I decided to bake my mom a birthday cake on Friday before I made the trip to my hometown of Greenville, S.C., to visit her. Of course, now that I’m on a DIY kick and shun most processed food, I had to bake the cake myself. From scratch. And vegan.
My mom loves strawberry cake with cream cheese icing, so I decided to attempt it. Vegan cream cheese? No, not quite. While the actual cake is vegan, and while I used vegan butter for the icing, I did use real cream cheese. It’s my mother’s birthday cake after all. My very Southern mother who kindly quit throwing ham bones into the green beans and cooking casseroles with cream of chicken soup when I became a vegetarian 14 years ago.
So I scoured the web for a good strawberry cake recipe and ended up creating a recipe of my very own, which means I attempted to bake a cake from scratch for the very first time without any guarantee that my recipe would even work. Luckily, it did.
And it was delicious. I have dreams about this cake. I would actually sleep between warm layers of freshly baked vegan strawberry cake if I could! And I’m going to share this wonderful recipe with you.
Vegan strawberry cake
3 cups self-rising flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups pureed organic strawberries, strained*
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Egg replacer equivalent of 4 large eggs, beaten
*red or pink food coloring
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray three 8-by-2-inch round cake pans
2. Stir together flour, sugar, oil, pureed strawberries, vanilla and eggs replacer
3. Divide batter evenly among oiled pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating the pans periodically to ensure they bake evenly. A toothpick should come out clean when inserted into the middle of the cakes, and the top should spring back when gently pressed.
4. Let cakes cool and then flip them upside down, remove pans, and allow them to cool on the other side.
5. Prepare the frosting and ice cake layers.
* Strawberry cakes often call for strawberry gelatin, which gives the cake a pinkish color; however, gelatin isn’t vegan. Instead, you can add a few drops of red or pink food coloring to give your cake a brighter pink color.
Not-so-vegan cream cheese frosting
8oz softened cream cheese
1/2 cup Earth Balance butter
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups confectioners sugar
1. Combine cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and beat until smooth. Beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth.
2. Add a little bit of soy milk if you want thinner icing and beat again.
Happy birthday, Mom!