Happy Birthday Bummed Out Baker! Recipe: Chocolate Birthday Cake with Whipped Cream Icing (Gluten-Free + Vegan)

Happy Birthday Bummed Out Baker!

One year ago, I scuttled into the library at my in-laws’ NYC apartment carrying a heavy cutting board loaded down with a food rainbow. I used the window’s natural light to photograph the korma I was making, and my husband and my mother in-law’s nurse looked at me suspiciously, wondering what the heck I was up to now.

I wasn’t quite sure, myself. I had an old, but decent DSLR camera, limited lighting knowledge, and an affinity for cooking and baking new things, so I decided to capture it and throw it up on my site for anyone interested. I made a deal with myself to post a new recipe every Monday for one year and here I am, 52 recipes later! I’m proud I stuck to a promise I made to myself.

Less than two months in I changed the website name from my full name to Bummed Out Baker (Why Am I the Bummed Out Baker?) in order to encapsulate the full breadth of, well, me. Although I was finally pursuing my passion for writing and had accepted a place in The New School‘s MFA Creative Writing Nonfiction cohort for fall, that didn’t take away the depression and anxiety I’ve suffered for years. Do you guys wanna guess what my thesis is about? ;)

This is not a bubbly, perfectly put together vegetarian food blog like the ones all over the internet. They’re beautiful, but that just isn’t me. Instead, I aim to present my truest self to you all and be unabashed about the mental issues I face.

Some days, I’m too wrecked to do much more than to get up, do my morning routine (bed-making, teeth-brushing, etc.), take my meds, and then crank out what’s needed for school. I work hard not to beat myself up for being unable to take on more extracurriculars or a more rigorous social schedule and always try to look for silver linings in mental illness. I will say that one thing my finite emotional gas tank and constant, sinister awareness of my own mortality (lol) have taught me is to be hyper-focused on what and who matters most. Mental illness silver lining, yay!

Mental illness manifests in a myriad of terrible, unconventional, surprising, and sometimes hilarious ways and I will continue to share what I experience here. Thank you to all those who’ve kept an open mind and have been along for the ride with me.

THIS SEASON ON REAL HOUSEWIVES OF BUMMED OUT BAKER:

  1. I will be more transparent about the issues I’m experiencing in real time.*
  2. “Don’t judge your life in comparison to someone else’s highlight reel” has become a social media platitude, and I will further that mentality.
  3. I, an average, sad person on the internet, will provide community and reinforcement to people dealing with or who are in close proximity to mental illness. You’re not alone.
  4. I will snuggle golden retrievers.

Alright, now CAKE!

Ingredients

1 can unsweetened coconut milk
1 c teff flour
1/2 c rice flour
1/2 c potato starch
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
2 ripe bananas
1 c orange juice
1/2 c olive oil
1/4 c + 2 T maple syrup
1/2 c coconut sugar
1 t vanila extract
vegan chocolate sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Refrigerate can of coconut milk overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease sides of cake pan with oil and place parchment paper on the bottom of the pan (or use cake pan w removable bottom).
  3. Combine teff flour, rice flour, potato starch, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder in a large bowl. Mix well.
  4. In a blender, add bananas, orange juice, olive oil, 1/4 c maple syrup, and coconut sugar and blend until smooth.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  6. Pour batter into cake pan.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, testing the middle of the cake with a toothpick until it comes out clean.
  8. Let cake cool completely in pan before removing.
  9. When you’re ready to ice, place mixing bowl in the freezer for about ten minutes.
  10. Turn refrigerated can of coconut milk upside down and open. Pour liquid at the top into a jar for later use (i.e., smoothies). From bottom of can, spoon out coconut fat.
  11. In the cold mixing bowl, beat together coconut fat, remaining 2 T maple syrup, and vanilla on high for about four minutes.
  12. Frost top of cake with whipped cream and sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles.

*I’ll start my candor now: this cake, although it looks delicious, tasted like a stale Luna bar with coconut guts smeared on top. The sprinkles were top notch, but you don’t have to make this cake to eat those. My advice: enjoy the photos, eat some sprinkles, but… don’t make this cake. Here’s a recipe for a truly fabulous cake.

If you’re a masochist: recipe adapted from Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Cake and Vegan Whipped Cream.


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Recipe: Spicy Lentil Tacos (Vegan + Gluten-Free)

Ingredients

2 t chili powder
1 t ground cumin
1/2 t coriander
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t sea salt
1/4 t celery salt
2 T olive oil
1/2 large white or yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
~2 c cooked brown lentils
3 T tomato paste*
~2 T water
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced
1-2 t adobo sauce from can
8 corn tortillas
~1 c romaine heart, chopped
~1 c tomatoes, diced
1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped
1 c guacamole**
1 lime, cut into wedges

*Like Antoni from Queer Eye recommends, buy tomato paste in a tube vs. in a jar. Rarely does a recipe call for an entire jar of tomato paste, and the tube keeps longer!
**If you’d like to make fresh guac at home, mash together one avocado, lime juice from 1/2 lime, 1/2 t sea sat, 1 garlic clove, minced, and ~1/8 red onion, minced. Of course there are different variations that include chopped tomatoes and / or cilantro, but the five ingredient recipe above is simple and easy to remember on the fly.

