Vegan Wedding Cake!

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My beautiful wedding cake, made by me, with cake stand made by my Dad, lavender flowers grown by my Sister and origami bouquet made by my very patient friend Becky!

Well I have been busy baking over the last few months to perfect one thing, maybe the most important cake I have ever made, my wedding cake!

Many different recipes were tried, many test bakes and test icings, even an attempt at nutfree marzipan! In the end since I knew that the cakes all had to be transported over 200miles in the back of our car to get to the wedding venue, I decide to make a variation on my mums amazingly tasty and (importantly!) robust carrot cake!

I choose to make all the layers the same, due mainly to the fact I had a very limited baking window in the run up to the wedding, plus I never really mastered a nutfree marzipan that I felt really worthy of a heavy fruit wedding cake. (It had to be nutfree since one of our closest friends has a sever nut allergy and thought of a trip to A&E on our wedding day wasn’t something I wanted to consider!!)

So cake flavor decided on I had to choose tin size, since I already own’d a round 7in and 9in tin all I had to do was get an 11in tin… far more difficult that one would at first think, but finally tins brought I was ready to re-work the recipe for 3 different tin sizes.

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Wedding cakes cooling…

My personal preference when baking cakes is to use two tins, with the mixture split between each equally, then sandwich together. Wither this is due to only cooking vegan cakes or preference/oven type I am not sure, I know my mum normally puts all the mixture into one tin then cuts in half to add any filling; however I find particularly on larger cakes the center never cooks quite as well. The upshot of this is that in order to make a 3 tier cake, I had to bake 6 individual cakes! (Baked two at a time)

It took all day and the house smelt amazing, so it was definitely worth it! Once cooked all the cakes had to be decorated, this is the first cake I have ever tried to decorate, so did several test runs, and watched several youtube videos to make sure I got the icing right! I decided to keep things simple, and just go for a plain ready to roll fondant icing, with a ribbon, topped with lavender and sugar paste “meples” (modeled on our favorite game Carcassonne!)

It was an amazing day and the cake was perfect, below I have detailed the recipe, it really is one of the most reliable and tasty cakes, and could be cooked for any occasion; although it is worth noting that the cake itself is not that sweet, so if you are not planning to cover it in icing then you might want to add more sugar to the cake, you could also add walnuts so long as none of your guests have allergy’s!

What you will need: (9in cake)

  • 2 cups White Flour
  • 2 cups Brown Flour
  • 2 cups Brown Sugar
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp Bicarbonate Soda
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  •  3 cups Grated Carrot
  • 1 cup Raisins
  • 1 cup Sunflower oil
  • 2 cups Soya Milk

To Decorate:

  • Icing sugar
  • 1 orange
  • Margarine (Choose a very plain brand like Pure or Sainsburys Freefrom)
  • 500g Renshaw ready to roll icing
  • Ribbon!

How to bake it:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to around 180c and prep two 9in tins
  2. In a large mixing bowl add all your dry ingredients and mix together.
  3. Add your grated carrot and raisins and again mix together.
  4. Finally add your wet ingredients.
  5. You will have a fairly moist batter, split this evenly between the two tins and bake for approx 40mins.
  6. Once baked leave to cool completely before decorating.
First test decorate...

First test decorate…

To decorate:

  1. Level the cakes, I used a £3.50 cake leveler, and it was the best £3.50 I spent! (Though with the raisins it can be difficult to get the leveler though)
  2. Make a buttercream by creaming together the margarine and icing, adding orange juice and orange rind.
  3. Sandwich the cakes together with the buttercream and cover the top and sides.
  4. Roll out the icing then carefully cover the cakes completely, I am not the best person to advice on this, but honestly youtube, you can learn anything here!!
  5. Finish with a ribbon, stand by and enjoy!

I must also complement my Dad, on the wonderful cake stand that he make for me, the cake appeared to float like magic.

Cutting the cake!

Cutting the cake!

 

 

 

 

Vegan Christmas Pudding!!

