Lest you think I spend all my time making homemade almond milk and chickpea patties, I wanted to show you what I’ve been up to my eyeballs in this weekend. THE VOLCANO CAKE.
Tommy had his “early” birthday party on Saturday (his birthday is not until July) to celebrate with his mates before school lets out and everyone goes home for summer. For most kids, the summer birthday must be pure bliss- no school or homework, time to sleep in, friends around to celebrate with… But for the ex-pat kid, having a summer birthday can bring the loneliness of saying goodbye (maybe forever) to good friends, as we all depart our host countries for the holidays. To get around this, each of my kids winds up having a couple of celebrations in order to catch both friends and family. I’m sure if I aged my children a year for each party they had, they would not only be legal, but probably older than me!
But back to the cake…I would never wanna go up against the Cake Boss (have you seen that guy??)… but I do enjoy making my kids’ birthday cakes. They choose the design, and then I execute it to the best of my ability. For not being that crafty of a person, I find both the creative and engineering aspects of cake decorating to be a mesmerising escape, and relaxing in a strange sort of way.
Did I put in anything as healthy as the date almond cocoa balls I so daintily ate ONE of the other day?
No I did not.
This beautifully calorific behemoth is about 25 pounds worth of chocolate ganache, buttercream frosting, and Oreos, with 6 recipes of vegan chocolate cake hiding deep within.
It’s lucky I work out all the time or I’d have strained my biceps just lifting it off the counter.
Wait… did I just say “vegan” chocolate cake? I did, but please don’t think I’m trying to be virtuous… it’s just the fastest cake in the West (er, East) and seriously the best chocolate cake EVER, vegan or not. (I adapted this recipe several years ago from The Joy of Cooking, Rombauer & Becker.) But once you add all that frosting and ganache, it wouldn’t matter if there were a pile of chia seeds hiding deep within, this concoction still couldn’t be classified as “healthy.”
Of course, I COULD “health-ify” the whole thing, I have the power. But I know my kids are secretly hoping to make it to their 18th birthdays without having to be polite about a chia seed kale chip birthday cake.
“Thanks, Momma, it’s umm… really good…”
Tommy’s cake request this year was a volcano, and kale chips might really go better in a rain-forest cake (take note, kids!!) So thank you, Nabisco, because even though Oreos are full of refined sugar, bleached white flour, and hydrogenated oil (aka trans fat), they did create the perfect slope for the ganache “lava” to slide down.
I decided long ago that it really doesn’t matter if the finished product fits my normal standard of “healthy.” I freely admit that my normal standard of healthy is sometimes annoyingly high, and I’ll be honest… I don’t think we should eat 100% “healthy” 100% of the time. I went down that road when I was younger, and I discovered it’s not actually called healthy, it’s called neurotic and rigid. And it’s no way to live. A better road includes celebration… spontaneity… and birthday cakes covered in chocolate. In my opinion, kids’ birthday cakes, especially when they are special-requested and homemade and all ablaze with candles and love, exist outside the boundaries of “healthy/not healthy.” You just cannot categorise such beautiful symbols of celebration this way.
Of course, this beautiful symbol of celebration has enough sugar and chocolate to put at least 52 people into a diabetic coma, much less the 10 kids that actually attended the party. So I’ll be wanting to share the leftovers. Part of the joy of celebration is sharing, right??
Vegan Chocolate Cake
- 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups cold water
- 1/3 cup light olive oil (not extra-virgin)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- Heat oven to 180 C (350 F.) Grease and flour a 9x13 rectangular pan or 2 8-inch round pans.
- Whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
- Combine the cold water, olive oil, vinegar, and vanilla in a measuring cup or small mixing bowl.
- Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture, and stir to combine. Stir briskly for about 1 minute until mixture is very smooth. Pour into prepared pan/s.
- Bake for about 25 minutes for a 9x13 pan or 20-22 minutes for 8 inch round pans. Test with a wooden pick- cake is done when pick comes out mostly clean.
- Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then remove from pan if desired and cool completely before frosting. This cake is also great just plain.
2 thoughts on “The Volcano Cake”
And I was about to ask, “why five layers of VEGAN cake if the whole thing was packed with calories already… I read down to the next paragraph and found out. Yum!
Yup, the vegan chocolate cake is the BEST! Discovered it when Theda was in Grade 3 & one of her classmates was allergic to eggs. Never looked back! But yes, the whole thing is packed with calories… in the best way possible… 😉