with plastic wrap and keep it at room temperature until you're ready to use it.
The cake makes about 18 cups of batter, enough to make lots of cupcakes, 3 9" cakes, or one half-sheet cake. The buttercream makes about 6 1/2 cups of frosting. Would I Make This Again?
I would as it was really very good and it's a great choice for those who are lactose and gluten intolerant. I think next time though I might make a maple buttercream or something a little more benign so as not to compete with the carrot cake.
* The cookbook giveaway is not sponsored by Fly Apron Bakery. I'm giving it simply because I love them!
What are some unusually-shaped cakes that you have seen and liked, or know how to make?