I often get asked "Can you make a vegan cake?"... YES, I CAN!
I discovered a vegan cake recipe around 3 years ago. I am not a vegan myself, so I was a little sceptical that I could make a cake with the ingredients it required! Mixing the ingredients, it looked too sloppy to be a cake mix. I carefully put the mixture into the cake tins and popped them in the oven. Low and behold a light, fluffy cake appeared!
It seemed completely different to my standard cake recipe, but it still had the sweet vanilla aroma and bounced back when pressed. The texture was a little closer than my standard cake and it almost has a pudding type feel to it, especially the chocolate one!
Nevertheless, layered with a vegan vanilla buttercream, this cake was the bee's knees in my eyes and I was keen to let friends try it to see what they thought. They realised it wasn't my standard cake, but loved it all the same.
From then, I have continually researched how I can adapt all my cake flavours into vegan recipes. There are a lot of vegan and 'free from' products out there but I would hate to lose my reputation of having homemade recipes. I now make my own vegan salted caramel sauce, lemon curd and a vegan ganache.
Mr and Mrs Staple got married in 2019, a beautiful and intimate garden wedding where this semi-naked cake was the perfect style. They ordered some cake tasting samples and chose to have the zesty lemon flavour for both tiers.
"We chose the lemon cake because it had a perfectly subtle flavour. It was tasty, very moist and quite hard to believe that it was dairy and egg free! Amazing!"
I always try to offer a vegan alternative for my occasions and seasonal cakes too. Vegan chocolate cake seems to be the favourite flavour - it certainly is with me.
"The cake was fluffy and light plus it wasn’t overall sweet which some vegan cakes can be." - J.D
My ability to create cakes that suited specific dietary needs didn't stop at vegan recipes. My knowledge of allergens and dietary needs was already embedded when I studied to teach catering to secondary school students in 2012. Then when I decided to start my business, I looked into it a little further, seeing how I could try to cater for as many customers as possible. I now hold a certificate in Food Allergy and Intolerance Training (provided by the Food Standard Agency). I'm not gluten free certified, but I have equipment and ingredients that are gluten free and I have made many gluten free cakes for customers now, such as for those who are coeliac.
"The ability to produce a moist gluten free cake with knowledge of cross contamination etc. is hard to find. Your cake was superb and special being our wedding cake."
Another challenge with gluten free cakes is that the recipe changes the texture, structure and moisture of the sponge - and my goodness I had a fair share of failed attempts! But I got to know the ingredients and the way they behave and that 'eureka' moment did come.
Mark and Jennie's wedding cake, also 2019, was gluten free AND vegan, a challenge I never thought I would achieve. But here it is, a rich chocolate sponge with rich chocolate buttercream filling and semi-coated in a sweet vanilla buttercream. I love how the wild flowers pop some colour.
I will say that most of my vegan cakes are commonly semi-naked or buttercream coated cakes with that rustic style. However, they do work really well as fondant covered too. My vegan ganache covering holds the cake in good shape so the fondant can wrap around smoothly, just like my standard recipes.
Will your non-vegan guests know the difference?
Probably not! It might be a cake texture they don't recognise at first but the flavours are all the same. The feedback received from a variety of clients is that the cakes were enjoyed by all and most don't realise the difference.
Can you have a mixture of standard recipe and a vegan recipe?
Absolutely! As long as the vegan recipe is not being used for an allergy or intolerance, you are more than welcome to have different recipes in different tiers. Just like you can have a different flavour for each tier too! A close friend got married in 2018 and wanted 1 tier of her cake to be a vegan recipe to cater for a small group of her guests. A little sign to direct them to the correct cake is all that is needed.
So it is certainly possible to make a vegan wedding cake and cater for other dietary needs too. Although I declare that I make all of my cakes in a kitchen that uses allergens, I am still able to cater for dairy, nut, egg and gluten free diets. It is always best to mention any allergies or dietary needs when you first enquire, so I can advise, plan and prepare what needs to be adapted for your order. Any order that has a specific dietary need is made in isolation. No other order is made at the same time to reduce the risk of cross contamination.
Take a look at my menu where it is specified what can be adapted to a vegan recipe.