Vegan Cookies & Cream Birthday Cake

Baking should be therapeutic, pleasant, joyful.  An act of generosity and love.  I’m picturing Snow White, surrounded by chirping birds, smiling as she rolls out a perfect (cartoon) piecrust.  But as a vegan baker, I often feel compelled by spite.  Each cookie and cupcake I share has to prove that vegan desserts are not, in fact, fashioned from twigs and chick peas and hippie black magic (admittedly, I’ve made some questionable deserts from our old pal garbanzo).

So when I was (self-) commissioned to make my friend Will’s birthday cake, I set out to bake a cake that would lower any eyebrows raised in skepticism.  Answer: chocolate.  And cookies.

I am not going to regurgitate cake, ganache, and frosting recipes here.  Be creative with your chocolate cake.  It is a delectable canvas awaiting your peppermint, orange, espresso, black forest, raspberry, ginger, what-have-you visions.  Let you eat cake. 

My cookies and cream cake was born from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Just Chocolate Cake recipe (doubled to make two layers).  To the batter I added about 8 chopped Newman-O’s.  Dark chocolate ganache, drizzled with the melted creamy centers from additional Newman-O’s (that I would later chop and mix into the frosting), coats the first layer.  The top and sides of the cake received a thick blanket of vanilla “buttercream” frosting (Earth Balance, vegetable shortening, organic confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract), speckled with chopped Newman-O’s minus their centers.  Candles enhance any cake; it’s somebody’s birthday, somewhere.

Let the creative juices (and non-dairy milks) flow.  Bake something amazing.  Let desserts be your vegan activism.