Well, just five, really. But they were all mine! BWAHAHAHAHAHA!
Aaaaanyway...Sunday, May 10, was my birthday, but I've been fortunate enough to have it acknowledged five times this month. All with awesome edibles.
The first time was my office birthday party on the seventh. Since I like baking and finding vegan cake in midtown Manhattan is kind of a pain in the ass, I make my own birthday cake every year and my boss reimburses me $20 for it. This year, I made a giant chocolate mint cupcake (please note the phone in the background for scale):
I tripled the Chocolate Mint Cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and covered it with mint icing, Quick Melty Ganache and chocolate mint lentils. It was dangerously good. The mint makes the cake seem lighter than regular chocolate cake, and this cake pan kind of keeps you from going overboard with the icing, so if you're not careful, you can just keep eating this cake until suddenly your platter is empty and you've gained twenty pounds. Twenty tasty, tasty pounds. If you haven't tried this recipe yet (and like mint), please do. But proceed with caution.
The absolute best part of making the chocolate mint cake is...well...did you ever buy the mint Girl Scout cookies? Do you remember the aroma that would waft out and hit you in the face when you opened the box? Well, when you're making this cake, your ENTIRE KITCHEN SMELLS LIKE MINT GIRL SCOUT COOKIE WAFTINGS! It's an amazing thing. If you have a really tiny apartment, you can probably hotbox yourself in minty goodness. Awesome.
In case you're wondering, I made it using this cake pan, which was a gift from the same awesome people who gave me the boat cake pan. I guess they kind of know me pretty well. If you want to see how the cake assembly works, just browse backward from here.
Then, the Tofu Takedown was on my actual birthday. Obviously, I celebrated with lots of cannoli. Then we moved the party to Curly's Lunch, followed by Lula's Sweet Apothecary, where I got carrot cake ice cream (in a sugar cone!!) which tasted like the creamiest pumpkin pie ever. It was difficult to keep my pants on (especially since I was wearing a dress).
May 16 was mostly a celebration for other people, but I received my share of birthday wishes and brought the Raspberry Chocolate Chip Blondie Bars from Vegan With a Vengeance. They're definitely one of my favorite things and only take about an hour to make, which is pretty awesome. I didn't take any pictures this time, but they looked just like the ones I made for Election Day.
My family and I celebrated my birthday, Mother's Day and my mother's birthday (the 8th) on the 17th because I was busy taking down tofu on the 10th. I tried to make a cake out of the Brooklyn vs. Boston Cream Pie recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, but kind of failed:
Pastry creme is just not what to use when trying to stick layers together. I should have known that from my last pastry creme debacle, but no one ever said I was a fast learner. I spent a good part of my afternoon cleaning ganache and pastry creme off the door of my refrigerator. I will not tell you whether or not I licked the fridge.
Lastly, my friends and I celebrated my birthday on the 24th in Philadelphia. Thanks to an awesome friend who did all sorts of veganny research, we ate at Basic Four Vegetarian Snack Bar and New Harmony Vegetarian Restaurant. At Basic Four, I had the best freaking tofu scramble I've ever eaten that I didn't make myself. Their potatoes are really good too. Most importantly, there was vegan Philly cheesesteak. I don't have words for how good this was, so just eat it with your eyes:
Please note that the picture does not do it justice.
New Harmony was a vegan Chinese buffet of awesomeness. Even the tea, orange slices and pineapple chunks were better than most. I gave faux shrimp another try (the first time I tried it, it tasted like fish - BLECH!) and even liked that.
Another friend brought Mexican Hot Chocolate cupcakes from VCTOTW. They're always wonderful and were a great pick-me-up between finding twenty (yes, TWENTY) geocaches and visiting The Mutter Museum, which is more than slightly awesome.
If you're reading this, good job with the vegan food, Philadelphia! I want to walk in your subway tunnels and eat many of your sandwiches!