Big Ginger Bundt Cake with Whiskey Citrus Glaze

Big Ginger Cake with Whiskey Citrus Glaze | Veggie and the Beast

With the exception of the occasional margarita accompanied by chips and salsa, or a colorful martini when I’m feeling fancy (/want to pretend I’m Carrie Bradshaw), I’m pretty much a wine or beer girl.

That was the case, at least, until this fall when my friend Emily introduced me to Big Gingers. Oh my lanta – sweet, tart, fizzy, boozy perfection.

Big Ginger Cake | Veggie and the Beast

These days, Emily will come over under the assumption that we’ll be having Big Gingers. Why would we not have Big Gingers? What would be the point?

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, a Big Ginger is really just a whiskey ginger, made with 2 Gingers whiskey, and served with lemon and lime. Ryan and I introduced his dad to the drink, and he loved it so much we ended up buying him a gift set for Christmas. I thought we were being pretty creative with our gift, but he ended up getting us the exact same gift set, hence the glasses in the background of this post. Great minds.

Big Ginger Cake with Whiskey Citrus Glaze | Veggie and the Beast

If you haven’t noticed, I very much enjoy boozing up my baked goods. Before Big Gingers came into my life, I’d probably say I’d rather eat my booze than drink it, but now it’s kind of a toss up. Can’t I just drink my booze while eating my boozy cake?

Why yes I can, and yes I did. Once my drink and cake were gone I used a spoon to eat the whiskey glaze straight out of the bowl.

…and then I woke up with a total sugar hangover. #worthit #adulthood

Big Ginger Cake with Whiskey Citrus Glaze | Veggie and the Beast

If you want to have your adult beverage and eat it too, fear not – this cake is fairly simple! Bake, cool, drizzle, DONE.

The most anxiety-producing step is flipping the bundt cake upside down and hoping beyond hope that it does not stick. For this reason you REALLY want to grease that pan. Get in there with cooking spray and softened butter, and coat every single corner. You also want to let the cake cool in the pan for a good 15 minutes before flipping it. Patience, people.

Big Ginger Cake with Whiskey Citrus Glaze | Veggie and the Beast

Ginger ale, 2 Gingers whiskey, ground ginger, and lemon and lime zest are baked into the fluffy, moist and perfectly sweet cake. The glaze is just slightly citrusy, and has a bit of a whiskey kick. If you want more of a kick (and what better time to get a kick than St. Patty’s Day?) replace some of the milk in the glaze with additional whiskey. Cheers!

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Easy Lime Cake with Whipped Coconut Cream

Easy Vegan Lime Cake with Whipped Coconut Cream | Veggie and the Beast

At some point over the past couple weeks, this winter went from beautiful/sparkly/easy to joke about the frigid cold to good god I gotta get out of here. Like furreal. Like now.

It’s around this time every year that I (and probably most other Minnesotans) begin to lose it. Sure, we’re nice, and we joke about the weather, and tend to avoid complaining out loud, but that’s quite enough now, you know?

Easy Vegan Lime Cake with Whipped Coconut Cream | Veggie and the Beast

Lately I’ve been staring at our 2 patio chairs, angled on our outdoor table like 2 friends huddled around a fire. Except instead of a fire it’s a mix of thick ice and fresh, heavy snow. During the spring/summer/fall we eat dinner, play card games, drink chilled wine, and start our mornings sitting in pajamas and sipping oversized coffee mugs at that patio table. I’m ready for those patio moments again.

Beyond the wretched weather, this winter has been a somewhat turbulent one. I won’t bore you with the details, but I’m ready for that feeling that comes with spring – the one that brings a shift in the day-to-day monotony of grey winter. The one that makes you feel refreshed and ready to make the most of every day. I suppose the ability to walk outside without feeling like you’re getting kicked in the face would be okay, too.

Easy Vegan Lime Cake with Whipped Coconut Cream | Veggie and the Beast

Unfortunately, in Minnesota you just don’t know when spring will spring. Or when it will spring, and then hit you with a blizzard in May. It’s a roll of the dice, really.

While waiting, I’ll pass the time by eating tropical cake. A lazy gal’s tropical cake that’s as no-fuss as possible (cause who wants to do ANYTHING in this weather, amiright?). You’re just a few steps to cake happiness: mix, throw in a 9-inch cake pan, beat coconut cream, then use a spoon to blop it on top of the cake. blop? sure.

Easy Vegan Lime Cake with Whipped Coconut Cream | Veggie and the Beast

The resulting cake is soft, moist, and perfectly sweet with a light lime flavor. It also happens to be vegan, because it’s based off of my birthday cake, and that cake rocked my world.

