Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Vegan Baking Adventures with Marmalade and Sweet Potatoes...

Recently I was set a little challenge.. well a last minute game changing challenge even to make some cakes for my friends Animal charity stall – and the twist in that they needed to be Vegan! Now dairy free is easy, I make plenty with with oil or butter substitutes without breaking a sweat but eggless? The glue that binds the ingredients lovingly and makes them rise? That’s a whole new story to be written! I have once made some vegan muffins but I repeat the once part, they just didn’t do it for me. By some miracle, a little googling, an hour slowly losing the will to live in the shop trying to find the egg replacer stuff with no help from customer services - apparently it was in stock but the aisle was upstairs but upstairs is clothing etc so in other words no idea whatsoever, and eventually finding it myself in the racking above the special diets section, on tippytoes trying to grab the box I somehow pulled it off – it was not easy but I am quite proud that both cakes were most edible and didn’t lack in any areas flavour wise at all!

The first cake was made fairly on track with the base recipe for a sweet potato spice cake, though we made an alternative topping using some scary dairy less cream cheese (note do not sniff it!), icing sugar, marmalade and a little vanilla, oh and something new to me in being vegetable shortening, and a little vegan margarine. I have a unique selection of ingredients right now to use! The icing was a little runnier than I would of liked slicing it up but it did stay on mostly so that’s the main part! Overall the spicing of the cake was so tasty – fragrant clove, cinnamon and ginger worked in a glorious harmony together. Even the weird smelling frosting was rather tasty, resembling the slightly sour creamy like topping you get on carrot cake. The sprinkling of crystallized ginger and crunchy toasted hazlenuts finished it off perfectly.

The plan:

The Finished cake:

Second up was a really gorgeously moist chocolate orange and marmalade cake, topped with a gooey chocolate frosting I made with a little of the marmalade, some icing sugar, a squeeze of orange juice, the zest and a dash of cocoa powder. The marmalade was sent to me by Robertson's in a special edition Paddington Bear jar - I love marmalade and the jar vanished fast!

The sponge itself was adapted from a Nigella storecupboard chocolate cake recipe, which I jazzed up with my favourite Polish dark cocoa powder, half a fresh orange juiced and a scary new item to me known as egg replacer, mentioned at the top of this post! Somehow the magic worked and produced a gooey, almost brownie like chocolate orange heaven! I honestly feel like converting to camp no egg now it was so good! I will make it again, measuring this time what I did and post the recipe in full for you to enjoy!

So any tips out there for first time Vegan bakers? Its definitely something I will explore further and hopefully share my journey with you!

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