What are Sundays for? Let’s be honest – unless we’re working or studying – even if we’re working or studying – Sundays can often drag. And what’s one of my favourite ways of utilising free time, to the benefit of myself and other people? Cleaning. Yes, that – but, preferably, baking.
As part of my eager search for vegan bakes, to prove that it’s possible for cake to not contain any animal products and still taste like cake, I chanced upon this recipe from the Buddhist Chef on Facebook. His video of the cake being made was more than enough for inspiration: before it was even mid-way through, I’d settled my heart on making it.
How can a cake be vegan and still look this good, you say? How has it achieved that seductive rise? Bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. Not just for foaming atop of your eight-year-old self’s clumsily-made volcano. And no, the taste of the vinegar is not detectable at all. This cake tastes fantastic: the sponge is neither too rich nor too plain. Do add the icing and cashews, both for aesthetic and flavour purposes.
- 3 cups / 430g plain flour
- 1 1/2 cup / 280g caster sugar
- tsp salt
- 2 tsp bicarbonate soda
- 1/4 cup / 30g good quality cocoa powder (I used Bourneville)
- 1 cup / 250ml vegetable oil (ok, so this seemed like a huge amount, so I cut it down to 150ml. I think my cake was stodgier as a result; so perhaps don’t skimp)
- 1 1/2 cup / 375ml soya milk
- 1/4 cup / 60ml vinegar (the recipe wasn’t clear on which type of vinegar – I went for white wine, having used it before in a similar recipe)
- For the icing:
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups / 230g icing sugar
- 1/4 cup / 30g cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup / 60ml soy milk
- 1/4 cup / 40g cashew nuts
Begin by preheating the oven to 175 degrees Celsius, or 350 Fahrenheit. Oil a 9 inch springform pan (I used the circular pan I always use).
Sift together the flour, sugar, and cocoa powder in a large bowl. Add the bicarbonate and salt before mixing well with a wooden spoon.
In a jug, mix the oil and soy milk. I added 2 tsps of vanilla extract here for the sponge. Pour this into the flour mix, and stir very well until combined.
Add the vinegar, and stir until smooth – the batter will become considerably more liquidy.
Pour the mixture into the pan, and bake in the centre of the oven for 30 to 45 minutes; it’s ready when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. In the meantime, combine the ingredients for the icing in a bowl – I halved everything, and used icing sugar only to taste. Once the cake has cooled, drizzle over the icing, letting it drip down the sides. Crush the cashews and sprinkle on top.
I strongly reccommend a browse through the Buddhist Chef’s recipes: there are so many I’d like to try – tofu scramble, falafel burgers, cookies, even vegan mayo. Give it a look!