Vegan Chocolate Cake with Vegan Buttercream Frosting

It wasn't the case when I first started blogging but I'm vegan now and I also found out that cane sugar gives me headaches. Between those two issues, it's not super easy to buy cake that fits my dietary restrictions so I've learned to just make my own. With lots of scouring the internet and tweaking other recipes to suit my needs, I've come up with the very best ever no cane sugar vegan chocolate cake with buttercream frosting. This stuff is TO DIE FOR!

First, a picture of my 40th birthday cake:


I made this cake for my 40th birthday cake smash photo shoot. We had a ton of fun. But today I'm here to share the recipe with you (also so I'll have the recipe for my own future use).

Chocolate cake 

2 cups almond milk 
2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups coconut sugar
2/3 cup avocado oil (you could sub any neutral oil but this is what works for me)
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract ok to just do all vanilla if you don't have almond extract)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder, Dutch-processed or regular (or a mix of both)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix together the almond milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, oil, vanilla and almond extract to your mixer bowl and mix well. Add the almond milk/vinegar mix and whisk well. 

Add in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and beat until mostly smooth. 

Line the bottom of two 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper and lightly grease the paper it as well as the sides of the pans. Divide the batter into the two pans and bake for 32-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Vegan Buttercream Frosting
NOTE: This frosting does NOT come out white. You will need to color it with gel food colors if you want something other than tan. 

This frosting holds its shape really well even before it has been refrigerated. I made it and had to leave it sitting on the counter for 45 minutes before I piped it onto the cake. Also, the picture of the cake above shows what it looked like after sitting in the refrigerator for a week. It did a good job of keeping the cake pretty moist and the frosting looked and tasted great. This wasn't the plan but my son got sick on the day of the photo shoot so we had to postpone the event.

Make powdered coconut sugar in the dry goods canister of the vitamix or a good food processor. 3 1/2 cups coconut sugar : 3 1/2 Tbsp arrowroot powder (precision on the arrowroot powder isn't imperative, just get close)

1/2 cup room temperature earth balance shortening
1/2 cup room temperature earth balance buttery spread (in the stick)
3 1/2 cups powdered coconut sugar
1 1/2 tsp almond extract

1/4 cup almond milk 
Gel food coloring if you want something other than tan colored frosting. I used burgundy to achieve the color for this cake

Using the paddle attachment for your mixer, beat the shortening and buttery spread until it's combined. Add the rest of the ingredients being aware that a puff of powdered sugar is going to attack your kitchen. I used what I think is the dust attachment for my Kitchenaid mixer (it's a clear plastic thing you can pour stuff through) with a clean kitchen towel laid over the whole thing as soon as I've added the sugar. It's a bit messy but it blends in pretty quickly. Add the food coloring and mix until everything is well blended.

This is thick enough to hold its shape if you want to use a tip and a frosting bag. It's rich and delicious too. Yum!

Thank you for reading,

40th Birthday Cake Smash

Well, today is my birthday. I'm pretty excited about turning 40. In my experience, life keeps getting better. As I grow and learn and continuously work on being the woman I want to be and I surround myself with the people I love most, I find I can look around and be thankful for what I've created. I have an amazing support system of family and friends who lift me up and encourage me every step I take. I'm truly a very lucky girl.

To celebrate my birthday, I asked a photographer friend to do a special photo shoot with me. I'm clearly an avid Pinterest surfer and love all the cake smash photos others do of their 1 year olds so I thought it was high time I got to do my own. So without further delay, I present to you:

The 40th Birthday Cake Smash!
Photography by Verb Photography by Angie Langford

Cake Smash Collage 1






Thank you for reading,

GIVEAWAY POST - Savor your photo memories with the Kodak Moments App

I received a product from Kodak Alaris in exchange for my review of the new KODAK Moments App but all opinions are my own.

Are you like me in that you take hundreds, if not thousands of pictures on your phone but rarely print them out?

When the big kid and I took a train ride from Seattle to Portland for an overnight adventure to celebrate his 7th birthday, I took a ton of pictures. I kept promising to make him a special album so he could look back on our weekend together whenever he wanted to but 5 months later, I still hadn't gotten to it. I just didn't feel like sitting at the computer, importing photos to some site, organizing those photos into an album then waiting for it to arrive. Well, the new KODAK Moments App (available for download the iTunes or GooglePlay stores) made short work of the whole task.

