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classic birthday cake. 


Growing up in my family, my grandmother always made her famous chocolate cake recipe. Flour, sugar, eggs lightly beaten, spoiled milk (because portions were rationed during the Great Depression), baking soda, baking powder and of course Hershey’s cocoa powder. The Hershey’s cocoa powder was perhaps one of the most special ingredients next to this other fancy stuff called vanilla extract. It was written on an index card in her handwriting and filed away in a recipe box only to be taken out for birthdays even on fasting days and my Grandma was Orthodox. A birthday that fell on a strict fast day didn’t make much of a difference.
In some strict Orthodox households, fasting is observed and that may mean celebrating a birthday a day early or a day late if it falls on a fasting day. No big deal, right? Okay. But what about if you have birthdays during fasting periods? This may seem like a trivial matter but does take a toll after awhile. I mean, everyone loves birthday cake. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just a nice sheet cake with light, fluffy texture that doesn’t skimp on flavor with buttercream frosting. Believe me, that’s not a dream, my friend. 

Have a Happy Birthday if it’s your birthday that you are celebrating today.


Classic Birthday Cake with Peanut Buttercream Frosting 
Makes 1 sheet cake

Cost: Under $20

1 1/4 cup of freshly brewed coffee (I like to use chocolate peanut butter coffee which I get from a local brewer to kick up the flavor.) 

2/3 cup of Hershey’s cocoa powder 

1/2 cup of organic cane sugar 

1/3 cup of sunflower oil 

1/3 cup of homemade applesauce or organic applesauce 

1/4 cup of cornstarch 

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract 

2 cups of organic flour 

1 teaspoon of baking soda 

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 

1 tsp of sea salt 

2 tsps of confectioners sugar 

Peanut Butter Frosting 

1/2 cup of organic peanut butter 

1 cup of Earth Balance butter 

1 tsp of vanilla

3 tsps of cashew milk 

1 cup of confectioners sugar 

Preheat the oven to 325. Lightly grease and flour a sheet pan. Bring coffee to simmer in pan, remove from heat and allow to cool. Mix wet ingredients until incorporated in large bowl. Add coffee to mixing bowl and mix until incorporated. Mix in dry ingredients. Mix until incorporated. Batter should be smooth and thick almost like frosting. Pour into sheet pan and bake for 45 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick in the middle and it comes out clean. 

In a separate bowl, whisk ingredients together to make frosting. Mix until you arrive at a creamy consistency where thick, firm peaks form. 


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