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: Velvet Cake

Because I love the people who read Bummed Out Baker so much my gift to you this Valentine’s Day is my pièce de résistance. My magnum opus. Ev.ery.thing. I give to you: red velvet cake… without the red.

For my thoughts on food coloring and another fabulous recipe, see my Velvet Crinkle Cookies.

Ingredients

Cake

2 c non-dairy milk
2 t apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
2 c cane sugar
4 T cocoa powder
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t sea salt
2/3 c coconut oil
4 t vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract

Icing

1/2 c organic Earth Balance butter, softened
1/2 c cream cheese
1 t vanilla extract
6-8 c powdered sugar
vegan sprinkles, if desired (I like Fancy Sprinkles – I mean just look at them!)

non-dairy milk + apple cider vinegar
some lumps in your batter = okay

Instructions

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line bottoms of two round cake pans with parchment paper, then lightly oil them.
  2. Combine milk and vinegar in a medium bowl and let it sit for about five minutes, allowing it to curdle.
  3. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt.
  4. Stir sugar into dry ingredients.
  5. Stir coconut oil, vanilla extract, and almond extract into milk mixture, whisking well to combine.
  6. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, stirring until ingredients come together. Small lumps (especially of coconut oil) are okay and expected! Be careful not to over mix.
  7. Pour batter evenly into the two cake pans.
  8. Bake 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of each cake comes out clean. Keep an eye on them after the thirty minute mark.
  9. Remove pans from oven and allow to cool completely.
  10. Meanwhile, rinse and wipe out large bowl to prepare for icing.

Icing

  1. Whip softened butter until fluffy, about a minute.
  2. Add cream cheese and continue to whip until well-combined.
  3. Stir in vanilla extract.
  4. One to two cups at a time, add powdered sugar to the mixture. After about five cups, stop mixer, taste icing, and adjust to your preference. If too cream cheesy, add more powdered sugar.

I like my icing with just a hint of cream cheese, so I typically use 7-8 cups of powdered sugar.

Since I’m #NotAChef and don’t have sweet icing / sprinkles skills I cut a heart out of a piece of computer paper and then used the outline to poorly guide the heart o sprinkles pictured above. Sprinkles scattered all over the countertop and floor and then I promptly dropped a full bottle seltzer water in the kitchen that exploded everywhere and made everything a wet, rainbow disaster. I screamed and shouted for help and Rick, entranced in Madame Secretary, did not come to my aid. I know Téa Leoni’s super hot but jeez Rick GOOD THING IT WASN’T A REAL EMERGENCY.

Anyway, the cake was fabulous. Rick says I make the best cake in the world and, since he’s leaving me for Téa Leoni, he has no reason to lie about my baking.

Adapted from Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes Recipe.


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Recipe: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy vegan birthday to me!

Ten years ago this January I stopped eating meat. My friend Brennan loaned me her copy of Skinny Bitch and, despite it’s problematic, shame-y language, I was forever changed.

In one day I began eating vegan, stopped smoking, and ditched caffeine. Three days and one gnarly withdrawal headache later, I reunited with my college sweetheart, coffee. But since that first day, cigarettes and meat have been out of my life.

I ate solidly vegan for a year and a half and was glow-y AF. Over the years I added back in cheese, removed cheese, added eggs, added seafood, removed seafood, added cheese, removed eggs, etc. etc. etc. You get the point. My diet has been tweaked according to my needs, but the primarily plant-based aspect has been steadfast.

So, today I celebrate TEN YEARS of plant-based eating with a vegan recipe I’ve been making since the beginning: chocolate chip cookies.

When I lived in my sorority house meat-loving frat stars would come over and house these things and my sisters even created a Facebook fan page called Bailey’s Vegan Cookies. I mean come on, a fan page for ONE recipe. That is a testament. Enjoy!

Ingredients

2 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 T baking soda
1 t sea salt
1 1/2 c cane sugar
1 1/4 c coconut oil
1/4 c cold water
1 T molasses
1/2 T vanilla extract
4-5 oz chocolate chips (I like Enjoy Life)

Optional:
1/2 c chopped walnuts

molasses for color + iron
walnuts for omega-3s

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F and line baking sheets with parchment.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and sea salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Using a stand or hand mixer, mix sugar and coconut oil on medium until creamy.
  4. Mix in water, molasses, and vanilla until well combined.
  5. With mixer on low, add a third of flour mixture to wet ingredients until almost completely combined. Repeat two more times until flour mixture is fully incorporated, careful not to over-mix.
  6. Fold in chocolate chips and chopped walnuts (if using) until just combined.
  7. Using a spoon or cookie dough scoop, evenly space cookie dough balls on the baking sheets about two inches apart.
  8. Bake for about eight minutes, until the edges are golden brown.*

*Baking times may vary depending on the oven and rack placement. Keep an eye on ’em!

sugar and coconut oil: so fluffy I could die
step four
mountain o cookies

For best results, eat warm ;)

Droooool.

