The Most Unhealthy Thing I’ve Ever Made (aka Nate Cake)

One of Queenie’s friends, Nate, recently celebrated a birthday, and I attempted to make him the cake of his dreams in honor of the day.  Yes, his dream cake.  Some months ago, our families sat around a table, wistfully discussing some of the most delicious things we’d ever eaten and dreaming up the most delicious things we could imagine eating.  During this discussion, Nate declared that the ultimate cake would contain the following:  a layer of Twinkies, a layer of frosting, a brownie layer, a layer of whipped cream, and a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

My stomach turns slightly just typing that, but we decided that if that’s what he wants, that’s what he’s going to get, veganized of course!

The first layer presented the first challenge because Twinkies are definitely not vegan.  Like most (if not all) of the Hostess snack line, they contain beef fat (or tallow), so we were going to have to find or make a vegan version.  Thankfully, our fabulous local vegan grocery store, Vegan Haven, carries Dillos, and they had enough in stock to create Nate’s first dream layer.  In case you’re not fortunate enough to live near Vegan Haven, here’s a link to help you track them down:

https://store.veganessentials.com/dillos-creme-filled-snack-cakes-by-cakewalk-baking-co-p2706.aspx

Next up, I made the classic vanilla buttercream frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero and put it in the ‘fridge while I got things ready.  You should own this book, but if you don’t, here’s the recipe:

http://www.food.com/recipe/vegan-basic-vanilla-fluffy-buttercream-frosting-453377

Next up, I made the brownie recipe from Chloe Coscarelli’s Chloe’s Vegan Desserts, and it turned out great.  Because it was larger than the amount of space that would be taken up by the “Twinkie” layer, I had to do a little figuring and cutting to make it just right.

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First I just sat the wrapped Dillos on top of the brownies to eyeball what I’d need to do.  Next, I spread a layer of the frosting on a cake pan, figuring that this would not only be tasty (more frosting!), but it would also serve to anchor the Dillos.

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Once I placed the Dillos on the frosting, that gave me the dimensions of the cake and what size to trim the brownie layer.  Measuring happened.

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The next step was to thoroughly frost the Dillo layer, including all of the cracks and crevices.  Frosting, frosting and more frosting.

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I placed the brownie layer atop the frosted Dillos very carefully…

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… and frosted the sides of the brownie layer to make it seem like one cohesive cake.  I left the top unfrosted because it gets a different treatment (but it would also work to frost the whole thing).

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I left the cake like this until right before serving, at which point I topped it with whipped cream, which needed to stay cold until we were ready to serve.  Specifically, I used So Delicious Coco Whip, which I had never used before.  Oh my – love it!  Light, fluffy, divine.  I bought it frozen at Vegan Haven and then thawed it in the refrigerator, where it sat until its big moment.  Here’s some info about it:

http://sodeliciousdairyfree.com/products/coconut-milk-frozen-desserts/cocowhip-original

Once I’d spread a nice, thick layer of the Coco Whip on top of the brownie, I drizzled chocolate sauce (Santa Cruz Organic Chocolate Syrup) on top.

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I honestly only thought that Nate and Queenie would dare to try this messy creation, but all of the adults, myself included, dug in as well.  It was surprisingly tasty and unsurprisingly nausea-inducing!  That’s a whole lot of sugar for my constitution.  But the guest of honor was happy, so I put this in the win column!  If you have a sugar fiend in your midst, he or she might just like it, too.

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Enjoy!  xo

Quite Possibly the Best Smoothie Ever

I should probably start this post by stating that I adore mint chocolate chip ice cream (vegan, of course).  If I had to choose only one ice cream flavor to eat for the rest of my life, it would be mint chocolate chip.  Thankfully, I do not need to make this choice, but you get the idea.  If you share my love of all things minty and chocolatey (vegan Thin Mints!!!), read on…

The “Mighty Mint Chip” smoothie is the creation of the brilliant smoothie goddess, Kathy Patalsky, and hails from her book, 365 Vegan Smoothies.  I have been working my way through this terrific book, enjoying her wonderful flavor combinations.  While I have liked every single one I’ve made so far, the Mighty Mint Chip smoothie blew me away yesterday.  Pure heaven.  It tastes just like mint chocolate chip ice cream!!!

Kathy has a great website, which is loaded with tons of yummy recipes.  You should check it out!

http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com/p/kathys-book.html

Unfortunately, she hasn’t posted this particular smoothie recipe, so what I highly recommend is getting your hands on her book and promptly turning to page 146!  Rest assured that every other page contains serious yumminess, too.  In the meantime, a tease of the Mighty Mint Chip’s greatness…

Here we’ve got frozen bananas, raw cacao nibs, fresh mint, plain soy yogurt, unsweetened soy milk and a splash of agave, just waiting to be blended:

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And this is what your glass of heaven will look like:

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Swoon, swoon, swoon.  Enjoy!  xo

Chocolate Banana Bread – Vegan and Gluten Free!

I made this.  You should, too.  YUM!!!!!

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This super easy and divinely delicious recipe is courtesy of Sarah Yates and her terrific blog, A House in the Hills.  Here’s everything you need to know to make this yourself:

http://ahouseinthehills.com/2014/06/09/vegan-gluten-free-banana-bread-omg/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+AHouseInTheHills+%28a+house+in+the+hills%29

Enjoy!  xo

Something Drool-Worthy for Day 4 of VegWeek

I was planning on posting about something else (a healthy salad, to be exact), when I saw this photo:

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VegNews posted it on their facebook page, and I promptly went to the link they provided to learn more.  It is the creation of someone named Amanda, an obvious dessert goddess, and all of the details are on her blog called Create N Plate.  So far, I have merely drooled over the photos and imagined myself eating it.  That will soon change.  However, if you beat me to it, please let me know how it goes!  Here’s what you need to know:

http://createnplate.com/2014/04/14/raw-vegan-chocolate-peanut-butter-cheesecake/

Enjoy!  xo