Sweetened only with fruit juice and maple syrup, this moist, vegan cherry cake makes an excellent breakfast or dessert. Jump to recipe.
Overwhelming. When people ask me how Vida Vegan Con was, the first word that comes to mind is “overwhelming.” Imagine a room filled with over 200 people who, at first glance, seem to be total strangers but who over and over, one by one, are revealed to be people you know, whose lives and words you know, though until now you didn’t know their faces. And imagine that they, after a quick glance at your name tag, are discovering that they also know you. Surreal. Your head starts to spin and…you’re overwhelmed.
That, in a nutshell, was my experience at VVC and I’m guessing that I wasn’t alone. I may have had a slightly more advanced case of The Overwhelms because the only things keeping me on my feet were two types of antibiotics and various sinus medicines. That the doctor allowed me to fly with a sinus infection was a minor miracle (and probably a mistake), but I didn’t want to miss this unique opportunity to connect with so many bloggers and writers who have entertained, enlightened, and inspired me.
Here’s the part in the story where I should start naming people, but if I did, I could go on for paragraphs and still leave out important people: people whose names I didn’t catch, people I spoke to in a large group over a meal, people who told me that FFVK was one of the first blogs they ever read, people who belong to my Yahoogroup, people who lost weight following my recipes, people who don’t believe in low-fat diets but like my recipes anyway, people whom I smiled at goofily but didn’t have the nerve to speak to. Since I can’t name everybody, I won’t name anybody, but I want you to know that if I met you, you made an impression on me, and I’m grateful to have had the chance to spend some time with you.
I took exactly one photo the entire weekend, but it’s appropriate that it was of the three founders and organizers of the conference, Janessa, Jess, and Michele. They did such a great job of organizing everything that it’s hard to believe it was a first-time conference. (My daughter particularly wants me to thank them for the Dandies vegan marshmallows in the swag bag–we can’t get them here). Ladies, you made 200-something attendees and one 14-year-old future attendee very happy. It was the kind of inspiring, uplifting experience that none of us will ever forget.
Since I didn’t take photos, let me direct you to a few bloggers who did: the lovely Gena of Choosing Raw has several recaps, including this one that has a photo from the Specialty Diets panel we were both on; the energetic Gail Davis, who may have met every single person there, has photos of a bunch of us; the amazing JL, whom I wish I’d gotten to say more than just “Hi” to, took the kind of notes and photos that I wish I had (she includes some of the photography tips from my workshop with Isa and Hannah); and the adorable Crissie, whose ear I chatted off at the Galarama, has a photo of us in our fancy clothes (well, as fancy as I get). [If you have a re-cap, let me know in the comments; I’ll be adding links to the end of this post.]
It took me an entire day to get back to Mississippi and a full day of bed rest the next day to recover, but after that, it was right back into family life. On Wednesday morning, E got braces put on, and since I can clearly remember how my mouth throbbed when I got mine all those years ago, I promised I’d bake her a cake. So when she got home from school, mouth-sore and mourning the ability to close her mouth completely, I had this cherry cake ready for her. And she loved it. I didn’t tell her that I reduced the sugar to an all-time low, only maple syrup and fruit juice, because she didn’t notice. In the style of one of the YouTube celebrities she follows, she said to tell you, “My name is E, and I approve this recipe.”
- 1 cup quick or whole oats (not instant)
- 1 tablespoon flax seeds, whole (or 1 1/2 tbsp. ground flax)
- 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat flour)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup maple syrup or agave nectar
- 1/2 cup 100% fruit juice (such as apple, berry, or pomegranate)
- 1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup pitted cherries, sliced
- 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly spray or wipe the bottom and sides of a 8 X 8-inch glass baking pan with oil or cooking spray. (You may use metal, but the baking time will vary.)
- Put the oats and flax seeds into a blender and grind until they are fine. (If you are using ground flax, no need to grind it--just add it with the other dry ingredients.) Stir a couple of times to make sure that they’re uniformly ground.
- Mix the oat flour with the other dry ingredients. Make a well in the middle, add the remaining ingredients, including cherries, and stir until moistened and completely combined, but don’t over-mix. Pour into the prepared pan (batter will be thick).
- Bake for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes. Enjoy!