This was my first experience with coconut whipped cream, and I just might be a changed woman. Smooth, rich, just lightly coconutty, and the perfect complement to the lime cake.

Give yourself a tropical food hug, y’all. You deserve it.
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Molten Nutella Lava Cakes for Two

Molten Chocolate Nutella Cakes for Two | Veggie and the Beast

I keep picturing myself diving face first into that melty, Nutella-filled center. It’s just so shiny, warm and inviting.

Molten Chocolate Nutella Cakes for Two | Veggie and the Beast

Cloaking myself in melted chocolate sounds like the perfect way to deal with the situation we have going on outside right now. My mom works at a bank and gets to talk about this weather with chilled, pink-cheeked Minnesotans who rotate in and out all day, and she kind of loves it. She’s one of those genuinely “Minnesota Nice” folks. She’s a rare gem, that one.

I, on the other hand, want to hole up in my house and hibernate until things improve. If only I was still in school and could take advantage of all these school closings. We only had one snow day in my 4 years of high school, and that was the one morning in all of eternity when my parents didn’t watch the news, so my dad drove me to school anyway. Still harboring some teenage drama about that morning.

So, instead of waking up to cozy weekday mornings in pajamas and slippers, I’ll come home from work and warm up to a ridiculously gooey, Nutella-filled chocolate cake. I suppose that works, eh? Yes.

Molten Chocolate Nutella Cakes for Two | Veggie and the Beast

I first set my eyes on a chocolate lava cake in the early 2000s at the Applebee’s near my parent’s house. I didn’t know how the fancy chefs at Applebees got that gooey chocolate center in that cake, but I knew they changed my life forever. Last winter, a good 10+ years after my first lava cake experience, Ryan and I (okay, mostly me) devoured a NUTELLA-filled lava cake at a restaurant in our neighborhood. No regular molten chocolate lava cake would ever do it for me again. Ya gotta put some Nutella in that SOB, folks.

…except you don’t really need to, if Nutella isn’t your thing. You can just leave it out, and the recipe will work just fine, but I highly (highlyhighlyhighly) recommend that little dab of Nutella in the center.

If you’re like Ryan and I, who usually forego the crowded restaurants on Valentine’s Day, then this is the perfect dessert to make an at-home date night feel extra special. This recipe is one of those treasures that looks and tastes impressive, yet is secretly quick and simple. Plus, it makes just enough for two people, aaaaand I have a sneaking suspicion that it would taste great with a glass of red wine.

Although I think most things taste great with most wine, so take my advice with a grain of salt.

Molten Chocolate Nutella Cakes for Two | Veggie and the Beast

You may think molten lava cakes are too complex to make at home, but I promise you can do it. The trickiest part of the process is getting the timing right. The first time I made these I feared over-baking the cakes and losing that gooey chocolate center, so I took them out of the oven at 9 minutes…and they totally melted into a hot mess all over my plate. The next time I took them out after 10 minutes and they were absolute perfection. Oven times will vary, so just keep your eye on the cakes after about 9 minutes.

Things to look for while you’re baking the cakes:

  • You want the outsides of the cake to rise up and be a little golden, and pull away from the sides of the ramekin.
  • You may still see the Nutella in the center – that’s okay, as long as the top of the cake looks as though it’s been cooked.
  • You don’t want the cake to look like it’s jiggling. If it’s clearly jiggling, then give it another minute.

After you’ve let the cakes rest for a minute, then carefully inverted them on a dessert plate, you have one deep, dark chocolate cake to dig into. The outside of the cake is fluffy and soft, and the inside is wonderfully messy and full of melted chocolate and Nutella goodness. I like serving mine with raspberries (for the prettiness factor), and vanilla bean ice cream (for those cool/warm and vanilla/chocolate dichotomies), but those details aren’t really important right now, are they? This photo tells you everything you need to know…

Molten Chocolate Nutella Cakes for Two | Veggie and the Beast

Happy ridiculous winter to all of yous. Have some melted chocolate cake and try your darndest not to go insane.
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Chai Spice Cake with Vanilla Bean Buttercream (Vegan)

Chai Spice Cake with Vanilla Bean Buttercream (Vegan) | Veggie and the Beast

So. I made myself a vegan birthday cake. If you knew me in real life you’d realize how funny this is. If you knew me in real life you’d know that birthdays are a BIG DEAL in my family, and they are usually wrapped up by diving head first into a bucket (literally a bucket) filled with oreos, chocolate pudding, and cool whip. Dang girl, is it good.

