Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Vegan rosewater Victorian sponge cake

rosewater victorian sponge cake

So you know how last post, I told you I was going to “blog a book”?

That was mostly the truth. I am actually going to host the work-in-progress, improvised shitshow of a novel on Wattpad, a snazzy little site where users can post stories and whatnot for free in a very stylish-looking, well-designed format. It’s almost like self-publishing—emphasis on almost.

I was a pretty active user on the site a couple years ago before I deleted my account for whatever reason and moved on. Which was probably a good idea. The stories I had posted were absolute shit, as compared to the stories I can produce now, which are mostly shit but not entirely. But it was fun while it lasted—just imagine, a community filled with people of all ages (lots of teenagers, for one) writing fun little stories to entertain themselves and find an audience online. Younger-me had quite a blast sharing terrible short stories and poems and occasionally getting a nice comment from a reader. And I had to love all the fan fiction and generic fantasy epics and vampire romances and all of that fluffy, guilty-pleasure literature. And frankly, it’s a much better deal to read a free, well-written vampire romance on Wattpad, where you can have a conversation with the author and leave comments and have a voice in the community, than it is to buy a copy of Twilight. In my humble opinion. 

I assure you that this isn’t an advertisement for the website. I’m just sharing my genuine enthusiasm about the platform as a short introduction to—*takes deep breath*—my Work In Progress (henceforth known as the WIP). 

[I've removed this for a number of reasons. My apologies.]

Presently, it is called The Indigo Dress. Yeah...I struggled with that title. Titles are not my strong suit (and, between you and me, I’m not so great at coming up with recipe titles either...which is why my blog post titles are boring as hell). However! I think we can look past that. After all, they do say “never judge a book by its cover”!

Any writers reading this will understand the feeling of having a million ideas bouncing around in your head at once. It’s awfully guilt-inducing and only gets worse once you chose an idea to pursue. So while I am currently working on another rather ambitious project (world-building is a bitch, yo) in the realm of novel-writing, I have decided to share my progress on this idea, which, after returning home from the Bahamas trip, I decided to chase with renewed enthusiasm.

It will be easy to see why a trip to a tropical location like that would be inspiring—well, because The Indigo Dress takes place in an island kingdom (which I have lovingly named Jasai) much like the Bahamas. Here, our protagonist, Gemma, slaves away in her mother's garment and fabrics shop, generally depressed and hormonal (guys this is totally not autobiographical, please don’t judge me) as an ugly, friendless dork (yep this is so not autobiographical)—until! she discovers her extraordinary and extremely profitable heaven-sent gift. Which pertains to beauty in some way. You’ll see.

Just to clarify, the story is mostly a young-adult fantasy, a popular genre these days and one I must admit I’ve always had a passion for (Harry Potter is a gateway drug, I swear). There’s some element of satire in here because, well, I fucking love satire, with all the predictable social commentary that goes along with it.

No, it’s not as polished as a work like The Floating Boy, which I have edited a dozen times and stressed for days on end. I’m making shit up as I go along. But it will be a fun journey. We’ll see where it goes. Expect updates each time a new chapter is added.

So that’s over with. Let’s talk about something far less stressful, like, say, cake.

Aw yeah.

For my grandpa’s birthday, my mother and I each whipped up a cake—Mom opting for a boring-ass chocolate sheet cake, and myself whipped up this glorious heavenly Victorian sponge cake cue angels blaring their trumpets as the heavens open up

#sorrynotsorry

I kid, I kid. I like to make fun of my mother for making relatively plain, uncomplicated desserts like sheet cakes, but the reality is that they taste just as good as my own labor-intensive layer cakes. Plus, Mom was the one who taught me how to bake—sheet cakes, yes, but layer cakes too, on occasion. Together, we baked a three-layer burger cake for my brother’s birthday. We also whipped up this pumpkin turtle cake from Sprinkle Bakes for Christmas 2013, which, for little ol’ me, was mind-blowing. And for a long time, this pumpkin pie cake was the most delicious thing I’d ever tasted. So you can see where my love of layer cakes is coming from, even if Mom isn’t quite as keen on them.

This particular cake is from the cookbook Decorated by April Carter—it’s on the cover, actually. My version isn’t as perfect and gorgeous as hers: it isn’t garnished with loads of fresh berries nor are there any flowers to be seen, and it’s not a twelve-layer, three-tier masterpiece. But it is still inspired by the classic jam-and-cream Victorian cake, with a fluffy buttercream and homemade mixed berry chia jam, plus a hint of rosewater. Call it a variation on a classic tune.

Here’s the recipe.

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Vegan rosewater Victorian sponge cake

Adapted from Decorated by April Carter

Makes a 4-layer 6-inch round cake

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Vanilla cake

Ingredients

16 grams • Ener-g egg replacer • 2 tablespoons

13 grams • flaxseed • 2 tablespoons

180 grams • water • ¾ cup

224 grams • vegan butter (such as this) • 8 ounces

300 grams • granulated sugar • 1 1/2 cups

300 grams • all-purpose flour • 2 1/2 cups

10 grams • baking powder • 2 ½ teaspoons

2 grams • salt • ¼ teaspoon

4 grams • vanilla extract • 1 teaspoon

122 grams • nondairy milk • ½ cup

Directions

Preheat oven to 335 degrees F. Grease two 6-inch round baking pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

Combine Ener-g egg replacer, flaxseed, and water in a measuring cup and whisk to dissolve. Let sit for a few minutes, until slightly thickened.

