"Feel my forehead!" This has become my new mantra. Then I grab Dr. Thyme's reluctant hand and slap it up against my clammy head for him to get a taste of what it's like to be a "human generator". If the thought of cake and hot flashes don't appeal to you, well, that's too bad. I am coming undone. This heat, combined with my body's inability to find a normal core temperature, is absurd, maddening, frustrating and on and on . . . you get the idea.
This cake was the third of its kind on a quest to adapt THE best vegan white layer cake I could muster.
Heat wave be damned. (Yes, if you are thinking, Sister are you nuts?! Of course you'll suffer MORE hot flashes when you crank the oven to 350 when it's 120 outside! Get a hold of yourself for crying out loud!) The entire notion of white layer cake came thanks to an email inquiry I received from a fellow cake lover wondering whether or not I had a recipe for a "white cake. . . the kind like you'd get at a bakery". I knew exactly what kind that was. That's the kind of cake we'd order for special events in my office. The kind of cake I'd get when what I really wanted was a true sugar coma. The kind of cake that I'd sneak into first to get that big flower from the corner piece! This cake is one of my all time favorite cakes and has been MIA since becoming vegan (despite the many cake making adventures I've had). And because the mere mention of cake of any kind sends me reeling, I felt obliged to try.
First, I would like to pose a question to all the scientists right now trying to solve global warming--or shall we call it, "Earth: Mother Nature's Easy Bake Oven". Can we harness the energy trailing through my veins to the grid? There has to be someone who can come up with a plan to link my menopause to reduced energy consumption during heat waves. There just has to be.
This cake was sublime. It actually has been a mainstay here in this household for the past few weeks. Of the three vegan white cakes I've attempted, this last version was my favorite. And who do you think I turned to for wisdom? Rose Levy Beranbaum and The Cake Bible. This was on my third attempt. Why I waited this long before flipping to this recipe is beyond me. Perhaps you can ask Sybil--the other me taking up residence in my body.
My first two recipe attempts, while good, were not exactly what I wanted. I have the America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book cookbook. I trust these guys with all my heart. (And I try to be fair to all my cookbooks.) Their recipe for white layer cake was my first attempt. It was a good cake. But sadly, during the baking process--toward the end, my cake sank in the middle. Not to be outdone by a little technicality like a sunken middle, I made do with this cake, piled more buttercream frosting in the "hole" and we enjoyed its cake-ness for a week. But I had to try again. Second attempt was with a Taste of Home Baking Book. I love the Taste of Home folks. I spend a large amount of time in check-out lines oogling their magazines and food. Unfortunately the vegan version of their cake not only fell, but the texture of the cake was akin to a loosely-baked Twinkie. The cake batter baked up to such a moist, rich mess--I hate to admit it, but it was almost too much cake-sweetness for me. By now, I knew my only option was to turn to Rose. She rules cake. And as I mixed my batter for the third time, then placed it in the oven, I peeked in on the little punkins' and saw this beautiful, perfectly risen cake. I was as happy as a clam. (Okay and down about five pounds from the sweat pouring off me in the meantime).
So, I dub Rose's cake the winner! And we are now on our fourth night of this cake. I store it in the fridge. I think the best way to enjoy this kind of cake is cold and from the fridge. I used some raspberry jam as part of my filling because in my pre-vegan days I had a white cake recipe that was made with a box mix, but called for the raspberry filling to give it that special "wedding-cake" feeling. And it did, trust me. This cake, filled with the jam in the middle, is just perfect and close, very close relative of my long-ago cake mix baking days and that makes Sybil, er, I mean ME, a very happy menopausal girl. Rose's White Velvet Cake recipe can be found here.
*I used unsalted vegetable margerine in place of the unsalted butter.
*I mixed the Ener-G replacer per the box directions for four egg whites. (Which is a teaspoon and a half of the powder mixed with two tablespoons of water per egg). When you do this, the weight measurement did not come close to the weight measurement Rose calls for for the egg whites for this cake. To solve this problem, I added enough water to my mixture to take my egg replacer to the proper weight she gives for her egg whites.
*I added 1/8 teaspoon of almond extract.
*Used unsweetend soy milk.
*Frosted with my vegan buttercream frosting. I have a dozen frosting recipes on my blog, but here is a link to one of the more recent iterations (I change them up a lot).