Thursday, August 11, 2011

Strawberry Cake and Roasted Garlic Bread!

My boyfriend's birthday was this past August 8th so as his birthday cake I made him my famous Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Buttercreme Frosting. It's a real simple cake that uses strawberry purée to bind, moisten, and flavor the cake. It's actually the same recipe as my strawberry cupcakes, just adapted into cake form. It's a real hit with everyone and I've been asked for the recipe multiple times! I also make him lasagna every year since it's his favorite food, but that recipe isn't vegan so I won't bother you with the details. I know there's some controversy over vegans dating non-vegans, but eh, I'm not bothered by it. Seriously, I live in the Midwest, so I've met one other vegan and one vegetarian in all my life years here. Besides, he'll eat all the vegan food I make and he loves Boca burgers and Chik'n patties, so I think we're doing alright. One meatless meal is another win in my book! However, with his non-vegan lasagna, I did make a vegan roasted garlic bread to go with it. It turned out to be the perfect accompaniment!

For the strawberry cake, I made the strawberry cupcakes recipe just like it said, except I divided the batter evening into two 9-inch cake pans that had been sprayed with nonstick and lined with parchment paper (for easy, pretty removal). I then baked it at 350 for about 20 minutes. It didn't take very long. Once the cakes were completely cooled, I filled the middle layer with about half the buttercreme, topped it with the second cake, and then just frosted the top. I used the same amount of buttercreme as made in the cupcake recipe. You could also garnish the cake with some fresh sliced strawberries, but only do so right before you serve it, as the juice from the strawberries causes them to slip off the icing.

Also, I have tomatoes everywhere.

It doesn't make a very tall cake, so I'm thinking I could do 1 1/2 times the original amount (3 cups flour instead of 2, 3/4 cup strawberry purée instead of 1/2) in order to get more cake. However, I haven't tried that yet so I can't guarantee the results! Lol.

For the roasted garlic bread, I roasted up a couple bulbs of garlic and mashed them into a stick of softened Earth Balance. I only wound up using half the garlic butter on the bread though, so I had lots of delicious garlicky goodness leftover for baked potatoes. If you're only concerned about having enough for the bread, you could reduce the Earth Balance to one-half a stick, but I wouldn't reduce the roasted garlic. It's what makes it delicious! Most French bread you buy in the bakery section of grocery stores are vegan, but double-check the ingredients to make sure. Also by French bread I don't mean the long, skinny baguette. Go for the wider, softer loafs (also called "Italian bread"). I'm afraid a baguette would get too hard if baked again.

Roasted Garlic - Garlic Bread:
2 bulbs garlic, roasted
1/2 c. Earth Balance (one stick)
1 loaf French bread

To roast the garlic:
Remove extra loose skins on the outside, but make sure the bulb stays intact. Cut the top off the garlic to expose the cloves. Place the bulb at the center of a square of aluminium foil and drizzle it with olive oil. Seal up the bulb by making a foil "packet" and then place it in a 350F oven. Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until completely soft and golden. If the bulbs are completely soft, they won't be easy to mix into the butter and they will have that "hot" raw garlic flavor. Roasting will sweeten and mellow its flavor. Also, I use a separate foil packet for each bulb.

After the garlic is roasted pop the cloves into the softened (room temperature) Earth Balance. Mix well.

Garlicky buttery goodness.

Split the bread in half and place on a cookie sheet with the cut side up. Butter the bread as desired (I used half for the bread) and then broil for about 4 minutes.

If, however, you are like me and your broiler doesn't work, you can also bake it at 350 for about 10 minutes. It won't be browned on top of the butter, but the bread itself will be browned and crunchy and delicious.

Then enjoy!

You can use this bread anywhere a garlic bread is required, with veggie lasagna, spaghetti (or pasta in general) or with a soup/salad/bread night. The butter can be used on anything. It's especially good with baked potatoes. I'm going to try it with some gnocchi as well!

I've also make some crazy awesome "pizza potatoes" for my friend, the Wandering Hen and her husband. They went over real well! It was an easy recipe, so I'll definitely have to put it in my arsenal. I'll make them again soon and take pictures, lol! I'm going to Whole Foods on Saturday, so expect a post about that! Yay!

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