What’s special about this cake? Not just that it is for a cute little munchkin, a friend’s kid who loves Elmo.
This is my first vanilla-flavored birthday cake. I was able to decorate it with no synthetic food colors, just homemade plant-based colors! Using natural colors was not a criterion, but I wanted to see if it could be worked out. My friend only wanted a non-chocolate cake, and so I took this opportunity to optimize a recipe for a basic vanilla whole wheat cake.
Till yesterday, I did not think it was possible to get a bright red color in frosting. Tried boiled cranberries, but it did not work. I have used natural pink color from beets before, and read on the internet that it can make red too. It was time to test that! I juiced a beet and reduced the juice by boiling, and voila! There it was, a nice red frosting with the humble beet.
What about Elmo’s orange color nose? Surely carrots would work, wouldn’t they? Yes, they did. 🙂 And they both taste delicious!
Wait, what about the black? Any amount of chocolate yields only brown. And guess what came to my rescue, while I was frantically searching for a natural black color… black-strap molasses! This discovery really made me giddy with joy. 🙂
This white cake can be easily made vegan by substituting regular yogurt with soy yogurt.
Elmo themed vanilla cake
For basic 8″ square vanilla cake:
whole wheat pastry flour- 2 cup
sugar- 3/4 cup
baking powder- 1 1/2 tsp.
baking soda- 1/2 tsp.
yogurt- 1 cup (2% or fat free)
canola oil- 1/2 cup
vanilla- 1 1/2 tsp.
* Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.
* Mix wet ingredients in another bowl, add dry to wet in portions.
* Bake at 350 °F for 35 minutes or till a knife inserted in the middle comes clean.
Ingredients for frosting:
organic Spectrum shortening- 2 cups
powdered sugar- about 2 lb.
water- as needed
red – beet juice concentrate
orange- carrot juice concentrate
black- melted dark chocolate and black-strap molasses
brown- cocoa powder