rants & recipes

Birthday Food

Posted by ataraktos on 2009-11-21

Yesterday was Evin's birthday. We're pretty sure. Although it could be today. Officially, it's today - anyway, this gives us an excuse to celebrate over two days. Evin's not terribly crazy about cake but I think everyone should have a birthday cake. Especially vegans! =) So I try to find something "different" each year that he may be a little interested in.

This cake, I intended to make last year. Bryanna Clark Grogan had posted a recipe for Parsnip Lemon Curd and I wanted to use that as a filling. So I bought a bunch of parsnips and was all set to make the filling. As I started to work with the parsnips, I thought "these don't smell like parsnips" ... turns out, they were parsley roots! Luckily, I realized before making the filling and I changed plans and made something else.

So this year, I got parsnips. From Whole Foods, where everything is properly labeled. And I made Bryanna's Lemon Curd. It turned out ok. One problem is my food processor sucks. It refused to get this as smooth as you can see in Bryanna's recipe. I could also tell / taste the parsnips, albeit slightly, in the final product. Still, very lemony and would have been much better if my food processor could manage "smoothness".

I had intended to use the lemon filling in a vanilla cake with lemon buttercream frosting. But at the last minute, I couldn't find a fool-proof vanilla cake recipe - and when I say "couldn't find", I mean "online, without having to get up and go to the bookshelf" ... so I decided to use Bryanna's Lemon Genoise Cake. I've make this cake before and I forget that I think that 9" round pans are a tad too big for it. Hopefully, by writing about it, I will remember to procure some 8" pans before I make this again.

I decided I'd make vanilla frosting and would try a cooked flour frosting, since neither of us are crazy about sickeningly sweet frosting. This recipe is all over the place but I used this page for the basics. I chose this recipe because it called for powdered sugar. Here's what I used:

Cooked Vanilla Frosting


  • 1 1/2 cups soy milk (360 grams)
  • 6 tbsp cake flour (45 g)
  • 3/4 cup Earth Balance (168 g)
  • 3/4 cup shortening (155 g)
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (180 g)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla


  1. Combine 'milk and flour in a sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, making sure to get edges of pan. Cook until mixture resembles thick pudding. If you don't whisk constantly, you will have clumps. I frequently lifted and slanted the pot to check on the bottom of the sauce.
  2. Beat cooked mixture with electric mixer until cool.
  3. With mixer in a separate bowl, cream Earth Balance, shortening and vanilla.
  4. Mix in sugar and some cooked mix, as needed, for moisture.
  5. Beat in remaining flour mix and whip for at least 4 minutes.
  6. Probably best to refrigerate before using.

Frosted Cake:

We have one box of candles, Evin picked out pink ones for me years ago, so now he gets a pink candle, too!



We also had what Evin jokingly referred to as man-food for dinner, meat and potatoes! Seitan riblets, that for some reason, had a little more sauce than usual this time. Possibly because I didn't cut them as distinctly into pieces as usual, maybe less "edge" to soak up sauce? They were really tasty:

With potatoes and attempted-to-broil Brussels sprouts per this recipe (2nd recipe). These did NOT broil or even change at all in 7 minutes but nearly burned in 7 more minutes. They had to finish cooking in the microwave. Still yummy, though.