Many people consider milk, butter and eggs to be baking essentials. So you may be surprised to discover that vegan cakes are easy to make and taste delicious. You can buy specialist vegan products, such as egg replacers, but often ordinary store cupboard basics, such as baking powder or bicarbonate of soda and vinegar, are all that’s needed to make a light and fluffy animal-free cake.
If you are a frequent baker, these tips will help get you started with vegan baking. If you have not baked before, but enjoy eating cake, perhaps this is the time to start! Nothing will convince your friends and family more that you are not embarking on a path of self-deprivation than a delicious-tasting vegan cake! That said, for those who don’t want to bake or for special occasions, you can purchase cakes from vegan bakeries, some supermarkets or buy a ready-made cake mixture.
Cakes, cupcakes and muffins
The easiest way to start vegan baking is to find a vegan recipe – whatever cake you want to make, someone will have veganised it! Vegan recipe club has lots to try.
You can also adapt non-vegan recipes using soya milk instead of cows’ milk and vegan spread or vegetable oil instead of butter. There are many alternatives to replacing eggs, including aqaufaba which is great for replacing egg whites in dishes such as meringues.
By using wholemeal rather than plain flour you can make more nutritious baked goods and gluten- and sugar-free vegan baking are also possible.
As many vegan cake recipes are American and measured in cups, you may want to invest in a set of measuring cups, which are widely available and inexpensive.
Icing and Sprinkles
Vegan icing is really straightforward to make: just replace butter with vegan spread. You may need to use more icing sugar to make the mixture stiffer, or you can replace half the vegan spread with hard vegetable fat. Some ready to roll icing is vegan.
There are some vegan sprinkles available, but you will need to check ingredients carefully, or look online.
Cookies, biscuits and flapjacks
Following a vegan recipe is a safe bet, but many biscuit recipes, such as shortbread, will be vegan apart from the butter so this can easily be replaced with vegan spread. Similarly, flapjacks will be vegan if you use vegan spread and avoid honey.
Pastries, pies and crumbles
Vegan pastry and crumbles are easy to make by replacing the butter with vegan spread or for pastry, a combination of half spread and half hard vegetable fat. Jus-Rol ready-made pastry, croissants and pain au chocolate are suitable for vegans and found in the fridge or freezer section of supermarkets.