Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Vegan Birthday Cake Disaster

I have learned, the hard way, that vegan baking may take so time to master.  Since becoming vegan, I have practiced and learned to make vegan cookies and muffins from scratch and the whole family enjoys them.  But I have yet to master the skill of vegan cake baking.

Yesterday was my husband's birthday and I decided that I wanted to make him a vegan cake.  Even though I had never tried to make a vegan cake before, I decided to go ahead and try (not a good idea).  I usually make cakes for my family members on their birthdays, although I usually do not make them from scratch.  I like to use a box cake mix and a ready made icing.   I have not practiced making cakes from scratch much and I don't see why I should bother when the box cake mixes work well and are very inexpensive.  Instead, I try to be creative with making each different for each person.

So yesterday I went to the store and bought a chocolate cake mix and lemon flavored icing (none of which and any dairy products).  The only thing that might not be vegan is the white sugar in the mixes, but if sugar is the only non-vegan item in a birthday cake, well, I can live with that!  The mixed required  3 eggs so I went online to see what a good egg substitute would be for eggs.  I found a great website for vegan baking, Your Vegan Guide.  The first thing I read was that they like to use ground flax seed with water as an egg substitute.  This is the one that I usually use for my cookies and muffins so I figured it should work well...wrong!

I mixed the flaxseed to equal two eggs and also used a banana for the third (I had also read that bananas are a good egg substitute).  I added 1/2 tsp of baking powder because the flaxseed does not give the same rise that the eggs do.  It looked great and I poured the mix into two round cake pans and set the oven timer. 

When I took the cakes out, they looked great so I left them to cool for a while.  When I returned, I was stunned to see my cakes had collapsed in the middle of both.  I flipped them out of the pans and the other sides had done the same.  They were also not holding together very well, so I put them in the refrigerator to chill--hoping the cool air would somehow make them more solid.  But when I went to ice them, it was clear that it did not help. Since the cakes were not flat (because of the collapse) I ended up using a whole container of icing in the middle of the cakes so there would not be a whole. 
Then when I iced the rest of the cake, pieces kept falling off!

The end result was not a pretty one. I served it anyway since I did not have time to make another one. I apologized to my hubby, but he ate it and said it wasn't bad (yeah, he's just trying to be nice). 

Well, this was definitely a learning experience.  First, I should of spent more time reading the website's information--I noticed after that they said to substitute only one egg for cakes with flaxseed and use other substitutes if the recipes asks for more.  Also, I definitely should of tried a sample cake days before to see how it came out.  Well, my birthday is next week, and I think I will try again...hopefully it will be much better!

My wonderful husband with his first Vegan Birthday Cake :)