Marble Cake – VeganMoFo Day 10

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?

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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.

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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.

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Then, you spoon the batter alternately into your cake tin. One blob vanilla, one blob chocolate. Repeat until it’s all used up.

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Once the batter is all in the cake tins, get a knife and gently swirl it around. This creates the “marble” effect.

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Then, bake the cakes in the oven until lovely and golden brown, and leave them to cool completely.

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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.

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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.

Marble Cake

  • Servings: 1 two layer 9 inch cake
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Ingredients

    For the Cake

    Wet Ingredients

  • 600ml dairy free milk
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 300g sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 150ml oil
  • Dry Ingredients

  • 550g self raising flour (or use plain flour and add 2 tsp baking powder)
  • 1 tsp bicarbanote of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • For the chocolate cake

  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 100ml dairy free milk
  • For the Icing

    Vanilla

  • 100g vegan butter
  • 600g icing sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp dairy free milk
  • Chocolate

  • 100g vegan butter
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 3-4 tbsp dairy free milk

Directions

    Preheat the oven to 170C
  1. Begin by mixing the milk and cider vinegar in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Next, in another large bowl, sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, and salt.
  3. Going back to the wet ingredients bowl, add the sugar, oil, and vanilla, and whisk with a fork until well combined.
  4. Gradually pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring until no flour pockets are left.
  5. Split the batter between two bowls (don’t worry too much about being precise!).
  6. Into one of the bowls, stir the 50g cocoa powder and 100ml milk.
  7. Into your prepared cake tins, alternate between spooning the vanilla batter and the chocolate batter, until all the batter is used up.
  8. Using a knife, swirl the mixture around in the cake tins to create a marbled effect.
  9. Place the tins in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until golden brown and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  10. Leave to cool fully before the next steps.
  11. 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.
  12. Once the cakes are cool, trim the tops until they are flat.
  13. Pipe alternate rings of chocolate and vanilla icing on top of the bottom layer of cake, then put the next layer on top.
  14. Pipe alternate rings of chocolate and vanilla around the outside of the cakes, smoothing with a knife or a spatula.
  15. For the top of the cake, dollop the remaining icing on top, and swirl with a knife for the desired effect.
  16. Leave to set in the refrigerator.

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Very Chocolatey Chocolate Cake

Mmm, chocolate. One of the great wonders of the world. Many people think that if you go vegan, you can’t have chocolate anymore, but thankfully that is not true at all! If you know me, you’ll certainly know chocolate is not off the cards. Chocolate is one of my favourite foods, and so for this month’s MiniMoFo I’m sharing my favourite recipe for chocolate cake.

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Rich, melt in your mouth cake is generously coated in a smooth, sweet chocolate buttercream, giving you a delicious treat worth remembering. I have made this cake for so many special occasions – it’s great as it is, or served with a scoop of ice cream, but you can also use the base cake recipe and ice it however you fancy! I’ve decorated it with oreos, honeycomb, and even strawberries before.

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The cake is made extra chocolatey by having both cocoa powder and melted vegan dark chocolate in the batter. Lots of dark chocolate is vegan – I get mine from Lidl – but check the ingredients to make sure there’s no sneaky milk in there!

The icing also has melted chocolate in it, which means it’ll set up firmer than regular buttercream, so make sure you spread it once you’ve made it – if you put it in the fridge it’ll harden up and, whilst it’ll be tasty, it won’t spread on your cake.

Vegan Chocolate Cake

  • Servings: Makes a 2-layer 9-inch sponge
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Ingredients

    For the Cake
  • 420g plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 60g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 500ml dairy-free milk (I use oat milk)
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 130ml sunflower oil
  • 210g sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g vegan dark chocolate, melted
  • For the Icing

  • 100g vegan butter
  • 600g icing sugar
  • 15g cocoa powder
  • 100ml dairy-free milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 180g vegan dark chocolate, melted

