I just had a birthday.
I made this cake to mark the craziness (and utter beauty) of making another trip around the sun. Birthdays are stunning pauses where we get to honor our own existence. Does anyone else find their mere existence to be freaking trippy? When I was a kid I would sit in front of the mirror and think “you are real, you are real, your name is Dillon”. This mantra was accompanied by a sense of complete anxiety because in those moments I was in touch with a part of myself that didn’t believe it. I wasn’t entirely sure that I was real. I know, it sounds a little psycho.
I have fortunately outgrown these fits of existential panic.
When I think back to those moments, it wasn’t just my realness that caused such profound anxiety, it was that I was a body, a daughter, a story. I was trying to place the bigness of my existence into the smallness of my body. And we do this all the time. When we think ‘I am ugly’ or ‘I’m a total fox’ or ‘I’ll never be enough’ we are identifying with small things. We are saying “I am my body, I am my mind, I am these limits”. I think that we know, even if from a place inaccessible to us, that that isn’t the whole truth.
I cannot tell you who you are or who I am, in an ultimate sense. How could I possibly know? And I don’t want to belittle reality by saying that we are light or we are love, though I think that those things are true. We are incredibly complex. We are our humanness but we have within us something infinite and eternal. It is my birthday wish and ardent quest to know that vastness. The only way that I know to find it is by going directly through the heart of my smallness, while constantly reminding myself that there is, simultaneously, a much bigger picture.
You may be asking yourself, “where does she come up with this shit? Did she hear it in yoga class?” The truth is, I have always felt a little sideways to the world. And I have long been grappling with big questions (like, you know, whether or not I existed). This seeking has lead me to study the lives of people who freed themselves from the confines and rules of our world, both socially and within their own consciousness. These beings, call them saints or mystics, all came to strikingly similar conclusions about our existence: we are not these bodies, these minds or beliefs. If we relax the body, still the mind, and see the limiting force of our beliefs, our true nature will begin to reveal itself. The mystics saw an innate benevolence in the design of the universe, something that is hard to comprehend looking at the state of our world.
I ask you to pause, dear friends, and honor your existence. It’s totally insane that you are here, doing what you do. Let us bow to the play, the beauty and the mystery that is life.
And let’s eat ice cream cake. Yeah…that too.
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked at least 6 hours, preferably over night
- 1 can coconut milk, see note for truly raw option
- ¼ cup almond milk
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon peppermint flavor, I used Frontier Organic Alchohol-Free Peppermint Flavor, adjust accordingly if using extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup packed mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon matcha powder
- 1 cup medjool dates, 8-10, pitted
- pinch of sea salt
- ⅓ cup cacao nibs
- In the jar of a high speed blender, blend all of the ingredients except the cacao nibs until very smooth, adding more almond milk by the tablespoon if needed to blend. It will be very thick.
- Chill the base in the refrigerator for one hour.
- Make the ice cream to the manufacturer's instructions. When the ice cream in nearly frozen but still on the soft side add the nibs and finish off the churning.
- When the ice cream is done, transfer it to a sealed container and freeze until ready to use.
- 1¼ cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup very soft medjool dates, pitted
- 3 tablespoons cacao powder
- a good pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- One batch Matcha Mint Cacao Chip Ice Cream
- ¼ cup melted coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons cacao powder, sifted
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- pinch salt
- Blend the sunflower seeds until a meal forms. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until the dates have broken down and a chunky crust forms.
- Press into the bottom of a 7" spring form pan and chill in the freezer while you prepare the ice cream.
- With an off-set spatula, smooth the ice cream into the spring form pan, evening off the top.
- Cover with plastic wrap and return the pan to the freezer, chilling until well set, about an hour.
- Whisk all ingredients together vigorously until smooth.
- If frozen solid, allow the cake to warm up bit at room temperature, about fifteen minutes.
- Drizzle the chocolate sauce over the cake and serve!