Saturday, August 20, 2011

Vegan Almond Cake with Real Raspberry Buttercream Frosting (When A Hike in The Woods Turns Into: No Sleep for You!)

I woke up this morning to loud thunder, bright flashes of lightening, and lots of rain (that and a couple of dogs having their usual 'panting-drooling-storm-anxiety' moments). These weather changes in August can only mean one thing: September is just around the corner. And I'm more than ready for cool, crisp mornings that require a pink terry robe and fuzzy slippers to retrieve the paper. Alas, we are still seeing daytime temps in the nineties. Blech. Our electric bill from July arrived yesterday, too. To say I nearly fainted from both the heat of the day AND our bill would be an understatement. You'd think there'd be a dispensation for record summer heat the likes of which have not been felt in fifty years. You'd think.


After last weekend's fun! hike, Dr. Thyme and I discovered, that although the nature-bonding moments were lovely and brought us back into the fold of what we both love: a hike--it also brought us back into a week of regret because we are COVERED in chigger bites! Cov-ered! After doing a bit of research on the matter of the Missouri chigger, come to find out--they are part of the spider family! Ew. And. . . they are this really nasty long-legged juvenile nuisance who gets its kicks dining on our flesh! Double Ew. The only thing that seems to work to repel them is sulfur. Sounds fun! Let's go hiking and smell like rotten eggs while we're at it. I'm sure we'd repel more than chiggers. The other option is to NOT hike again until temps reach into the low forties in the evenings. (My kind of weather!) Apparently they don't "like" the cold. Neither one of us has had a decent night's sleep since Sunday. We've gone through nearly an entire bottle of clear nail polish trying to suffocate the little bastards and the red welts they've left behind. Silly us! In our euphoria of having just ONE weekend in this godforsaken state this summer whereby we'd enjoy a little R&R and mother nature time, we have now figured out why we were only one of FIVE cars in the entire place! Canada keeps looking better and better. So do any northern tier states where daytime "high" temps are in the seventies (while the rest of us bake in 120s). I'm keeping  lists and graph charts. This Northern girl is just about OVER the south. Seriously. (Okay, I still love southern food stuffs, but I can take that all with me when we check out.)
So I wanted cake. The cake keeper was empty and that's never a good thing when I'm low on sleep. And for once, chocolate was not an option. And I didn't want anything too labor intensive either. Single layer would be fine. Enter this almond cake. A perfect ending to several evenings this week. We both proclaimed this a simply wonderful cake. Sublime actually. A two-piecer for Dr. Thyme. The aroma of the cake baking was even better. Almond and vanilla extract. Come on. I'd wear that as a fragrance if I could. But then I'd probably be really hungry all the time.

And of course, I turned to my cake idol: Rose Levy Beranbaum and The Cake Bible for inspiration. And, as usual my vegan adaptation of her almond cake was spot on. She suggested a "real raspberry" buttercream frosting. And I agree one hundred percent. Lucky for me I had picked up one of those when-in-the-heck-will-I-ever-need-a-small-truckload-of-raspberries from Costco that I'd stored in the freezer. Exactly the amount needed to whip up a lovely raspberry sauce adorning the cake.
The cake bakes up perfectly in a 9" round cake pan--even had the perfect rise to it--not all sunken in the middle. Loved it!
And now for the best part. I followed Rose's suggestion and took my raspberries, drained them over a bowl, then took the juice from them, boiled it down to a syrup, then poured this into the Vitamixer with the whole raspberries creating this lovely, delicious, amazing raspberry sauce. I then incorporated a bit of the sauce into the buttercream mixture to give it that added berry punch. Perfection. This cake lasted only three nights in this house.

Vegan Almond Cake with Raspberry Buttercream Frosting
*Adapted from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

1 2/3 cups sifted cake flour (I used King Arthur's: 5.75 ounces)
1/3 cup almond flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1 cup Florida Crystals Sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted vegetable margerine
2/3 cup vegan sour cream (I used Tofutti)
1 teaspoon almond exract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs (3 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer mixed with 5-6 tablespoons water--enough to equal 3.5 ounces)

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray a 9" cake pan and line the bottom of it with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, mix together the egg mixture (which should weight 3.5 ounces: water & Egg Replacer powder) and 1/4 of the sour cream mixture and extracts and set aside. Place the dry ingredients in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer and mix on low speed for about a minute to incorporate the dry ingredients. Add the room temperature butter and remainder sour cream to this. Mix on medium speed for about two minutes--until all the dry crumbs are moistened. Gradually add the egg/extract mixture to the flour mixture--do this in three additions--and mix well after each addition. Give it one final mixing of a minute at the end for good measure. Pour the batter into the cake pan and spread the batter evenly. Bake for 35 minutes. Check cake for doneness with a toothpick inserted in the middle and if it comes out clean, it's ready. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool in pan for ten minutes. Then, carefully turn the cake out onto the cake keeper. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting--use the recipe below or here's a link to my "usual" frosting recipe. Follow the same directions, only this time, add a bit of raspberry sauce to the mixture.

1/4 cup vegetable margerine

1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1-to-2 tablespoons soy creamer
2-to-3 cups powdered sugar

Mix all together adding about 1-2 tablespoons of raspberry sauce for more intense raspberry flavor. Blend well. Save the rest of the sauce and top the cake with a drizzle of it when serving! Yum!





3 comments:

  1. The cake is SO pretty!!!! Chiggers hum???? Maybe that's what my hubby had after hanging out in front of our house. They didn't look like squito bites and there were a bunch of them. ICK. I remember when we went hiking somewhere in Missouri and we came back COVERED with BABY TICKS. We had to discard out socks in the parking lot and get home and get naked and NOT in a fun way. They were EVERYWHERE. SO GROSS!!!!
    Our Electric bill was 280!!!!!!!! And we only have air on one floor!!
    INSANE! Another argument for an underground home in our vegan survivalist cake eating compound. LOVE THE CAKE PHOTOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You seriously put any vegan baked goods in the area to shame!

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  2. Thanks GSGV Girl! If hubby has red spots that sort of look like "the measles", then that's what he has--they are unbearable! Ticks--EW! We've had those "tick" episodes as well. . . which is why I think we need a nice hard freeze and then SNOW! Not to add salt to the wound but your electric bill was a tad bigger than ours, but STILL very painful! I might enclose a nice letter with my utility bill thanking them for helping us "Cool Down"--but also ask how "bonus" provisions are handed out after the Heat Wave of The Century?! Grrrr.

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  3. Ohhhh, I'm so sorry about the chiggers. I had a run-in earlier this summer with some mosquitos that left blisters, but your chiggers sound worse. I hope you're both feeling much better and itch-free.

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