(A Dino-Mite Dessert Table)
What a difference a year makes. Last year, we celebrated my son’s first birthday quietly at home in L.A. — just me, my husband, my parents via Skype, and the birthday boy, of course. This year, we not only had twice as many celebrations, but also ten times as many people celebrating.
For my son’s actual birthday, we had dinner and cake at home. My son is in a finicky phase, so I chose a menu of things that I would enjoy and hoped he might actually take a bite. I think that one bite is all he did take. It’s too bad, because the Jerk Sloppy Joes with Coconut Creamed Spinach from Isa Does It were delicious. These are a fun twist on the traditional sandwich (if my TVP and tomato sauce version can be considered traditional) fusing American comfort food with Caribbean flavors.
For dessert, my son requested a “chocolate cookie.” I complied by making the Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie from Chloe’s Vegan Desserts. This was my second time making the cookie pie and it was just as good as the first. (It’s a giant cookie in a pie crust. How can you go wrong?) The only issue I had was that my parents’ refrigerator seems to be running cold and my pie dough froze solid. I thawed it by putting it near the pre-heating oven, which made it extremely sticky and difficult to work with. I should have learned my lesson from the experience, but more fridge issues were to follow.
(“Happy Birthday. Now cut cake!”)
A week after his actual birthday, we had a party for family and friends. My son requested a theme of “donuts, cake, chocolate and more chocolate,” but eventually agreed that Dinosaur Train was an acceptable alternate theme. (For those without kids, Dinosaur Train is a PBS show about a family of dinosaurs that use a time traveling train to visit different eras in prehistory and learn about the species they meet).
I chose to hold the party mid-afternoon for two reasons. First, I hoped that my son would take a nap before guests arrived. That turned out to be wishful thinking. Second, I hoped that, if it wasn’t meal-time, guests wouldn’t notice the “lack” of meat and dairy on the menu. I was much more successful here.
The menu of munchies included:
- Pretzel Dogs of the Dead from Bake and Destroy
- Falafels from Vegan With A Vengeance
- Spring Rolls
- Chips and Dips
- Dinosaur Sugar Cookies (Recipe from Chloe’s Vegan Desserts)
- Banana Bread French Toast Cupcakes from Bake and Destroy
- Cookies and Cream Cake
(Cupcakes and Sugar Cookies)
I made all of the food in the days leading up to the party. The morning of, all I needed to do was ice the cake and cupcakes and reheat the savory foods. Unfortunately, the overly-enthusiastic fridge struck again. The icing I had made the night before was frozen solid. While I was panicking about serving our guests nude cake, my mom went into MacGyver mode, cutting the frozen icing into tiny cubes and laying them out on trays to increase the icing’s surface space. This allowed the icing to come to room temperature more quickly without having to involve any potentially ruinous heat. My mom’s plan worked and I was able to get the cakes frosted and decorated with time to spare.
The cake has a chocolate layer, a vanilla layer with Oreo pieces and a cookies and cream filling (vanilla frosting with Oreo pieces). I used recipes from Chloe’s Vegan Desserts for the chocolate cake and frosting. I used a recipe from Chloe’s Kitchen for the vanilla cake layer. Both cake recipes are designed to yield two 9 inch round cakes, but they converted easily to one 9 x 11 sheet cake. I did not even need to alter the baking time or temperature.
Although the cake was enjoyed by all, the banana cupcakes were the hit of the party. I’ve already received 3 requests for the recipe. It’s available online if you’d like to check it out.