Place vegan butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. With mixer on low speed, stream in egg replacer-flaxseed mixture and beat until combined, another 2 minutes.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in one medium bowl; place vanilla and nondairy milk in a measuring cup. Spoon in about a third of the flour mixture into the stand mixer and beat to combine, then stream in half of the milk mixture with mixer on low speed. Repeat and finish off with the last third of the flour mixture. Be sure not to over-mix batter.

Divide batter evenly between the baking pans. Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Rosewater syrup

Ingredients

100 grams • granulated sugar • ½ cup

105 grams • water • ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoon

4 grams • rosewater • 1 teaspoon

Directions

Place sugar and water in a small saucepan. Heat, swirling pan occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the edges of the mixture are bubbling. Remove from heat and stir in rosewater. Let cool completely.

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Mixed berry chia jam

Ingredients

222 grams • mixed berries (use whatever berries or berry you would like • 1 ½ cups

60 grams • maple syrup • 3 tablespoons

24 grams • chia seeds • 2 tablespoons

15 grams • lemon juice • 1 tablespoon

Directions

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and stir well to combine. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until bubbly and slightly thickened. Let cool at room temperature for a bit, then let chill to thicken completely.

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Rosewater frosting

Ingredients

112 grams • vegan butter • ½ cup

180 grams • powdered sugar • 1 ½ cups

15 grams • coconut milk, full-fat • 1 tablespoon

2 grams • rosewater • ½ teaspoon

Salt, to taste

Directions

Place vegan butter in the bowl of an electric stand mixer and beat until smooth. Spoon in powdered sugar and beat until combined. Add coconut milk, rosewater, and salt and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.

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Assembly

Ingredients

Vanilla cake

Rosewater syrup

Mixed berry chia jam

Rosewater frosting

Directions

Place vanilla cake on a work surface. Level off each layer with a serrated knife and cut lengthwise to get four thinner layers. Brush each layer with rosewater syrup.

Frost two cake layers with chia jam and the other two with rosewater syrup. Stack, alternating fillings, to get a nice naked four-layer cake. Decorate to your heart’s desires. For a more traditional cake, you would want to top the cake with just powdered sugar and more fresh fruit, but I opted to cover it with frosting and additional jam because that’s how I roll. Hardly matters, anyway, since it’s delicious no matter what you do.

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Stacking those layers.

I know this was a long post, so I won’t link you to any other posts and instead just say “thank you for reading, as always”.

24 comments:

  1. Cake + Some fine piece of literature = Good evening :D x

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  2. Must make this cake. And good for you for writing. I respect that.

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  3. June, here's a thought, you could put that cake on the cover of your book - it's beautiful!
    Thanks for the tip re that site, it looks fun. So many ideas, so little time...

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    1. Thanks so much! I'm glad you like the cake :)

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  4. I think your writing project sounds really fun! That's the sort of thing I wish had been around when I was in elementary school and junior high, back when I used to write a lot of fiction. High school and college writing requirements sort of beat the fiction enthusiasm out of me, and instead I turned to stress baking. Full circle.

    But I digress. This cake is STUNNING. It's so elegant (your piping skills are really good!) and I am obsessed with anything involving rose water!

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    1. Aww thank you so much Nora! About the piping, I really like those large star tips, they always make things look fancy! :)

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  5. Writing project sounds like fun! Great idea! And the cake.. looks awesome!

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  6. What a gorgeous, jam filled cake! Such lovely layers! And good luck with your latest project---your writing talent is equal to your baking :)

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    1. Thank you so much! I really like using homemade jams in cakes like this :)

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  7. Absolutely gorgeous, June. I'm a big fan of Victoria sponge cakes, being a Brit n' all. :) But this looks over the top good. I'm in awe that you made everything from scratch, including the jam. The frosting sounds good too - here we just use store-bought raspberry jam and whipped cream to the basic sponge recipe.

    In fact, I have the non-vegan version on my blog, but it's nowhere near as beautiful as yours!!

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    1. Aw thank you so much Lisa! That is high praise! I thought about using whipped cream with this, but the cookbook I got the recipe from used buttercream...which is good too, since I love frosting :P

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  8. How fun! I used to write stories when I was younger, and I would love to write a novel some day. For now I stick to writing about food, I guess ;) Looks like a delicious cake, June!

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  9. This cake looks so soft and dreamy! Love the idea of adding rosewater to frosting :)

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    1. Yep, I am officially a fangirl of rosewater! Going to add it to a lot of things while I have a bottle of it :)

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  10. So fun, good luck with your latest writing project. So sweet of you and your mom to make your grandpa your own cakes. Love the pretty layers with the jam filling and rosewater. Sounds so delicious!

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    1. Thank you Kelly! We never pass up on the opportunity to make someone cake :P

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  11. i love sheet cakes!! everything about them ... of course i love layer cakes too, especially such a pretty one as this - basically i will never say no to a cake. ^__^

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    1. Me neither haha :P Thanks for stopping by!

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