Today’s VeganMoFo Prompt is “secret ingredient” – what ingredients do us MoFo-ers use that you may not suspect?
My “secret ingredient” is – well, I don’t know if you’ll think it’s weird or not. For some, it may be totally normal – if you’re familiar with the depression-era wacky cake for instance. For others (and I’ve had this reaction before), you may be going “you put what in your cakes?
The secret ingredient – the one that makes my cakes work even without eggs and butter – is vinegar! Cider vinegar is the best as it has a neutral-sweet taste, but most white vinegars would work (don’t use the stuff you put on your chips!). You mix it with non-dairy milk and let it curdle (making a kind of buttermilk) and this helps give the cake rise.
You can’t deny, it makes a pretty nice looking cake. You don’t even taste the vinegar at all, as it neutralises out with the baking soda (that’s what produces the rising reaction). So, here is a guide on how to make a delicious vegan marble cake!
First, you make your batter, by combining your milk and vinegar mix in one bowl, and your dry ingredients in the other. Mix them all together, and split it in two. In one bowl, you add cocoa powder, in the other, you leave it plain.
Then, you spoon the batter alternately into your cake tin. One blob vanilla, one blob chocolate. Repeat until it’s all used up.
Once the batter is all in the cake tins, get a knife and gently swirl it around. This creates the “marble” effect.
Then, bake the cakes in the oven until lovely and golden brown, and leave them to cool completely.
Once the cakes are completely cool, you’re ready to ice them. You need to prepare them by cutting their tops off to make them flat (otherwise your cake will be wobbly). I have this handy gadget that I got fairly cheaply from a local shop but you can also use a long serrated knife. Eat the cake scraps, they’re tasty.
To fill the cake, pipe circles of icing in alternate colours on the inner layer of cake. Then, pop the top layer on top of it. Pipe alternate colours of icing around the outside of the cake, and smooth it all with a long knife or an offset spatula.
For the top of the cake, I just put dollops of different icings on top and swirled it all around with a butter knife to make little peaks.
- For the Cake
- 600ml dairy free milk
- 2 tbsp cider vinegar
- 300g sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 150ml oil
- 550g self raising flour (or use plain flour and add 2 tsp baking powder)
- 1 tsp bicarbanote of soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 50g cocoa powder
- 100ml dairy free milk
- 100g vegan butter
- 600g icing sugar
- 2-3 tbsp dairy free milk
- 100g vegan butter
- 500g icing sugar
- 50g cocoa powder
- 3-4 tbsp dairy free milk
For the chocolate cake
For the Icing
- Preheat the oven to 170C
- Begin by mixing the milk and cider vinegar in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Next, in another large bowl, sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, and salt.
- Going back to the wet ingredients bowl, add the sugar, oil, and vanilla, and whisk with a fork until well combined.
- Gradually pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring until no flour pockets are left.
- Split the batter between two bowls (don’t worry too much about being precise!).
- Into one of the bowls, stir the 50g cocoa powder and 100ml milk.
- Into your prepared cake tins, alternate between spooning the vanilla batter and the chocolate batter, until all the batter is used up.
- Using a knife, swirl the mixture around in the cake tins to create a marbled effect.
- Place the tins in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until golden brown and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Leave to cool fully before the next steps.
- To make the icing, put the ingredients for the vanilla and chocolate icing in separate bowls. Either using an electric mixer, or a spoon and some muscle, mix each bowl until fluffy and creamy.
- Once the cakes are cool, trim the tops until they are flat.
- Pipe alternate rings of chocolate and vanilla icing on top of the bottom layer of cake, then put the next layer on top.
- Pipe alternate rings of chocolate and vanilla around the outside of the cakes, smoothing with a knife or a spatula.
- For the top of the cake, dollop the remaining icing on top, and swirl with a knife for the desired effect.
- Leave to set in the refrigerator.