Blue Velvet Cake

Strictly speaking, decorating this cake was a major disaster.

Protips: don’t roast vegetables in the same room while you’re trying to whip cream cheese frosting. Don’t decorate a cake in that room either. Don’t be too prideful to cut off the tops of your cakes to make them even – people do that for a reason. Namely, so that their cake doesn’t come out totally lopsided.

Not my best effort. I set this cake goal hoping I’d learn something about baking and decorating cakes, and I think after lots of near-disasters, I have learned a few things. Basically, I have learned how to problem-solve in the face of panic.

This cake is “blue velvet” because the white frosting was just not working out. I was running back and forth between my living room and the fridge to make this cake chill out, and the frosting was pulling up crumbs like it was its day job. So the white icing was looking decidedly sloppy, to say the least. I just decided – heck, let’s dye it! I was out of red food colouring, so I tinted it blue and just dealt with it. I originally piped icing roses onto the top of the cake, and then spent a good ten minutes laughing out loud at how ridiculous it looked. Wanna see?

In retrospect…NEVERMIND I STILL HATE IT. At this point, I was laughing and saying “YOLO” to myself. Life’s short, it’s cake, whatever. Besides, the recipient of this cake is a wonderful person and I know he wouldn’t have minded if it stayed looking exactly as it did in the above photo.

In the end, I just spread that blue icing all around, tried for an ombre effect, and ultimately just tried to make sure the frosting was smooth and not showing crumbs and then called it a day.

This is a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. The cake is from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, because it’s my go-to book for amazing, moist cake that always come out of the pan easily. The recipe for their Crimson Velveteen cupcakes is here – I doubled the recipe to make 2 8-inch cakes. I made the cream cheese icing recipe in Joy the Baker’s cookbook, but I was sad that it didn’t come out. I followed her instructions as closely as possible, leaving the butter and cream cheese out until they were approximately the right temperatures, then doing each of the steps carefully. But my frosting came out runny, not at all like the photo of thick, spreadable frosting in her book. And even after adding more than the recommended amount of icing sugar, it stayed melty and drippy. I was very disappointed, and am still stumped as to why it didn’t work! Her recipes are usually right on. A similar recipe to what I used is here.

Wanna know the best part? It turned out to be, by definition, a blue red-velvet cake. Or, you could call it a  blue velvet cake. The person I made the cake for? Blue Velvet is a movie by one of his favourite directors. I only wish I’d actually planned that..I would have been so fly!

So. It’s not going to win any prizes for looks: it’s lopsided and blue and hilarious in many ways. But it “has character”, and was made with the best intentions and a full heart. So that’s gotta count for something, right? Right?? Plus, it tastes good, if I do say so myself.

Just Because Cake

I made this cake just because. Just because I almost always have the ingredients for a vegan cupcake recipe on hand. Just because it was a Wednesday and I was lonely. Just because I had a bunch of icing remnants in my fridge that I wanted to use up (spoiler alert: I used up none of them entirely). Just because the activities of reading, writing, watching more TV and going outside did not seem appealing that night.

So I made a cake. Just because! And it was delicious. Those Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World recipes are foolproof – they always come out so moist (…) and yummy. I made a chocolate cake and frosted with leftover Betty Crocker and homemade icing that I dyed pink. I tried to do a striped pattern on the top – just because – but it didn’t turn out so I just smoothed it all together to become PINK!

Thus far, the cake has been eaten by me and my best friend while watching Lola Versus (great movie, in our opinion – Greta Gerwig is so funny) on my bed. It was supposed to be taken to a dinner or two, but I keep forgetting it at home. I’ll bring it to the next one though, because it’s just wallowing in my kitchen.

I guess this qualifies as stress baking. I’m okay with that, since I didn’t just eat the whole thing to cope with my stress. Actually, it’s the act of baking that relieves my stress! Often by the time I’m done baking, I’m not really interested in eating the products. This is good news.

I used this recipe for basic chocolate cupcakes – one batch makes an 8-inch, 1 layer cake.

Gosh, I love my hobbies sometimes. Cakes make friends! Happy baking.

Carrot Cake

I was thoroughly psyched to see that my bookstore finally had a copy of the Joy the Baker Cookbook. Perhaps my incessant questions about when it would be in stock (due to my horrible laziness and reluctance when it comes to online shopping) paid off! Perhaps not. Either way, there were two copies, and one was automatically mine. My father, in town for a week, offered to subsidize the purchase, and we were in business! (Thanks, Dad.)

The book is beautiful. It’s full of all-new recipes that haven’t yet been on her blog. The photos are gorgeous, and just about every single recipe now has a post-it note on it, because I want to bake absolutely everything inside. When a friend of mine, Isabelle, decided to come visit me two weeks before her birthday, I knew I had my in! An excuse to bake (and eat!) cake for a great friend? Sold.

This is a beautifully *cringe* moist cake, thanks to the pineapple chunks and fresh carrot. So moist, in fact, that despite our aversion to that word, my friend who helped me bake this cake and I used it several times over to describe it. Yikes. Someone help us!

The frosting is a huge selling point – Joy goes into great detail about how to make a successful cream cheese icing. Mine turned out as well as can be expected considering I was finishing it up in the half-hour I had before having to meet Isabelle at the train! I was late! I had a mighty good excuse though.

We enjoyed huge slices of the cake on pretty colored plates, then went about our days. Only problem? I have over half of this cake going stale in my fridge. Who wants to help me find it a good home!?

This is the first in many Joy the Baker Cookbook creations that will be marching out of my kitchen in the coming months. I love her recipes, her voice, and her slang language. Did I mention that she and Shutterbean have a hilarious podcast? Put that in your ears! I’m a huge Joy fan, and I hope after this cake, you will be too.

You can find the recipe in her cookbook, or right here!

Delish! Enjoy.

Six Layer Chocolate Malted and Toasted Marshmallow Cake

Brace yourselves.

Wait, maybe I should have somehow written that in the title. The title alone sometimes stops my heart. It’s okay though guys: I only had one piece, and went for a run this morning. (Let’s just ignore the fact that the run probably burned 1/3 of the calories I consumed from that piece of cake alone.)

It’s probably a good thing that the birthdays of my closest friends all lie between March 12 and April 23. Because by the time April 23 rolls around I am not going to want to so much as see a cake until, like, at least 2013. I mean, pie maybe, but not cake.

Joking aside though, there are 5 birthdays (including my own) that fall between those dates, and that means that we, as a group, gain approximately a cake each, right before summer, aka bikini season. Way to plan that one out, parents, way to plan. Because it’s not as though cake is optional, on a birthday. For me it sometimes is, because icing can occasionally make me nauseous, but if there ain’t cake there sure as hell better be a tray of brownies or something.

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