|Gluten Free Veganish Almond Joy Cake|
So for the past year I've had many birthday cake plans and themes... it was all set in my head what I wanted to do.
The original plan was to try making vegan Baked Alaska, I had the cake recipe decided months in advance and several different flavor/theme combos. I was even wondering about attempting possible vegan meringue alternatives. Then considered a detour from that and make one look like an oversized Snoball, all pink and squishy on outside, then BAM layers or cherry sorbet and my handmade coconut icecream inside!
My plan is that I'll be "turning 21 again" from here on out, every year I'll go back in time and stay, instead of getting older. I don't feel this old, and people still mistake me for a teen. For some reason I'm not really that comfy being older than my man, must be younger than my boyfriend. LOL.
But, yeah, I was wanting to go out drinking because I never really got to ever do that. I even looked up vegan jello shots recipes! I've never even been carded really, except a month ago when I went out and Bestest BF in the Whole World ordered a spiked cherry vanilla slushy for me. I gave them my card but really she was asking to see his, so I'm not sure that technically counts either. Gluten free even effects drinking and I'm not ready to deal with checking what's safe yet, so scratching that.
Suddenly this having to go gluten free deal threw me the big nasty curveball. Attempting a complicated vegan cake like that was one thing, but then adding gluten free to it when you just aren't used to working with gluten free ingredients yet, and can't even find half of them at stores or afford the ones you do find, is entirely not in the same realm as far as challenge and possibility. So not happening.
After much reading and searching of recipes, and to this day not being able to find where the all important xantham or guar gum may be in the stores I can get to.(seriously, every GF baking recipe requires it, the flours don't work without it, and tis in ingredient lists on so many processed foods everybody uses daily, if you ever read them) To do any baking now I'm going to need like five types of odd flours, some kind of gum, various unprouncable type names, and a lot of experimenting time. One question I actually asked people after much frustration was "Why's it got to sound so complicated, I just want to bake, not become a chemist here!!"
Ugh. Whenever I finally have my own kitchen one day, instead of sharing with six other people, maybe this will get better... right?
It was either going to be not having a birthday cake at all, or having to buy an expensive one from somewhere. I eventually discovered that Betty Crocker(booo, hiss, going against my nature) had GF cake mixes, but according to their website the only grocery store in my town that carried it was the one that closed 4 months ago... argh. It being internet, I couldn't count on that being entirely accurate.. they didn't even have it updated that the store in question was no longer open, so it might not be the only option out there, right?
I'm sort of an whole foods nut, I like basic recognizable ingredients and as little overprocessed food as possible. Hence an anti blowing money on "mixes" type of girl... and I knew this one was gonna be expensive, like twice the price of usual ones(plus the reviews and recipes told me it'd take two boxes instead of one to be able to make it look like their picture) which I'd normally only consider if they were really on sale. With just a few days to go, I finally found a super Target that had a lot of GF options, and both of her cake mixes to choose from. I spent more than half my month's grocery money there.
Baking from scratch is so easy and convenient for me usually, I've never seen the point in boxed ones, I know that probably doesn't sound like it makes sense to most people. I don't consider something a recipe if it calls for a "box of such and such mix" that's just an advertisement... there's a lot of people that get paid really well to spend time coming up with those, but whenever I pick up a cookbook and every baking recipe looks like that, it frustrates me to no end and I wanna throw the book.
I like being able to make stuff from scratch damnnit...and I'm a baker. I'm the one almost everybody I know comes to asking about making bread or sweets for some reason, like they're scared to try doing it without me, and I never could understand that. Sure I've made a lot of my own bread, tortillas, and pitas, but it's not like I'm some expert. My sister asks me to come and assist whenever she wants to try baking anything. An aunt never used her bread machine for years, and I found recipes and showed her how to make them. I gave my mom a bread machine and let her borrow an "Easy Breadmaking" cookbook I have... which ironically enough I'm going to be using more than I ever have before now because it has GF info and breads.
Thus ... I can't believe I hafta resort to such drastic torturous measures just to go stalk down a box of Betty Crocker. I'm not sure I ever used her mixes before in my life, actually. I dont know this bitch, I dont wanna know this bitch, and now I hafta grovel to her. /sobs paying ten dollars just for silly boxes of processed packets. grrrrumble. for one cake! zomg. not to mention all the rest.
Anyway, the reworked theme was going to be to look like a Giant-Ding-Dong-Cake like this.
I even have all sorts of cute theme ideas to go with that.. thinking maybe some cupcakes and fortune cookie slips or something. "Ding Dong, the witch ain't dead!" and a Ding Dong Ping Pong with little Pong(yay I'm a 3D pong addict) paddles and ball, Etc.
Of course I didn't follow the box directions exactly, I wanted to make sure it would be super moist and added extra of my flaxmeal egg subsitute, some coconut oil, AND applesauce. Also the dry powder when I opened it looked more purple-grey than brown like a devils food cake should... it made me laugh. I had to put it beside the can of cocoa powder to show the difference( I'll find a pic of the comparison later to add to this.) then added some in to fix it up. Made two test cupcakes to try and they seemed fine, that's when I decided on the flavors to add.
When I cut the layers I filled the center with some of the cream cheese, coconut flakes, and almond slivers. Also I sliced some toasted coconut macaroons and put some in the middle and all around the sides of the cake. For the chocolate frosting I just made up my fave pudding/ganache extra thick, it comes out rich and not that sweet, and this time I added some almond extract in.
I decided to buy a cheaters tube of cream cheese icing(yesh despite the name, tis still vegan too) with a tip on it, and go with Almond Joy flavors instead. Sadly the tip I bought wouldn't smoothly do the right look for loops, so I let my neice go to town making dollops on it instead of the ding dong curls. She refused to let me have "21 again" on the cake... and I refuse to put the real number...so we just kept it simple. LOL.
Everybody loved it, and it made a lot more than I expected. YAY!