Cereal Cashew Milk Cake

Birthday Cake Cards, by V.K.Rees

This post is dedicated to the smartest, most handsomest little brother a girl could have. Happy 26th birthday, Joey (Joe, to the rest of the world)!

So, have you guys heard of cereal milk cake? I hadn’t until my food-fashionable intern, Demetria, mentioned it. I know, I’m so 3 years behind. In case you are like me and behind on cake trends, I’ll elaborate… You know how when you eat a bowl of cereal, the milk leftovers tastes of cereal-y goodness? Using cereal infused milk in this recipe results in a cake that tastes subtly like your cereal of choice. It’s damn delicious. Demetria took this already awesome concept and made it even awesomer by using homemade cashew milk in lieu of the dairy milk that is used in most cereal milk cake recipes. Cashew milk is thick and creamy which made the cake uber decadent.

Oh, and I’m selling the image above as a birthday card with the recipe on the inside. You can buy them here in about a week if you’d like!

by Vanessa Rees, V.K.Rees

Intern Demetria will take it from here!

Ever since I heard about Christina Tosi’s brilliant cereal milk recipe, I knew I had to try it.  So when Vanessa asked that I make a sprinkle covered, super fun, birthday cake, I knew this was my chance to try my hand at cereal milk cake. I scoured the internet but could not find a vegan recipe for cereal milk, or cereal milk cake for that matter, so I made up my own!

I whipped up homemade cashew milk and then soaked it in Fruit Loops, omitting the sugar that’s in the original milk recipe because the Fruit Loops took care of that.  The cereal milk recipe makes a bit extra so you can experience what a vegan cereal milkshake would taste like – so good.  I used the cashew cereal milk in the cake and the buttercream!  The cashew milk made for a rich, creamy cake that stays moist for very long time. The subtle cereal flavor brings you into a state of nostalgia.  Add sprinkles and you have may just have the best birthday cake ever!

For the cashew milk:
I used this recipe

Cashew Fruity Loop ‘Cereal Milk’:
adapted from Momofuku milk bar’s cereal milk recipe, makes 2.5 cups

  • 2 ¾ cup Fruit Loops
  • 3 ¾ cups of your homemade cashew milk
  • ¼ tsp of salt

I.  Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

II.  Spread the Fruit Loops out on a parchment lined sheet pan.  Let toast in oven for 20 minutes.  Let cool.

III.  Transfer the toasted Fruit Loops to a large pictcher or bowl.  Pour the milk in and stir vigorously.  Let steep for 30 minutes at room temperatre.

IV.  Strain the mixture over a medium bowl.  Once the milk is mostly strained, using the back of a ladle or spoon, or your hand, wring the rest of the liquid out of the Fruit Loops, without pushing the fruit loops through the strainer.

V.  Whisk the salt in and store in the refrigerator!

Cereal Milk Birthday Cake:
makes 3 layers of 6” cake

  • 2 cups cashew cereal milk
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅔ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup sprinkles

I.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease three 6” pans and line each with parchment circles.

II.  In a large bowl whisk together the cashew milk and the vinegar.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  It will ‘curdle’ a bit, so don’t worry.  Add the sugar, oil, and vanilla extract and whisk until the mixture is smooth.

III.  Sift together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

IV.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk until smooth and well combined.  Divide the batter evenly between the three pans.  You can use a scale to do this, but I just eyed it.  Bake 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Cool for 15 minutes and then turn the cakes out and let cool completely before adding any icing.

Cashew Cereal Milk ‘Buttercream’:

  • ¾ cup non-hydrogentated margarine (I used original Earth Balance)
  • ¾ cup non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 4 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup cashew cereal milk
  • a pinch of salt

I.  Take an electric mixer and beat together the margarine and shortening on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, or until creamy.

II.  Add the powdered sugar and beat on low until combined.  Turn the mixer to medium high speed and beat 2-3 minutes.

III.  Add the salt and vanilla and beat until incorporated.

IV.  Add the cashew milk gradually until the buttercream is a spreadable consistency, but not too liquid-y.

Finally, assemble your cake and cover it in sprinkles! Enjoy!

Alison - So pretty! I’ve never had this cake but it sounds amazing!

