Saturday, September 19, 2015

Vegan Vanilla Cake

In posting my Classic Vanilla Cake recipe earlier this week, I was trying to develop a good staple recipe that anyone could follow, even a casual baker. Essentially, a boxed cake mix, but without the box. Classically, cakes are made with eggs as a leavener and tenderizer, so I decided to reformulate the recipe so that everybody who chooses not to cook with eggs would have an option as well.

As with the earlier recipe, this utilizes the one-stage mixing method, for maximum convenience. Simply combine all of the ingredients and mix! The only caveat is that the egg must be made separately, and then added.

My go-to method for making vegan eggs is to create a flaxseed egg, using an immersion blender. It is important to consider what role an egg plays in a recipe before considering how to replace it; there are a lot of fantastic egg substitutes out there, but most of them work better for certain recipes than for others. In this case, because eggs are used as leavening agents (to help the cake rise) as well as tenderizers (to improve the final cake's texture), I needed to find an egg substitute that would have these same effects. Ground flaxseed mixed with water does perform these functions, but I have a hard time whipping it to the right consistency unless I use the immersion blender. This guarantees that the 'egg foam' is REALLY fluffed-up, and has a LOT of air pockets... enough to support the entire batter, in fact.

To make the vegan egg substitute in this recipe, combine the ground flaxseed and water in a container large enough to fit the immersion blender, but small enough to allow the head of the blender to be fully submerged.

Submerge the blender and blend until a foamy structure emerges; in other words, until the water and flax have been fully incorporated and enough air has been blended in to create a foam.


You will then combine this fake egg mixture with the rest of the ingredients; make sure to scrape with a spatula to really get as much of the egg mixture as possible.


Mix until fully incorporated, but just barely; do not overmix.


After baking, your cake may appear slightly deeper in color than a classic box cake, due to the presence of the flax seed egg. The texture will be pleasantly moist, much as if you were making a cake from a box.


In this recipe, you can use granulated sugar instead of baker's sugar. You can use a different non-dairy milk if you cannot have soymilk; almondmilk and ricemilk all work just as well.

Vegan Vanilla Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cake flour, sifted
  • 1 and 1/2 cup baker's sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup soymilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 6 tbsp water

Process:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ยบ F and grease or line a 9" x 13" baking pan.
  2. Prepare flaxseed egg by whipping flaxseed and water together to form a foam. Set aside.
  3. Combine soymilk and vanilla; set aside.
  4. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl.
  5. Add oil, milk/vanilla mixture, and flax egg. Stir until just blended, until the batter is no longer lumpy.
  6. Pour into pan.
  7. Bake 25 minutes or until done, checking for a golden top that springs back at a gentle touch.
  8. Let cool in pan before frosting.

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