Back with a bang Birthday Cake!

I feel like I'm constantly making excuses lately.

Having previously been a school teacher (an uber strict one I might add) I find excuse making utterly deplorable - 'the dog did not eat your homework, you are simply a lazy little sod'.

Therefore, I'm going to forthwith desist from blaming anything and anyone other than myself for my a. infrequent blog posts b. lazy photography c. late assignments (yep, still completing my styling course) and d. general shambolic behaviour.

My Husband has unfortunately been the one to bear the brunt of my current ridiculousness and duly point out that my usual organised self appears to have gone AWOL. In her place he has found himself living with a slightly deranged version who is seemingly struggling to keep on top of things recently, culminating in her forgetting her loving Husband's birthday! Why am I talking in the third person? Who the heck knows.

So, yes, I forgot my Husbands birthday and only 'remembered' when I was kindly reminded by Facebook (it has its uses!). Luckily, I have the greatest Hubbie ever and he took my oversight rather well - which actually made me feel worse, ugh - so I was determined to make it up to him in the evening when he got home from work. I could but try.

Surprisingly, I'd never actually made a birthday cake before so wasn't overly confident - truthfully I haven't made many cakes in general but that wasn't going to deter me from presenting my ever patient partner with a deliciously moist baked beauty that would erase (or at least gloss over) my aforementioned faux pas.

I could not have been more impressed with this cake and I'm now kicking myself for not partaking in more homemade birthday cake action in the past - all those wasted years spent eating shop bought, below par, slightly dry and more often than not exceedingly dull cakes that serve a purpose and nothing more. What an idiot I've been!

I just about managed to salvage Hubbie's Birthday with the aid of this cake, a tray of enchiladas, a boat load of guacamole, pink sparkling wine with a spritz of lime (try it!) and a plethora of 'forgive me for being a terrible Wife' presents. I think it worked. At the very least it smoothed an acutely awkward situation, with my dearest one even exclaiming it was the 'best cake he'd ever tasted' - his exact words. Compliment indeed.

There may be a few more shambolic weeks ahead of me but I shall endeavour to combat them with a little more foresight, a much needed diary and maybe a touch more cake.

vegan chocolate cake with peppermint buttercream filling and dark chocolate ganache

chocolate cake (original recipe here)

1 1/4 cups plain flour

1 cup organic caster or granulated sugar

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup luke warm water

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup sunflower oil

1 tsp cider vinegar

Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees celsius/350 fahrenheit. Line a 7 inch cake tin with grease proof paper.

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate and salt. Thoroughly combine with a spatula ensuring the cocoa powder is completely dispersed.

In a smaller bowl combine the water, oil, vanilla extract and cider vinegar and add to the dry ingredients.

Using a rubber spatula combine all the ingredients until smooth.

Transfer the cake mixture to the tin, scraping down the sides of the bowl with the spatula - you won't want to waste a drop of this luscious mixture!

Bake in oven for 40-50 minutes depending on your oven, i.e. check it at 40mins, inserting a skewer into the of the cake. If it comes out clean it is ready. If not, leave it to bake for a further 10mins.

Remove cake from oven and allow to cool slightly before attempting to remove it from the tin. Cool for two hours on a cooling rack for at least two hours.

peppermint 'buttercream' filling

1 tbsp soya spread (or any other vegan spread of your choosing)

1 cup unrefined powdered sugar

2 tsp peppermint extract

1 tbsp soya milk

Combine all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl and beat together until completely smooth. If it is too thick to spread add a little more soya milk or, vice versa, if it too runny thicken it with a touch more powdered sugar.

When the cake has completely cooled, carefully halve it using a sharp knife. Lift the top half off and evenly spread the 'buttercream' mixture on the bottom layer. Carefully place the other half of the cake back on top.

dark chocolate ganache

1/4 cup soya milk

1 tsp soya spread

3/4 cup dark chocolate buttons

Using the double boiler method heat the soya milk and spread until the spread has melted. Add the chocolate buttons and allow them to melt, using a rubber spatula to combine the ingredients until you achieve a completely smooth, glossy mixture.

Take off the heat and let the mixture cool for several minutes before pouring over the cake. Using a palette knife or spatula cover the whole cake in the chocolate ganache. Allow to cool for at least an hour before serving.





dessert, veganAine Carlin