Depending on dough ball size, this recipe yields 30-36 cookies.

Adapted from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch.


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Recipe: Sugar Cookies

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I had a weird week at school, but a good week in the kitchen. I brought these vegan sugar cookies to class on Halloween and topped them with star sprinkles because those are the spookiest sprinkles I have. The surprise ingredient in these sugar cookies is pumpkin – they’re on theme for this time of year!

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Ingredients

Cookies
1 c organic Earth Balance
1 c sugar, plus more for topping
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c pumpkin puree
2 t vanilla extract
3 1/2 c flour
1 T arrowroot powder
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t sea salt
2-3 t non-dairy milk

Frosting
1/2 c organic Earth Balance
1/2 t vanilla extract
3 c powdered sugar
Splash non-dairy milk
Sprinkles (optional)

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Instructions

Cookies

  1. Add softened butter to a large mixing bowl and cream with a mixer.
  2. Add sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin. Beat for one minute.
  3. Sift flour, arrowroot powder, sea salt, baking soda, and baking powder over butter mixture.
  4. Mix until until just combined, being careful not to over mix.
  5. Add non-dairy milk and mix until soft dough forms. If dough appears too wet, add flour 1 T at a time.
  6. Cover and freeze dough for 15 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 350° F and position rack in the center of oven.
  8. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop chilled dough into balls, about 1 T each. Arrange 2-3 inches apart to allow for spreading.
  9. Dip the bottom of a glass into sugar and gently mash balls down into discs to help them cook more evenly.
  10. Bake for about 10 minutes, or slightly golden brown.
  11. Remove cookies from oven and let rest on the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a plate to cool completely.

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Frosting

  1. Rinse mixing bowl clean and add butter. Beat until light and fluffy.
  2. Mix in vanilla.
  3. Add powdered sugar 1/2 c at a time and continue mixing until thick and creamy.
  4. Splash in a little non-dairy milk to thin. You want the frosting to hold shape once on the cookies, so only add a little milk. Add more powdered sugar if it gets too thin.
  5. Once completely cooled, frost cookies and top with sprinkles, if desired.
  6. Store covered leftovers at room temperature for 3-4 days.

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Yields ~36 cookies.

Adapted from 1-Bowl Vegan Sugar Cookies.


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Recipe: Strawberry Cake

 

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Look, I get it. Sometimes gorgeous strawberries mesmerize you at the grocery store and the next thing you know you have two pounds of them in your fridge at home. This cake is one great way to use up those summer strawberries.

Ingredients

Cake:
2 c and 3 T whole wheat pastry flour
1 c cane sugar
1 t baking soda
1/2 t sea salt
1 c puréed strawberries*
1/3 c canola or olive oil
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 T ground flax
3 T hot water

 

 

 

 

*Wash, hull, then purée strawberries in a food processor or blender.

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Frosting:
~4 c powdered sugar
1/4 c organic Earth Balance
1/4 c puréed strawberries
1 t vanilla extract

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  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two 9″ cake pans* with parchment paper and lightly oil.
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and sea salt.
  3. Prepare a flax egg by mixing the ground flax with 3 T of hot water from the kettle. Allow to sit for a moment.
  4. Mix the purée, oil, vinegar, and flax egg into the flour mixture. The batter will be very thick, so either use a spoon or the cookie dough attachment of a stand mixer until just combined. Be mindful not to over-mix.
  5. Divide batter evenly between the cake pans and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool completely before frosting.
  7. Mix powdered sugar, butter, purée and vanilla with a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer. Start slowly, increasing speed until frosting is thick, fluffy, and smooth.
  8. Decorate frosted cake with fresh strawberries.

 

 

*For a taller, more narrow cake use 7″ cake pans and bake for about 30 minutes.

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I am not a fan of food coloring, but as you can see the strawberries give the icing a gorgeous natural pink color.

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Serves ten.

 

 

Adapted from VEGAN STRAWBERRY CAKE WITH STRAWBERRY FROSTING.