Vegan Baking



I'm not the most experienced person when it comes to vegan baking, but I have learnt a few tricks along the way. I have found that no matter how light and fluffy you try to make your cakes, they will be slightly denser in texture compared to cakes made with eggs. And I do mean only slightly denser if you choose the right egg replacer.



Cakes

I can knock out a great, fairly light vegan cake in five minutes flat without measuring any ingredients. I just pour a load of self raising flour into a bowl, add some vegetable oil, water, caster sugar, vanilla essence and whisk together.

Then I pour in a little cider vinegar and sprinkle on some bicarbonate of soda and whisk again. This (almost) always gives me a lovely spongy cake that I can decorate or eat as it is. This unprofessional photo on the left is one half of a vegan cake I made as above. Not the most attractive looking thing you've ever seen but you can see it has risen fairly well and with correct measurements and a bit of decoration, the results would be much better (the yellow splodge on the cake slice is where I had just used a knife that had been used to cover my toast with soya spread). I just pour a load of self raising flour into a bowl, add some vegetable oil, water, caster sugar, vanilla essence and whisk together.

The trick is to find your favourite vegan substitute ingredients and you are halfway there. You do not need any egg replacer to make a vegan cake!

For cakes - I have found the best leavening (rising) ingredients to be baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and vinegar. You can use either white vinegar or cider vinegar. When you have all the ingredients mixed into a bowl ready for the cake tin - mix around 2-4 tablespoons of white vinegar or cider vinegar in a bowl with one or two teaspoons of baking soda. They will react and fizz up. Now pour this into your ingredients bowl and whisk in, but don't overwhisk because you want the fizzy bubbles to remain in the mix.

Butter in a non-vegan cake also helps to enhance the cakes flavour so you might like to try adding a drop of vanilla extract to the mix or the zest of a lemon or lime for a lovely tangy twang. You could also try adding some soya yoghurt to the cake batter mix (before adding the dry ingredients). This will make the cake texture a bit heavier with a slight fudgy taste to it. To make a moister cake, try adding vegetable oil instead of soya spread - or use a mixture of the two.

Vegan Cream Recipes That Work. I find the vegan whipped cream you can buy in the squirty cans to have an odd taste. They also usually don't spray properly because the fat content is too low. Click on the above link for a great vegan cream recipe which is ideal for trifles or victoria sponges. Some vegan baking recipes just call for a great cream and I've yet to find a ready bought vegan whipped cream that is any good. If you have ever bought a can of whipped vegan cream and found "the nozzle to be broke" and thought it was just your hard luck to buy a faulty one - it's not the nozzle that is broke. I found this out through hours and hours of experimenting. I think it's actually the low fat content in the vegan cream recipe. To make the cream squirt out nice and frothy, the fat content needs to be high. If it's not (and I've never found a vegan cream cannister that works properly), then you will just get a few meagre squirts from the can and that will be your lot!

Cheesecakes

Eggs really arn't needed to make a cheesecake (and I make a fantastic one even if I do say so myself). The main purpose of using eggs in a non-vegan cheesecake is to bind the ingredients together and this is easily done without eggs and is replaced with the use of tofu. I make cheesecakes using tofu (I originally used silken tofu but now use a firm tofu simply because when using silken, you need to add cornflour to make sure the cheesecake stands upright and not collapse - using a firm tofu means you don't need to add cornflour), soya cream, vanilla essence, lemon juice, sugar and vegan cream cheese. The silken tofu soaks up the cream flavours and the result is a gorgeous creamy cheesecake. I am always asked for the recipe when I make this cheesecake. This is a vanilla cheesecake, but can be adapted to make a chocolate flavour by either adding cocoa powder to the filling or you can also melt dark vegan chocolate over a bowl of hot water and add this to the mixture.

Custard

You can make a great thick vegan custard by using an all natural custard powder and replacing the plant milk with a plant cream. UK | USA.

Mousses

The easiest way to make a vegan mousse is to use silken tofu. Add the drained tofu to a bowl and add sugar and vegan cream If you want to make a vanilla mousse, add in some soya powder (I prefer soya powder as it thickens the mixture up a bit) or some vanilla extract.

Add cocoa powder for a chocolate version or blend some fresh fruit for a fruity mousse. Remember to whisk, whisk and whisk again, and then allow to chill (preferably overnight) before serving. You are looking for a fairly thick consistency otherwise the end result will just look like custard.

Muffins

Vegan muffins are just too easy to make and also do not need an egg replacer. I actually havn't tried making them with cider vinegar and bicarbonate of soda yet but I would imagine these ingredients would work the same way as they do with vegan cakes. These muffin recipes are fairly disaster proof. I also have some bullet proof vegan dessert recipes on this page.

Pies And Pastries

Pastry is just flour, margarine and a pinch of salt so we can make the vegan version easily by using soya spread in place of the margarine. Also try vegetable fat which you can find in the fridge section of most supermarkets. In the UK we have one called Trex. This will make for a richer pastry. Also, here in the UK we have "Just Rol" pastry which is great and vegan friendly! You can find it in the freezer sections at most supermarkets.

There are tens of thousands of vegan recipes out there for you to try, so you can make almost anything you like and really perfect your vegan baking skills!

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