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Chocolate Strawberry Birthday Cake

Every year growing up, for as far back as I can remember, I got my favorite birthday cake. An ice cream cake from Baskin-Robbins. Chocolate cake with strawberry ice cream in the middle, and cool whip frosting. YUM. Well, I decided this year, I would give myself the birthday present I had been dreaming of for nearly a decade--THAT cake, remade with ethical and healthful ingredients, for my updated lifestyle. I used most of the cake recipe from Minimalist Baker, and updated the rest to my own ideas. It's a little cumbersome, and should be done the day before the party, but it was so worth it.

The Build:

Two layers of rich, delicious chocolate cake with one middle layer of delicious strawberry ice cream, all enveloped in a layer of coconut whipped cream topping, and topped with some fresh strawberry slices.

The Ingredients:

2 9” cake pans

1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk

1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

4 flax eggs (4 Tbsp flaxseed meal + 10 Tbsp water)

1 Tbsp baking soda

1/2 cup grape seed or canola oil

1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp maple syrup

2/3 cup cane sugar

1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup almond meal (finely ground from raw almonds)

1/2 cup coconut flour

1 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1:1 Baking Blend

1large container of strawberry coconut ice cream from Trader Joe’s (or Rice Dream)

2 tubs (18 oz) of SO Delicious Coco Whip! coconut whipped topping

1 cup fresh strawberries

The Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350. Grease or butter two 9" round cake pans. Dust pans with gluten free flour and shake out excess.

Measure almond milk in a liquid measuring cup and add vinegar. Stir and let curdle. Next, prepare your flax eggs by mixing water with flaxseed meal in a large mixing bowl and let rest for 5 minutes. Back to the almond milk and vinegar situation—you’re going to add baking soda and stir. Set aside. Add your oil, cane sugar and maple syrup to the flax egg and beat/whisk to combine. Next, add your applesauce, vanilla, salt and whisk thoroughly to combine. Then add vinegar, baking soda and almond milk mixture and whisk again. Next you’re going to add the baking powder, cocoa, almond meal, coconut flour and gfree flour blend. Whisk and beat until there are no lumps at all. This might take a little while.

Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake cakes for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out completely clean and the edges appear dry.

Let cake rest in the pans for 15 minutes, then carefully run a not-so-sharp knife along the edges and gently invert onto cooling racks. Let cool completely.

OK, so now’s the tricky part. For the ice cream center, the cake needs to be completely cool, so I would suggest refrigerating over night before beginning this process. When it is cold, place one cake on your serving plate or pan. Now, you’re going to apply a liberal layer of vegan strawberry ice cream to the top of that cake layer. Now, you’re going to freeze the cake with the strawberry ice cream on top of it, 3 hours or so. When time is up, clean up any melty residue of the ice cream on cake sides, and place the second layer of cake on top of the ice cream, and freeze again for another 3 hours or so. Remove cake from freezer, and cover in coconut whipped cream frosting, and stick in fridge. This should be done same day of party, preferably right before party. You don’t want the ice cream to melt. But everything should stay cold. I topped mine with a cocoa powder ring and sliced fresh strawberries, and served it up!

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