Directions

    Preheat the oven to 170C/350F
  1. First, make the cake. Sift the flour, baking powder, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda, and salt into a large bowl.
  2. In a smaller bowl, mix together the milk and the cider vinegar. Leave for a minute to thicken.
  3. Into the milk mixture, add the oil, sugar, and vanilla extract. Whisk with a fork until well combined.
  4. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry until well mixed through.
  5. Next, add the melted chocolate to the cake batter and stir thoroughly.
  6. Pour the cake batter evenly into 2 lined cake tins, and place in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  7. Leave to cool in the tins for ten minutes, then transfer onto a wire rack to cool.
  8. Once the cakes are completely cool, make the icing.
  9. Begin by combining the butter, cocoa, and a third (200g) of the icing sugar in a large bowl. You can use an electric whisk, or just mix it really well by hand.
  10. Add in another third of the icing sugar, mix well again.
  11. Add in the final third, the milk, and vanilla, and beat until completely combined.
  12. Finally, mix through the melted chocolate, beating until the icing is light and fluffy. If it’s too thick for your liking, add a little more milk, if it’s too thin, a little more icing sugar.
  13. Spread icing on the top of one of your cooled cakes, and place the second cake on top of it.
  14. Place a large spoonful of icing on top of the top cake, and spread it around the top and sides of the cake. Repeat until the icing is used up and/or the cake is covered to your liking!

Vegan Lemon Drizzle Cake

Once again, I am bending the rules a little bit for this month’s MiniMoFo. The prompt is “in season”, and this post uses lemons, which are never in season in the UK because we don’t grow them here. However, lemons are, to me, fresh and summery and make a great introduction to the spring season. Signalling the departure from warm, spiced, wintery foods, a sharp and sweet lemon cake is perfect to welcome in (hopefully) sunnier weather.

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Lemon drizzle cake is a classic British cake, usually baked in a loaf tin, which gives a big lemony kick by including lemons in the sponge, and a glaze that’s poured on top of the hot cake once removed from the oven. My recipe also has an extra bit of lemon in the icing that tops it!

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The important thing with this cake is to pour the glaze on top whilst the cake is still hot. Take it out of the oven, leave it in the tin, and then pour the glaze on top. It looks like you are pouring a lot of liquid on the cake and you probably think you are drowning it, but it all gets absorbed into the cake, creating a lovely sticky lemon taste. Then, you leave it to cool completely in the tin, before removing and drizzling with the icing.

A few steps – but totally worth it. Slice this cake and serve with a nice cup of tea – or lemonade if you want to go all out with the lemon!

Lemon Drizzle Cake

  • Servings: 1 loaf cake
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Ingredients

    For the Cake
  • Zest of 1 lemon (1 tbsp)
  • Juice of 2 lemons (5 tbsp)
  • 190ml vegan milk (I used almond milk)
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch salt
  • 60g vegan butter, melted
  • 100g sugar
  • For the Glaze

  • Juice of 2 lemons (5 tbsp)
  • 75g sugar
  • For the Icing

  • 75g icing sugar
  • Squeeze lemon juice
  • Water if necessary

Directions

    Preheat the oven to 170C/340F
  1. In a bowl, mix together the milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarb, and salt.
  3. Into the milk mixture, add the melted butter and sugar, and whisk with a fork until well combined.
  4. Gradually pour the wet mixture into the dry, mixing until it’s all thoroughly stirred in.
  5. Pour the cake batter into a lined loaf tin, and bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Towards the end of the baking time, begin making the glaze.
  7. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and lemon juice. Place on low-medium heat, and stir until the sugar completely dissolves and the mixture begins to bubble. Keep warm.
  8. Once you have removed the baked cake from the oven, pour the glaze evenly over the cake. It will look like a lot of liquid – but it will sink in!
  9. Leave the glazed cake to cool completely before removing from the tin.
  10. Once cool, make the icing. Mix together the icing sugar with a squeeze of lemon juice, and enough water to make a thick runny icing.
  11. Using a spoon (or a piping bag), drizzle the icing over the cooled cake.
  12. Store in the fridge.

Coffee Cupcakes with Caramel Drizzle

Confession: I’m not much of a coffee drinker. I know, in this world full of Starbucks and Costas that’s pretty shocking, right? The thing is, I can’t do caffeine, and getting decaf and vegan options at a coffee shop is always a little risk for me. So, I don’t really drink much coffee. This doesn’t mean I think coffee tastes bad though. One thing I really love is coffee cake.

