Category Archives: Cake & Cupcake

♥ Irish Colcannon

So much for my New Year’s resolutions. Yep, I’m back to being a lazy blogger. Ah, well. I did make it back and that’s what counts. And just in time for Saint Patrick’s Day leftovers. March 17th is J’s day (er, excuse) to celebrate all things beer and his perennial favorite, corned beef and cabbage. Myself, I prefer to celebrate the Irish whiskey cake. 🙂

This year, I resurrected a favorite old recipe for this year’s potato side dish: Irish Colcannon. Colcannon is traditionally served at Halloween with charms such as a ring (marriage), a coin (wealth), a button (bachelorhood), a thimble (spinsterhood) and a tiny horseshoe (good luck) stirred into the Colcannon.  The recipients of each charm would benefit accordingly. Whatever the tradition and significance attached to Colcannon, it’s a wonderfully flavorful side dish. The kale and the cabbage in the potato dish bring just the right amount of green to the Saint Patrick’s Day table.

The Colcannon is even better the next day with leftover corned beef, diced, and the corned beef gravy drizzled over the top.

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Irish Colcannon

Ingredients:

2 pounds yellow potatoes, diced

1/2 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 leek (white part only), rinsed and chopped

3 cups green cabbage, chopped

3 cups frozen kale, thawed

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 cup nondairy butter

1 to 1-1/4 cups soy milk

Directions:

Place the potatoes in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, leek, and cabbage; sauté until softened. Add the kale, garlic, salt and pepper. Continue to cook until tender; remove from heat.

Drain the potatoes and return to the pot. Stir in the kale and cabbage mixture. Heat the nondairy butter in 1 cup of the soy milk in the microwave and pour over the potatoes. Mash with a potato masher, adding more soy milk if necessary. Check the seasoning and serve hot.

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Here it is, the best for last. And the absolute best use for leftover corned beef (in fact, I always double the corned beef recipe to ensure leftovers): the mighty Reuben sandwich. The king of all sandwiches, really. Teese mozzarella cheese, Bubbies sauerkraut, sliced red onion and homemade Thousand Island dressing between two layers of corned beef on dark rye bread from the bread machine. Oh, how I love thee, Reuben!

♥ Veganism Is Deprivation

And if you believe that, I have only one thing to say to you: black forest cake. Oh, yes. Just look at this bad boy.

Vegan black forest cake.

 J and I stopped for lunch at the Dandelion Cafe in Reno, Nevada. We were expecting to find a veggie sandwich and a hummus plate, that sort of thing. We were delighted to find a menu full of options. And a cold case full of vegan desserts.

I don’t remember what we ordered for lunch. I don’t recall anything but this glorious slice of cake. Chocolate, cherry and whipped (non-dairy) cream slice o’ heaven on a plate.

This cake could convert Paula Deen herself.

♥ Irish Car Bomb Birthday Cake

Fudgey boozey goodness.

The baby J.

My two favorite Irish boys share a birthday today. It may be just another birthday for J, but our boy, ‘S’, is celebrating a milestone today: he’s turning 21. Twenty one. Holy cow! I am waaaay too young to have a child that old. Even so, there is a 21 year-old man out there that calls me “mom”. Oy.

The baby S.

Actually, I was quite young when I had him; young and stupid. I didn’t have a clue about being pregnant or taking care of a baby, for that matter. But I read everything that I could on the subject.

S at 3 days.

This was back in the day before Google. I actually had to go to the library (uphill in the snow both ways, of course) and check out books to read on the subject. There was no such thing as downloading to my Kindle, either.

I probably did everything wrong, according to the “experts”. I didn’t eat meat. I didn’t drink milk. I didn’t care how much weight I gained (and I gained a lot). I held him every time he fussed, while the MIL clucked in disapproval. I kept him in my bed at night because I was exhausted and because he wouldn’t have it any other way. I nursed him until he was two and I made his baby food myself. Baby food from real food, not from jars.

I hope that makes up for everything else that I put him through. Like being totally clueless. And the low paying job with the long hours while I worked my way through college. And the years following while I worked my way up the professional ladder. Sure, the pay was better  . . . but the hours were just as long. And he spent too much time in daycare, as far as I was concerned.

He often cringes when he sees these old pictures. Some of the outfits make him question just what I was thinking (or what I was on). The bow tie and suspender shorts? I’m sorry, S; I really don’t know what I was thinking. But, over time, the clothing situation in the portraits did improve.

Then again, maybe that is all a matter of perspective.

Regardless, there is really no valid excuse for letting him wear the mullet.

