Happy Birthday Cake Recipes

So Monday will be my birthday. This weekend I will be removing wallpaper from my new house. As you can see I am a party animal. I cannot wait to make a birthday cake for myself however. Cakes are very important in my family. A few reasons have dictated this importance. 1.) My mother never got birthday cakes as a child due to a mixture of it being an extravagance to a single mom with six kids and also the fact that my mom was born on the second anniversary of her sister’s death. 2.) My birthday is the same week as 4 other family members. My cousin was born the 22nd, my grandmother the 24th, I on the 25th, my aunt on the 26th, and my great-grandfather on the 27th. So that week was pretty party ridden. 3.) My birthday tends to fall during blizzards. So we always had to prepare in advance for the cake in case we could not leave the house for ingredients. In High School once, I discovered that I loved cooking when caught in a blizzard on my birthday. I not only figured out how to get myself Chinese food but I also made myself an apple caramel drizzle cake out of things in the pantry and a very weathered version of the Joy of Cooking and a church cookbook were analyzed and ingredients were questioned like “is baking soda and powder different and is there a substitute for canola oil?”

So this year I am going to give you my favorite low ingredient birthday cake recipe that my husband adores despite it being vegan. I will also post links to some of the most delicious looking cakes out there and tell you where I would buy my cake if I wasn’t going to make it this year.

Enjoy my birthday cake extravaganza!


My Favorite Birthday Cake Recipe:

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cake with Guava Filling

1 Box of Dark Chocolate Cake Mix (most mixes are vegan just look)
3/4 bag of vegan chocolate chips
1 can of pumpkin
Earth Balance to butter the cake pans
Parchment to line the bottom of the cake pans

1/4 bag of vegan chocolate chips
1 thin large can of guava paste (I like Goya)
Vanilla Sugar (I like Penzey’s)

Chocolate Frosting (You can make it or buy it, I like to make a ganache style frosting)
Vanilla Sugar

Take all cake ingredients place in a large mixing bowl. Mix until combined. Add Cinnamon to taste. I always add 1-3 tbsp so that I can taste the cinnamon over the chocolate flavor. I test as I add it. Place in two round cake pans evenly lining the bottoms with parchment and buttering them with Earth Balance Buttery Sticks.

Bake according to the box directions. Take out when you can remove a toothpick cleanly.

Next in a medium mixing bowl warm your guava paste so you can spread it in between the cake layers. On top of the cake you will sprinkle cinnamon, spread the guava paste, and then sprinkle chocolate chips and vanilla sugar. Top with warm second cake layer.

Next, warm the frosting so you can drizzle it over the top of the cake. Wait until the cake is cooled. THen drizzle the frosting over the top. Sprinkle liberally with vanilla sugar.

Serve with homemade ice cream.



Banana Split Cake: This looks and sounds amazing.

Lemon Birthday Cake: THis sounds so light and delicious. I would even use this cake as a base for my July 4th Trifle!

Chocolate Chip Banana Cake: Chef Chloe is always a no brainer when it comes to cooking. Her cookbook also has a birthday cake recipe that looks divine! I had a banana cake layer at my wedding by Red Velvet Cafe in Las Vegas, NV and I am a convert!

Strawberry Vanilla Cake: This recipe has quite a few ingredients but I have all of them in my home so I figure so will most vegans. This looks and sounds fresh and delicious and looks amazing like a giant strawberry shortcake. Yum!

Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake: Something more decadent and raw for my raw fans! This looks so sinful I can feel a toothache coming on and the drool pooling on the side of my mouth!


Top Places to buy a Vegan Cake in New England:

1. Veggie Planet in Cambridge, MA: I cannot say enough about the restaurant or the all vegan bakery. It is amazing. Get the cheesecake with strawberries or the Coconut Lemon Passionfruit Layer Cake. I live for these two cakes and served the Coconut at my Bridal Shower last February.

