I have always loved birthday cakes. When I was a kid, my mom would make a two-layer devil’s food cake with shiny white marshmallow icing. My friend Polly brought a version of this cake to my birthday party, modified to be gluten- and sugar-free. I’ve modified it even further, melding her recipe (originally from Lindsay Shere’s Chez Panisse Desserts) with one from my friend Angela’s blog.
I was at Angela’s in Provence on my actual birthday this year. I studied French in 5th, 7th through 11th grades, and in college. It has been a lifelong dream to visit France. But life—and other travel opportunities—intervened. It wasn’t until my Big 5-0 that The Husband and I got to France. And it was incredibly special, because Angela made me this cake to finish off a beautiful lunch at their home. Angela’s recipe (which is not vegan) is from Provençal chocolatier Joel Durand.
I served it with fresh strawberry sauce and no ganache (frosting). I love how the tart acid from the fruit cuts the richness of the chocolate. I used melted strawberry-vodka sorbet. You could make a quick, easy sauce with strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries and a splash each of water and brandy or cognac whizzed in a blender.
vegan, gluten-free, low-sodium, reduced-sugar diets