Vegan Birthday Cake Dilemma

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by drirene, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. drirene

    drirene

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    I'm horrified. I got talked into making a vegan birthday cake for a friend next Saturday.

    Please don't hate me, but I HATE vegan food. I can't smell or eat fake butter, fake eggs, all this processed stuff that I think is so very removed from real food.

    So, I'm thinking how to make something that avoids most of the stuff I won't touch.

    Maybe something very simple, like angel cake made with aquafaba with some fruit compote?
    Or something chocolate? Chocolate masks lots of off-flavors...

    Do any of you amazing chefs and students and home cooks have any suggestions?
     
  2. Pat Pat

    Pat Pat

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    Your hatred is clearly not strong enough.

    I would never be in such predicament :cool:
     
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  3. brianshaw

    brianshaw

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    Find a good vegan bakery and buy a cake.
     
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  4. drirene

    drirene

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    :rolleyes: I should have known. You guys are a riot!

    I found some recipes that don't use horrible, over-processed ingredients. Just stuff like dates and almonds and cashews and coconut cream and chocolate. Basically date and nut base with cashew cream "cheesecake" filling. Still makes me shudder. All soft and no crunch. I will probably go with that and make something more normal as well.
     
  5. peachcreek

    peachcreek

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    I've had good luck making vegan cakes using aqua faba. Aqua faba can also be used to make a vegan frosting. Good luck!
     
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  6. drirene

    drirene

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    I was considering using that or coconut cream to make a whipped topping for decoration. Originally wanted to use it to make angel cake, but I'm reading that such recipes are tricky - and I need foolproof. Thanks peachcreek!
     
  7. peachcreek

    peachcreek

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    Making a basic sponge cake isn't that tricky. You make an old-school dump-cake (as my mom called them). I sub aqua faba for the eggs and part of the sugar.
     
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  8. Pat Pat

    Pat Pat

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    :eek:
     
  9. harpua

    harpua

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    I’ve been making a vegan chocolate cake for years. It’s an adaptation of “wacky” cake or “depression” cake.

    Here is similar recipe to what I’ve made: https://m.indiatimes.com/health/recipes/world-vegan-day-magic-chocolate-cake-recipe-240561.html

    For the frosting, I always make a ganache with good chocolate and coconut milk. Spread a layer of raspberry jam in between the layers. You could also chill the ganache and whip it to make more of a frosting. Chocolate cake is easiest; no replacements involved! It gets hairy with vanilla.

    Make the cake ahead of time a day or so so it won’t crumble on you.

    It’s easy I swear.
     
  10. fatcook

    fatcook

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    I agree with Harpua, and was going to suggest coconut milk for a ganache and a chocolate cake as well.

    The Herseys chocolate cake with boiling water (add a tsp of espresso powder to the dry ingredients) with aqua faba or egg substitute is surprisingly good. Chilling the layers before frosting is recommended.
     
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  11. fatcook

    fatcook

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    No hate here, I eww-ed a little and laughed out loud when I read the thread title.

    So now some unsolicited advice - remember this feeling of dismay the next time one one wants to order something you are not comfortable with. I know it is hard when you are starting out and want to keep people happy, especially friends - and you want to make as many things as possible. But this is a classic example of trying to make everyone happy and nobody wins. Stick with your style of food and what you believe in and steer those sorts of requests to people who only do that sort of thing, and believe in it. It will be better for everyone on the long run. BTDT got the tee-shirt.
     
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  12. jcakes

    jcakes

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    I grew up with what my Mom called "wowie cake"; also known as depression cake, wacky cake.... This is my go-to for a vegan request. It works better with Hershey's cocoa but that is splitting hairs (I have Valhrona, AUI extra brute and Felchlin extra dark cocoa in our shop, am not buying yet another cocoa). It's an eggless cake so no worries about using aquafaba or other egg substitute

    If you sub almond or hazelnut flour for the cocoa (equal amount) you can have a non-chocolate version of this cake but the center tends to fall if you make too large a cake (bigger than 9x13 in my experience; but I have done 12" squares and it worked fine).

    Some raspberry jam as Harpua suggested, and Fatcook's idea for the coconut ganache sounds like a classic in the making!

    Good luck, let us know how it turns out!
     
  13. drirene

    drirene

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    Interesting. Somewhere I read that subbing the aqua is tricky. Next time. I already spent a small fortune at Whole Foods on raw cashews, some special kind of dates, organic this and that, etc. I'll throw in some cocoa nibs for a little crunch. The cashews have to soak overnight to become "cheese." Ewwww...
     
  14. drirene

    drirene

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    That's the best recipe I've seen by far. I'm going to hold onto that one along with your suggestions. Thanks harpua!
     
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  15. drirene

    drirene

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    The recipe calls for a ganache layer on top, and it is made with coconut milk. But, I was going to skip it in favor of fruit and aqua faba cream on top since one of the posters complained that her ganache seized with the coconut milk. Then I thought to make it with coconut cream instead but I wanted very lightly sweet.

    I suppose the poster's ganache seized because s/he used too high heat while making the ganache and/or didn't shake the coconut milk can enough to distribute the fat.

    I was a little intimidated by her post since I've never made ganache with anything but cream and maybe butter. Maybe I should rethink it again.

    Now I'm really psyched with that chocolate cake idea...
     
  16. drirene

    drirene

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    Fatcook, unsolicited advice from you guys is always welcome. :)
     
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  17. harpua

    harpua

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    Ganache can seize and separate if the cocoa % is too high. Stick to 65% or lower. You can also make ganache with water, believe it or not.
     
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  18. harpua

    harpua

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    Also, cashew “cheese” can be quite good! Just don’t think of it as cheese, but a cashew spread.
     
  19. drirene

    drirene

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    Harupa, you nailed it because IT IS mind over matter! Unfortunately, I didn't think of the cashews as a spread. After soaking my cashews overnight they looked like pieces of cut up fingers that broke off a corpse that had been soaking in a river for a few days. :eek:

    Maybe if I had bought pre-made cashew spread it would have been OK. After the visual, I had to doctor up those dead fingers a lot to make them palatable.

    Date/almond/coconut base and "cheese" filling are resting in a tin in the freezer. Thanks for the tip on ganache. That's tomorrow. And if I have enough time, I'll tackle the chocolate cake too. That recipe actually looks good!
     
  20. fatcook

    fatcook

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    I may be misunderstanding by the use of "seize" here, but if this is happening while making ganache - it's being made incorrectly. Ganache is super easy to make - don't overthink it.

    For a cake filling / icing application I would use a 1:1 ratio.

    Chop the chocolate (or use wafers or chips - real, good chocolate not that candy coating stuff) and place in a larger bowl than you think you will need.

    Heat the cream (or coconut milk) just simmering is good, but if using heavy cream don't panic if it gets hotter, it will be fine.

    Pour the hot cream over the chocolate in the bowl, let sit 3ish minutes (depends on amount of chocolate and temp of room).

    Whisk slowly to start, observe cream sloshing up the sides of the bowl and be glad you used a larger bowl.

    Increase speed as the chocolate becomes smooth and begins to incorporate the cream.

    Enjoy the visual as the cream becomes milk chocolate colored and then a small circle of glossy chocolate appears in the center and then spreads to fill the bowl with deliciousness. This is a good kind of magic :)

    Remember to scrape the sides and bottom as you whisk so you don't miss any bits of chocolate.

    Chill to set if you are in a hurry or are well prepared and it is more than 1 day before using.

    If using the next day, let set at room temp overnight (covered obviously).

    For filling use as is. For icing I like to whip a little air in using a hand mixer, it makes it easier to spread.
     
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