While cake is not necessarily my dessert of choice, I do enjoy the occasional slice or oh-so-pretty cupcake (all vegan, of course). And it doesn't take a specialist to distinguish the good from the bad. Last year, my mother unsurprisingly insisted upon the necessity of cake for my birthday, but having not had the opportunity to acquire a vegan confection, she managed to get me to bake my own cake, despite my attempts to convince her of its triviality. I whipped up a Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream using the recipes from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's The Joy of Vegan Baking, filling and topping the chocolate creation with some of the first strawberries of the season from my family's favorite, very local strawberry farm.
Last week, that same insistence upon upholding tradition for my family's acknowledgment of 20-something years of my earthly existence yielded not just one, but two vegan cakes, neither of them a product of my own effort. The first, a very moist chocolate-orange treat studded with chopped almonds and drenched in rich ganache, was my mother's first attempt at intentionally-vegan baking. I loved everything about that cake. Unfortunately, I have no photos to share with you, but believe me, it was pretty fantastic.
Cake No. 2 was a different story. The day of my birthday, Mom and I set out to collect ingredients for dinner. While perusing the bakery section of the grocery store, we came upon a small selection of six-inch cakes from Fabe's All Natural Bakery, with three apparently vegan varieties. My mom, perhaps feeling guilty about the previous year's cake situation and also likely as curious about this prepackaged vegan dessert as I was, had me select a cake, despite having already prepared a perfectly delicious homemade one that morning. So I chose the Banana Cake; my other options were Carrot Cake and Triple Chocolate, but I'm not a big fan of carrot cake and another chocolate cake wouldn't lend itself to much variety.
Because this has been a rare week in February without a birthday cake, a chocolate craving gave me an excuse to--what else?--bake a cake. Since stumbling across this recipe for Hot Fudge Cake at the Affectioknit blog, I have been waiting for an excuse to try it out. I gave it a go last night, indulging in the cake's brownie-and-chocolate-pudding-like decadence.
The last of the birthdays is just around the corner, so it is yet to be seen what next week's cake will be. To be perfectly honest, I don't think I'll mind a break from both the celebrations and the ultra-rich desserts that accompany them...at least for the time being.