triple layer chocolate vanilla birthday cake with chocolate cashew cream frosting

Thirty years?  No freaking way.  How?


A few things I assumed I would have by 30:  

  1. architecture career - nada!
  2. kid - nope!
  3. husband - yes!
  4. house - yes!

A few things I had no clue I would have by 30:

  1. A blog.
  2. A book!
  3. A fancy camera.
  4. A photography business.
  5. 2 dogs.
  6. A massive glass jar collection.
  7. A gluten intolerance.
  8. A meatless diet.
  9. A road bike.

One thing I've learned:

  1. Plans change.  Frequently.

Things that make me the happiest:

  1. husband + family.
  2. friends.
  3. food.
  4. the dogs.
  5. a clean kitchen.
  6. cycling.
  7. waffles.

What I wanted to be when I "grew up" as a 5th grader:

  • school teacher
  • part-time baker

What I wanted to be when I "grew up" as a 7th grader:

  • Architect.

What magazine did I subscribe to in 7th grade?

  • Architectural Digest.

What I want to be now -- all grown up:

  • Still in process.

Where I've lived the past 30 years:

  • marshall, mi 
  • cleveland, oh
  • columbus, oh
  • charlotte, nc
  • denver, co
  • ft. collins, co

Thoughts for the future:

  • Roll with it.
  • Things are good.
  • Play more.
  • Help more.
  • Chill.
  • Eat more cake.

Print this!

adapted from: carrot cake with orange maple cashew cream frosting

Triple Layer Chocolate Vanilla Birthday Cake with Chocolate Cashew Cream Frosting

gluten-free, dairy free // yields 3, 8-inch layers

for the vanilla layers:

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free oat flour
  • 1 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar, orsucanat or pure cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, whisked
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil, melted + slightly cooled
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla bean paste, or pure vanilla extract

for the chocolate layer:

  • 3/4 cups gluten-free oat flour
  • 1/2 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons coconut sugar, or sucanat or pure cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil, melted + slightly cooled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste, or pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat your oven to 350*F and grease and flour all sides of 3, 8-inch cake pans. Knock out excess flour.
  2. For the vanilla layers: In a large bowl stir your dry ingredients together until well combined.
  3. In another mixing bowl whisk together the wet ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir together with a large wooden spoon until just combined. Avoid over-stirring.
  5. For the chocolate layer: Follow directions 2-4 including the cocoa powder with the dry ingredients.
  6. Pour evenly into the cake pans and bake the vanilla layers for 22-26 minutes and the chocolate layer for 23-28 minutes. Test with a toothpick for doneness.  
  7. Let cool for 20 minutes, slide a knife along the edge, then carefully turn out onto a cooling rack and let fully cool before frosting.
  8. Frost the first layer, place the 2nd on top, then repeat.  Lightly push the frosting to the edge so it drips down the sides on the top layer. Add sprinkles if desired.
  9. Serve immediately or keep chilled in the fridge [covered] and set out for 30 minutes before serving.

for the frosting:

  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 - 2/3 cup muscovado sugar, or light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  1. Drain + rinse cashews then place in your high-speed blender with 1/2 cup almond milk and the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Blend on low working to high, using your blender stir stick to keep things moving until you have reached a fully smooth consistency. Scrape the sides to keep things moving and add more milk if needed. You want to use the least amount of milk as possible for a thick frosting. This frosting is much softer than a typical butter cream and very easy to spread.
  3. Taste and add more sugar if needed then blend again until smooth.
  4. Pour into a bowl and place plastic wrap directly on top, then refrigerate until chilled. Frosting will thicken a bit as it chills.  

notes/substitutions:  For an explanation on almond flour and the difference between almond meal, see this post.  There is no sub for almond flour [almond meal should work] or sweet rice flour.  Best to use all room temperature wet ingredients when baking.  Safflower, sunflower, or canola oil can be used instead of coconut oil.  Cakes can be made a day ahead.  Let fully cool then wrap tightly with plastic wrap and store on your counter overnight.  Set oven to 370*F and use 1/4 teaspoon leass baking powder [vanilla] and 1/8 teaspoon less baking soda [chocolate] if you’re around 5,000’ altitude.


Today I wish:

  • My family could be here to help eat cake!

Have a happy + safe 4th of July!


Vanilla Peanut Butter Chunk + Chocolate Crunch Ice Cream

Last night I posted a sneak peek photo of this recipe.  Holy cow did you guys + gals ever respond with excitement.  

Apparently you all like ice cream.  Apparently I need to post more ice cream recipes.

I can get down with that.


Ice cream is definitely up there on my list of favorite desserts.  As are super chewy cookies.

The husband is a huge fan of anything PB + Chocolate, which I probably mention every single time I make a recipe with peanut butter.  Oops.



