Saturday, February 21, 2009

omg, cake!

I made a layer cake!  My first ever!  Ok, Michael helped me with some of it too.  But still!  Cake!  When I saw Hannah's recipe for a Citrus Sunshine cake on her wonderful Bittersweet blog, I knew I had to make it.  Not only because it sounded awesome, but because I love lemon in baked goods and because I knew I had the ingredients at home.  Or at least, I thought I did.  

Of course, I knew I didn't have any Meyer lemons (and neither did any grocery store in a 50 mile radius), so I substituted 2 smallish regular lemons for the zest and juice in the recipe.  But then I realized that I didn't have anywhere near enough agave nectar for the cake!  Oops!  I had to do some off hand subbing, but luckily all turned out well.  In the cake batter, I used 1/2 cup of agave nectar and then 3/4 cup of sweetened applesauce to not only make up the rest of the sugar, but also to make up the liquid content I'd be losing.  Oh, and I didn't have a bundt pan, but Hannah oh-so-nicely replied to an email I sent asking about using two 9 inch round pans instead (a new purchase, yay!).  Here they are right out of the oven.
sleep lines

Yeah, so when I popped them out of the pans onto my cooling rack, they got a little indented.  No biggie.  That's what frosting's for.  Also, my oven is totally crooked and the cakes came out lopsided (which Michael nicely trimmed so that I could stack them).  He also whipped up a basic vanilla buttercream for the filling and outer layer of frosting, from VCTOTW.  Meanwhile, I whizzed up the icing from Hannah's recipe, substituting light corn syrup (guh, I know, I know) for the agave and adding another half a lemon's worth of zest, because I was afraid I was losing lemon flavor with all that buttercream.

It turned out beautifully!  I asked my dear food assistant (Michael) to slice up a strawberry for garnish since otherwise it would have just been kind of ugly.  Holy crap though!  Look!  My first layer cake!
and it tasted good, too

With all the icing, it is a very sweet cake...  But still so wonderful!  Just enough hint of lemon to tang it up, and the cake is so moist and delicate.  
would you like a slice?

We still have so much cake left.  How am I supposed to use all of it?  So.  Much.  Cake.  I think that's really a small problem, if you think about it.

For dinner we made some homemade veggie/grain burgers!  I made these buns for them using my bread machine to knead the dough for me.  I added in a cup of whole wheat flour to give them a little more tooth than the rolls I did last week.
do you like my buns?

Michael got this recipe from the Food Network website.  It was something Alton Brown was making.  Pea Burgers!
so they don't photograph well

Despite their non photogenic-ness, these burgers were really yummy!  Here's the recipe:

Pea Burgers

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1 to 2 additional tablespoons for sauteing

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped bell pepper*

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons minced garlic

4 ounces mushrooms, sliced

3 cups vegetable broth

1 cup dry split peas, picked and rinsed

1/2 cup dry brown rice

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs, plus 1/4 cup for coating

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large (4 to 6-quart) saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper* along with a generous pinch of salt. Sweat for 5 minutes or until the onions are soft. Add the garlic and mushrooms and continue to cook for another 4 minutes.

Add the broth, peas, rice, coriander and cumin. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Decrease heat to low, cover and cook at a simmer for 1 hour or until the rice and peas are tender.

Remove from the heat and gently pour the mixture into the bowl of a food processor and process until just combined.** Do not puree. Pour this mixture into a bowl and stir in the 3/4 cup of bread crumbs. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground pepper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Shape the mixture into patties and dredge on each side in the remaining 1/4 cup of bread crumbs. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat.*** Add 2 burgers at a time and saute until brown on each side, approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side. To grill, cook on high for 3 to 4 minutes per side as well. Serve immediately.

* We had no bell peppers, so subbed in 1 diced jalepeno and frozen corn to make up 1/2 cup

** You might need to do the food processing in 2 batches.  That's ok.

*** Instead of sauteing the burgers, we used out Foreman grill, in order to cut down on the fat.

The burgers were very tender, but still stayed together well, and had a touch of an Indian taste from the coriander and cumin.  So, so good.  Thanks, Alton!  We also roasted up some beets, carrots, onions, and garlic with rosemary for the side.  Yum!

In other dinner adventures, we had jumbalaya!

This is the recipe from ED&BV, and it was a huge success, of course.  I've never made a recipe from that book that failed.  Not a single one.  That woman is a genius.  Anyway, I made the tempeh crumbles from VWAV to go on top, for an added bonus.
i want some of this right now!

