“Let Them Eat Cake”
Historians contest the origin of the saying, “Let them eat cake”. No one has been able to confirm that the words were ever actually spoken by royalty, but they’re commonly attributed to Marie Antoinette. Legend has it that after being told the peasants had no bread to eat, the queen flippantly replied, “Let them eat cake”, which showcased her lack of compassion toward/understanding of/connection to the common people. Availability was not the reason they didn’t have bread, but rather, extreme poverty. If they could not afford bread, they obviously could not afford cake. Come on Marie-get it together.
The reason I’m using the saying has nothing to do with peasants or being unconcerned about their plight. Instead, it has to do with royalty (sort of) and eating cake.
Yesterday was my sweet Annabelle’s third birthday. Many times during the day I caught myself wondering how it was possible for her to already be three years old and then moments later I couldn’t believe she was only three years old. The time has flown by, but the love I have for her is so fierce and so absolute that it’s impossible to imagine life being livable before her. It was livable, of course, and it was wonderful, but she’s enriched my life in ways I never knew were possible. She makes everything better.
Several weeks ago I asked her what she wanted for her birthday. She said, “Princess Cake.” I winced. “How about a dinosaur cake?” I suggested. “No, thanks. Princess Cake.”
“Train Cake? Owl Cake?” I tried again. “No, thanks. Princess Cake.” My love of all things pink and princess-y withered somewhere between growing up with five brothers and spending nine years in the military, BUT Annabelle wanted a princess cake and who was I to try and change her mind?
So, while Annabelle was at school, Evelyn and I got busy…
We whipped up this super simple, one bowl, VEGAN chocolate cake, and since the batter has no eggs, I let the Baking Baby help herself to a couple of spoonfuls.
The cake was adapted from this recipe on one of my favorite blogs. I cut the amount of sugar in half since the frosting and princess decorations provided more than enough sweetness, and I swapped the white vinegar for an increased amount of raspberry infused balsamic vinegar. The vinegar created a new and very pleasant flavor. I bet you could make this cake faster than you could get to the grocery store to buy one of those boxed cakes…
For the icing I whipped some heavy cream with a couple more tablespoons of the raspberry balsamic vinegar for a nice tang and then folded the whipped cream into a mixture of butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla.
We definitely don’t eat things like this very often, but certain days call for certain indulgences. My little girl’s birthday is one of those days.
After a day filled with opening presents, riding bikes, out-of-state FaceTime birthday wishes, painting birdhouses, singing, dancing, and lots of laughing, Tim and I sat our girls on top of the kitchen counter at 9:00 PM and Let Them Eat Cake.
Happy Birthday Princess (*Cringe*) Annabelle. I love you more than all the chocolate in the world!
- For the Cake:
- 3 cups / 456g All-purpose flour
- ½ cup / 100g Granulated sugar
- ½ cup / 100g Brown sugar
- ½ cup / 40g Unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons Baking soda
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¾ cup / 168g Coconut oil, melted (vegetable, canola, or a mild olive oil can be substituted)
- 1 tablespoon Vanilla extract
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons / 90 mL Balsamic Vinegar (any flavor, I used raspberry)
- 1 cup / 237 mL Brewed coffee
- ¾ cup / 177 mL Water
- For the Frosting:
- 1½ cups / 356 mL Heavy whipping cream
- 2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
- 1 package (8 oz / 226g) Cream cheese, softened
- 1 stick (4 oz / 113g) Butter, softened
- 1 cup / 127g Powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- For the Cake:
- Prepare two 9 inch cake pans with butter/cooking spray AND parchment paper. To do this, place the pan directly on to the parchment, trace the pan, cut out the circle and place the parchment into the bottom of the greased pan. Spray or butter the top of the paper as well.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Sift the dry ingredients together over a large bowl. Add the wet ingredients and whisk to combine.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two pans (about 650 g per pan if you have a scale) and bake 20-25 minutes. The cake will be a bit dry if it's over-baked so start checking it at 20 min. The top should feel sponge-like when gently pressed. Cool completely before frosting.
- For the Frosting:
- Combine the heavy whipping cream and balsamic vinegar in a large bowl. With an electric mixer, beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.
- In another bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and beat until smooth.* Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.
- To assemble:
- Place one cake layer on a platter or cake stand. Using a spatula, spread about ¼ of the frosting over the cake. Place the second layer on top and use a spatula to spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides of the cake.
The frosted cake will hold up for about 12 hours at (cool) room temperature. After that, it really should be refrigerated. It's definitely best on the first day.
If the frosting is made in advance, keep it refrigerated until about 1 hour before you plan to frost the cake. Give it a gentle folding stir just before frosting.