Pheasant & Hare - Mmmmm milk cake, I’ll have to try that! It reminds me of a shot I did last year for a private label recipe – instead of cake, it was cereal infused ice cream!

Ali @ Inspiralized - This saves me a trip to Momofuku, thank you! Definitely making this this weekend.

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - Aww, man! I love this idea!

Caitlin - i have never heard of cereal milk cake, either! i love the idea, and the cake looks delicious!

Thyme Chocolate Cake with Blackberry Salt

Chocolate Thyme Cake by V.K.Rees

I’ve had the immense pleasure of working with three interns over the past month. One of them, Demetria, has created a ridiculously decedant and delicious chocolate cake with thyme and blackberry salt.

This photo would not have been possible without the hand lettering talent of Victoria Bellavia, the painstaking chocolate chip styling of Caroline Newton, and the retouching assistance of intern Joey Diaz.

Take it away Demetria!

Chocolate Thyme, Chocolate Time
Thyme Chocolate Cake with Blackberry Sea Salt – - a cake by Demetria at Engrained Baking

When Vanessa asked if I would be willing to make a cake for her blog, my first thought was: umm, yes – create a delicious cake recipe and then help take beautiful photos of it – dream job!  So, I took out my favorite vegan chocolate cake recipe and began dreaming up what flavor combinations would fit just right together – one of my favorite ways to use my time.  I love combining chocolate with herbs, and honestly, being a mountain girl at heart, I really love adding herbs, teas, weird spices or even tree bark to pretty much everything.  So, I thought of the combination: chocolate, thyme, and blackberry, with a bit of sea salt and something clicked – that’s it.  A delicious combination of woodland thyme and blackberry with rich dark chocolate, and then, I mean, salty and sweet is always, good always,  right?  There are various ways to add an herb’s flavoring into a cake, but I opted to soak each layer in a bit of thyme simple syrup.  It gives just the sweet, subtle hint of thyme at the end of each decadent chocolate bite.  Then it’s all finished off with that perfect sweet, salty combination with homemade blackberry sea salt.

Thyme Chocolate Cake with Blackberry Sauce

This photo shoot was so much fun too.  It’s one of the first times that my messiness in the kitchen has ever worked to my advantage.  Vanessa took my strewn about bowls, ladles, and kitchen tools and turned it into art.  It’s such an amazing opportunity to be able to work with her and watch the process as it happens everyday.  Thanks again Vanessa! xoxo

Vegan Chocolate Cake:

3 ¾ cups spelt flour   ( 380 grams )
1 ½ cup granulated sugar   ( 285 grams )
⅔ cup cocoa powder   ( 75 grams )
2 cups apple juice  ( 455 grams )
1 cup canola oil  (210 grams  )
1 tsp b. powder
1 ½ tsp.  b. soda
1 pinch salt

Vegan Chocolate Ganache:
2 ¾ cups vegan chocolate chips         500 grams chocolate chips
2 cups soy milk            500 grams soy milk

Thyme Simple Syrup:

1 large bunch of thyme (about 3 ounces)
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of water

Blackberry salt:
5-8 blackberries
⅓ cup sea salt

For the Cake:

I.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Grease three 8” pans and line the base with parchment paper.

II.  Except for the salt, sift together all of the dry ingredients into a medium sized bowl.  Mix together.

III.  Combine the oil, juice, and salt and whisk until the mixture is thoroughly emulsified.  Add the flour mixture and whisk until smooth.

  IV.  Pour batter into the prepared cake tins until each tin is half full.  Bake for 30 -35 minutes, or until a cake tester  inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.  The cake should also spring back when lightly pressed.  Place tins on wire rack and let cool.

For the Chocolate Ganache:

 First pour your chocolate chips in a medium sized bowl.   Heat the soy milk over medium low heat and stir continuously.  The milk is considered done with small bubbles have formed around the pan, but the milk has not started boiling.  Pour the milk into the bowl of chocolate chips and let sit for 1 minute, allowing the chocolate chips to melt.  Then take a whisk and whisk until the ganache is smooth and fully incorporated. Leave out to cool and set or place in freezer to speed up the process, if it does not have enough time to set it will end up acting more as a glaze.

For the Thyme Simple Syrup:

Combine sugar, water and thyme in a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and then let simmer for 15 -20 minutes to steep the thyme.