I’m sorry for that. Okay, not really.

Despite all that, he grew up to be a fine young man.

He has brains and an extraordinary sense of compassion (he’s a vegan by choice). He has a wicked sense of humor, too.

I still marvel at the miracle of it all. I must have done something right.

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A special birthday calls for a special birthday cake, for both of my boys.

Gone are the days when S had his very own birthday cake to demolish, some of which actually wound up in his mouth. While we snapped a million photos.

Now that he’s all grown up–and he’s heard my lecture on drinking responsibly and enjoying alcohol in moderation a million times already (blah, blah, blah)–it’s time to make an adult kind (the best kind) of cake.

I’ve always wanted to try an Irish car bomb cake. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I modified our favorite chocolate cake recipe, using Creamy Baileys in place of the non-dairy milk, chocolate stout in place of the coffee and Irish whiskey in place of the vanilla extract.

This cake is definitely not for the kids. Or the teetotalers. The alcohol will bake out of the cake, but the ganache and the frosting aren’t baked and they will be full strength.

Sorry, S, you don’t get your own cake this time. And you can’t eat this one with your hands.

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Irish Car Bomb Cake

Ingredients:

Chocolate Cake:

2 cups granulated sugar

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

3/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

Ener-G egg replacer to equal 2 eggs

1 cup Creamy Baileys

1/2 cup canola oil

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (or Irish whiskey)

1 cup of hot chocolate stout (I warmed it in a saucepan)

Chocolate Ganache:

8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate pieces

2/3 cup Creamy Baileys

2 Tablespoons non-dairy butter, room temperature

2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (we like Jameson)

Chocolate Frosting:

1/2 cup (1 stick) non-dairy butter, melted

2/3 cup unsweetened dark cocoa

1 teaspoon Irish whiskey

3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1/3 cup Creamy Baileys

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour 2 baking pans; set aside.

Cake: whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together the egg replacer, Creamy Baileys, oil and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. Add the liquid, except the stout, to the dry and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Add the chocolate stout and continue to beat just to combine (the batter will be thin). Pour the batter immediately into the prepared pans. Tap the pans on the counter to release the air bubbles and place the pans on the middle rack in the pre-heated oven.

Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the pans from the oven and let cool 10 minutes before removing from the pans to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Ganache: Heat the Creamy Baileys until it’s simmering. Place the chocolate pieces in a heat safe bowl and pour the heated Baileys over the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute and then stir it until it’s smooth. If it isn’t completely smooth, heat it for about 20 seconds in the microwave and stir well. Add the non-dairy butter and the Irish whiskey and stir until combined and smooth. Let the ganache cool until it’s thick, stirring occasionally, but still soft enough to spread.

Place one of the cooled cake layers on the serving plate and pour the ganache over the top, spreading it so that it covers the top evenly (I hollowed out the center of the cake slightly for the ganache).  Be careful not to let it pour down the sides of the cake. Place the second layer of the cake on top of the ganache.

Frosting: melt the non-dairy butter and beat in the cocoa and the Irish whiskey. Alternately add the powdered sugar and the Creamy Baileys, beating on medium speed, to a spreadable consistency. Add more Baileys if necessary. Frost the cake as desired.

If you want, drizzle the remaining ganache over the top of the frosted cake.

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Happy birthday, baby S! I've always loved you.

♥ Raw Blueberry Cheesecake

Before going vegan, my idea of a raw dessert was a handful of berries or a sticky, sweet mango. Since the veg transition, I have discovered raw desserts. I also discovered that I haven’t met a raw dessert that I didn’t immediately like (or love!).

I am a long time fan of Cafe Gratitude (and I Am Grateful and Sweet Gratitude). Healthy living food, sweet treats and a lot of affirmation, too. What’s not to love?  Admittedly, raw dessert recipes generally require some “unconventional” ingredients that can’t be found around here. Like Irish moss, lecithin and yacon syrup. Heh?! Amazon. com, here I come!

While I am lacking some crucial raw dessert ingredients, I have this wonderful recipe from Post Punk Kitchen. The original recipe calls for strawberries, but I have found that you can use whatever berries or fruit that you have on hand. This version was made with blueberries because J brought home some lovely organic blueberries. I only used 2 cups of blueberries in the cheesecake (because I was being stingy and hoarding my berries), but I think 3 cups would have made the berry flavor “pop” a bit more.

I think I have found our go-to hot weather dessert (no oven required). The crust, made with pecans, almonds and Medjool dates, practically melts in your mouth. After one bite, J proclaimed that this crust should be our usual crust recipe. It is  just that good!