Sometimes A Girl Just Needs To Bake A Cake.

Sometimes, I get the urge to just bake a cake. It’s so simple, such a classic thing to do when there’s nothing else needing doing, and I find it to be very relaxing. And when you’re finished, you have a cake! I can’t remember the last time I ate store-bought cake, because making my own is just too much fun- not to mention cheaper and easier to get it just right.

This is a great all-purpose cake, with a special little twist from the strawberries. It was inspired by traditional strawberry shortcake, but without the high fat content of actual shortcake. It’s dense and moist thanks to the whole wheat flours, and doesn’t dome too much, making it perfect for layering. I think it would also do well in cupcakes, but decrease the baking time!

Strawberry Shortcake…Cake.

    by Elizabeth Austin

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook Time: 30-40 minutes

     Keywords: bake dessert snack kosher nut-free soy-free vegan vegetarian strawberry Christmas Easter Super Bowl Thanksgiving birthday cake American fall spring summer winter

   Ingredients (serves 6-8)

     For the cake:

    • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
    • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
    • 2 tbsp. cornstarch.
    • 2 tsp. baking soda
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 2 cups sucanat (or cane sugar)
    • 2/3 cup oil (I used sunflower)
    • 2 cups almond milk
    • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
    • 4 vanilla beans, scraped (or 3-4 teaspoons vanilla extract)
    • 1/2 – 1 pint of strawberries, hulled and sliced

    For the icing:

    • 1 cup Earth Balance
    • 2-3 cups icing sugar, to taste
    • 2 vanilla beans, scraped, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


    For the cake:

    Begin by preheating your oven to 350.

    Grease two round cake pans- this recipe makes a double layer cake, so if you’re only making one small cake, feel free to halve it.

    In a medium bowl, whisk together your almond milk and vinegar. Set aside.

    In a large bowl, mix together your dry ingredients, flour through baking powder.

    Grab your bowl of almond milk and add sugar and oil. Mix well.

    I chose to use cornstarch as a binder in this recipe for textural purposes. I got mine at…Trader Joe’s!

    Pour the wet into the dry, and combine.

    Scrape vanilla beans, and fold the vanilla into the cake batter.

    Pour into greased cake rounds and bake!

    Fail: I didn’t write down the time that I baked these. Whoops! My guess is around 30-40 minutes. Cakes are done when a toothpick comes out clean.

    While the cakes are baking…

    Make you icing:

    In a large bowl, beat Earth Balance until fluffy.

    Add in icing sugar, a cup at a time, until combined. I do this to taste, as I don’t like my icing to be too sweet.

    When all of the icing sugar has been added, beat in vanilla.

    Beat entire mixture on med-high until fluffy- I usually let it run for 6-10 minutes.

    When the cakes are done…

    Remove them from the oven and let them cool until they can be handled comfortably.

    Turn one cake out onto a plate or cake dish.

    Make sure that the cake is cool- if it is too hot, it will turn your icing to runny mush!

    Begin by laying down a thin layer of icing on top of the bottom cake.

    Top with sliced strawberries, and then another thin layer of icing.

    Alternatively, you can portion out 3/4 cup of icing and mix it with a handful of strawberries, and spread that mixture around, but I didn’t like the way the strawberry juices mixed with the icing.

    Turn your second cake out onto the bottom round.

    Now cover the entire thing with fluffy buttercream icing!

    Decorate the top of the cake with the remaining strawberries (DON’T make fun of my sub-par decorating skills!)

    Cut, plate, and serve!


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    10 DIY Projects to Keep the Rainy Day Blues Away

    I know I promised a review for Local 44, but it’s such a dreary day, and days like today can only mean one thing: crafts! Truth be told, my crafty urges don’t usually kick in until late fall/early winter, but I stumbled over a few really neat ones this afternoon and want to share them with you!

    1. Make your own swimsuit! This tutorial comes from Cotton&Curls over on blogspot, and it is a simple and easy walk-through of how to construct a custom bathing suit. There is even a maternity alteration! I love the bandeau top and the sweet cutout in the back, but the rouching really makes it. I am not in the market for a bathing suit, but I am definitely filing this one away. I think that with some considerations for the fabric it would make a gorgeous jersey cotton tube top, and I like that I can customize the length to fit my height.

    2. A DIY for shoes! I’m going to be honest, these are happening this afternoon. They are quick and easy, I think I could probably get from start to finish in 20 minutes, and that’s with Jack and Carolyn hanging from my hair. I have so many old flip-flops lying around, outnumbered only by my old t-shirts, so this project is halfway to done already!

    3. Truffula Trees. If you don’t know what these are, please go out and pick up a copy of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, and then come back here and talk to me. Our family is, collectively, one big Lorax fan group (no, we have not seen the movie- I don’t find the book to be lacking, and so the movie seems unnecessary), and I love the idea of a Lorax-themed birthday for a child. It is executed so beautifully here, and the truffula trees bring the whole thing to life. This is looking like a go for Carolyn’s birthday in November…

    4. Hair bows. Not just for kids! I think these would look cute at any age. I’ve definitely been experimenting with various clips, bows, and flowers in Carolyn’s hair as it’s grown out a bit. I can’t wait to dress her up in all kinds of silly hair accessories and then watch her tear them all off!

    5. Snack bags– an easy way to tote your lunch/snacks around in style while keeping it green! I swear by reusable snack bags- just toss them in the wash with the rest of the laundry and air-dry, easy peasy! Jack really likes having his own special snacks to tote around as well, and I don’t have to worry about dangerous plastic wrappers/bags.

    6. Circle shirt. I love DIY clothing because with my measurements finding clothes that fit well is a big challenge. This shirt looks so comfy and can be modified to any body type or size. I am also pretty sure it would look cute on almost anyone. Bonus points because she made one to fit her daughter. This one is definitely in the cards for Carolyn when she’s walking.

    7. Vanilla extract. Something that really pushes my buttons is when simple-to-make food is marked up to high prices. Hummus is the best example- making hummus is cheap, easy and delicious. I would estimate that making your own hummus will probably run you about $1-$3 per quart, depending on how you come by your chickpeas. So why are the little tubs of hummus in the grocery store selling for upwards of $5? The same idea applies here- vanilla extract is extremely easy to brew, and cheap if you shop smart (buy in bulk).

    8. Dresser-turned-bookshelf. This tutorial comes from one of my favorite bloggers, Emily, over at Daily Garnish. While you’re over there, check out her recipes- they do not disappoint. I am a huge fan of anything that can multitask and still lend itself to the atmosphere of a room, and this definitely does the job. It’s been on my to-do list for months, but I still haven’t found the right dresser!

    9. Kombucha! Now, I know it is an acquired taste for some people- and some people never warm up to it at all- but for those of you who, like me, could live off of the stuff, here is a great tutorial for brewing your own at home. Again, easy, cheap food that sells for a giant markup…

    10. Mini fabric lamps. I have some of these stashed away upstairs. There is also a sleeve of cups in the top kitchen cabinet awaiting the perfect fabric wraps. I am in the process of planning Carolyn’s big move from my room upstairs to what will soon be Jack AND Carolyn’s nursery, and I think a string of these would be so cute over the closet!


    So there you have it- ten of my favorite and most lusted-after DIY projects for your next rainy day at home! I’m going to try to punch up a rundown of our lunch at Local 44 tonight, then tomorrow we’ll be in New York visiting friends- I told you, this week has been PACKED with good stuff. Happy Thursday, everyone!