Kodak Moments App Review

I was invited to attend a Kodak Alaris blogger event at a local Bartell Drug Store so they could introduce the new app to us and they let us create a memory book right there on site. After a brief overview, we were released to test out the kiosks on site.

Kodak Moments App Review

I had created a designated album with my favorite photos from the trip in my smart phone so once I linked the app to the kiosk following the simple to follow instructions, the book pretty much created itself. I moved some pictures around but the whole process only took a few minutes before I was ready to send it to be printed.

My lovely book was printed and bound right there on site. I was amazed by how quickly it was ready. The book features a sturdy and attractive front and back cover ...

Kodak Moments App Review

as well as a lay flat spiral binding...

Kodak Moments App Review

And the photos inside are showcased really nicely.

Kodak Moments App Review

My mind was racing with all sorts of great ways I could use this app. I thought about how I could make an album for my parents after a visit so they could actually take photos with them as they head for their plane back home. I was quite happy with the results and the whole process was really quick, even though I was using it for the very first time.

How would you use the Kodak Moments App with in store printing?

Kodak has generously offered to give one of my readers 100 free Holiday Cards. Enter starting November 14 for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Go check it out now and get 30% off!

Thank you for reading,

Work for Hire Family Job Chart

My 7 year old is motivated by money. We believe he's at the age where he can appreciate the value of earning money to purchase the things he wants most. I don't think giving him an allowance will teach him any of the lessons we're working hard to instill in him right now and there are always plenty of tasks to do around the house so I created a system to both motivate him to help out AND help him earn money to buy the things he wants.

In our house, the kids are mostly responsible for cleaning up their own messes (we help out but generally they're expected to manage their own rooms as well as the messes they create in our common spaces). We try to tackle the general messes as a family but being a stay at home mom means (to me) that most of the deep cleaning falls to me unless I ask for help. I now have a great system for asking for help and a terrific way to keep track of what needs to be done around here.

Work for Hire Family Job Chart by Julie at Build, Sew, Reap

This section of wall has been blank for a couple of years now so I'm really excited to find such a great use for it. We have a little command center now but this job chart is really the shining star of the area.

I painted a scrap piece of wood white with spray paint then used my Silhouette SD to create a stencil for the "Work for Hire" letters. I then spray painted a deep red glossy paint over the board until I got a good solid coat. I also disassembled 5 basic wooden clothes pins and spray painted them white. Once the pieces were all painted, I used Gorilla Glue to attach the clothespins to the board.

At first I wasn't sure how I'd mark the jobs but today I happened upon a clearance sale at JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts where I found those cute chipboard tags with chalkboard windows on them. I also picked up a couple of white chalk pens for the project. I had the red and white bakers twine which I used to make the loops to hang the tags.

For each task, I hang the chipboard tag and then I clip the appropriate number of Kid Cash bills in the clothespin. Kid Cash can be traded in for real money at purchase time but is a lot easier for me to stomach when it gets lost (it isn't replaceable for him but at least it's not real money if it goes missing).

Work for Hire Family Job Chart by Julie at Build, Sew, Reap

Not wanting to have to rewrite the tasks out new each time, I picked up more than enough of the little chalkboard tags but wanted to find a way to keep them close to the sign. I headed out to my garage where I pretty much just stood and stared at the shelves until I saw a little Melissa & Doug box among my basket collection. I grabbed it and some hardware cloth which I cut to size and stapled into place and voila! I had a cute little box for my tags.

Work for Hire Family Job Chart by Julie at Build, Sew, Reap

I had also picked up the giant black clothespin and a cute chalkboard/bulletin board combo on clearance at JoAnn today and I thought they balanced out the space nicely. Finally, I grabbed a clock from the kitchen (it was in a dumb spot quite frankly), taped it off and spray painted it black then hung it in the remaining space on the wall.

Work for Hire Family Job Chart by Julie at Build, Sew, Reap

I'm really happy with how this turned out.

How do you encourage your kids to help out around the house? Are they motivated by money like mine is?

Thank you for reading,

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