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, sea salt, and celery salt.
  2. Over medium-high heat, add olive oil, onion, and garlic to a large skillet. Cook until soft and lightly browned, about three minutes.
  3. Stir spice mix into skillet, allowing to cook 30 seconds.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and add lentils, tomato paste, water, and peppers. Cook until lentils begin holding together, 3-4 minutes. Season with adobo sauce.
  5. Optional: Warm tortillas for about a minute in a skillet over medium heat.
  6. Using about 1/3 c of lentil filling on each tortilla, top with lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, guacamole, and a squeeze of lime.
* CHOMP *
Can’t help it, girl can’t help it

Adapted from Lentil Tacos.


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Recipe: Roasted Garlic Lemon Broccoli

I promise I will lay off the broccoli for a while after this week – I know you’re probably over there like Is this Bummed Out Baker or Bummed Out Broccoli, amirite? But if you are in fact like oh waw I love broccoli, here’s another recipe: Shredded Broccoli Salad. I just like it a bunch.

Keeping with last week’s theme of super easy, quick, and tasty, here’s a way to revitalize your roasted broccoli go-to.

Ingredients

2 heads of broccoli, chopped into florets of similar size
2 t olive oil
1 t sea salt
1 t black pepper
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 T lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Toss broccoli, oil, salt, pepper, and garlic together in a large bowl.
  3. Spread broccoli in an even layer on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of your florets (longer for bigger). Remove from oven and transfer to a serving bowl.
  5. Squeeze lemon juice over broccoli before serving.
  6. Optional: top broccoli with lemon zest for extra tang.

Serves four as a side dish.

Adapted from Roasted Garlic Lemon Broccoli.


Subscribe at the bottom of Bummed Out Baker to get new recipes emailed to you every Monday – Follow on Facebook for mental health articles and discussion – Follow on Instagram for more food pics, behind-the-scenes, and my begrudging meat-eating husband captured in the wild.

Recipe: Spinach Fig Salad

First and foremost, your favorite bummed out baker (I hope that’s me) is PUBLISHED! I tied for third place in a flash memoir contest (750 words or less) put on by Writer Advice. I wrote about the last time I saw my brother, which was about ten months ago. I visited him under the bridge he was living under. Read my piece called “The Bridge” here.


Greetings! If you live in NYC you know spring has semi-sprung, but who knows. I’m actually still bummed out about the fact we didn’t get a terrible, north-of-the-wall-type winter including several feet of snow that requires staying indoors for unending weeks of darkness and the family golden retrievers to high step around in the snow shoes they hate, (deep breath) but I’m trying to get on board with sunny weather.

I know I’m a bit premature on the fig scene (optimum time = summer), but this salad is so simple, lovely to look at and tasty and can inspire your salad creations for months to come. It’s an easy, healthy recipe and the dressing is so good it makes me mad. I licked the spatula. :(

Enjoy!

Ingredients

1/3 c walnuts, roasted
1/2 c olive oil
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T dijon mustard
1 t maple syrup
1/2 t sea salt
1/2 t freshly ground pepper
2 big, giant handfuls fresh spinach
4 figs, halved
1/2 avocado, sliced
~1/4 red onion, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and roast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet for five minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
  2. Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, dijon, maple syrup, sea salt, and pepper in a blender and set aside.
  3. Assemble salads, dividing ingredients evenly between two plates: spinach, figs, avocado, onion, walnuts and, finally, drizzle it all with dressing. Serve immediately.
undressed (just like that MTV show from the early 2000s)
dressed to impress
tastebuds will be wilin’

Serves two, or perhaps one ravenous person.

There will be leftover dressing, which is something to rejoice about. Keep it in the fridge for up to a week for future salad concoctions, or drink it straight.

Adapted from Spinach Fig Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette.


Subscribe at the bottom of Bummed Out Baker to get new recipes emailed to you every Monday – Follow on Facebook for mental health articles and discussion – Follow on Instagram for more food pics, behind-the-scenes, and my begrudging husband captured in the wild.

Recipe: No Chicken Noodle Soup

April fool meat eaters with this delicious no-chicken-noodle soup. No one’s actually gonna be fooled, but it tastes good enough that no one will care.

This recipe is great to throw together for someone with a cold, including yourself – prep is v easy and the soup comes together in about 20 minutes. Sluuuurp. Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 T olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 15 oz cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 T tamari
3 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 t dried thyme
4 c vegetable broth
sea salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
1 zucchini, spiralized

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté onion, garlic, chickpeas, and tamari for about four minutes, until onion starts to soften.
  2. Add carrots, celery, thyme, sea salt, black pepper, and vegetable broth.
  3. Bring soup to boil, then lower heat and cover pot with a lid. Let soup simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Add zucchini noodles and stir about 1-2 minutes, until zucchini is wilted and tender.

Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the fridge.

Adapted from Vegetarian “Chicken” Noodle Soup.


Subscribe at the bottom of Bummed Out Baker to get new recipes emailed to you every Monday – Follow on Facebook for mental health articles and discussion – Follow on Instagram for beautiful food pics and BTS