This is now the third year that I’ve taken part in Veganuary, and each year I’ve found new and different ways to recreate vegan versions of all the dairy-laden foods I’ve been missing. Cakes and biscuits are, unfortunately, one of the things I find hardest to give up, and last weekend after a long, chilly and very muddy walk, I needed a cup of tea and a slice of cake.
I searched t’internet for some failsafe vegan cake recipes, but found that a very large proportion of them were both vegan and gluten-free. I know there’s a lot of people now following a vegan-gluten-free diet, (the Deliciously Ella effect!), but gluten-free baking is a whole different challenge. For people like me who are vegan but perfectly happy to eat some gluten now and again, here’s a classic British Victoria Sponge recipe that tastes almost identical to any egg- and butter-laden sponge I’ve tried.
The dairy replacements here are simply:
- Dairy-free margarine in place of butter, (my all-time favourite is Tomor, which tastes just like butter, or else Stork’s block margarine is also vegan), and
- Soya yoghurt mixed with ground chia seeds in place of the eggs. (Xantham gum or flaxseeds also work well in place of the chia seeds, but I think chia seeds are easier to find in supermarkets!).
Here are my top tips for making the Ultimate Vegan Victoria Sponge Cake:
- Get as much air into the mixture as you can – eggs act as a raising agent as well as their binding properties, so by substituting them with soya yoghurt and chia seeds we just need to work a little harder to get plenty of air into the mixture for a really light sponge. Do this by beating in a food mixer for much much longer than you think you need to – beating the margarine and sugar for 4 minutes seems like an absolute age, but it will make such a difference to the cake, I promise!
- Use good quality dairy-free margarine – if its all you have to hand, this cake will work perfectly well with any old dairy-free spread, but if you can get hold of Tomor or Stork block margarine it will really make a difference to that buttery taste.
- Be generous with the fillings – you’ll see from my pictures that I don’t like skimping on the jam and buttercream! This is partly because when you serve someone a ‘vegan cake’ they are fully expecting it to be dry, tasteless and heavy. So if you serve them a light, moist and airy sponge slathered with lots of creamy buttercream and jam, they really won’t believe it’s vegan!
- Get lots of air into the buttercream – similarly to no. 1 above – just beat, beat and beat again. I sometimes use a whisk attachment on my food mixer for this (rather than the beater). A really light buttercream filling is just so creamy, and adds to the lovely airy texture of the cake.
- A controversial one…. don’t call it a Vegan cake! Just serve it up calling it a Victoria Sponge and I bet no one will guess it is ‘free-from’ anything at all. Tell them afterwards whilst basking in compliments!
- 1 tsp ground/milled chia or flax seeds
- 200g dairy-free yoghurt (I used Alpro soya yoghurt)
- 300g dairy-free margarine (Stork block margarine or Tomor are excellent)
- 300g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 300g self-raising flour
- For the buttercream:
- 150g dairy-free margarine
- 200g icing sugar
- zest of half a lemon
- strawberry or raspberry jam
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / Gas Mark 4. Grease and line two 20cm cake tins.
- In a small bowl, mix together the chia or flax seeds and yoghurt and set aside for 5 minutes or so until the mixture turns 'gloopy'.
- In a food mixer, beat the margarine and sugar together for 3-4 minutes, (yes, really!), until pale and fluffy.
- Add the yoghurt & chia/flax seed mixture, and the vanilla extract, then add them to the mixer and beat. (If the mixture looks 'curdled' just add a few tablespoons of the flour to the mix and beat again).
- Add the flour, (the remainder if you have added some already), and slowly fold it into the mixture, until fully combined.
- Divide the mixture between the two tins, and bake for 15-20 minutes until an inserted skewer or knife comes out clean. Then remove from the oven and turn out onto a cooling rack.
- To make the buttercream, just beat the margarine, icing sugar and lemon zest in a food mixer for 3-4 minutes until very light and fluffy.
- When the cakes are completely cool, (a few hours at least), smother the top of one with plenty of jam, then smother the buttercream over the bottom of the other cake. Carefully sandwich them together, then sprinkle the top of the cake liberally with icing sugar.
For more vegan baking inspiration check out these recipes from blogger friends:
- Jac’s Triple Chocolate Donuts with Sprinkles from Tinned Tomatoes
- Helen’s Easy Ginger Cake from Fuss Free Flavours
- Sus’ Sugar Free Blood Orange Cake from Rough Measures
- Elizabeth’s Chocolate Cupcakes with Avocado Frosting from Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary
- Camilla’s Vegan Banana Cake from Fab Food 4 All
- Nadia’s Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Mug Cake from Nadia’s Healthy Kitchen
- Jac’s Vegan Carrot Cake from Tinned Tomatoes
- Rebecca’s Peanut Butter & Banana Bread from Munchies & Munchkins
I’m linking this post with two blogging challenges:
- Tea Time Treats co-hosted by Lavender & Lovage and The Hedgecombers
- Cake of the Week hosted by Casa Costello