Spending hours in the kitchen working on a cake is blissfully therapeutic for me (or maybe its more the tasting along the way and eating of said cake afterward...). Regardless, I was happy for the excuse of a friend's birthday to get it the baking zone again.
I went down to the local Haight St. Market and delighted in the fresh abundance that stone fruit and berry season had to offer! I was immediately drawn to the Organic and ripe Rainer Cherries, apricots, and black- and blueberries. I grabbed a bundle of fresh mint as well, stocked up on the basics of flour and sugar, and headed home to begin my baking party for one.
My friend Alex told me his wife Mel (birthday gal) was a classic vanilla cake connoisseur, but gave me the go ahead to spice it up a bit. I decided to do a vanilla cake infused with subtle mint and lavender, and then make an apricot-mint frosting. I also decided to do it vegan so everyone could join in on the fun.
I crushed up a few tbls of lavender buds and probably 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint as finely as possible and added it to my trusty vegan vanilla cake recipe:
2 cups water
3/4 cups light oil (I used olive)
2 tbl white vinegar
4 tsp vanilla
3-1/2 cups unbleached flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
a few shakes of cinnamon or any other flavors you want to experiment with!
Bake at 350* for about 40 minutes or until cooked through ( I always check mine early to make sure its as moist as possible.)
The frosting was completely improvised. I know if you take earth balance, some type of milk (I used hemp milk), and powdered sugar you will get something resembling frosting. I decided to start flavoring by slicing up three apricots and throwing them into the food processor with the rest of the bundle of mint and a splash of hemp milk to keep it moving.
Then I threw that apricot puree in a large bowl with a few scoops of earth balance, a cup of powdered sugar, agave, cinnamon, and randomly, a few scoops of vanilla coconut milk ice cream I had had the night before.
I used a hand mixer to blend and thicken it up. This was working, but after doing it maybe too long, it started to separate a little. I let it sit in the refrigerator over night, then brought it down to room temp again and put it all in the food processor the next morning with some more powdered sugar and that smoothed it up a lot.
It was still not my ideal consistency, but it tasted so good it didn't matter. I knew that I could use it as a thick glaze that would help "glue" on all of my fresh fruit garnish.
Along with the fruit, I sprinkled some candied ginger crumbs on top.
Thank you summer fruit!