Coffee cake is something that I believe means different things in different places. I have learnt that in America, coffee cake is cake that you eat with coffee. Like a biscuit for your tea. In the UK, however, coffee cake is cake that tastes like coffee. Coffee flavoured cake. I think our way makes more sense, because if you have a chocolate cake, it is a chocolate flavoured cake, right, not a cake you eat with chocolate? Anyway, these cakes are coffee flavoured. The buttercream is also coffee flavoured! And they’re all topped with a caramel drizzle – because caramel and coffee go very well together.

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When using coffee in things like cakes, the easiest way is to use instant coffee. You don’t need to worry about posh tasting coffee because in a cake, you can’t really tell, and instant coffee gives you the ability to just dissolve some in water to get the amount you need. You can make a really concentrated coffee that flavours your cake well without adding too much extra liquid. However, if you don’t have access to instant coffee, you could make up a really really strong cup of coffee and use a similar amount, liquid wise.

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To make the caramel sauce, I boil together some vegan butter, sugar, and golden syrup in a saucepan for five minutes, then add a little milk (I used almond milk) and beat it until it thickened up. I used an electric whisk for this because it makes it easier, if you want to do it by hand, use a wooden spoon and beat for a while until it is thickened and opaque.

 

Coffee Cupcakes with Caramel Drizzle

  • Servings: 12 cupcakes
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Ingredients

    For the Cakes
  • 300ml milk of choice (I used almond milk)
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 300g plain flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100ml oil
  • 160g sugar
  • 2 heaped tsp instant coffee
  • 1 tbsp boiling water
  • For the Buttercream

  • 75g vegan butter (I used vitalite)
  • 600g icing sugar
  • 2 tsp instant coffee
  • 1 tbsp boiling water
  • For the Caramel Drizzle

  • 50g vegan butter
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 50g golden syrup
  • 25g white sugar
  • 50ml milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions

    Preheat the oven to 175C/350F
  1. First, make the cakes. Begin by combining the milk and the cider vinegar in a medium sized bowl, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, bicarb, and baking powder.
  3. Mix together the instant coffee and boiling water until the coffee dissolves. Add this to the milk mixture.
  4. Into this, add the oil and sugar, and whisk with a fork until all well combined.
  5. Gradually pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture, stirring, until well mixed with no lumps.
  6. Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases, and place into your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until a knife inserted into a cake comes out clean.
  7. Let the cupcakes completely cool before you make the icing.
  8. Once the cupcakes are cool, begin the buttercream. Start by mixing together the instant coffee and boiling water in a cup, and setting aside.
  9. Next, in a large bowl, add the butter and a third of the icing sugar. Mix well.
  10. Add another third of the icing sugar and mix again until well combined. Stir in the coffee.
  11. Then, add the remaining icing sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Spoon into a piping bag and pipe the icing on top of your cupcakes.
  12. Finally, make the caramel drizzle. In a small saucepan, add the butter, sugars, and golden syrup, and bring to a simmer.
  13. Simmer for five minutes on a low-medium heat, then remove from the heat and add the salt and milk.
  14. Mix, either with an electric mixer or a wooden spoon, continuously until the caramel thickens and starts to go opaque.
  15. Drizzle the caramel on top of the iced cupcakes.
  16. Store in the fridge!

Cherry and Almond Loaf Cake – VeganMoFo day 21

Three weeks of VeganMoFo down! We’re into the final weeks of November now – how strange is that? Christmas is nearing (but not yet) and it’s definitely getting very cold.

This week in VeganMoFo is Memories and Traditions week. This will incorporate American Thanksgiving but also involves all sorts of food memories and experiences! Today’s prompt is “Your favourite food memory” which is hard because – so many!

It had to be dessert, because I have a massive sweet tooth. Something baked too, because I love baking. And thinking back to times I’ve had good memories about baked goods…I came to my Granny’s house, where she always had cake. She lives in a little village and they are very…village-y, and she would always have cakes she bought from the local WI (Women’s Institute). My absolute favourite cake was the cherry and almond loaf cake – a golden cake with an almondy hit and sweet glace cherries through it.

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So, I made it. Mine isn’t quite as pretty as the WI version – my slivered almonds on top seemed to migrate to the middle – but it tastes just as good!

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Baked in a loaf tin, this cake slices well and is lovely with a warm cup of tea (or coffee if you must). The glace cherries are rinsed and chopped into quarters – this is to stop them sinking – and it all bakes until lovely and golden brown.

