Reading around the blogosphere there’s seems to be a lot of malaise and worry about blogging perfect looking food and making sure you blog on a regular basis. I also share these worries and feel like I spend a heck of a lot of time committed to my blog despite only writing one or two posts a week.
Weekends, supposed days of relaxing usually turn into a cycle of house cleaning, trips to the supermarket, cooking and the subsequent washing up. Usually I will end up feeling more tired on a Sunday night than I did on a Friday. But that’s not to say that I don’t enjoy it. I do, I love it, though often in retrospective when it’s completed and the proceeds are being shared around the office.
This past weekend was more of an endurance trial than most. Mr LTT’s colleague is a vegan and can’t eat my delicious offerings. So the challenge was to make a vegan cake and I wanted it to look and taste just as good as any other cake. As I’ve never made a vegan cake before, I googled for cake recipes and came upon this recipe and gave it a try. The reason I chose it is because I didn’t want to use any egg replacement. I followed the instructions, made a delicious blueberry frosting and decorated the cake. The I photographed it and when I cut it open I realised it was just not right. It was like it was uncooked, but I had inserted the skewer and it came out clean. I was so annoyed with myself especially as I’d spent the whole afternoon making it. The opportunity arose on Sunday when Mr LTT was in bed with a migraine, I thought I’d try the recipe again just to be sure. The recipe didn’t specify a tin size, so I made it again and baked it for longer. But no, it still wasn’t right. It was just tasted like dirt and uncooked flour. It was truly horrid.
I knew that my first cake was too pretty not to post but too disgusting tasting to publish, so I researched more recipes and found one on a UK vegan site with lots of positive comments. Another trip to the supermarket later, I was in a race again time with the sunset to get it completed and photographed. They say third time lucky and it really was. And having used 50% of my £4 jar of non-pareils, I was more than slightly relieved that it had finally worked.
As the blueberry frosting on the first cake was actually rather good and I couldn’t resist sharing the pictures because they are actually rather nice, I’m sharing this velvelty textured frosting recipe, as well as the decent vegan cake recipe AND the amazing naturally coloured raspberry and vanilla ombre frosting. I apologise for the somewhat slack frosting technique on the final cake but it was honestly a battle against the Sun!
PS PLEASE if you have any great vegan cake recipes please share them on this post! I’d love some more non-disastrous recipes for my repertoire!
For the sponge
Adapted from this Luscious Vegan Sponge Cake from the Vegetarian Recipe Club
- 200g vegetable fat (e.g. Trex)
- 250g caster sugar
- 450g self-raising flour
- 50g cornflour
- 6 tsp baking powder
- Pinch salt
- 500g vegan yogurt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 30g brightly coloured sprinkles/non-pareils
Velvet blueberry buttercream frosting
- 125g margarine
- 125g vegetable fat
- 400g icing sugar, sifted
- 80g dried blueberries
- purple gel food colouring
Smooth strawberry buttercream
- 125g margarine
- 125g vegetable fat
- 500g icing sugar, sifted
- 225g fresh raspberries
- 1tsp vanilla extract
To finish the cake
- 3-4tbsp fruit jam
- Coloured sprinkles/non-pareils
For the sponge
- Pre-heat oven to 170°C/340°F/Gas Mark 3. Line the bottom of two 7″ springform tins and grease the sides with oil.
- Cream the vegetable fat and caster sugar for 5 mins until it’s really smooth.
- Sieve the flour, cornflour, baking powder and salt together three times.
- Add the flour and yoghurt plus vanilla extract to the butter mix and mix on a low-medium speed until just mixed together.
- Fold in the sprinkles, then divide the mixture evenly between the two tins.
- Bake for 40-45 mins, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. If there’s even the slightest hint of moisture on the skewer, keep on baking.
- Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes then remove and leave to cool fully
For the blueberry buttercream
- Blend the blueberries until smooth, they will turn into a paste.
- Cream the fat until it’s really smooth, then add the vanilla extract and half the icing sugar and mix on slow until mixed in, then add the remaining icing sugar and repeat. Add in the blueberries and turn the mixer up to medium and mix for another couple of minutes.
- Divide the mixture into three separate bowls. One bowl you’ll leave as it is, colour the buttercream in the second bowl a medium purple and the third a dark purple. Add the food colouring bit by bit so you don’t go overboard!
For the raspberry buttercream
- Take raspberries and place in a saute pan (with a lid) over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Mash, then leave for another 5 minutes.
- Put the mixture through a sieve, wipe down the saute pan and place the raspberry sauce back in the pan. Reduce the mixture by half until you get a thickened sauce. Then leave to cool.
- Cream the fat until it’s really smooth, then add half the icing sugar and mix on slow until mixed in, then add the remaining icing sugar and repeat. Add in the blueberries and turn the mixer up to medium and mix for another couple of minutes.
- Divide the mixture into three separate bowls – in one bowl add 250g with 2tbsp raspberry sauce, in another bowl add 150g mixture and ½tbsp raspberry sauce and leave the remaining mixture as is.
- Level the cakes if needed. Spread jam on top of one of the cakes, and the some of the medium colour buttercream on top of the other. The stick together
- Take the lightest colour buttercream and spread of the top and top ⅓ of the sides of the cake with a small palette knife.
- Clean your palette knife, then take the darkest colour and spread round bottom ⅓ of the sides of the cake.
- CLean palette knife again then spread the middle colour around the middle third. Clean palette knife again, then gently blend the light and middle colours, clean knife and repeat with middle and dark colours.
- Top with sprinkles as you see fit