A Sugar High!

A holiday is always a good reason to try some new recipes! Today was no exception to this. I spent most of the day inside (away from the heat) doing some baking and catching up on TV shows that I missed the past couple weeks. I started the baking party with a dessert (desserts first are best right?!). I decided to do a festive cake – a 3 tier strawberry cake with strawberry buttercream frosting. Delicious! I based my strawberry cake recipe from one I found on Smitten Kitchen. The original recipe wasn’t vegan, but with a few small tweaks it was good to go – it turned out super light, fluffy, and very strawberry-ie!

Vegan Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

4 1/2 cups of cake flour

3 cups of sugar

5 1/4 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

2 sticks of earth balance soy butter (room temp)

8 tbsp spectrum shortening

1 1/2 cups of chopped strawberries, puree

8 tbsp ground flax mixed with 14 tbsp water (let sit for 5 min before using)

2/3 cup vanilla almond milk

1 to 2 drops red food dye, if using (to make the pink color pop more)

Cake Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 9-inch round or 8-inch square cake pans and then add a light layer of flour to keep cake from sticking. (you could also line with parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper)

Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl. With the electric mixer on low-speed, blend for 30 seconds. In a food processor, process butter, shortening and strawberries. Add the butter and strawberry puree and mix to blend the ingredients. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

In another large bowl, whisk together the flax and water – let sit 5 minutes. Then add the almond milk and red food dye, if using, to blend. Add the liquid mixture in two or three additions to the mixing bowl mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl well and mixing only to incorporate after each addition. Divide the batter among the three prepared pans.

Bake the cakes for 30 to 40 minutes (if you’re doing a very small tier, this will only take 25 min or so), or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the layers to cool in the pans for 10 to 15 minutes. Invert and turn out onto wire racks. Let stand until completely cooled before assembling the cake, at least an hour.

1 stick of earth balance shortening

1 stick of earth balance margarine

8 strawberries, chopped

4-5 cups of powdered sugar

3 tbsp coconut milk creamer

Frosting Instructions
In a medium mixing bowl, cream together the shortening and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, coconut milk creamer, and confectioners’ sugar. Whip until light and fluffy. Add in chopped strawberries.  You can use right away, or put in the refrigerator for an hour to harden up a bit before frosting your cake.

Frost the bottom tier, then add the middle one, and end by frosting the last tier. Add some sliced strawberries for decoration and enjoy!

After I made the cake (and tried way too much of it!…strawberry cake is more like a fruit…yes, I’m pretty sure of this!) I moved along to a main dish recipe. As with all good 4th of July parties, we attended a cookout at a friends house and I volunteered to bring the non-meat entree. I found a delicious Black Bean Burger Recipe and with a few adaptions (I was out of a few things, added a few extra…) ended up with this. I even made enough to freeze some for later!

Vegan Black Bean Burgers

2 cans black beans (rinsed and drained)

2 carrots, grated

1/2 cup dry rolled oats

1/4 cup unsalted sunflower seeds

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 cup of chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Next, in a food processor add oats and sunflower seeds. Pulse until course (10-15 seconds). Add in grated carrots, spices, olive oil, and 3/4 of the black bean mixture. Mix until blended. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl and add in the remaining black beans and chopped cilantro. With wet hands, shape mixture into 6 large patties, or 8 medium-sized patties. Bake for 40 minutes (flipping halfway through) or bake for 30 minutes (flip halfway through) then transfer to the grill for 10 minutes. These can also be made ahead and reheated! Yum!

I hope you all have a safe and happy 4th full of sparklers, good food, and lots of sunshine!

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