It had been a while since I made a fancy cake, and as usual, the longer the while has been, the more I feel like doing a thing. So when my neighbour told me she and her (husband? What time is it…?) were getting quietly hitched today, I thought, aw, thanks, man! Just the excuse I needed.
I have not traditionally been a vegan baker, because I am not vegan and because all my vegan cakes turned out horrible when I gave it a try a few years ago. But time marches on and culture changes and the vegan/plant-based arguments are getting pretty hard to argue with… I get a litte more vegan each day/month/year. So it was time to try again.
Happily, I nailed it. Here’s the recipe:
I used two 6″, one 4″ and a glass tumbler lined with paper. You can use 6 muffin tins or a single loaf tin or any similar volume. Grease and line the tins however you prefer to do that. Turn the oven on to about 170 or so.
2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup white caster sugar, or whatever sugar you like
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of bicarb
1-and-a-bit cups (300ml) oat milk
1 tablespoon vinegar, any kind
1/2 cup oil, something not too strong tasting
1 big splash of vanilla
Don’t worry too much about being exact with all that. Measure however you measure. Substitute whatever you want, within reason. Stick spices in it, get wild. The important thing is the mixing technique and how you bake it.
Put all the dry stuff in a bowl and run a balloon whisk through it as a way of avoiding sifting it.
Mix the oat milk and vinegar and set aside briefly to curdle/thicken slightly. I am actually doubtful this makes a huge difference, but it’s traditional by now. Then add the oil and vanilla and wisk this mixture up.
Pour the wet over the dry and whisk vigorously for a good minute, till very smooth and then a bit more, using the balloon whisk. If you use a spoon, beat it longer. If you use an electric whisk, I have no advice, sorry.
Pour it into the pans, whack it in the oven and set a timer for 20 or 25 minutes, depending on the surface area to volume ratio of your chosen baking vessel situation. Mini-muffins will likely be done after 20 minutes. A single tall 6″ cake will take longer. It should be browning on top, firm to touch and if in doubt, a skewer in the middle should come out clean. This is a moist cake by nature, so don’t be tempted to underbake it for fear of dryness.
Cool it to pretty much room temperature before you take it out of the tins, as it can be a little prone to breakage when warm.
Then decorate it however you want.
I used buttercream made from vegan spread and icing sugar, plus sugarpaste from the supermarket, edible powder colours mixed with gin for painting and a tiny goblet from a charity shop. And a sprig of new cherry leaves for garnish.
The sugarcraft stuff, the stacking, covering, piping and painting, etc, I am very happy to teach you on one of my courses, please get in touch if you’re interested. A very tasty course, that one.
The detail work is a little chunkier than I usually achieve, because I tried to do royal icing with chickpea water/aquafaba and I **FAILED** so utterly that I threw the soupy mess out and piped with leftover vegan buttercream instead, which is always more challenging. Someday I may try again.
So there it is. Now I am waiting for them to arrive for their tiny afterparty next door, which looks to be a lovely little event from the decorations I can see over the fence. I suppose I’d better get on with some real work in the meantime…