Happy Midsummer! Vegan Strawberry-Cardamom Cake

To say I’m super giddy about this cake is a huge understatement. I always seem to forget about Midsummer, then the day after, I see all of these beautiful cakes and realize that, wow, I forgot again! Not this year, y’all. This year, we have a cake. 
Midsummer is celebrated internationally on the longest day of the year (also known as the Summer Solstice). I probably latched on to the Swedish traditions because the food is beautiful and there are loads of flowers. It’s a time to celebrate the light and, for some people, to practice magic, as this day is considered more powerful than others. Midsummer is now Sweden’s national holiday and there are loads of traditions. Kids dance around Maypoles, everyone wears flowers, and the food includes all of Sweden’s traditional faves. We’re talkin’ soused herring, pickled herring, the year’s first crop of potatoes, beer, sour cream, and the first strawberries of the season. I so wish I were using our first crop of strawberries, but it seems our region had late frosts that wiped out all of the strawberry plants. Unless you are my friend Amber who magically grows everything perfectly, despite the weather.
So, this cake. It’s so so very exciting for me. There are layers of vegan coconut-cardamom cake. This cake’s texture is bonkers. Its the vegan equivalent of pound cake. It’s made with coconut oil and coconut milk. When you don’t add in the cardamom, it has a super intense coconut flavor. With the cardamom? They mix together and make heaven. Done.
My original plan was to layer it with coconut cream and strawberries. That’s not good enough, right? I blitzed up freeze-dried strawberries and mixed them into the coconut cream. I should have taken a video, but when I blitzed the berries, strawberry powder wafted out of the spout of the mixer. It was delicious! Now the cream is pink and has a tastes like super tart strawberries. Of course I layered in lots of additional strawberries, and topped it all off with some flowers, sprigs of thyme, and blackberries from my lady friend’s backyard! The smell of the berries, cardamom, and thyme is magical when they all come together. Not sure if I’ll eat the thyme with it, but the aroma is really what I wanted out of it.
We’re taking this magical cake to our friends’ house tonight. I’ve been saving a beautiful bottle of champagne for this dinner. And I will definitely (obviously) be wearing a flower crown. Might be time for this Crown and Glory beauty’s debut!
Are you going to celebrate Midsummer this year? Let me know if you make this cake, I’d love to hear all about it. 

Cake Recipe (based on this recipe from Oh, Ladycakes)

3 c all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1.5 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground cardamom (optional

1.5 c granulated sugar

3/4 c coconut oil, melted

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 c full-fat coconut milk

Grease and line with waxed paper two 8″ cake pans. Preheat the oven to 350F.
Mix together all dry ingredients with a whisk, then add in the oil, vanilla, and coconut milk and whisk to combine. Divide the batter in half, between the two prepared pans and bake until done, about 30 minutes – or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let these beauties cool completely before layering with the coconut cream.

Coconut Cream

2 cans full-fat coconut milk, Thai Kitchen brand is best

3 Tbsp maple syrup,

1.2 oz bag freeze-dried strawberries

Refrigerate the coconut milk for 24 hours. Some people recommend only 12 hours, but that has never been successful for me. Once chilled, open the can and scoop out the layer of solidified coconut fat into the bowl of a stand mixer (you could do this without a mixer, too). Whisk the coconut fat until it’s no longer chunky at all. Blitz the strawberries in a food processor or blender (I used a Vitamix) just before using. If you do this too soon, they will absorb moisture and become very clumpy. Add in freeze-dried strawberry powder and maple syrup and mix to combine.


Cake layers

Strawberry-coconut cream

Pint of strawberries

Cut each cake layer in two, so you end up with four layers. Using a sandwich bag or a pastry bag, pipe the strawberry-coconut cream in a swirl between each layer, adding slices of strawberries on top of the cream. Keep layering until all cake layers are used, then decorate the top with extra berries, herbs, flowers, whatever is in season! Happy Midsummer!