Cherry & Almond Loaf Cake


Ingredients

  • 250ml almond milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 160g plain flour
  • 80g ground almonds
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch salt
  • 75g glace cherries, rinsed and quartered
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond essence
  • 80g vegan butter, melted
  • 130g sugar
  • 10g slivered almonds

Directions

    Preheat the oven to 170C/340F
  1. In a jug or bowl, combine the almond milk and lemon juice, and set aside to let curdle.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, bicarbonate, and salt.
  3. To the dry bowl, add the glace cherries, and toss to coat.
  4. Into the almond milk mixture, add the vanilla, almond essence, melted butter, and sugar, and whisk to combine.
  5. Slowly pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, and gently stir until all combined.
  6. Pour into a lined loaf tin, and sprinkle on top with the slivered almonds.
  7. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean!
  8. Cool in the tin, and slice and serve!

Mocha Mug Cake – VeganMoFo Day 5

Late night snacking…why is it so good? There’s something about the evening time that somehow makes you want to snack.For me, this evening-snack urge tends to be for sweet food. I don’t tend to have an appetite for dessert immediately after dinner, but a while later? Definitely dessert time.

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During the Autumn we watched the Great British Bake Off on Wednesday evenings, and my go-to quick and easy snack became the wonderful mug cake! So quick and easy to make, and tasty too.

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All the ingredients get mixed together in a mug, then put in the microwave for just one minute, and then…you eat it! So easy.

Mocha Mug Cake


Ingredients

  • 1 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp boiling water
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil (or any other neutral, liquid oil)
  • 1.5 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp milk of choice
  • 1 tbsp chocolate chips

Directions

  1. In a mug, combine the instant coffee, cocoa powder, and boiling water, and mix to a paste.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, except the chocolate chips, and mix well to combine.
  3. Stir through the chocolate chips, leaving a few to sprinkle on top.
  4. Put the mug cake in the microwave for 1 minute.
  5. Eat! And enjoy.

Chocolate Crumbed Banana Muffins

The stereotype is that vegans eat lots of bananas. Go on any vegan Facebook or instagram page and you can see people oohing and ahhing over great deals they found on bananas. Confession: you won’t find me there. I just don’t particularly like eating bananas, not on their own. I know they’re good and healthy – full of potassium – but sitting down and chowing on a banana? Nah.

However, bananas are awesome in things. Strawberry banana smoothie? Great! But still a little “healthy” for me. Banana bread? Now you’re talking. It’s a little known fact that bananas are actually a fairly good egg substitute in baking! They do, of course, impart the taste of bananas, but in general you can sub one mashed banana for one egg when making cakes! So, banana bread? You don’t need eggs for that.

I decided to go a bit further and make my banana bread into muffins. Chocolate chip ones, to be precise. With a chocolate crumb on top. That maybe got away a bit from the whole “eating a banana to be healthy” thing but – it’s fruit, right? One of my five a day.

These are so very good when they are all warm and melty from the oven. With melty chocolate chips and a lovely banana-chocolate flavour….mmm.

Chocolate Crumbed Banana Muffins

  • Servings: 12 muffins
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Ingredients

    for the muffins:
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 55g white sugar
  • 55g brown sugar
  • 75ml sunflower oil
  • 4 ripe bananas – about 275g peeled weight
  • 50ml milk of choice (I used oat milk)
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar (or use lemon juice)
  • 100g chocolate chips
  • for the crumb:

  • 35g vegan butter, melted
  • 25g plain flour
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 40g granulated sugar

Directions

    Preheat the oven to 175C/350F/Gas Mark 4, and line a muffin tray with cases
  1. First, mash the bananas. Mash them well until there are no large lumps.
  2. Into the bananas, stir the oil, milk, and cider vinegar, and whisk.
  3. Add the sugars and whisk until combined.
  4. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and bicarb in a separate bowl.
  5. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet carefully – do not overmix!
  6. Once mixed, carefully fold through the chocolate chips, until just mixed.
  7. Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin tins.
  8. Next, make the crumb. Mix the dry ingredients together, and pour over the melted butter. Using your fingers, rub together until you get a “sandy” crumb texture.
  9. Sprinkle the crumb evenly over the muffins.
  10. Bake the muffins in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, until a knife inserted comes out clean.
  11. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing (and eating!)

