Monday, 24 January 2011

Basic Fairy Cakes.

In our house, Leigh = Bread and Sarah = Cakes. A right pair of dumplings then, you might think. Why d'you think we're in the gym so often, eh?

I was asked by our friend Toir yesterday for my best non-dairy cake recipes, for a baker friend who needed a little 'specialism'.
I am pleased to divulge below the basic recipe I keep in my holster. This is all you need for the complete and delicious sating of those sudden cake urges (they only take 23 mins or so to bake).

I'm not a fan of grammes and ounces; I prefer the simple American method of cup and spoon sizes. The bigger the cup, the larger the cake - bear that in mind!

Golden Vanilla Cup*cakes
(*the recipes are American - they've been catering for omissive diets for decades longer than we have!)
Makes 12

1 cup of soya milk (substitute rice milk if you can't do soy - but use a little less, as it's watery)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (very important - this a mechanical, not a taste, ingredient)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornflour / cornstarch
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup non-dairy marge - Pure brand is best, the organic one, OR 1/3 cup of sunflower oil (canola oil if you can get it)
Note: I use slightly less than the half cup suggested - this will be a matter of personal taste after a few experiments)
3/4 granulated sugar/brown sugar
3 teaspoons organic vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180 C.
Get your cake holders ready (silicone or paper - your choice! If silicone, oil LIGHTLY first).
Whisk soya milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside to get good and curdled.

- If using marge:
Sift flour, cornflour/cornstarch, baking powder and soda with the salt into a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
In a separate bowl, use a handheld whisk to cream together marge, sugar and vanilla. Don't beat too long, the marge might begin to separate (I use a wooden spoon to do this job).
Beat in the vanilla then alternate beating on the soya milk mixture and dry ingredients. Scrape the sides of the bowl!

- If using oil:
Beat together the soy milk mixture, oil, sugar, vanilla and other extracts together in a large bowl.
Sift in the flour, cornflour/starch, baking powder/soda and salt until no large lumps remain.

Full cake liners two-thirds full and bake for 20-22 minutes till done.
Test at 21 minutes by poking a small sharp knife into one sacrificial cake. You can always put them back for a minute or two, but remember cooling toughens them up.
Transfer to a cooling rack and leave to cool COMPLETELY before attempting to remove from the cases - especially if using silicone!

Blob a load of icing on top.

You can make icing in the traditional way creaming together non-dairy marge and icing sugar, with some vanilla, lemon, cocoa etc. but make sure you increase the ratio of icing sugar to marge - it can be affected by heat and go a bit soft.

There is a whole raft of recipes for dairy-free icing - I'll deal with those in another issue. But, if you want more recipes, mine is based on one by the brilliant Isa Chandra Moskowitz, who wrote Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. It's something of a cake bible in this house, many of its recipes memorised and adapted time after time. For anyone serious about perfecting vegan baking in general, however, her PPK website is worth investigating. Because cakes aren't always FAIRY-SIZED, are they?

Download a PDF of this recipe here.

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