Not only did we have an especially lovely Valentine's Day this year, but we also had a Valentine's Day with snow! Perhaps one of the reasons we're so fond of snow here in the deep south is that it usually is a fleeting, ethereal experience, fluttering down briefly only to drift off stage after a mere few hours in our presence. This time, however, our enthusiastic Friday snowfall decided to linger! We usually sleep in a bit on Saturday mornings, but this weekend, energized by the knowledge that a yard full of pristine white flakes awaited us, we flew out of bed early in the morning, running to the windows to gaze at our own minute winter wonderland...
Ruby, the most adventuresome of our 3 kitties, was even allowed to play in the snow...
Because of the coziness of the weather, we were especially glad that we decided to spend Valentine's Day at home this year.
My Valentine, trying to look fierce...
and just being his wonderful self! :-)
Zach surprised me by making a little booklet with the story of how we met... Of course, mushy as I always am, I cried while I read it... :-) My surprise for Zach was a romantic Valentine's Day dinner complete with all of Zach's favorite cuisines and flavors! The savory menu had a Mediterranean theme, including Zach's most-requested main course dish, Eggplant Shepherd's Pie, along with steamed broccoli with a butter-paprika sauce, and homemade spinach bourekas !
Then, for dessert... Amidst the holiday of chocolate, Zach requested vanilla!
Over Christmas Zach and his brother Scott carried on a lengthy, multi-day debate on chocolate vs. vanilla, and while I confess I usually land on the chocolate side of the battle I had to admire Zach's dedication to the pureness and tranquility of vanilla.
And so, while I briefly flirted with the idea of preparing a Valentine's classic, chocolate mousse, when Zach oh so subtly hinted that he was longing for a vanilla cake, I was oh so delighted to oblige...
A Classic Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Glaze
*Note: This recipe makes a single layer - for a two-layer cake, the recipe doubles marvelously!
1/2 cup plus 1/8 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup light, nonhydrogenated vegan margarine
1 cup raw turbinado sugar
1/2 cup skim milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup 1% milk
5 T flour
1/2 cup light, olive-oil blend butter, at room temp
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
~ Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper, and coat the paper with cooking spray.
~ Stir together the whole wheat flour and self-rising flour, and set aside.
~ Cream together the vegan marg and the turbinado sugar until fluffy.
~ Stir in the flours in 3 batches, alternating with the milk and vanilla, until all the ingredients are just incorporated.
~ Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, and bake for 40 minutes - until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
~ Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan, then transfer the cake to a plate, peel off the parchment paper, and coat the cake with the glaze... Decorated with sprinkles or colored sugar, too, if you fancy!
~ To make the glaze: Whisk the milk and flour constantly in a small saucepan over medium heat until a thick paste forms. Remove the paste from the heat, and beat it vigorously with a wooden spoon until the paste has cooled. Beat together the olive-oil blend butter and the sugar until creamy. Beat in the flour and milk paste along with the vanilla until a smooth glaze forms, then spread the glaze atop the cake, and transfer the cake to the fridge until the glaze is set!