Rhubarb & Custard Swirl Cake

The weather is starting to get cold, the evenings are drawing in, it’s pretty conclusive – winter is on its way. In some ways, this is great! Think of cosy evenings in warm jumpers curled up with a hot chocolate….or of snowy landscapes looking beautiful…lovely, right? But at the moment, I don’t have any of those. It’s just cold, slightly rainy, and I miss summer! So, I decided to make something with summery ingredients. I would say I planned ahead for this very occasion, and kept the rhubarb in the freezer intentionally, but in reality I just had too much and so froze some anyway! But really, freezing produce is a great way to have seasonal foods at not-so-seasonal times!

Rhubarb and custard is such a great classic flavour and I decided to combine them in one cake! I recently discovered that custard powder is actually vegan, which is great because if you make it up with vegan milk you can use it just as you would regular custard – great on puddings and desserts! But this time I just sifted the powder into the cake itself to lend its taste.

This stuff is vegan!

Since my rhubarb was frozen, I defrosted it first (I did this in the microwave but you could do it in the fridge overnight if you’d rather) and then drained off the water. You don’t want it to be too wet otherwise the cake just gets soggy – not good! I then put it in a saucepan with a little golden syrup (use brown sugar if you don’t have golden syrup) and vanilla, and let cook until it broke down. It’ll break down into a sort of compote which is what you want it to be!

before cooking

Then I made up the cake batter, and poured that into a pan – I used the same tin I make brownies in, which is rectangular, but you could use a round pan if you like – and made the “swirl”.

This is pretty easy – just take a spoonful of the compote, drop it in the cake batter, and using the spoon swirl it about a bit. Don’t worry if it looks a little messy – it still looks great when baked!

Rhubarb & Custard Swirl Cake

  • Servings: makes 1 traybake
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Ingredients

    for the cake:
  • 350g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
  • 2 tbsp custard powder
  • pinch salt
  • 100g vegan butter, melted (or use 100ml oil)
  • 90g brown sugar
  • 75g white sugar
  • 250ml milk of choice
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • for the rhubarb:

  • 300g rhubarb (if frozen, defrosted and drained)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup

Directions

    Preheat the oven to 180C/360F
  1. First, make the rhubarb compote. In a saucepan, combine the rhubarb, vanilla, and syrup over a low heat. Cook until the rhubarb breaks down and becomes like a compote – about 15 minutes for frozen rhubarb, more if fresh.
  2. Next, make the cake. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarb, salt, and custard powder into a large bowl.
  3. In a jug, measure out the milk and add the vinegar. Leave for a minute or two so it curdles.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter and sugars. Whisk in the milk and vanilla.
  5. Slowly add the wet mixture to the dry one. Stir thoroughly.
  6. Pour the cake mixture into your tin and smooth.
  7. Add the rhubarb compote in spoonfuls, swirling it through the top of the cake.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown and a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Vegan MoFo Day 10: I’m Blue

I had an awesome post planned out today. I was going to make some super cute, stylish cupcakes with blue food colouring and sprinkles too, and they were going to look SO GOOD.

But, they didn’t.

Oh, they looked okay and tasted fine but, the blue didn’t work, and they certainly weren’t the awesome cupcakes I had planned.

I think this was for a few reasons. Firstly, I could not find vegan blue sprinkles anywhere! Why do sprinkles contain such icky ingredients?! So, clever me decided to make my own.

I used a block of icing and diced it into sprinkle sized pieces. But, these didn’t work so well because they were too soft.

I also made two lots of cake batter.

But I didn’t make it an even amount of batter for each. I coulda fixed this by, like they do on the bake off, weighing out the batter but, who am I kidding, I’m way too lazy for that.

I also had a problem with my cupcake tray.

It’s really, really shallow, and I totally overfilled it. So, the cupcakes ended up wide and shallow, not nice and fluffy like I wanted.

And then I had a problem with my oven.

We recently moved to a house that no longer has a fan oven, so for the first time in my life I’m having to use an oven without a fan. Which means I have to alter the temperatures, and this just didn’t come out quite right. Which resulted in sinking cupcakes.

They don’t taste bad, and they aren’t terrible cupcakes, but they aren’t quite right. I thought about skipping this day and not posting anything, but decided, well why not, I can post cake fails too. Everyone has cooking and baking that doesn’t come out quite right, and there’s nothing wrong with that! We just only tend to post the awesome looking ones. So here’s a less awesome one to break the flow!

Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Fudge Icing

Time for another sweet! Baking is what I really love. I like to cook new savoury meals but there’s just not the enjoyment that you get from baking something, and having it turn out wonderful. I would never make it on a show like the Bake Off, purely because my presentation skills are disastrous, but I’d like to think I’m not too bad at the taste side of things.

I’ve always loved fudge and like to experiment with ways of making vegan caramel/fudge things. I successfully made vegan millionaire’s shortbread a year or so ago – I was going to do it for vegan Mofo again but seeing as I used soya whipping cream, it became a bit too expensive. I’ll be sure to post it if I ever get round to it again though! I’ve never really found a perfect recipe, so I always made it similarly to how I made dairy fudge, by boiling the sugar mix, then beating it for ages to make it fluffy and smooth. However, as I found making these, you don’t need to have whipping cream (or any cream) to get the fudgy taste!

Initially I was going to make a caramel flavoured buttercream for these cupcakes, but it turned out that I’d ran out of icing sugar (powdered sugar for you non-Brits) and couldn’t be bothered going to the shop, so I made the best of what I had, and made this fudgey topping instead.

I also made little decorations to go on top! These were super fun and easy to make. I just melted up some dark chocolate in the microwave (sorry, no fancy tempering here!) and put it in a piping bag with a small tip. Piped out swirls and stars and hearts freehanded onto baking paper – but if you wanted to, you could always pencil in a design and trace over it with the chocolate! I put it in the freezer for a few hours before I made the cupcakes so they hardened up.

The cupcake recipe I used was adapted from my current favourite cake recipe in the Divine Vegan Desserts book. I got this book last year and have to admit I’ve not made a whole ton of recipes from it. They all look wonderful but a lot of them are big recipes and there’s only so many occasions in the year to make them for! But the cake recipe has pretty much become my go-to.

This time I added chocolate chips to the mix because chocolate chip cupcakes are awesome. I think my oven must be tilted because all my cakes ended up leaning in the same direction, so, that kinda didn’t help with the presentation thing.

I left the cakes to cool and went back to making the icing. This is when I realised, woah, I don’t have icing sugar. So I had to come up with something else. My dreams of perfectly piped creamy icing were gone. But fudge to the rescue! I was going to make a small caramel anyway, so why not a larger one?

I melted 1 tbsp of vitalite (vegan butter) in a saucepan and added 2 cups worth of brown sugar. I measure this in cups because I didn’t actually weigh it and kinda did it by eye, but I want to give some sort of instruction! I brought this to a boil, where it looks kinda crazy.

Some recipes will say to stir, some won’t. I say, do stir it, but be careful because this is VERY HOT. Hot sugar is hotter than hot water, hot sugar will hurt you veeeeery badly if it touches you.

Anyway after that warning. Let it bubble for 4 minutes or so, then take it off the heat and start stirring. Beat it with a spoon for another five minutes while it cools. I then added a couple of tbsp soya milk and mixed that in to loosen the icing up a bit. After this, use a knife or a spoon to spread it on the cupcakes and..voila…done!

Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12 cupcakes
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Ingredients

  • 240g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarb of soda
  • pinch salt
  • 250ml soy milk
  • 1.5 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 75ml sunflower oil
  • 125g sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 130g chocolate chips (or however many you want)

Directions

    Preheat the oven to 170C/325F

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients except the chocolate in a large bowl until well combined.
  2. In a jug, measure out the soy milk and add the cider vinegar. Leave for a couple of minutes until the mixture starts to thicken.
  3. Add the oil and vanilla to the soy milk mixture and whisk well.
  4. Mix in the wet ingredients to the dry ones and stir until there are no lumps.
  5. Stir through the chocolate chips.
  6. Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases – which should be about two thirds full.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until risen and turning golden.
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Thanks to Divine Vegan Desserts for the recipe!

Fudge Icing

  • Servings: enough for 12 cupcakes
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Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vitalite (or alternative)
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp soya milk

Directions

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan until completely liquid.
  2. Add in the sugar and bring to the boil, stirring constantly.
  3. Boil for 4 minutes until the mixture thickens.
  4. Bring off the heat, and stir constantly for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir through the soya milk until it reaches a smooth consistency.
  6. Ice and decorate the cupcakes!
  7.