a wedding + a graduation + a vanilla cake recipe to celebrate (vegan)

Hello there. 

Yes, I have been gone for a while ... but I have a very very good excuse.  

Since my last post I became a wife, a natural foods chef, and .... a spaghetti pomodoro connoisseur {more on that later} 

Three weeks ago, Michael and I got married in Mexico. It was the most magical, breathtaking, amazing weekend of my life.  I never pictured that a single event can be so special, so meaningful, so beyond my wildest dreams.  I feel blessed to have some many wonderful friends and family, old and new, and now a wonderful husband to share my life with.  Life is good.  

The Thursday before our wedding, we hosted a dinner for our nearest and dearest at a restaurant in Tulum called Hartwood.  It was one of the best meals I have ever had. The ambiance, rustic and chic, was so unique and only enhanced the whole experience.  The food was simple and absolutely incredible.  Everything they serve is fresh and local, fish that was caught the same day, vegetables that were just picked, so you can imagine how everything tasted. 

{{These gorgeous photos you are about to view were taken by a guest, dear friend and wedding photographer Meghan Capozzi Rowe. To view more of her fabulous work visit her site at www.mecimages.com }}

If I had to use one only word to describe our wedding day, the word that rings loud in my head is: magical. Our venue, an Italian duchess estate that was converted into a boutique hotel, was the perfect place to house all of our guests and throw a big party.  It felt like home for the few days we were all there. 

The day of the wedding, I was overwhelmed by how beautifully our wedding planners & fabulous floral designer transformed the estate into something both fun and romantic.  Everything from the mariachi band to the food was perfection.  Beyond what I could have ever imagined.  

To top things off, Saturday night was a full moon. Not just any full moon, it was a supermoon which means the moon was the closest it has been to the earth in the past five years.  We did not realize this was going to occur until the night before, and what a fantastic happening.  It made for a gorgeous backdrop to our dance floor, and I do believe it added to the absolute craziness that ensued on the dance floor that night. 

I came home in-between our wedding and honeymoon because I had another important event I had to participate in, my graduation from culinary school.  I am now a certified natural foods chef. I am so excited and proud to have this title, and I could not be more ready to take on the world of {healthy} foods. 

Now, back to business, and by business I mean CAKE. 

We did not have a cake at our wedding. Instead, we had a few other favorites of mine, coconut, apple, and key lime pies. But, since there was no cake, I thought it was appropriate to bake a cake for myself when I got home. In celebration of being married, of being a chef, and of just being. 

This is one of the most moist and flavorful vanilla cakes I have ever baked, of both vegan and non-vegan recipes. Non-vegan cake lovers would never ever know this was made with no butter or eggs.  It's incredible. Although I did make some minor additions, I can take no credit in the creation of this amazing recipe.  I owe it all to Fran Costigan, the vegan baking diva.  She came to speak at one of our last classes and totally inspired me in all sorts of new ways. I also got a signed copy of her book : More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts Naturally, which is where this recipe can be found.  It is not to be missed.  

Cheers!  To health, happiness, and really good cake! 

vanilla cake with a lemon pistachio cream {vegan}

8" two-layer cake which is about 8-10 servings

** Plan ahead: you will need to allot about 4-8 hours of sit time for the frosting and cake. 


For the cake:

1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup of unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of canola oil
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
3/4 cup of vanilla almond or soy milk
3 tablespoons of vanilla extract
2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar

For the icing:

1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
14-16 oz package of firm tofu, blanched (instructions to follow)
1 tablespoon of canola oil
1 tablespoon of smooth cashew butter
1/2 cup of natural cane sugar
1/2 a teaspoon of salt
zest of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract
1/3 cup of pistachios, finely chopped 


  • Position the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350º. Oil two 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper cut to fit. 
  • Place a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Add the pastry flour, white flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon to the strainer. Tap the strainer against the palm of your hand to sift the ingredients into the bowl. Stir with a wire whisk to distribute the ingredients. 
  • Whisk the oil, maple syrup, milk, vanilla, and vinegar in a separate medium bowl until well blended. Pour into the dry mixture and stir with a whisk until the batter is smooth. 
  • Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with a spatula. Tap the pans lightly on the counter to eliminate air bubbles. 
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tops of the cakes are golden, and the sides have started to pull away from the pan. 
  • Cool the pans on racks for 10 minutes. Run a thin knife between the cake and the inside of the pan. Invert each layer onto a rack. Remove the pans and carefully peel off the parchment paper. Invert the layers again top-side up onto a rack. Cool completely. 
  • Gently, without breaking the cake apart, wrap them each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-8 hours, until cold, before frosting.

 While your cake it cooling make the frosting. 

  • Start by blanching the tofu. Place a medium sized pot of salted water on the stove and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove the water from the heat and add the tofu. After 4-5 minutes remove the tofu, strain it, and allow it to cool to room temperature. 
  • Crumble the tofu into a blender. Add the oil, cashew butter and process for 2-3 minutes, stopping several times to scrape down the sides. 
  • Add the sugar, salt, and lemon juice and process for 1-2 minutes more, until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add the lemon zest, vanilla, and lemon extract and pulse a few times to incorporate. 
  • Refrigerate the mixture in a covered container for a 4-8 hours to allow the flavors to blend and for the cream to thicken. {Do not be afraid if you try the frosting and it has a slight tofu taste. This will go away after the forsting has had a few hours to chill and blend flavors.}

To assemble the cake:

  • Place the bottom layer on a plate or serving platter. Spread 1/2 of the frosting over the top and sides. Then place the top layer and finish frosting the top and the sides of the cake. 
  • Sprinkle the chopped pistachios and serve immediately.  You can also refrigerate and serve later.  This cake keeps well for about 5-7 days, depending on the freshness of your ingredients.