I wanted to make a peanut butter chocolate ice cream recipe, but I also wanted to bring something new to the table.  Instead of peanut butter ice cream, how about vanilla bean ice cream WITH chewy peanut butter chunks??

I'm not sure how much I like the word chunk but there's no better way to describe it.


I made homemade peanut butter, froze it in a slab, cut it into pieces, and threw the pieces in the ice cream.

As you're rapidly spooning bites into your mouth you hit pockets of PEANUT BUTTER chewiness along the way.  Possibly better than cookie dough.


Don't think I forgot about the chocolate.

Just before the ice cream was finished spinning I streamed melted--but cooled--chocolate into the mixture.  This created ribbons of hardened chocolate throughout the ice cream.  So with each and every bite of ice cream you'll have a little chocolate crunch.


But if those two things weren't enough I obviously infused the base ice cream mixture with vanilla beans.  And for sweetness I chose coconut sugar [an unrefined sugar] which adds a hint of caramel-like flavor.  


Mix it all together and here is the end result!


And I almost forgot!  Coconut milk makes this dairy free + vegan and incredibly simple to make.


Look at those peanut butter chunks!!!


A trick for photographing ice cream:Freeze the ice cream after making it to harden up a bit more.  Then, make your ice cream scoops and freeze the scoops on parchment on a pan for another 30min or so.  This will help keep the scoops a bit more formed.

But eventually they start to melt.


Print this!

adapted from: Oh, Ladycakes

Vanilla Peanut Butter Chunk + Chocolate Crunch Ice Cream

gluten-free, vegan // yields 6 servings

For the ice cream mixture:

  • 2 cans full-fat coconut milk, ~3 1/3 cups - 13.6oz cans
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

For the chocolate crunch:

  • 3/4 cup vegan dark chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon unrefined coconut oil

For the peanut butter chunks:

  • 1/3 cup homemade peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup ground dry roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 tablespoon pure maple syrup

*Freeze your ice cream maker bowl for a full 24hrs.

  1. Whisk the coconut milk, sugar, and vanilla beans [~1/4+ teaspoon] in a large pot over medium heat, then add the scraped vanilla bean pod.
  2. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, whisking frequently as it heats, then pour into a heat-safe bowl.
  3. Refrigerate until fully chilled, or add ice into a larger bowl [about 1/2 full] and place the ice cream mixture bowl into it until fully chilled, whisking every so often to accelerate the chilling.  Avoid getting any of the ice/water into the mixture.  Add more ice/drain water as needed.  
  4. Mix the peanut butter, ground peanuts, and maple syrup together.  Freeze for 5-10 minutes to help thicken.  Flatten in between two pieces of parchment until it's just under 1/4-inch thick.  Slide the parchment onto the pan and freeze for 1 hour.  Remove and cut into small pieces about 1/4x1/4-inch.  Place back in the freezer.  The PB chunks will not fully harden.
  5. Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave for 30 second increments, stirring each time until fully melted and smooth.  Or, use a double boiler for this process.
  6. Let cool on the counter.  It should still be pourable.  *Be sure to make this about 1/2 way through the ice cream mixture chilling so it has ample time to cool on the counter.
  7. Pour the chilled ice cream mixture into your ice cream maker and turn on.  When your ice cream starts to freeze and collect on the mixer, but is still moving smoothly [about 20min for mine], stream the melted + cooled chocolate into the ice cream.  
  8. Scoop about 1/4 of the ice cream into a glass container, then evenly distribute about 1/4 of the peanut butter chunks.  Repeat 4 times, packing down the ice cream as you go.  
  9. Serve immediately [it will be like soft serve at this point] or freeze in an airtight container with a piece of plastic wrap touching the top surface of the ice cream [helps prevent freezer burn].  

notes/substitutions: If using store bought peanut butter, go for the natural, drippy kind and sub that in for homemade.  I'm not sure if the stabilized peanut butter will freeze as well, but it might.  Coconut sugar adds caramel notes to the base flavor of the ice cream.  Sucanat would be a great substitute, but pure cane sugar will also work.  Add 3/4 cup sugar if you like your ice cream on the sweeter side.

For the homemade peanut butter:

  • 2 1/2 cups dry roasted, unsalted peanuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 - 1 tablespoons maple syrup, optional
  1. Place peanuts + salt in your food processor [11 cup capacity works well with 2 1/2 cups peanuts] for about 30 seconds until well ground.
  2. Measure out 1/4 cup of the ground peanuts for the PB chunk recipe above.
  3. Continue to process until drippy, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. ~10 minutes in total.
  4. Remove 1/3 cup peanut butter for the PB chunks and then add 1/2 tablespoon of pure maple syrup to your processor.
  5. Continue to process until smooth, then taste and adjust salt/maple syrup if needed.
  6. Let cool, then store the peanut butter in a jar at room temp for a few weeks or in the fridge for a few months.

No worries on the melting, though.  Ice cream soup is the best part.