Thursday, June 16, 2011

Eggless Golden Vanilla Cake

The last month went by at warp speed- it seemed that mere minutes after my sister arrived, her visit was over and she's winging her way back to India. We packed much crafting, cooking, eating, shopping, walks and movies into a few short weeks and made a lifetime's worth of memories.

One of the highlights of the trip was the Sunday when we rented kayaks and went on a float trip on the Meramac river. Kashmira is a water baby and enjoyed every minute of paddling downstream; at the end of the trip, she jumped into the river and had herself a good swim too.

A couple of weeks ago, Neighbor Girl announced that she will be going to Haiti to spend a few days volunteering in an orphanage. Kashmira jumped up right away and decided to sew a few toys to send to Haiti. And that's how she ended up with a dozen stuffed chickens and a couple of stuffed fish. We hope they bring big smiles and hours of play for a few little kids in Haiti.

These toys are very simple to sew, even for a beginner like me, and we'll write a little tutorial one of these days if any of you are interested in making them.

And I am thrilled to announce that my ratty old oven mitts have been replaced with these vibrant new ones, sewn by my sister of course.

Kashmira and I swapped skills- she gave me sewing tutorials and I taught her some basic crochet stitches. A few hours after learning to make her first crochet chain, she made these adorable little butterfly clips. The cute and easy butterfly pattern is here.

I bought a punnet of local strawberries and wanted to make a simple vanilla cake to serve with them. This recipe was a runaway success- I would never have expected that a simple eggless cake made with the most basic pantry ingredients could taste so moist, tender and crave-worthy.

Eggless Golden Vanilla Cake
(Adapted from the book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World 
by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero; I found the recipe here)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. 
  2. Spray an 8 inch round cake pan with baking spray.
  3. Stir 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar into 1 cup milk and set aside for 10 minutes. 
  4. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and set aside: 1  1 cup all purpose flour, 2 tbsp. cornstarch, 3 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda and 1 tsp. salt
  5. Cream 1 stick (1 cup) butter and 3 cup sugar in a large bowl until fluffy. Beat in 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  6. Alternately fold the dry ingredients and milk into the butter-sugar mixture.
  7. Scrape the batter into the pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden on top and baked through. 
I served slices of the cake with sliced fresh strawberries and freshly whipped cream for a summer treat. It would be lovely to turn this cake into a festive dessert centerpiece by slicing it in layers horizontally and sandwiching the layers with strawberry preserves, then topping the cake with a thick layer of strawberries and cream. 

Speaking of cake, my darling friend Sutapa was telling me about a very fun cake fundraiser that she hosted a few weeks ago. She baked a variety of baked goods and asked her friends to contribute funds to be donated to the Child Aid Foundation which educates underprivileged kids in Andhra Pradesh, India. Sutapa baked chocolate cake and carrot cake using a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, self-frosting Nutella cupcakes, and lemon coconut cake. Sutapa says she wants to thank her friends BS, NS, BS again, AH, MH, CB, JP, UJ, RP and FB for showing up on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, devouring cake and donating generously, because they raised enough money in a couple of hours to buy rice for a few months for the school lunch and to subsidize school for one little girl. Cake to rice- I love it! 

Enjoy the rest of the week, everyone.