It's been a hot minute since I've had any time to write. Rest assured.. I've been baking, but the thought of sitting down and actually writing down recipes has been a little daunting. So I've been playing a cute little game with myself where I just avoid the things I'm a little annoyed with and/or mildly afraid of.
Speaking of dating. I signed up for a few online dating sites in the last month or so. After a post on my Instagram about how uncomfortable dating apps make me was flooded with comments from well meaning people about their success stories, I felt like I needed to give it a shot. I spent hours writing up a detailed profile, trying hard to highlight my best qualities while also portraying my sardonic sense of humor and proclivity towards alone time. After a day or so my inbox was bursting with messages from potential partners.. and a surprising amount started with,
"Hey not to be offensive or anything but you're one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen."
Which is such a confusing sentence to me for a few reasons:
1. that's not offensive???
2. wait is it???
Sifting through dozens of blatantly copied and pasted messages is what I assume purgatory is like. But it's not like the only problem with online dating is the people taking advantage of the platform.. the problem is also me. Because the few meaningful interactions I had with people were so overwhelming to me. I was reminded of how much I hate texting/messaging in general, and the feeling of obligation that comes with it. I'm so fond of my own independence that adding another person into the equation is just too much for me right now. So basically online dating reminded me that I'm still dead inside, which is nice.
In an effort to drown myself in my own hobbies and self interest, while also avoiding doing any actual work on myself, I worked on a cake for my monthly baking project, #ssyearofcake. I know I know.. I'm a little late for May's entry. But I was able find some peace with my own flawed personality while decorating this one. It's hard recognizing that the problem is still me, but I'm confident that someday I'll find myself in a healthy relationship that feels like less of a burden and more of a partnership. Uh oh, is this post getting a little too self aware?
This cake combines two of my favorite flavors, coffee and cinnamon. I've written plenty about my love affair with coffee, and about its ultimate removal from my life. I love the dark, rich flavors, but I can't ignore that even the smallest cup triggers my anxiety in the most unforgiving way. So thank god for coffee extracts, which insert the flavor into baked goods without the ugly side effects. Both flavors are infused into my favorite vanilla cake recipe of all time, as well as into the buttercream I used to decorate with. The lighter colored buttercream is laced with cinnamon while the darker layers project more of a coffee flavor.
I've been meaning to try out this method of decoration for awhile, where the cake ends up looking like it's covered in fish scales. And I always thought it was going to be too difficult. Luckily, a few weeks back Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen did a mini tutorial on her instagram story where she showed how to achieve it. Guess what, it's not hard at all. In fact, the only downside was spending about 45 minutes hunched over a 6 inch cake that unfortunately resulted in activating a very sore spot on my left shoulder. But l mean... it was totally worth it.
As usual, I brought this cake to work and it was a huge hit. Because while I may not be able to succeed in the world of dating, the one thing I've managed to always excel at is stuffing my coworkers with sugar.
Coffee Cinnamon Cake
yields two thick (thiccc) 6 inch layers
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 1/4 cup plant based milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 Tablespoon aquafaba*
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon coffee extract
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1/2 cup earth balance buttery sticks (room temperature)**
- 1 cup vegetable shortening
- 2-3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon coffee extract
- brown food coloring (wilton gel colors are vegan friendly)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and prepare two 6 inch cake pans by buttering and flouring, then lining with parchment paper.
To make the cake batter, begin by combining flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. In a separate bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine the plant based milk, vegetable oil, aquafaba, apple cider vinegar, vanilla and coffee extract. Slowly add "wet" ingredients into the flour mixture until a thick batter has formed.
Divide in half and pour into prepared baking pans, bake for 30-35 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for about 10 minutes before removing cake from pans and allowing to come to room temperature on cooling racks.
To prepare the buttercream, combine vegan butter, shortening, and powdered sugar until you've reached your desired consistency, adding more or less powdered sugar as needed. I like mine to be spreadable, but still hold it's shape. Divide the buttercream in half, and add vanilla and cinnamon to the first half, and then the coffee extract and brown food coloring to the second half.
Once cake is cool, crumb coat with the cinnamon buttercream, then set in the fridge for about 10 minutes. Then pipe alternating dollops of the divided buttercream onto the cake, spreading each one out with an offset spatula before piping another dollop and repeating (see photos in blog post).
Frosted cake is best served the day of, but will store well in an airtight container for 3-5 days.
** I've only ever used the Earth Balance buttery sticks in this recipe, and I'm not sure how well a vegan spread or coconut oil would work in it's place. Be mindful of this if you're planning on straying from the recipe as I have written it. I am not sponsored by Earth Balance, I just really dig their products.
Special thanks to one of my newest and most treasured friends, Tommy, for proofreading this post for me.
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