Nyan Cat Birthday Cake and Other Vegan Party Snacks

My son Catboy turned 11 recently. He wanted a Nyan Cat cake. I don’t know what Nyan Cat is all about but you are welcome to google it.  I chose fruit kabobs as the rainbow trail behind the cat, and The Everything Vegan Cookbook has a simple vegan cake recipe I decided to make for the body.

On the day of the party, I followed the recipe for the Pineapple Cherry “Dump” Cake with my beautiful new extra-large rectangle cake pan. As I poured everything in, I had a sneaking suspicion it would not be the kind of cake I could frost, especially spread out in my stupid huge pan. I was right. Fortunately, it was delicious, so I decided to call it a cobbler and stick it in the fridge. Also fortunately, I had time to find a box of accidentally vegan cake mix and just follow directions. I actually got 2 so they’d fit and be big enough for Nyan’s pop-tart body.

I also made Chocolate Obsession Cake from Chocolate Covered Katie (already vegan, I used steamed carrots pureed with water instead of carrot juice) as the cat head, cupcakes tail, and cupcakes legs. The gray fur frosting was hand-crushed Oreos mixed into simple icing (powdered sugar + a little milk and vanilla extract). I smoothed it onto the cooled cakes right away, and it hardened quickly into a perfect fur effect.

The pop-tart body cake ended up being a “butter” cake. Vegan margarine stood in for the butter, and the “egg” was half pumpkin, half Ener-G. On top I did peanut butter frosting that I mixed in my stand mixer with paddles instead of in a blender. I just made sure to blend it for plenty of time and it got very smooth! I spread that on the sides and the edges of the top of the cake. The “pop tart’s strawberry icing” was accidentally vegan store-bought white frosting + ground freeze-dried strawberries. This gave the frosting a wonderfully strong strawberry flavor and bright pink hue. Fresh slivered strawberries acted as the “sprinkles”.

My mom offered to bring some food, so I suggested chips and salsa. I figured even without Mom making any effort whatsoever, they’d end up being vegan. My plan worked! Bwahahahah. I had carbonated water (cheap) and juice to mix instead of pop, plus homemade stevia-sweetened lemonade. There were also plenty of fruits leftover, even after I made plenty of kabobs. In rainbow order, I used: strawberry, orange, banana, kiwi, blueberry, grape.

All the cakes tasted moist and tender. The frostings were great, the fruit was fresh, the cobbler was sweet and buttery, and the salsa was slightly spicy (and provided a much-needed relief from all the sweets!). None of the partygoers were vegan or vegetarian, but no one had any complaints about the food and I got plenty of compliments.

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Do your prefer baking birthday cakes for your loved ones from scratch, from a box, or buying ready-made?

PB&J wrap

Once upon a time, I went to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. We didn’t have my favorite low-calorie bread, but we did have my favorite low-calorie tortillas. I compared labels, and realized the tortilla was a better option than the bread. I still made my kids the sandwiches, and instead of making mine “quesadilla-style”, I decided to be adventurous and throw some baby spinach in there, then eat it like a wrap. Adding fruit bulks it up, too, and it travels well–I like to wrap it in foil and keep it in the fridge at work until I’m ready to eat. I think my favorite way to go is plenty of almond butter (just almonds or almonds + coconut oil), blueberries, strawberry preserves, and baby spinach. For low-calorie, try using PB2 and skipping the fruit spread. All ingredients can easily be substituted, so play around with it!

1 tortilla

2-3 tablespoons nut butter

1-2 tablespoons fruit spread (optional)

handful/about an ounce or two berries or chopped fruit such as grapes, oranges, pear, nectarine, kiwi, etc.

20-30 grams fresh spinach or kale

Spread nut butter on tortilla, then fruit spread. Add greens and fruit. Wrap it up. Eat!

Ok, so it’s not technically PB if you use almond butter. And if I use fruit spread, it’s 100% fruit preserves, not jelly. So more like a ABF&G (almond butter, fruit, and greens) wrap…but that just doesn’t have the same ring to it!

Let me know in the comments if you make this, and what you used!