Confession time: I’m not always at my best in the kitchen. While baking definitely comes easier to me than cooking, I will say there was a time when even baking was a challenge (I may or may not have added an entire cup of salt to a batch of chocolate chip cookies instead of a cup of sugar once #spacecaseproblems).
Without knowing my track record, my grandma gifted me a very small, children’s cooking book when I was little. In retrospect, it might have been one of those books the flour companies make to push their products, but whatever. I loved it. I’m sure the little booklet is still buried somewhere in one of my piles of books at my parents’ home…though I haven’t been able to find it.
The main takeaway from that little booklet (or advertising pamphlet) was this “x-tra celebration cake” recipe (yes, that was the official name, minus the “e” because that was apparently x-tra cool). I somehow nailed it on the first try and it was a huge hit with my family (rare at the time). The recipe was requested at every party and holiday after that. That includes Mother’s Day! Though everyone in my family is being x-tra healthy this year because of my wedding, I figure I’d whip one up just in case.
Now, I altered the recipe a bit, but I’ll include the original way too. I also included two different ways to decorate the cake — coconut and vanilla frosting! Woohoo! Options! All vegan (though you can always use regular frosting, especially if you have a picky fiance who can taste any “foreign” flavors).
- 3 cups whole wheat flour (or regular)
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ cup cocoa
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
- 2 teaspoons vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups cold water
- Heat oven to 350°. Grease 2 round pans and dust with flour.
- Mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
- Mix oil, vinegar and vanilla in separate bowl.
- Stir oil mixture and 2 cups water into flour mixture real hard until well blended, about 1 minute. Immediately pour batter into pans, dividing evenly.
- Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 35 minutes (keep a watch, it does depend on your oven).
- Remove from pans and let cake cool completely before frosting.
Once your cake is cooked, cooled and firm, it’s time to frost! Like I mentioned, here are two different ways I frosted my cake (though sprinkles and standard Pillsbury vanilla or chocolate frosting is always a hit with the more “traditional” folk).
I think it’s a bit odd when people specify how to make frosting. Basically it’s a bit of milk, a lot of powdered sugar and some butter, then mix till you get the consistency you want. What I did? Mixed 1 cup of coconut butter with powdered sugar, which I added gradually. It tasted a bit too sugary, even when it was smooth, so I added 1/4 cup almond milk. This made it a tad chunkier somehow, but I didn’t mind since it tasted perfectly coconut-y and added to the body of the cake.
Vanilla frosting with a splash of strawberry
This was a lot easier because I just picked up a jar from Whole Foods for about $4.99. Worth it, since (to me) the frosting tasted exactly the same I was used to, but was dairy-free. I got the pink color by juicing five strawberries and stirring it with a cup of the frosting. However, if you have picky eaters, I’d skip this and either keep it plain white or use food coloring (they will pick up on the strawberry flavor, or at least Ryan did).
If you end up making this for your mom for Mother’s Day this Sunday (regardless what version of frosting you go with), please share! The best part about this cake is the versatility–you can frost it with whatever flavor, or whatever design, you want.
Enjoy & happy hump day!