Happy un-Birthday! You and me both. The downside of being a Summer baby is that you're never with your friends on your actual birthday, so last night we held a surprise party for my housemate Helen - she in the tinfoil tiara, looking not unlike the Statue of Liberty - complete with cucumber sandwiches, potato salad, and a strawberry-pink birthday cake. If it looks a little ramshackle, it's because we're half moved-out, and all our worldly posessions are jigsaw-fitted into cardboard boxes; we do what we can with what we've got.
Speaking of improvisation: this is indeed the pink lady cake from Smitten Kitchen! Albeit veganised and bastardised to no small degree. If you're interested, my changes are as follows:
- Firstly, I halved the recipe, cause I've made it before (albeit not vegan) and it's a monster-sized cake. This half-quantity made two 8" layers.
- I used vegetable oil in place of butter; you could use vegan margarine but I was a bit low.
- I used four flax eggs in place of the four egg whites; usually flax eggs work best in smaller quantities, but as I was subbing whites rather than whole eggs, they were perfect here. That's 4 Tbsp of ground flax + 12 Tbsp water, warmed until it goes to a gloopy, egg-white consistency.
- Non-dairy milk (I used soy) in place of cows' milk.
- I used a little pink gel food colouring to brighten it up. Actually, I used quite a lot of pink gel food colouring, cause I have no concept of control. But whatever.
- Instead of cream cheese frosting, I made a vegan buttercream with margarine, coconut oil and icing sugar. I also added a layer of strawberry jam to the middle of the cake as extra filling.
- I decorated the outside edge with halved strawberries to neaten and brighten the whole thing up.
Nothing like a stack of bullet points to make something very simple look complicated, haha.
And yes... I got a surprise party too (my birthday's in August). I was hauled out of bed this morning to a tray of cut fruit so enormous that I had stars in my eyes -cantaloupe melon! my dearest love!- soya yoghurt, muesli, sweet rolls, a pot of tea, and a sparkly giftbag I could literally fit inside (...and did. Of course). Guys, you know me so well. I don't think it's exactly standard for your ideal birthday meal to be breakfast, but I'm all over that. Yes, I did just have the same thing for lunch, don't be judgin'. And I haven't even shown you my present yet. It is amazing.
...I'm over official birthdays. From now on, I'm gonna have one whenever I feel like it. Get on this bandwagon: it has strawberry cake.