Apparently four-year olds want to eat spray-painted cartoon characters. Here is a conversation between Sam and I, with direct quotes. "Sam, what kind of cake do you want for your birthday?" I'm thinking he'll request one of my regular culinary wonders: a nice sourdough chocolate cake, maybe honey-sweetened carrot cake, or perhaps one of my favorites, whole wheat cake with burnt butter frosting. Instead he says, "I want a JUNKY cake! From the store! With PINK frosting!!!" Um... yeah. So, what does one say to the light of their life on their fourth birthday when the desire of their little heart is a poisonous cake?
We had some food coloring left over from a non-edible project, so I used a bit, quite sparingly as you can see (that's all of three drops in the whole cake). If I'd thought ahead I would have ordered some of this. Sam had such a great time making the cake with me, and especially decorating it. It was my first time doing a "real" birthday cake, instead of just a normal dessert with birthday candles plopped on. We even got the special pastry bags and tips!
Even though it looks very much like a "junky" cake, it's actually pretty close to my typical dessert creations: 100% whole wheat cake and frosting sweetened with honey. I knew we'd hit a home run though when Sam's cousin who normally turns his nose up at my healthy desserts, gobbled up his whole slice! Here's the recipe, which we'll likely be using as our go-to birthday cake recipe from now on. The only thing I'm going to fiddle with is the sweetener for the cake. I used organic, evaporated cane juice and I'd like to try it with something slightly more virtuous, and less sweetener overall. Maybe the addition of some sort of fruit puree instead?
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 2 1/2 whole wheat flour (ww pastry is nice if you have it)
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup softened butter
- 1/2 cup sucanat
- 1 1/2 evap. cane juice
- 4 eggs
- 3 tsp. vanilla
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup boiling water
Mix the cocoa and coconut oil into a drizzly paste and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the rest of the wet ingredients, except the last two (SC and water). Mix together the rest of your dry ingredients. Now add the dry flour mixutre and the sour cream, alternating about 1/2 cup of each at a time. Finally, slowly mix in the boiling water.
Divide the batter evenly between two round 9" cake pans that you've buttered and floured. Pop them in a 375 degree oven for just under 25 minutes (err on the side of less done than more, gooey cake is better than dry cake). Let them cool a bit in the pans, then turn them out onto a cooling rack to finish.
For the frosting I used three sticks of butter and three boxes of cream cheese (double gasp! I know!!!) Let these sit out to soften, then mix in honey, tasting as you go, and about a tsp. of vanilla. I totally didn't measure, so just add slowly and taste often. Don't let it get too warm or the frosting doesn't hold it's shape as well. You can put it in the fridge for a bit if the shapes start becoming less distinct. Just don't let it get rock hard.
This may not be my healthiest dessert recipe, but when faced with a request for a "junky cake," I think it was definitely the better option!