It’s my birthday! This Vegan Fresh Cream & Fruit Cake is the cake I crave every September. Topped with billowing clouds of whipped cream, raspberry jam and a mountain of fruit, it ticks all the boxes when it comes to making a cake fit for a party.
I have fabulous memories of digging in to fresh cream cakes at almost every family birthday party I went to. We never had novelty fondant-covered cakes at our gatherings.
My mum would spend all day baking, listening to her favourite songs on the cassette player and letting me lick the spoon. In our family, it’s tradition that when you make something sweet at home, the youngest child must have the first taste. It’s something we do to honour the memory of my great uncle, Velji bapu who died very young. We remember him always.
The sponge for this Vegan Fresh Cream & Fruit Cake is entirely vegan and the cake itself can be topped with your favourite vegan whipped cream, too. Nature’s Charm do a fantastic one. It’s light, fluffy, not too sweet and tastes like it came from a bakery. I add a combination of vanilla and almond extracts to give the cake that “just baked” flavour. It’s absolutely delicious and I defy you to notice the lack of eggs or dairy in this cake.
I’d recommend baking the cake a few days before you want to eat it. Decorate it with jam, whipped cream, fresh fruit and chocolate curls the night before. Keep it covered and refrigerated and remove it from the fridge an hour before serving to let it come to room temperature. Ultimately, this makes ALL the difference. If eaten cold, the sponge may feel too heavy.
There’s not a one-size-fits-all answer as the techniques and make-up of different bakes all require different approaches and ingredients. E.g. Mashed banana, flax eggs, chia eggs, psyllium husk and applesauce are fine for vegan bakes like banana cake, dense muffins and crumb cake but they don’t work so well in light vanilla cakes. The vegan cake would end up tasting of those ingredients rather than having the light, white, fluffy texture we all want in a good vanilla cake. I also tend to stay away from using these in vanilla cake baking because the results can be a bit too unpredictable.
No. Sugar helps proteins bind and form a good structure in cakes. In the absence of eggs, sugar plays a vital role in binding proteins, forming a good crumb and holding the cake together. Using liquid-based ingredients like honey will change the texture of final cake. Coconut sugar and sweetener have a different make-up to regular sugar too and swapping them in place of sugar will also change the final result of the vegan cake.
Overworked batter can produce a dense, tough cake. This is the case with all cakes, not just the vegan kind. If you overbeat cake batter, the in the flour gluten develops to unwanted levels and this will result in tough, stodgy vegan cakes.
Technically yes, you could. Having said this, your vegan cake will be darker in colour and heavier than if you were to use a refined white flour. I’ve found that extra-fine self-raising sponge flour produces the best results by a country mile if you’re looking for a fluffy, white vegan cake.
They are overbaked. Ensure you’re baking it for the stated time at the correct temperature. Most domestic ovens tend to be a few degrees out but an internal oven thermometer can help ensure your oven is set at the right temperature. If you don’t have an internal oven thermometer you could also increase or reduce the cooking time depending on whether your cake is over baking or under baking
In vegan cakes, an oil-based batter will result in a moist, fluffy cake. I’ve found that using butter results in a much firmer cake with a larger crumb.
Room temperature milk will ensure the milk and vinegar mixture curdles quickly and adequately. If you’re short of time, microwave cold milk from the fridge on high power in 15 second intervals for a total of 30 seconds, stirring in between.
After a lot of testing, I’ve found the extra leavening from the baking powder gives the vegan cupcakes an extra lift for a super fluffy result.
Time needed: 3 hours.
How to make a Vegan Fresh Cream & Fruit Cake
Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/320°F. Grease and line a 20cm x 25cm x 10cm-deep (8″ x 10″ x 4″-deep) non-stick baking tin (or 9″ x 4″-deep square) with oil and baking parchment. Leave an overhang at either side to lift the cake out easily later.
In a jug, whisk together the plant milk, lemon juice, vanilla extract and almond extract. Allow to stand for 10 minutes. Whisk in the oil.
Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Whisk until smooth, about a minute.
Pour the batter into the lined tin and rasp the base of the tin on the worktop a few times to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 40-45 minutes until a wooden skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. This cake will not brown too much.
Whip the coconut cream with some sugar. Refrigerate. Prep the fruit. Wash and dry all the berries, slice the pineapples, kiwis and peaches and drain the mandarins (I used tinned so drained the extra water, but you can also use fresh). Keep the fruit in a large plate in the fridge.
Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 15 minutes and then carefully run a knife around the edges. Lift the cake out using the overhanging baking parchment. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Once cool, brush the cake with the warm jam and top with whipped cream. Decorate with fresh fruit and chocolate curls.
Keep the cake covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Remove the cake from the fridge 1 hour before serving to allow it to come to room temperature. Slice and serve.
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