I kept the crumbles more like chunks so they're be more like...well, chunky.  Man.  This was so great together.

A slightly trashier dinner adventure can be seen here:
return of the croissant dogs

But...  you know...  to make it healthier, I made some sauteed kale to go with them.  That totally makes up for it, right?  Anyway, these were really great with some mustard (we've gotten a couple new varieties as of late...) and the relishes from Zukay Live Foods.  Yurm.

Michael has class during my lunch hour 2 days a week, so I'm on my own for them.  I've started making something on the first day, eating half, then eating the leftovers on the other day.  This week, I made some couscous with spinach, chickpeas, capers, lemon juice, and red wine vineger.  It was much better the first day than the other...but still a yummy lunch!
i will try any excuse to use capers when michael's not here

And to close...cake!
still so excited!

Oh, I got some new dishes that are totally rad, so start looking for prettier photographs.  My next goal is clamp lights.  And I almost bought a new camera last night, but it turned out to be a shitty camera, so I didn't.  I just know I can do so much better than the photos I've had here (I have a masters degree in photography for goodness sakes!) and am finally motivated enough to make it happen.  You see, I only ever used to take photos outdoor and always with film, so I'm still learning here (without lights, it's pretty I still can't find my tripod).  Oh, and if you want to see some examples of my art, you can see some here (I'm still in the process of uploading them...there are so many!).

One last thing!  Ckwebgrrl, please contact me!  If I don't hear from you in the next couple of days, I'm going to have to pick a new winner.

Have a good weekend, everyone!


Anonymous said...

That cake is gorgeous! I love it!!!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful cake! And lemon - my favourite!
You have no idea how excited I am about that pea-burger recipe! I am always trying to find ways to get more dry legumes, specifically peas, into our diets - great source of iron, but my husband is a big baby and doesn't like them. This will be a great way to get them on our plates!

allularpunk said...

oh! and i forgot to say that i used yellow split peas, not green, but i'm sure both would be lovely!

Jes said...

What a beautiful cake! It looks so sunshiny and happy! And croissant dogs...I'm so in love with those things :)

Virginia said...

cake! veggie burgers! cake! croissant dogs! cake! YES!!!

Katy said...

Nice buns! LOL!

And that cake looks fab! I never would have guessed that it was your first!

Hannah said...

Looks fantastic! I'm so glad that it worked as two layers for you, and that you enjoyed it after your modifications. :)

Ricki said...

Congrats on your first layer cake--it came out perfectly! I bet it tasted great, too. :) And I love "sleep lines"!! ;)

miss v said...

i totally use westbrae stoneground mustard in *all* of my recipes... it's my total fave.

congrats on the layer cake! so yummy and rich looking....

and i'm excited to try pea burgers!

Georgia said...

wow that cake looks awesome - I have yet to make and ice a cake (that is not a fruit cake or some other dense loaf type creation)

I love the look of those pea burgers. I will have to try them.

Zucchini Breath said...

I love homemade layer cakes. They look so... vulnerable.

Good job, there :)

jessy said...

cake, cake, CAKE! mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! nice job on all the substitutes & making it all so awesome, Jessica! sweet jeebus, huzzah! it looks so delicious! i wish i had cake! jealousface! hooray for new cake pans, too! now you should make cake all the time! the ginger-carrot-coconut one from VWAV is awesome - it's one of my favorites, but i think i'm gonna have to try out Hannah's rock'n cake now! yay!

croissant dogs!?! oooooh! i love that you added some tasty 'n super green kale. my unhealthy ass woulda probably made onion rings and tater tots or something! ahahahahaa! i love jumbalawesome, too! and those tempeh crumbles i could eat right now! damn!

i do like your buns - they're too stellar! and pea burgers?!? totally going to have to try those, too! i see those roasted beets. oooooh, beets! that's funny that i'm not the only girl with a caper hating man! ahhaahahaha!

Anonymous said...

Your first ever layer cake is awesome! Yay for you! (Now that you have round pans you can make chess cake!) Nom, nom, nom, nom, nom, nom!
I'm lovin' your buns too >;oD

aTxVegn said...

Kudos on your first layer cake! It looks spectacular! And those totally homemade burgers look so delicious.

Vegan_Noodle said...

Yay for your first layer cake!! I think you always remember your first :-) especially when it's such a success! Looks delicious.