Monday, December 26, 2011

Surprise!

Why, thanks for this beautiful cake;
Your thoughtfulness makes my heart ache!
Double-layered?  How grand!
I'll just slice it here, and--
YOU PUT A SMIRNOFF ICE IN THIS CAKE, YOU LITTLE JERK?
Surprise, PAF is back!  It's a Christmas miracle?

I actually didn't mean to stop blogging for so long without explanation, nor did I mean to kick off my hiatus with an emo-type poem about the world ending.  Oops.

To tell you the truth, I just decided not to post for a couple weeks, and then a couple weeks became a couple months, and then I was kind of enjoying the break for a (long) while, and it would've been awkward to post an "FYI-not-so-brief-hiatus" message at that point.  But I never intended for that post to be Poems About Food's "Last Meal," so here I am again.


Tonight for Christmas family time, we watched Julie & Julia.  Amy Adams' Julie Powell says of blogging, "It's like there's this whole group of people who are sort of connected to me.  They need me in some way.  Like, if I didn't write, they would be really upset."  And I think, do I have readers like that?  The stats say I have a fair amount of followers, even as far away as Australia (thank you, kangaroo) and Korea (thank you, StarCraft Cake), but I'd like to think I haven't upset anyone by taking a break for a few months.

But then, in the film, Paul Child asks his wife, "What is it you really like to do?" and Julia responds, "Eat!"

That is why I like to blog, and that is why I will keep blogging, however sporadically.  I love, love, love to eat.

I also love mischief, which is why I stayed up until 4 AM the night before a tournament to bake the topic of this post for my friend Teresa.  My friend Teresa who was very nice and offered to bring me new cleats to the fields at our tournament, whom I repaid with this Trojan cake-is-a-lie cake.  I know, I am a little jerk.


Vegan Chocolate Mango Cake with Mango Icing (and Mango Ice!)
lightly adapted from my friend Annie's favorite chocolate cake recipe

Ingredients for Cake
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp vinegar (I used fancy TJ's stuff, but any white vinegar will do)
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 2 cups room-temperature mango puree


Ingredients for Icing & Decoration
  • 1 15-oz container Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread
  • powdered sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • mango puree
  • dried mango


Ingredients for Icing
  • 1 bottle Mango Smirnoff Ice (for cake construction, it helps to have 2 bottles)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Sift the dry cake ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.


Pour the vanilla, vinegar, oil, and mango puree over the dry mixture.


Mix well again.


Pour about 2/3 the batter into a 9"-diameter springform cake pan.  Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick/knife/other pointy object inserted into the center comes out clean.


(If you are lucky enough to have two 9"-diameter springform cake pans, pour the rest of the batter into your other one and bake both layers at the same time.)

In the meantime, prepare your icing!

Pour some mango puree into a pan and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until it reduces to syrupy consistency. Pour into a cup and refrigerate.


Scoop the Earth Balance into a smaller bowl and, with a hand mixer, mix in powdered sugar and a dash of vanilla extract to taste.


Julienne the dried mango.


Your first layer should be ready by now!


When it's cooled a bit, put it on a plate and use the springform pan to bake the rest of your batter for 35-45 minutes.


Lay the bottle of Smirnoff Ice on top of the cake and cut an outline around it with a knife.


Remove the bottle and scoop out a bottle-shaped cake ditch with a spoon.


Stick the bottle in, filling any holes with the cake innards you've just scooped out.


By now, your second layer should still be baking, but your mango puree reduction should be cool enough to pour over the icing mixture!


Blend well and taste.  Mmm.


When it's ready, put your second cake layer on a separate plate and use your second bottle of Smirnoff Ice to measure and scoop out another cake ditch.


Pour and spread some icing onto the bottom cake layer, filling in potential holes with cake innards.


Flip the second cake layer onto the first cake layer, taking care to line up the cake ditch with the bottle...


…and marvel at your handiwork!


Pour the rest of the icing over the cake.


Decorate with julienned mango.  And an innocent little flower, to be extra-sneaky.


Give to your unsuspecting friend.


Mwahahahaha!

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