The Thug’s best cake

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I’ve been wanting to make this cake for nearly two years, ever since I was given The Thug Kitchen cookbook as a birthday gift. I’m so glad I finally had the occasion to make cake, because it’s divine – light, tasty, moist, super easy and just glorious.

Let me save you all that Thug swearing and share this recipe and my two riffs on it. Then go make the cake. JFDI, baby!

Ingredients

1 ½ cups fine cornmeal (the kind you make polenta with)

¾ cups flour

¾ cup sugar (make sure it’s vegan sugar –not filtered through animal bone char! In Canada, Redpath sugar passes muster)

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups coconut milk (a 13oz can)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ to 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Directions

Heat your oven to 375F. Grease and flour an 8-inch cake pan.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a big bowl. Add the wet ingredients and stir until you have a moist batter with no dry pockets and few lumps.

Pour into the cake pan and bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes in the pan and then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

Serve cold or at room temperature.

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Accessorize that cake!!

Coconut whipped cream and fruit

13 oz can of coconut milk – make sure it does not contain guar gum, which keeps the milk from separating. You WANT the milk to separate!

2 Tablespoons icing sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Fruit of your choice – berries, sliced peaches or plums, oranges etc.

Chill the can of coconut milk in the fridge for several hours. Open the can and scoop out the hardened coconut cream that’ has risen to the top of the can into a medium sized bowl – I prefer glass or metal, not plastic. You can save the remaining coconut water for smoothies (ugh) or tropical cocktails (hello rum and Curacao!). Add the vanilla and sugar and beat the coconut cream for about 3 minutes on medium-high speed until you have a thick cream that forms peaks. The cream will last covered in the fridge for 1-2 days but it’s best served immediately.

Serve the cake with the coconut cream, fresh fruit and toasted coconut.

Lemon glazed cake

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¾ cup icing sugar

Juice of ½ lemon

¼ cup melted vegan margarine

Mix all the ingredients together until you have a runnyglaze and pour over the cake. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

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On light and darkness – a guest post by Kathye

I asked my friend, Kathye, who is a cool, quirky gal and a professional writer to write a guest post for the winter solstice.

The other morning, I woke up when it was still dark out. I went downstairs, flipped on the light in the living room, and suddenly it seemed like Christmas morning. We had just decorated for the season the day before, and the lights on the window and the tree were plugged into the same outlet as the lamp in the living room. It made me smile, maybe even glow a little.

It also got me thinking. The tradition of Christmas lights started with putting candles on Christmas trees in Germany – a nation that experiences cold, dark winters. It is our nature as human beings to try to bring light to the darkness.

What we sometimes forget is that it’s the darkness that makes us seek ways to light it. If the days weren’t so short, if the winter wasn’t so long, we might not feel the need to celebrate in the middle of it. It’s hard to stand defiant against the darkness when the darkness is unremarkable.

earthriseThe same is just as true in a metaphorical sense. Sometimes it’s in hardship that we find our strength, our courage, our hope… our humanity in all its beauty. There are countless examples throughout history of people pulling together, standing up in the face of evil or hardship – and seeing the humanity in the enemy, as in the case of the Christmas Truce in the first World War.

When darkness looms, we have a choice. We can let it engulf us, bring us down, make us gloomy. Or we can chase it back and turn on the lights.

On the shortest day of the year when the night is so long, don’t curse the darkness – light a candle. Look at it as an opportunity to shine.

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Kathye has a blog too!  Check it out at http://kathyesguideto.wordpress.com/