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So it is that time of year again, in fact I have been sitting on this recipe now for almost a year, I had to make sure it worked before I post it, and since last years was such a success today I am making it again.

Christmas pudding is time consuming, but easy and makes the house smell great! So to kick of the holiday spirit here is my vegan Christmas pudding.

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What you will need: (this will make 2 xmas puddings, because 1 is never enough!)

  • Brandy & Port to taste for soaking the dried fruit!
  • 300g currents, raisins, sultanates
  • 100g chopped apricots
  • 100g chopped prunes
  • 200g vegan margarine
  • 2 tbsp black treacle
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 100g wholewheat flour
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp all spice
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 grated cooking apple
  • 1 grated carrot
  • Rind and juice of 1 lemon

Misc – Lots of tin foil, grease proof paper and string!

What you need to do…

  1. Soak your dried fruit overnight in the Port and Brandy.
  2. Decide how you are going to cook it, this year I am doing one in a slow cooker, and one in a pan on the hob, either way you want to put a couple of cm of water in the bottom of the pan, a piece of grease proof paper covering the bottom, with a jam jar lid or similar on top of the paper to raise the pudding bowl off the bottom of the pan (to stop the pan getting marked from the metal lid.)
  3. Prepare your pudding bowls, thoroughly grease the inside of the bowls, and put a small circle of grease proof paper at the bottom… also greased! This helps turn it out when cooked!
  4. To start cooking…cream the margarine and treacle together.
  5. Then mix in all the other ingredients until fully combined, the mixture will be “soft drop”.
  6. Divide the mixture between the two bowls, leave about 2cm at the top to leave room for raising.
  7. Now for the tricky bit… get a large square of tin foil and a place a slightly smaller square of grease proof paper on top if it, grease the paper, then create a 1-2cm fold in both sheets, (this gives room for the pudding to raise.) Place both sheets over the pudding bowl, tin foil up, and then tie string tightly around the outside to keep the lid in place. It is really important to make this as tight as possible, wrap the foil tightly around the bowl, and try to make sure that there is no paper showing, as much as possible you want to make sure no water can seep into the pudding. Before lowering the pudding into the pan, get a long sheet of tin foil, and fold in quarters to make a belt of foil, place this under the pudding bowl, you can use this to lower the bowl into the pan, and remove when hot! Lower onto the jam jar lid and cook…

image     8.  Cook for at least 6hr on the hob and 8hrs in the slow cooker, keep checking every             2hrs that there is still water in the pans, you want it to come about half way up the               side of the pudding bowl.

9.  Once cooked leave to cool completely then redo the grease proof paper and foil lid.             It is important you replace this before you store it. In theory you can store for up to             a year… but I haven’t tried that yet!!

10.  Cook again for at least 2hr before serving, then tip out onto a plate, carefully heat up           some brandy over a gas hob in a metal soup ladle or similar and once on fire pour               over your pudding!!! (Its traditional to play with fire isn’t it?!)

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Easter Simnel Cake Vegan & Gluten Free

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So before the Easter brake is totally over here is an amazingly rich Gluten Free, Vegan celebration cake. Known as a Simnel cake it has something to do with the 11 true disciples of Christ. (I am hazy on the religion but the cake is too good to ignore!)

I actually got the recipe from the Doves Farm website, they have some great ideas, partially for Gluten Free baking. These cake comes complete with homemade Marzipan, I had no idea it would be so easy to make!! This really is a true celebration cake, so rich and sticky, you would never know it was Gluten Free or Vegan!!

Link to Simnel Cake Recipe: Gluten Free Simnel Cake

A quick note on the recipe, in point 1. It means add the icing sugar and in point 2. It means the brown sugar!!! Also when making the marzipan you might need to add a little more water in your lemons are small, you want a firm dough you can roll and mold.

