It stands to reason that when the co-founder of a baking club has a birthday party and invites the other co-founder, plus several other members, there is going to be a lot of cake. It’s not like any of us ever really need an excuse to bake, but we do get excited about birthdays, which are an occasion for only the most special of cakes.
Naomi‘s birthday fell right in the middle of Veganuary, which threw me into a whole world of vegan cake-baking I was wholly unfamiliar with. Not only could I not use butter or eggs in the cake itself, but there was to be no buttercream, no cream cheese frosting, no creme patissserie and no chocolate ganache – all of the things that turn a cake into a birthday cake. I had to resign myself to the idea that my cake would be the plainest on the table. The wallflower of the cakes, with nothing more than a dusting of icing sugar for decoration.
As I’ve mentioned before, the knack to vegan baking is to either find a vegan recipe that somebody else has written, or adapt a recipe that doesn’t have a lot of dairy in it anyway. Anything coconut-flavoured is a good shout, for you can use coconut milk in place of any other wet ingredients. Cakes made with oil have the benefit of having already omitted butter, and I’ve already talked about the merits of the No Egg Egg Replacer. I’m sure there is a way to make good vegan frosting, but I am yet to discover it. It would be a good discovery to make as the most unnerving thing about vegan cakes is that, due to the lack of egg yolk, they are very white, which is looks far less appetising than a golden crumb and could do with something to cover it up a bit.
The cake I made was a cherry coconut bundt cake, adapted and veganised from a recipe from the brilliant Souvlaki for the Soul blog. It’s a coconut cream-moistened cake with a lot of desiccated coconut, studded with fresh cherries. Aside from my initial freak-out, staring into the oh-so-white batter thinking I’d forgotten something, it was a very easy cake to bake with few issues. It’s a good one if you don’t have a great deal of time, which I never seem to. Other berries would work just as well, as would a drop of kirsch if you’re feeling daring.
Vegan Cherry Coconut Cake
185g self-raising flour
165g caster sugar
80g desiccated coconut
250ml coconut cream
25ml vegan milk (I used Alpro coconut)
No Egg Egg Replacer made up to two eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g fresh cherries, pitted and halved
Icing sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 180c. Spray a bundt tin with cake release spray (I use Dr. Oetker’s.)
Combine the flour, sugar and desiccated coconut in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle of the ingredients and add the coconut cream, milk, egg replacer and vanilla extract and stir thoroughly to combine. Fold in the cherries.
Scrape into the bundt tin and level off. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 35-40 minutes until brown(ish!) and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar before serving.