Saturday, July 2, 2016

Vegan Flag Cake (Gluten Free. . .Born in the U.S.A.)

All this cake needs is Bruce Springsteen and a sparkler and you'd be set. 
I became Flag Cake obsessed this morning while catching up on some reading. More specifically this article on Food52. It showed up in my Twitter feed as I was scrolling through the "what you might like" links. Wow. They REALLY know me. The article is about the history of the (wait for it): Flag Cake.
I read the entire history of this cake from Betty Crocker to Ina Garten and Taylor Swift til now. I always assumed Flag Cake was something our mom did to the store-bought angel food cakes to make us feel less poor. Turns out, we were poor, but this cake was not our mother's invention. (Let me give credit where credit is due, she did splurge on some sparklers and a few of those awful stick things where giant plumes of color flames flew out right there in our HANDs!) 
I thought my cake making days were behind me. I mean, it's been years since I've made a cake. But being the OCD person that I am, I could not stop thinking about Flag Cakes. All morning. Until finally I announced we'd be having Flag Cake (while hiding in our home with two terrified dogs and Netflix streaming at its highest volume, fans running in every bedroom to drown out the noise. . . until this godforsaken holiday passes). 

This cake typically gets made in a 9 x 13" pan. I opted to make mine a 9" square cake pan. There is nothing fancy about this cake. It's a basic vegan yellow cake (made with Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Flour--the 1-to-1 kind), and your basic vegan buttercream frosting. I've made a hundred cakes just like this. What you want to keep in mind is that it is not going to have that airy, super crumbly texture you'd get were you using eggs and making it GF. You'll get a denser cake, which is fine because just look at the amount of berries you'll use. The cake weighs a ton, too. But serve it with a side of vanilla coconut ice cream and be ready to cry with happiness.  

Couple things on the cake making front, you'll notice I've used Ener-G egg replacer in my cake AND a flax egg. Why? The original larger cake calls for SIX eggs! So as I was parsing out how to adjust for not only it being a no egg cake, but also how the GF flour would react to all this deviation and I figured it'd be best to err on the side of caution and did the more is better thinking here. It worked!

Vegan Flag Cake (Gluten Free)

1 1/4 cup gluten free flour (I used Bob's Red Mill 1:1)
1/4 cup cornstarch (or arrowroot)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup turbinado sugar
4 tablespoons vegan butter
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer mixed with 6 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon ground flax with 2 tablespoons water plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pints red raspberries
1 pint blueberries

Buttercream Frosting
4 tablespoons vegan butter
4 tablespoons vegan shortening
1/2 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
2 tablespoons vegan creamer
3 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a 9" square cake pan with a smear of butter and a dusting of flour to make it nonstick. Then line the bottom with parchment paper. Place all dry ingredients in a medium bowl and sift together. In another bowl, add the vegan butter and sugar, vanilla and almond extract and mix until light and fluffy. Prepare the vegan flax egg and egg replacer--then whisk them together. That's right, prepare them separately, then combine. Add this to the butter/sugar mixture. Mix well until fully incorporated. Add a third of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture, and then add a third of the almond milk and mix well. Continue adding the flour, then milk until finished. Mix the batter until it is a smooth consistency. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before frosting. 

Prepare the buttercream frosting by adding the shortening and butter cream and extract to a medium bowl and mixing well until smooth. Then slowly add in the powdered sugar. Add more if the consistency seems too thin, and add less if the frosting seems too thick. Frost the cooled cake. Take a moment to outline with a toothpick or tip of a knife where you'd like the blueberries vs. raspberries to go. Chill in the fridge for an hour before serving. Serving the cake cooled yields a delicious cake. Trust me. 






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