Sunday, February 11, 2007

Moral superiority in the pink.



To the guileless eye, that might look like me hard at work mixing up a delicious birthday cake for M, but it is, in fact, me concocting an antidote for hubristic blunders. At least I am aware that I'll need nothing less than a ton of sugar for that. You see, I feel as though I am something of a semi-vegan cake baking master. I have an impeccable record for creating the most amazing semi-vegan birthday cakes ever. The past two years I have amazed M with my delectable 3-layer birthday cakes, though I suppose I should give a teensy bit of credit to the Grit, for having published their superlative semi-vegan cake recipes in the beloved-by-me Grit Cookbook. This year, however, my moral superiority got the best of me. I decided that semi-vegan just wasn't going to cut it. I wanted total vegan. Total vegan, it turns out, means no cream cheese or butter--the two offending ingredients in the Grit's frosting recipe. So I did a few minutes' worth of research and came up with an all new, all vegan birthday cake recipe--one that called for such replacements for cream cheese and butter as agar and arrowroot. Uh, okay. That *seems* like it might be... delicious?



Turns out that while agar is capable of transforming cocoa powder and a select other vegan ingredients into a really interesting gelatinous texture, it is not palatable at all. Especially once it is pureed into a spreadable, frosting-like consistency (I spared you photos of this mess). It doesn't come anywhere CLOSE to successfully imitating frosting. And, so, despite my initial consideration of perhaps moving one step closer to transitioning from vegetarianism to veganism, before I knew what was happening, I had replaced the crap vegan cake with this:



Mmmm... glorious, glorious 3-layer Dark Chocolate (vegan) Cake with Cream Cheese (semi-vegan) Frosting. Cream! Cheese! Butter! Get in my cake! And so, in the end, M had another happy semi-vegan birthday, and I will continue for the time being to be content with being a vegetarian, who, on occasion, consumes animal by-products.



Now, about my continued fascination and attraction to pink... I continue to maintain that it has nothing to do with any holidays that might begin with a "V" and end with "-alintine's Day". I'd rather like to believe, instead, that it has to do with being inspired by--



--the best movie ever.

And, speaking of sugary pink things, did you think I'd make you suffer through another one of my pontifications without including at least a little bit of knitting?



It seems that my happy, sugary-sweet sock has acquired a new, not-so-happy demeanor in the form of a huge, red, angry gash--



--wait, make that TWO angry gashes! Even my "happy on the needles" socks refuse to be cooperatively happy! Despite the pooling, though, I still really love these socks. And, look, I have successfully maneuvered the short-row heel! Now that's what I call sweet success! (or, just a really, REALLY bad pun).

Have a great Sunday, all!

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22 Comments:

Blogger Mintyfresh said...

I have to admit I'm a bit comforted to know that agar cannot approximate cream cheese or other frosting. I mean, if that were the case, the deliciousness that is cream cheese frosting would lose all meaning, you know?

What an amazing cake!!

4:26 PM  
Blogger Christy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Christy said...

I love the red gashes on the sock..b/c if your attraction to the pink recently comes from the Royal Tenebaums then the red gashes on the sock fit in perfectly.

4:28 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

mmmm. cake. oh, sorry. that cake just looks so yummy. At least you tried to make it vegan and discovered that it doesn't work, rather than just wishing you tried. And it's still made from scratch, which is commendable - most people use the boxed variety!

5:15 PM  
Blogger Ashley said...

Don't try to turn your back on the cream cheese gods. They will have their revenge

I hereby rename your socks "Velentine's Day Massacre".

5:25 PM  
Blogger Liz K. said...

Oh, see, I'm sitting here reading your blog eating a big ole piece of salami. And not vegan salami, I might add, but big ole Philadelphia salami...

RT is my favorite Wes Anderson movie, and it was my favorite soundtrack (love the Mark Mothersbaugh/VU combo), but since Steve Zissou, I am all about the David Bowie/Seu Jorge tunes.

I'm so glad you're back. I love your blog!

