Building on the success of the vegan brownie, we’re trying to push the limits of vegan baking. In general, cooking is more forgiving and amenable to ad lib, on the fly changes, whims and substitutions, whereas baking is chemistry. A little change here or there and you have a new state of matter (neither solid nor liquid) or a dry, crumbly desiccant, able to extract whatever moisture you may have in your mouth. So our eggless or vegan baking has required a fair amount of research, experimentation, trial and error and on occasion, the trash can. Ultimately, dessert needs to satisfy that inner craving for something sweet, moist, creamy, fruity or chocolatey. AND, it needs to be well worth the caloric load. This cake (after significant R&D) delivers on all fronts, while also being wholesome, good for your health, your conscience and the planet. Ok, may be that’s a bit much, but it is really good cake!
Always eggless, we’ve made this cake both vegan and non-vegan (see recipe below). Either way, it is both beautiful to serve and a delight to eat. The simple frosting is by far the best we have ever tasted, and can be used on any sweet treat. Decorated with nothing but fresh fruit, each layer of this cake is absolutely bursting with berries.
Yield: 12-14 servings
12 ounce fresh raspberries
1/2 cup dairy free milk (or soymilk)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup earth’s balance
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup whole milk (or plain soymilk)
1 cup butter (or earth’s balance)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 pint fresh raspberries
Preheat the oven to 350 deg F and lightly grease and flour 2 8-inch round pans.
Toss the raspberries into your blender and throughly puree. Use a spatula to press the puree through a meat strainer to remove the seeds and extract as much as possible, you should end up with about 1 1/2 cups of seedless puree. Based upon the sweetness of your berries, you may want to add a bit of sugar to sweeten the puree. Whisk in the milk and vinegar, and set aside.
Soften the butter be beating in your stand mixer, and then cream it together with the sugar. In a separate bowl, sift the flour and stir in the baking powder, soda, and salt. Add this dry mixture into the stand mixer in about three additions, adding the raspberry mixture after each addition. Incorporate the vanilla last and mix until just combined, ignoring any small lumps or graininess that may remain. Divide the batter evenly between the 2 pans; tap them each gently on the counter to remove air bubbles. Bake for 24-30 minutes (testing at 24 minutes) until lightly browned all over and a toothpick inverted in the center comes out clean. Although they may just look lightly brown now, don’t worry-the cakes will look great (a bit purple) when sliced. Let cool completely before turning out. Cover the top of the bottom layer of the cake with a generous coating of raspberry preserves, then place your second layer over the top and frost away.
This frosting is made over the stove, so get out a medium saucepan and whisk together the cornstarch and milk, being sure to get out any lumps. Set it over a medium flame and bring it to a boil, whisking occasionally, until it feels significantly thickened. You must be hypervigilant during this process as you can go from a nice smooth, velvety cream to Crisco in 30 seconds. Turn off the heat, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface, and thouroughly chill before proceeding.
Once the pudding-like base is cool, cream together the butter and sugar in your mixing stand until homogenous. Add in the base and vanilla and whip on high speed for 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until light and fluffy.
Frost the cake as desired…
…and decorate with fresh berries.
Inspired by Vegan Desserts – Hannah Kiminsky