Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Gluten-Free, Vegan Birthday Cake!

For years now, I have been experiencing this random craving for cake. Normally I crave cinnamon rolls, doughnuts, or homemade pies. But every once in a while, I really want cake. This craving would come upon me suddenly, and I would walk my neighborhood searching for the perfect slice of cake. Not just any cake, but a moist cake with just the right frosting and just the right flavor. Every time I bought a slice, I ended up disappointed. I didn't know what I was looking for exactly. I just knew I wasn't finding it. Since I've been gluten-free, those days of wandering have gone away. Ever tried aimlessly searching the streets looking for the perfect slice of gluten-free cake? Right. Now if I have a craving, I have to search the internet to see if there are any gluten-free bakeries near me. Or even better (and much more cost effective), I can just make it myself. Of course, when it comes to gluten-free baking, I have as many flops as I do successes. Especially now since I am also eating dairy-free. And often refined sugar-free. And nut free. And coconut free. get the point, right? And as this was my birthday, I didn't want to experiment with my own recipe and risk a failed cake.

This is why, in my last post, I asked for suggestions on the perfect birthday cake. I got many wonderful ideas, and now have a list of recipes I want to try. However, my friend Ari made a great recommendation of a gluten-free, vegan, and refined sugar-free chocolate cake from The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen. Ali and Tom's recipes have been inspiring me for months (you can read about my experiences on their elimination diet here), and I am now even more excited to unearth their cookbook which I packed up for my move. I have to admit that I am one of those people who loves cookbooks, but rarely actually tries any recipes from them. Well, after baking this chocolate cake, I will not be making that mistake with Ali and Tom's recipes! If they are anything like the cake, I can't go wrong!

Let me tell you a little about this amazing vegan chocolate cake. First of all, it did something I wasn't actually expecting. It satisfied my craving. Next time I find myself needing to have the perfect bite of cake, I'll know what to make. No more aimless wandering for me! This cake is sweetened with agave nectar, maple syrup, and prunes, which my mom reminded me of when I felt guilty for having a piece after breakfast this morning. "It's a healthy cake," she told me. Well, healthier at least. The prunes also give it a delightfully moist texture that held up on day two. I was a bit afraid it would get dry the next day, but I actually liked it even better after it chilled in the fridge overnight. The frosting called for a cup of maple syrup but I only used half of that, and it was still sweet enough. Instead of beet juice to color it, I added a few chopped strawberries while mixing, but otherwise I followed the directions. And it did call for coconut oil, which was on my "avoid" list. But I just replaced that with canola oil, and it was fine. 

Will I be making this cake again? Oh yeah! But only if, like on this birthday, I have a lot of people to share it with. It was gone in two days, but there were eight of us eating it. I would hate to make it for myself and see it also be gone in two days...without anyone else's help! Believe me...I liked it enough that I could see that happening. 


Farty Girl said...

Wow. YES. YES. YES. I got exactly what yr talking about - the search for cake. You nailed it with the moistness. Moistness is key! Thanks for posting the link to the recipe and this site and your gorgeous pictures! So glad to hear you made a successful something for your birthday, and that it was so satisfying! :)

gfe--gluten free easily said...

Happy Birthday, Iris! All of Ali and Tom's cookbook recipes are wonderful. They always surprise you. I haven't had the cake yes, but that looks incredible. Love all the photos ... birthdays are the best!

Happy birthday hugsss,

Just Call Me Zippy said...

I can't wiat to try this. Since having to cut out dairy and gluten, I've all but given up on having cake or frosting. Did you put candles on top of this cake for your birthday?

I understand having a mountainous cookbook stash. I will see a few recipes that I like and buy them thinking "one day I will cook that". Then they get pushed aside and I never open them again. I have recently checked out a few cookbooks for children w/autism (GFCF) from the library and am liking one of them enough to purchase. This recipe book may have to be on my shelf, too.

As always, thanks for sharing your recipes and your life with us!

Maggie said...

Love your picture Iris - of the flowers too. Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing your birthday cake experience with us. Everyone needs to have a yummy treat on their birthday. I'm glad you did!

Sarah (GF vegan) said...

Happy birthday! This cake looks awesome! Can't wait to try out the recipe- had forgotten about the blog you got the recipe from :) x

Fayinagirl (means Free One) said...

Oh my gosh that cake looks amazing. I miss cake SO much. ;-)

saxifrage said...

Well since my comment on your last post mysteriously disappeared, I'll say it again: Happy birthday, my dear! How was the P.F. Chang's dinner? Did you by any chance order the Redbridge beer? It's surprisingly delicious.

And now, onto this cake, which you have so beautifully photographed for your post. Seriously--gorgeous photography here. It looks exactly as you described; I might just make it in the very near future (I just need to come up with a special occasion... hmm. 4th of July?). Oh, and my birthday is in November, so I'm giving you permission in advance to bake it for me!!!

Linda said...

Happy Birthday Iris! I love the pictures. The cake looks delicious. It's great to find something like that that meets your needs and fits your cravings.

Stephanie said...

Hooray! Looks like you found exactly what you needed. I am excited to add this cookbook to my next amazon order. That cake looks and sounds delicious!
P.S. I am totally one of those cookbook junkies who has barely tried any of the recipes from most of the books I own :P

Melissa @ For the Love of Health said...

Happy Birthday!
The cake looks soooo good!
Check out my blog for my giveaway :-)

Aubree Cherie said...

It does look pretty fantastic! I can relate to the needing to share with others thing - I would have a really hard time not eating all of it by myself :) I'm definitely flagging this cake recipe to try sometime. Thanks for sharing your version! I love the strawberry addition too.

Happy Birthday again :)

~Aubree Cherie

Zoe @ Z's Cup of Tea said...

Happy birthday, Iris! The cake looks marvelous - tasty, too! :) Why aren't you eating coconut? Are you allergic, or just trying something out? Coconut is hyperallergenic as a very small percentage of people are allergic to it, so I'm just curious.

Iris said...

Thanks Zoe! If I eat coconut, my face gets flushed. If I eat it a lot, the flush starts traveling to my neck. I have a feeling if I cut it out for a while, I might be able to go back to eating it every once in a while.

Naina said...

I have enjoyed catching up on all your posts!
Thanks again!
Your Birthday Cake looks delicious. :)
Happy Birthday!


Heather said...

I just had to click on this post and look at the picture of the cake.


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