For the Blackberry Salt:

    Place the blackberries in a bowl and mash them with a fork, spreading the juice from the blackberries around the bowl. Take the blackberry mush out of the bowl, leaving only the juice.  Pour the salt into the bowl and stir around until the salt is completely coated.

To assemble:

  Place the 1st layer of cake on an 8” cardboard circle, and then on top of a cake stand.  Trim the top off with a serrated knife so that you have a flat layer.  Take a brush and  dip it in your thyme simple syrup.  Lightly dab the thyme simple syrup on the top of the layer until you’ve covered it.  This will moisten your cake as well as getting in that delicious thyme flavor.  Allow it to soak into the cake and then spread your vegan chocolate ganache over the layer.  Gently press your second layer over the first and repeat this process until you’ve placed your 3rd layer and soaked it with your thyme simple syrup.  Ice the cake with the remaining chocolate ganache.

  If you’d like the chocolate chip detailing , pour some mini chocolate chips into a bowl.  Pick up your cake from the cardboard, making sure that the cardboard is not bigger than the cake.  Then scoop up the chocolate chips and cup them in your hand, lightly pressing them to the side of the cake, rotating the cake as you coat each area.
Then you can sprinkle your blackberry salt on top of the cake and decorate however you’d like!

For more recipes look over here: at Engrained!

:: edible type :: | Inspiration blog :: Web One - […] have proven thyme and thyme again (sorry this image was created to introduce a recipe for a Thyme Chocolate Cake) to be some of the most visually effective forms of the art. I know it makes me want to get my […]

Alison Dulaney - Brilliant Vanessa! I have missed your posts!

Evelyn Theus - This cake looks delicious. And the text is just perfect with the cake. :-)

Cards & Interns!

Wow, the holidays really sneak up on ya, huh? If anyone is interested, I’m selling some holiday cards on etsy! This is the last week to order if you want to receive them in time to send out for Christmas.

White Winter Holiday Cards by V.K.Rees

White Winter Holiday Cards by V.K.Rees

White Winter Holiday Cards by V.K.Rees

Winter Cabin Holiday Cards by V.K.Rees

Winter Cabin Holiday Cards by V.K.ReesWinter Cabin Holiday Cards by V.K.ReesWinter Cabin Holiday Cards by V.K.Rees

Also, I’m currently looking for 2 NYC based interns starting January 2014! Ideally this person would be able to commit to 3 months, 10-15 hours per week. The schedule would be flexible and changes weekly depending on the intern’s schedule and my photo shoot schedule.

Tasks include: overall assistance on photo shoots, handling props and photo equipment, organization of information regarding photo shoots and/or clients, creating mood/inspiration boards, assisting with prop styling, minor editing of photos via photoshop, and general office clerical duties. This intern should be enthusiastic, flexible, and interested in photography. To apply please send your resume to vanessa[@]vkreesphotography.com.

The internship is unpaid but includes meals on photo shoot days and can be worked for towards school credit.  I encourage you to have a part time job and am happy to work around your schedule. Personal laptop is needed.

Looking forward to working with you!

Destination..Home - Dear Vanessa,

I just wanted to let you know that you inspired me through your work. One of the reasons I started blogging was because of your photographs. The lighting, the settings, the angles, it is all looking so good.

I will continue to follow your work to learn and get inspired!

Keith Bachand - Your work is great!

Linda - Your work is so beautiful. Someone will be very lucky to work with you and learn some of the tricks of the trade.

Layla @ Brunch Time Baker - These cards are beautiful!

Allison - I always think it when I visit your site, but I should share my thoughts with you and the rest of your readers: you are so damn talented! Gorgeous, gorgeous photos, and I love them as holiday cards. Brilliant! I wish I knew about photography (and didn’t already have grad school eating up 98% of my waking hours); I’d volunteer as an intern in a heartbeat!

Aubrie LeGault - Clever! I did holiday cards for my clients (family photo sessions) but the food photography for holiday cards is genius. Your cards are gorgeous.

Alison Dulaney - These are so pretty Vanessa!!

Kimberly - Please relocate to Atlanta so that I can assist you! ;-) Your work is beautiful!

Evelyn Theus - That’s are very beautiful cards.
I really like the white one. It’s stunning.