I cooked mine in a bigger tin, because I didn’t have an 8in, so I cooked it for about 1 and a half hours at about 120c

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Gingerbread Men

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So I am not quite sure why most recipes for Gingerbread Men have egg in them, maybe it is habit for some people, I am not sure, but it is definitely not needed as this wonderful recipe shows!

I made these gingerbread men as Christmas presents this year, they really do make a super tasty and fun present, and are fantastic dipped in tea!

They are also really easy and great fun to make with kids, or just young at heart adults!

What you will need:

  •    2 1/4 cups plain flour
  •    1 tablespoon ground ginger
  •    1 teaspoon cinnamon 
  •    3/4 cup brown sugar
  •    1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda 
  •    3/4 cup vegan margarine (I use Pure since it has little added flavor)
  •    1/4 cup golden syrup
  •    Icing sugar (for decorating)
What you need to do:
  1. Mix together all your dry ingredients in a large bowl
  2. Melt your margarine in the microwave for a few seconds
  3. Add your golden syrup to the melted margarine
  4. Combine all wet and dry ingredients to make a stiff dough
  5. Now you can either move straight into rolling out the dough and making your gingerbread men now, but I tend to find that if I wrap the dough in clingfilm and leave it in the fridge for half an hour the dough is much more workable.
  6. Preheat your oven to 170c
  7. So wither you went straight ahead or waited, you now need to lightly flour the surface and roll out the dough to make your gingerbread men, once you have covered your tray (make sure none of the men are touching, because they will stick together if they are!) Place in the oven for approx 15mins
  8. They should be a little darker then when they went into the oven, with a slightly hardened top, but they will still be soft, so take them out and leave them to cool for at least 20mins before you start to decorate!
  9. Decorate, have fun 🙂

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Mincepie Cake! (Not just for Christmas!)

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So back in December when I posted “Cheeky Cheaters Mincepies” my sister made a comment about how great mincepie cupcakes were…I took it one better and here is the Mincepie Cake (maybe I just made it bigger, whatever!) This is one of the best cakes I have ever eaten or made, it is now my partners favorite cake and who cares about Christmas this cake is so good it will be made all year round!

Of course the joy of it being just after Christmas jars of mince are now very cheap… I realized I would be making this cake a lot when my partner came home with 8 jars of mince, but at only 10p a jar I couldn’t complain… this cake is just too good!

What you will Need:

(This recipe works best if you have 1 large mixing bowl and 2 other bowls)

Large Mixing bowl:

  • 1 cup vegan margarine (I use Pure Soya because it is basically flavorless)
  • 1 1/4 cups Sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Dry bowl:

  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Wet bowl (or jug!):

  • 240ml Soya Milk + 1 tbsp Cider Vinegar (combine and leave for 5mins to turn into buttermilk)
  • 6 tsp egg replacer combined with 8 tbsp warm water (whisk this together before adding to the soya milk.

Other: 2 large tbsp Christmas Mince

What you need to do:

  1. Pre heat your oven to 170c and prepare two 23cm tins (to make one large sandwich  cake, or use two smaller 18cm tins to make two small, but separate cakes, you can always cut these in half if you want to make it a sandwich cake!)
  2. In your main mixing bowl  you will have the margarine, sugar and vanilla extract, combine these until light and fluffy.
  3. You should have two other bowls, one with wet and one with dry ingredients. Add these slowly to your main bowl until all your ingredients are fully combined. (If you missed out the cinnamon you could just go right ahead now and put this in the oven, this is a lovely light Victoria Sponge style cake, soft moist and delicious!)
  4. However the magic touch with this cake is to add the Christmas Mincepie mix now, two large tbsp should be enough, but if you want it extra mincey just add more! You may find that if the jar of mince has got cold it might crystallize a little, 30secs in the microwave should sort this out if your worried about it.
  5. Once the mince is fully combined, split the mixture between your two tins and bake… If you have gone for one large cake in the 23cm tins this should take about 20-25mins if you have gone for the smaller more compact tins it will take 25-30mins. Test with a wooden toothpick, if it comes out clean your baked 🙂
  6. Once cooled you can just lightly dust with icing sugar and serve as is, the cake needs no more, or if your feeling adventurous, a light marmalade makes a great sandwich filling!

