Like anything with a gluten-free, dairy-free, slowly-transitioning-into-veganism diet, baking is hard. I have no idea how these other bloggers make it look so damn easy!
“Oh, I just whipped up a fantastically rich and gorgeous vegan chocolate torte! No big!”
“Here’s this giant vegan yellow cake that I slapped together when I was feeling like a hot mess.”
Vegan baking makes me feel like a hot mess.
But there’s no way that I can live without cake! I simply refuse. Plus, I’d had a vision in my mind for the last week of a vegan cake with lavender frosting. So, I ended up baking two (originally only planned for one…) vegan cakes this past weekend to see what I would get. One came out pretty good, but the first was a flop…. literally.
See? This was my first attempt, using my apple muffin recipe (minus the apples) as a base because it makes a fluffy batter. I decided to use two vegan “neat eggs” as an egg replacement. Neat eggs are a powdered product, available in your grocery in the baking aisle. You mix 1 tablespoon of the dry mix with 2 tablespoons of water and mix the shit out of it until it’s smooth, and then you add to it batters like you would with real eggs. I split the batter between two round cake pans and ended up with two pancakes.
I think what caused this cake to flop was that I tried using honey as a natural sweetener in place of white sugar. And I used a ton of it – ½ cup. I’m pretty sure that the heavy honey weighed down the batter…. And yes, I realized that honey is not vegan because it’s “exploiting” the bees and taking their natural food source…. Don’t judge me, it’s a learning process.
Even though it was more of a pancake and wasn’t actually vegan, this cake still tasted pretty good! But I wanted to try again before giving up and frosting this mini layer.
I gave it another shot with the same recipe for the base, but used white sugar instead of honey and added more vanilla to make that the main flavor. I also threw in 2 tsp. of apple cider vinegar to try to help the batter rise. People have always told me to add a splash of vinegar to make cakes fluffy, but I’ve been too afraid to try it in case the flavor of the vinegar didn’t vaporize in the oven. I gave up hoping for two tall layers of cake, and just dumped all of the second batter into one pan. This cake still didn’t rise, but at least there was more of it in the one layer.
After baking the cake for 25 minutes, I pulled it from the oven and let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Then I inverted it onto a plate, and then inverted it onto another plate so that the cake wouldn’t be sitting on its top.
While the cake finished cooling, I turned to my trusty frosting recipe from last year’s Mocha Cake. The frosting is made from whipped shortening and it tastes so similar to buttercream, without having any dairy! Thank God, I’ve got at least one thing in vegan baking down.
I cut the frosting recipe in half since I only had one cake layer, which helped the shortening whip up faster. Instead of using espresso in the frosting like I did for the Mocha Cake, I decided to use lavender extract. I wanted a flavor that was spring-y and would pair well with the vanilla cake. I whipped the shortening and added the vanilla and lavender extract before sifting in the powdered sugar.
I was absolutely stoked with how the frosting turned out! It was creamy, sweet, full of lavender flavor – and vegan! Huzzah! Once my cake was fully cooled, I plopped the lavender frosting on top and spread it around in a beautifully messy fashion.
Not gonna lie, the cake was soft and delicious, but it did have a bit of an odd texture. But when the cake was combined with the frosting in one bite, it was all so rich and sweet that the cake’s texture didn’t really matter. I couldn’t even finish one slice! But when Bronson saw the half-slice left on my plate, he commandeered it with his fork and finished it for me.
All in all, this vegan cake was tasty, even if it didn’t fully rise to the occasion. I wasn’t planning to share the cake recipe because it’s not perfect yet, but if y’all are really curious, I’d be happy to.
Has anyone found that neat eggs don’t rise well in cakes? How do you get your vegan cakes to rise? I would love some help and appreciate any insight that you all have!
Let’s learn together! Because vegan baking is a harsh mistress….
Recipe for Vegan Lavender Frosting:
- 1 cup butter flavored shortening
- 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 tsp. lavender extract
- Teeny pinch of salt
Whip shortening in a standing mixer for 6-10 minutes, stopping every few minutes to scrape down the sides of the bowl. When the frosting looks moist, add the vanilla and lavender extracts. Continue whipping for another 2-3 minutes. Sift the powdered sugar before adding it to the mixer, and then add it to the shortening mixture with a pinch of salt. Whip again to ensure that everything is fully incorporated. Then, slap it on top of your favorite yellow or white cake recipe!