♫ Listening to: Dreams by Futurecop! ♫
I’m not exactly the grinch who stole christmas, but Christmas is probably my least favorite holiday for the following reasons: red and green DO NOT look good together, the consumerism this time of year is disgusting, and I’m not really what one might call a god-believer. (When Zen was little, she used to ask people all the time, are you a god-believer? That kid cracked me up on a regular basis.) So, since I don’t have my own christmas tree to put in my house and decorate, I’ll be decorating these mini pastel chocolate cake trees with Kimmy and Ashley this year. And then I’ll shove them in my mouth so that I don’t have to spend my day off work on January 1 taking down all the decorations and putting everything back into the garage/attic/wherever you keep items that are only used once a year.
This recipe makes 3 mini chocolate pastel kawaii christmas tree cakes.
Vegan Chocolate Cake Ingredients
- 2 cups nondairy milk (I used 365 brand almond milk from whole foods because it's organic and cheap)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or substitute white vinegar)
- 2 ½ cups unbleached white flour
- ⅔ cup cocoa powder
- ½ tablespoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ⅔ cup sunflower oil
- 1 ½ cups organic or raw sugar*
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Vegan Chocolate Cake Directions
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Coat a 9"x13” lasagna pan with any vegetable oil (or vegan nonstick spray).
Combine vinegar and nondairy milk and let sit.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder , baking soda, and baking powder into another bowl.
Add the oil, sugar, and vanilla to the nondairy milk mixture and stir well.
Add the dry ingredients slowly to the wet, mixing continuously. Stop mixing when you can no longer see any dry ingredients.
Pour the batter into the pan, scraping every last bit with a silicone spatula , and then using the spatula to smooth out the top as best as you can. The flatter you can get it, the easier the rest of the steps will be.
Bake for 35 minutes, until when you insert a toothpick into the center, it comes out clean. Set pan on cooling rack to cool in pan for 4 hours (or until you feel the bottom with your hand, and it’s just room temperature).
Make the frosting while you wait for the cake to cool.
Vegan Pastel Frosting Ingredients
- ¾ cup vegan butter or margarine (I like the organic whipped earth balance)*
- ¾ cup organic palm shortening*
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract for vanilla frosting or ½ tablespoon mint extract and ½ tablespoon vanilla extract for vanilla mint frosting
- 4 ½ cups organic powdered sugar (a 24-oz bag of 365 organic powdered sugar from Whole Foods is more than enough)*
- vegan food coloring (I used green, pink, and blue)
Vegan Pastel Frosting Directions
Leave the ingredients sitting out before using them. Best results come from using room temperature ingredients.
Add the vanilla (and optional mint?) extract, and mix for another minute.
Sift in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing for at least minute between each addition.
Divide the frosting evenly into 3 bowls. I weighed all of my frosting and came out to 27 ounces, which perfectly divides by 3. If you don’t have a scale, you can just use measuring cups to divide it evenly.
Add 3 drops of wilton pink gel color to one bowl. Add 2-3 drops of wilton sky blue gel color to the second bowl. Add 1-2 drops of wilton sky blue gel color plus 3 drops of wilton leaf green gel color to the third bowl. If you prefer all-natural food coloring, check out my list of vegan food coloring.
Mix each bowl well and then decide if you need to add additional color to any of the bowls.
Fill 3 disposable piping bag s (with no tips) with each of the 3 colors of frosting.
Decorating the Vegan Christmas Tree Mini Cakes
Use the following sizes of biscuit cutters to cut out 3 circles of each size, once the cake is completely cooled: 78mm, 68mm, 58mm, and 48mm.
Carefully remove each circle of cake using a silicone spatula .
Cut the end off of the piping bag of whatever color tree you want to make first.
Pipe your first color of frosting between each cake layer, starting with the biggest layer on the bottom and working your way up to the top. Each tree should all be one single color of frosting.
Press a skewer down the center of each tree to keep it from falling over while it freezes.
Chill each tree in the freezer after you complete the stack, and then start on the next one.
Repeat until all trees are formed.
Remove the first tree from the freezer, and using a bread knife, trim the stack into your preferred tree shape. I tried to make mine look like a cone.
Put the same color frosting you used between the layers into the outer piping bag .
Start piping the frosting covering the entire tree in any design you prefer. I started at the bottom and worked my way up. On every other column, I stopped before I got to the top since the bottom needs more coverage the the top.
Place each decoration onto your tree cakes with your hands or with tweezers (yes of course I have kitchen tweezers, don’t you?).
Spray with edible glitter spray .
Eat the christmas trees immediately or chill them in the fridge to test your willpower to see how long you can wait.
Here’s a video of me and Kimmy making them.
* I use mostly organic ingredients when I cook, but I realize that not everyone has the disposable income to purchase all organic ingredients. Therefore, I only specify organic on the ingredients that really matter - when buying the organic version is the only way to ensure that the item is vegan.