A vegan Panettone… sort of…

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So the last few days have been full of baking, most of which I will post on here over the next few days, but since the rest of the things I have baked are to be presents I wont post about them until after I have given them, we dont want to give the magic away too soon!

This however was an experiment in more ways than one… firstly I had never baked a panettone, but more to the point I have never tried one either! Having never eaten one before I was not really able to know if it hit the spot, however it was nice, although I think it needs a little refining… that said I have seen some traditional recipes that call for it to be baked over 3 days, so maybe it will never be perfect! My partner thought it was ok, but didnt have the right texture, my father in law said, “It tastes like one of those Italian breads, pan something maybe?” So it must be close to the mark!!

Since I had no idea were to start I used this recipe as a guild, but as you can see it is not very detailed, maybe if you are Italian you dont need the detail, its just in the blood? http://www.vegitalyguide.com/2012/12/24/vegan-panettone/

What you need (taken from the above website)

For the dough:

250 grams of white flour
50 grams of corn or tapioca starch
50 grams of natural cane sugar
3 tablespoons of hazelnut paste
juice of one orange
grated orange peel (1 orange)
40 grams of yeast
one cup of ricemilk
1 handful of raisins, soaked in water

For the chocolate glaze:

100 grams of melted chocolate
4 tablespoons of water
2 tablespoons of natural cane sugar

How to Bake a Vegan Panettone:

Since the website has very vague instructions I did a lot of research into how you bake a normal panettone, and so here is how I made mine… (this is the 3 hour rise not the 3 days rise version!)

  1. Warm the rice milk (or soya milk, I used soya because I had it!) until it is tepid, add the yeast and sugar, set aside.
  2. Combine the flour, corn or tapioca starch, plus the 3 tbsp’s of Hazelnut paste… since I couldn’t find hazelnut paste in any of the shops near me, I used a 3 Nut paste, which had cashew nuts, hazelnuts and peanuts!
  3. Add the orange rind, and orange juice. Then add the yeast mixture.
  4. Mix together and add a little more flour if needed to enable you to knead the dough gently for a few minutes.
  5. Place the dough in a clean lightly floured bowl and cover, leave to rise in a warm place for 3hrs.
  6. Soak the fruit in water.
  7. Once the dough has risen, drain the fruit and knock back the dough, adding the fruit.
  8. Place dough in a prepared cake tin, and leave to rise for another 30mins (Preheat your oven 150c)
  9. Bake for between 30-40mins
  10. Once cool, combine the ingredients for the glace (which is definitely more of a chocolate coating!)
  11. Cover your panettone in chocolate, leave to set, and then enjoy!

Be aware that this didn’t keep very long, it might be worth adding oil to the mix to preserve it, I also might consider adding egg replacer next time, just to see if I can change the texture a little?

Any additional advice on making vegan panettone welcome!!!

Cheeky cheaters mince pie!

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I love baking, but to be honest this doesn’t really count… But it is quick easy and tasty, plus finding vegan mince pies can be difficult with the whole world wanting “full butter pastry” so this is my little cheeky guide to mince pies…

What you will need:

  • Ready roll puff or short crust pastry
  • Jar of mince meat
  • Icing sugar to dust

That’s it!

  1. Preheat your oven to 170c
  2. Roll out your pastry, use pastry cutters to get your disks of pastry, use two sizes one for the base and one for the lid
  3. Prepare your cupcake tray with a little oil (I use 1cal spray because it is easy!)
  4. Line your tray with the large pastry disks
  5. Fill with 1 heaped tsp mince meat (don’t over fill or the mince will go everywhere!)
  6. Wet the bottom of your pastry lids, place them on top of your mince pies and crimp the edges.
  7. Bake for about 15-20 mins
  8. Dust with icing and enjoy!!