In true Pancake Princess fashion, A Certain Holiday in February cannot be celebrated with anything other than an obnoxiously large slice of cake.
I am a fan of That Holiday, but I realize not everyone is. The past few V-days have been good to me.
My freshman year I received flowers from a secret admirer. One year my ex-boyfriend conspired with my roommate to cook me an amazing candlelit dinner and chocolate cake (which was especially impressive given that I didn’t know he could make anything but ramen). Another year, a bunch of girlfriends and I pitched in for a monstrous chocolate cake and split it 12 ways. And the first year Erik and I started dating, I was working late on V-day—teaching my baking class—and came back to find my dorm room strewn with rose petals, cute signs, chocolate, a little homemade heart-shaped cookie and Erik waiting to take me to dinner.
So I’m kind of a fan. Anyway, the recipe:
I made this cake three times. The first recipe I tried used a 1:1 ratio of flour to sugar. The cake came out with a pocked, sticky top with crunchy edges that stuck so badly to the pan that it was almost impossible to salvage. But I still tried because I hate wasting food. But after frosting it with a whipped cream/Greek yogurt frosting (verdict: weird), it became clear that all the sprinkles in the world couldn’t save the precarious lean. It couldn’t be shown to the world.
Except you guys understand me, so here it is:
So I tried again, this time lining the bottom with ungreased parchment paper (tip: always grease your parchment paper. Unless you’re making cookies). The second cake came out cemented to the parchment paper. Both the first and second batches of cake became cake balls.
With the third cake, I finally listened to my instincts and reduced the amount of sugar. Sure enough, the pockmarked, sticky top disappeared and final cake came out perfectly sweet, smooth and flat.
Or so it seemed. I didn’t bother trimming the top, but upon stacking the cake wedges, the gentle leeaan of the cake made it apparent that the layers weren’t quite flat.
It’s kind of like love, right? Your significant other looks totally picture-perfect and appealing in the beginning…but then you realize they’re maybe not QUITE as perfect as they seemed: there are some unforeseen bumpy surfaces. But then you frost them up and add sprinkles and in the end those bumps don’t really matter because they’re still DELICIOUS.
Er…that’s how it goes, right?
This isn’t the healthiest cake you will ever make, but it is disarmingly simple–no fussing with halving eggs or creaming butter. The cake itself is vegan, but the 3-ingredient Greek yogurt frosting I’ve listed below is not. The one downside to the Greek yogurt frosting (aside from the fact that it doesn’t taste like a sugary buttercream, I suppose) is that it’s not really thick enough to spread in thick layers between the cake–but that can always be remedied by serving the cake with extra yogurt frosting.
If you want a stiffer or sweeter frosting, use your favorite frosting. This cake isn’t too too sweet so if you have some really sweet leftover cream cheese frosting lying around for example, this is an excellent application for it.
To assemble a layer cake slice, it’s simply a matter of baking 1 thin round of cake, slicing it into six equal wedges, and stacking + frosting the wedges. Try this technique with any of your favorite cake recipes! (My first try was chocolate on chocolate.)
- 1/3 cup almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ tablespoon cocoa powder
- Scant ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Scant ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ tablespoon red food coloring
- For simple Greek yogurt frosting:
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- chocolate chips, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9-inch cake pan VERY well.
In a measuring cup or small bowl, combine the almond milk and vinegar.
In another small bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together until thoroughly incorporated. Sift this mixture if you can; you don’t want any lingering lumps of cocoa powder.
Add the vanilla, olive oil and food coloring to the almond milk mixture and whisk to combine. Pour over dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
Pour into the greased pan and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the top looks firm and dry around the edges; nothing should jiggle. Let cool completely, then cut into six equal wedges.
If making the Greek yogurt frosting, simply stir all ingredients together. Stack and frost cake wedges with your desired frosting.
For a chocolate drizzle on top, melt a few tablespoons of chocolate chips in the microwave (in 30 second-or-less increments--be careful not to scorch your chocolate!). Once smooth, dip a fork in the melted chocolate and shake it over the cake to create a deliciously haphazard drizzle. Top with
Top with sprinkles and serve with extra frosting if desired!
You don’t have to make this for a significant other. Make this for anyone and they will adore you.
Throwback to my first attempt at a single slice of layer cake–chocolate on chocolate (of course):
Also, beet red velvet pancakes. For the diet-conscious! (ish.)