5:29 PM  
Blogger Ruth Homrighaus said...

My husband and I are vegetarians, too, and though I like to try to make vegan food when I can, I have to say that I throw all that out the window when it comes to cake and cookies. Your pink cake looks tasty.

5:39 PM  
Blogger iSeL said...

YUM!! The cake looks insanely delicious. Good for you for trying something different, even if it didn't work.

I'm loving the sock, gash and everything!

6:59 PM  
Blogger Moe said...

I love the sock, gash and all.

Um, gosh, I can't believe that agar frosting wasn't palatable ;)(gah. yuck.)

8:11 PM  
Blogger jen said...

Your cake looks SO tasty! Pink icing on chocolate cake is the best. I love the Royal Tenebaums too. One of my all time favourites! You have great taste!

9:44 PM  
Anonymous sioux said...

i know it's too late, but for next year's cake...i made a vegan cake for my friend's b'day. i did a chocolate cake, which it seems you have figured out, and for the icing, i simply melted dark chocolate (vegan if there's no dairy - it's totally possible to find vegan dark choc chips), combined it with melted raspberry jam (check ingredients to be sure of vegan-ness) and made an unbelieveably deliecious raspberry/chocolate ganache: totally vegan!

9:49 PM  
Anonymous brooke said...

The cake looks delicious!

8:25 AM  
Blogger Lolly said...

Vegetarian with vegan tendancies ;) That is me too - but sometimes, you can't change tradition... animal by-products never looked so delicious! Big props for trying to make it work, girl!

10:12 AM  
Anonymous diana said...

Glad that the second cake turned out better. It looks delicious. Cream cheese frosting is definitely the way to go.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous nova said...

As soon as I saw the cake I thought "How very Royal Tenenbaums," I love that movie! I think it was a good choice to go with the cream cheese frosting, the cake looks delicious!

12:47 PM  
Blogger Brenda said...

Amazing cake! I use agar in lab; nothing digests it. If you want to go vegan, I would try for agar-free vegan.

I think the sock looks great! Maybe its a jolt of red exuberance and not a red angry slash?

4:06 PM  
Anonymous Erin said...

That cake looks SO good. It must be the pink that is drawing me in. Yummy.

5:05 PM  
Blogger Specs said...

*That* is what you get for shunning cheese products. The Boyfriend and I often say that we would be vegan if we didn't love cheese and cheese products so much. Mmmmm cream cheese icing.

I second Ashley's name for the socks. Brilliant.

8:01 PM  
Blogger Alice said...

I want to know how to make a good cake without the eggs... I guess it was one of those egg substitute things. I'm lactose free anyway (otherwise I make bad, bad smells) and I want to try being vegan for a few months as a way of counter-acting the carbon emissions of going to a conference in Japan this summer.

Oat cream apparently works well as a cream cheese, because it's thick and a bit sour, though I've never used it. Personally, I find vegan margarine (e.g. soya based) is good, with a bit of almond oil... mmmmm. different taste, but yummy.

5:58 PM  
Anonymous Stephy said...

Oooh, the pink frosting. Everyone knows pink frosting tastes better than non-pink frosting.

Those socks are edgy--I like 'em! I'll have to dig out my old "My Bloody Valentine" CDs (or are those cassette tapes?).

4:29 PM  
Blogger Elinor said...

Sounds like you made the best it!!! The cake looks great. I bet it tasted even better. However, I'd like to point out that 100% vegans don't eat refined sugar because the refining process uses animal bone char to take out the impurities. So stick to cream cheese frosting and don't look back, I guess! At least the cake was healthier without eggs? :-)

Cheers!

10:10 PM  
Blogger Miss Scarlett said...

Ooh the Tenenbaums! I love that film.
Rushmore is my hands down favourite but Tenenbaums is a very close 2nd.
Your cake looks phenomenally delicious - moist and chocolatey. Not at all something I would expect from a vegan cake. I might have to check out your recipe source.
The socks look great - with the red gashes!

10:50 PM  

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