Vegan Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake

Vegan Blueberry Lemon CakeLast weekend, I baked a lovely vegan lemon blueberry layer cake. So summery! Vegan cakes can sometimes come out a bit too dense, even when you’re very careful about not overworking the batter. I’ve experienced that at home and at restaurants, but this one was quite nice. The flavors were very light and refreshing.

I’d like to make this cake again sometime, but with a few more tweaks. It’ll probably be a while before that happens as we really do not need more cake anytime soon. That said, I wanted to share the current recipe as several people have already asked for it!

Vegan Lemon Cake from Savvy Vegetarian
I followed the original recipe very closely, but added 1/2 cup of blueberries. Toss the blueberries in flour (so they don’t all sink to the bottom!), then gently stir them in after all the other ingredients are blended. The original recipe tells you to divide the batter into two layers. That’s what I did, but I would have preferred three thinner layers. Next time!

Easy Lemon Frosting
Instead of using the lemon curd and frosting from the original recipe, I made my basic vanilla frosting recipe with the addition of lemon. I find a lot of frosting recipes to be too sweet, but this one satisfies my sweet tooth without being too much.

1 cup margarine
2-1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Blend the margarine and sugar on high, until it has the right consistency for frosting (about 5 minutes). Add the vanilla, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Blend for another 1-2 minutes.

Skylark on the Hudson, Jersey City

Brunch at Skylark on the HudsonOur major chores are always left until the weekend since we’re busy as bees during the week. There was one Saturday when we did 4 gigantic loads of laundry and some very intense house cleaning. Our robot vacuum usually helps manage all the cat fur, but it broke recently, and our first attempt to repair it was a failure. It was time to break out the other vacuum and get the apartment back to being (relatively) cat fur free!

After all that cleaning, we stopped by Skylark on the Hudson for brunch. This place is literally a one minute walk from apartment, but we’ve never brunched here before! We sat outside at a table that was half in the sun (for John) and half in the shade (for me). It’s nice to get some sunshine, but I can’t sit in the sun for an entire meal. Too hot!

Tried the Pisco Sour ($7), which reminded me of a vodka sour. It was okay, but I switched to a mimosa ($7) for my next cocktail. John ordered their Cinnamon French Toast ($7) and a lemon poppy muffin. I ordered the Italiano Omelet ($9). Italiano Omelet - Skylark on the HudsonA lot of food for $9! I don’t even know how many eggs went into that omelet — it was huge and very filling. Not the best omelet I’ve had. Honestly, it was kind of dense and lacked seasoning. Can’t complain too much though. It was cheap and served quickly!

Gardein “Turkey” with Vegetables & Mashed Potatoes

Gardein Turkey with Vegetables & Mashed PotatoesI’ll admit that this is more of a holiday dish as the star of the show is a Garden turkey cutlet, but this was one of my favorite meals from the past few weeks. There’s something so satisfying about a hearty “meat” and potatoes meal on a Sunday evening! Cooked the “turkey” cutlet in a skillet for a nice crispy exterior. Mashed potatoes on the bottom, lemon pepper asparagus next, sauteed mushrooms next, then the roasted grape tomatoes with a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette. Finally, the “turkey” cutlet goes on top with a generous serving of vegetarian gravy. Colorful and delicious!

Whynot Coffee & Wine, West Village

Whynot Wine Bar - West VillageAfter a quick dinner at Potatopia, we strolled over to Whynot Coffee & Wine for drinks. The last time I visited Whynot, they had not switched over to romantic date night mode as it was still light out. What a transformation!

There was live jazz on the lower level, but we stayed upstairs so we could chat while still enjoying the music. This place was perfection. A charming NYC date night spot without any crowds. They’ve reduced their wine prices since my last visit. I enjoyed a refreshing glass of Prosecco, while John sipped on beer.

Potatopia, Greenwich Village

Potatopia, Greenwich VillageImpromptu casual date night with his and her potatoes! I visited Potatopia once with Angela and immediately knew that John would love this place. As if this location isn’t easy enough for us to get to, I recently heard that Potatopia is coming to Newport Centre. What the what?! That’s the mall just down the street from us! Hope it’s true!

I got the Comatoser ($7.75) without bacon again. I always feel a little lame when I go back to a restaurant and order the same thing, but the potato skin chips are just so good. Plus, the toppings are delightful! Cheddar, asiago, pepperjack, green onions, red onion, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno, broccoli, roasted pepper and ranch dressing. I will happily spend extra time on the treadmill for this bowl of heavenly goodness…Comatoser, Potatopia, Greenwich VillageJohn ordered the Curly Sue ($6.50). Curly fries with pepperjack, parmesan, jalapeno, garlic, green onion, chipotle ketchup and garlic aioli. They were a little heavy on the jalapenos (hot hot HOT!), but the curly fries were quite good. Curly Sue, Potatopia, Greenwich VillageWe also ordered a couple beers, but they ran out of beer while filling John’s glass and let him have two thirds of a beer for free. That was really nice of them. Thanks Potatopia!

Someone had drawn a smiley face on the potato notepad. I left my mark by adding the curly mustache and busy eyebrows. You like? Potatopia, Greenwich Village


Liberty Science Center, Jersey City

Liberty Science Center, Jersey CityAfter lunch at Zeppelin Hall, we walked to the Liberty Science Center. On the first weekend of the month, Bank of America customers can get into museums for free! It only covers a few museums in the area, but I’ll happily take advantage of the offer whenever I can.

One of the highlights of our visit was the Beyond Rubik’s Cube exhibit. I’ve always been terrible at solving rubik’s cubes, but this was pretty cool. There were rubik’s cubes of all shapes and sizes, including a giant one in the atrium. There was also a robot that would solve your rubik’s cube in a matter of seconds, then do a victory dance celebrate!

There was also an interesting skyscrapers exhibition. John couldn’t wait to try out the walk the steel exhibit, but it seemed too scary for me. I found it pretty exhilarating just to watch! As always, I’m not in any of our photos since I’m the one with the camera.

Noodles with Ground Beef, Cabbage, Daikon Sesame Salad

Noodles with Pork, Cabbage, Daikon Sesame SaladI haven’t been sharing all that much home cooking lately, so here’s a colorful noodle bowl I made a few weeks ago. I’m a fan of noodles, and now that summer has arrived, I’ve switched to dry, soupless noodle bowls. Asian wheat noodles topped with Gardein ground “beef”, Napa cabbage, daikon sesame salad, scallions, and sriracha. This dish was very tasty hot, then I tried it chilled for lunch the next day. Even better!