I plan on eating both cakes today. It’s my birthday, so I get to cake myself as much as I want to! Birthdays are the BEST, aren’t they?

As I’ve mentioned before, I love vegan baking. Regular baking with dairy and eggs is a challenge in itself, so once you take away those magic ingredients it’s kind of like a sick, addicting torture to try to get it right. Read into that what you will.

Spiced Chai Cake with Vanilla Bean Buttercream (Vegan) | Veggie and the Beast

Baking layer cakes puts me in a strange zone of concentration where time zooms past and daylight fades far too quickly. There’s so much detail and planning involved, and so much riding on what happens when you flip that cake pan upside down and hope everything baked evenly and no cake bits got stuck in the process. It’s exciting and heartbreaking at the same time. It’s an unpredictable, sugar-filled drug, and it’s definitely my drug of choice (unless we’re counting wine, because wine wins everything).

Speaking of sugar-filled drugsā€¦can you ever frost a cake and not run your finger through it for a taste? I apparently can’t.

Chai Spice Cake with Vanilla Bean Buttercream (Vegan) | Veggie and the Beast

This birthday cake, which we’ll refer to as Birthday Cake #1, is fluffy, sweet, and spiced like my favorite wake up/warm up drink: Chai Tea. I drink 2 very (VERY) strong cups of chai tea every morning. Without my tea I’m lost, crabby, and fairly non-functional. It ain’t pretty.

Chai Spice Cake with Vanilla Bean Buttercream (Vegan) | Veggie and the Beast

I like to drink my chai tea out of the mug I brought back from studying abroad in Greece. It has a couple chips in the rim. That’s how you know its loved.

I also like to drink my chai tea in cake form, it turns out.

Spiced Chai Cake with Vanilla Bean Buttercream (Vegan) | Veggie and the Beast

On top of the chai-spiced cake goes a thick, creamy [butter-free] buttercream with that wonderfully decadent and sweet hint of vanilla bean. I’ve only recently discovered how much I love baking with real vanilla bean, so it needed to make an appearance in my [1st] birthday cake.

The 2nd birthday cake, the [VERY] non-vegan birthday cake, is the filling to these cupcakes. I’ll take one of each. Please and thank you.
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Blueberry Cream Cheese Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Blueberry Cream Cheese Cake
I wanted to bake you guys a healthy blueberry snack this week.

As you might have guessed from the lengthy post title that mentions “cream cheese” twice, this is not it.

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That healthy snack actually ended up in the garbage. I do plan on reworking the recipe, because I liked the idea of it (chewy banana oat blueberry bars), but I think this cake is better for this week, don’t you? Not that I have any reason to bake a cake; It isn’t anyone’s birthday, there aren’t any holidays this week, and I don’t have my own blueberry bush that provides an unlimited supply of fresh berries. Sometimes I just need to bake a cake, and Monday was one of those days.

Plain old Mondays are just so blah. Even once you get through the day (which is guaranteed to move like molasses) you still have 4 MORE DAYS until the weekend. To make the struggle easier to handle, I think every Monday should be deemed “Cake Monday.” Just think of how happy people would be. It would be like the year’s first 60-degree day in Minnesota, when everyone walks around smiling and greeting each other, with casual comments like “How about this day?” to strangers on the street (Note that Minnesotans may always be nice, but they’re not always friendly. You should have seen us during this year’s May 3rd blizzard).

Blueberry Cream Cheese Cake | Veggie and the Beast

And and and!!!…if every Monday was “Cake Monday” then we’d probably have leftover cake for the remainder of the week. See how I plan ahead? You’re welcome.

Although my love for this cake may seem unusual at first, since it doesn’t include chocolate, peanut butter, OR coconut, you need only to look at the amount of cream cheese and brown butter to understand my feelings.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Cake | Veggie and the Beast

You see, this cake batter starts with butter and cream cheese, both softened, and then whipped together until totally smooth and creamy. Then we add both white and light brown sugars, vanilla, a touch of cinnamon, and buttermilk. After folding in some cornstarch-coated blueberries, the cake bakes up all airy, light, and golden. As if that’s not enough yumminess for one cake, I added brown butter cream cheese frosting, which is wonderfully creamy, yet with a hint of caramel from the brown butter. The sprinkling of blueberries on top gives a lightly sweet and tart flavor, and highlights the blueberries hidden in the cake…and to be honest, they’re just pretty, and I like pretty.
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