2. Cafe Indigo in Concord, NH and MA Whole Foods: You can get their cakes onsite or at local Whole Foods throughout Massachusetts. The Carrot Cake changes lives. You will never want another carrot cake ever again. I served that cake at my engagement party and I buy slices of it at Whole Foods more than I probably should. My omni husband does as well and sometimes eats mine.

3. Moo-Cluck Corp. : You can buy these at various whole foods and natural foods stores in the cold section. I have bought all of their items at some point but truly love the vanilla strawberry cake when I need to buy something to run to a party in a pinch. It is yummy and the strawberries are fresh and not just some syrup.

Chocolate Cherry Brownie Cupcakes

So during the Superbowl (that I was not impressed at all with, Go Pats!). I decided to experiment on my two favorite people who will eat just about anything. My lovely husband and my very good asian male friend. Both will eat vegan food without any fuss. My husband because he will eat anything, and in bulk. My friend because he grew up in a Chinese family where “vegan” isn’t a foreign or scary but very normal and part of the culture. That being said I decided I would make a chocolate cherry cupcake that was half homemade. Basically an adaptation of the boxed variety. I also figured this could be a great treat for potlucks, birthdays, and the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday!

So I got to work looking for a good boxed brownie mix that was vegan. I found Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie mix which is really just brownie mix with chocolate chips and that seemed perfect. The reason I say that is because a.) the chocolate chips in the mix were vegan and B.) generally if chocolate cake/brownie mixes do not have chips in them I will add them to add a light flavor mask over any vegetables I toss in and their potential after taste. That being said… enter pumpkin. I know you can add a can of pumpkin to cake mix in lieu of oil/water/eggs but brownies I always hear “add black beans and puree them”. This has never sat well with me as I am part mexican and think refried beans don’t go with my dessert they only touch chocolate in mole, so I went back to my trusty canned pumpkin. Also let me note that you should NEVER add the egg replacer powder with your oil/water to brownie mixes the batter will separate during baking and you will be left with a rubbery batter covered in an oil slick. Oh and my husband will still eat it FYI.

So I added pumpkin to my brownie mix and then stirred forever. Once combined I placed batter equally in 12 paper cups in a cupcake pan. I then microwaved bagged frozen cherries from Whole Foods and placed one squished down in the center of each cupcake. They will be a little runny but that is totally ok. Then I covered half the cherries with a little more batter and half I left exposed. This was just to see what was a better method. Both came out fine so it is really up to you! I liked the batter topped a little better because it seemed like a hidden treasure but the exposed cherry is aesthetically more pleasing unfrosted. I then baked it according to the pan brownie suggestions on the box.

brownie batter

Mini Recipe:

Ingredients: Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix, (1) Can pumpkin, Whole Foods Frozen whole cherries, Betty Crocker Vanilla Frosting, Sliced Raw Almonds, Vegan Chocolate Chips (12chips).

Instructions: Add canned pumpkin to mix. Stir. Place in cupcake papers inside cupcake pan. Add defrosted cherries to center. Bake at 325degrees for about 40minutes. Take out. Let cool. Add frosting a sprinkle of almonds and one chocolate chip!


brownie cupcake


The end result. They came out so yummy! They are better cooled however. Gives the cherry juice a chance to settle into the cake.

They were lighter than a fudgy brownie but more dense than a box made cupcake. I thought they were perfect. I added a dollop of vanilla frosting (Betty Crocker from the aerosol decorator can) and then sprinkled with raw sliced almonds and one vegan semisweet chocolate chip. However for Valentine’s Day I am thinking red sparkly sprinkles and a heart-shaped dollop or maybe a blue frosting heart? Any suggestions?

Well anyway the almonds are the perfect addition. I am actually thinking I may add a shake of almond extract to the batter next time to increase that sweet cherry flavor. I will tell you all how it “pans” out 😉 … pun intended!

Happy Valentine’s Day folks! Enjoy the chocolatey love with your sweet!

XOXOX, The Hippie Gypsy