The first cake I ever made for my husband had white chocolate icing and fresh strawberries. Today was his birthday, and he swears the vegan adaptation is just as good. I love birthday cakes, with their candles and cartoonish decoration. For these celebrations, forget sophistication; give me kitsch!
Layered with fresh strawberries and White Chocolate Buttercream, this Italian Cornmeal Cake is dense and just slightly sweet. Like a classic meringue buttercream, the icing is ultrarich but light. Strawberries prevent it from being cloying, as would dark chocolate, citrus, or any other tangy fruit.
White Chocolate Buttercream
makes about 4 cups
1 cup non-hydrogenated shortening (Spectrum organics makes a good one)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) non-hydrogenated margarine
2 tablespoons soy milk powder
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons soy cream or soymilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, beat the shortening and margarine with an electric hand mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer) until smooth. Sift in the soy milk powder, and blend. Add half the powdered sugar and continue beating until incorporated. Add the remaining powdered sugar.
On a stovetop or in the microwave, scald the soy cream. While whipping the buttercream, slowly drizzle in the soy cream. Beat in the vanilla extract. Press plastic wrap directly against the surface of the buttercream and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use*. Allow to thaw completely before spreading.
*The next time you make a cake, please, please consider getting a pastry bag, coupler, and tip. Then try some simple piping, back and forth, expand and contract. It's easy to learn by practicing on saran wrap or waxed paper, and you can eat your mistakes. It doesn't have to look perfect; the effort is everything.