Some time ago when culinary art was still developing, certain ingredients weren't used or had yet to be discovered, meaning certain people with specialized diets couldn't enjoy just about any food, especially desserts. Vegans just couldn't have their cake and eat it too, literally. However, as culinary art advanced, it became quite clear that vegans needed recipes suited for their diet. Now almost any type of cake can be made with vegans in mind. Take a vegan sponge cake for example.

Getting vegan desserts right

Now one might ask, "how does one go about making a vegan dessert?" Well, the concept isn't as brain teasing as some might think as it simply requires substituting vegan-friendly variants for certain ingredients.

For example, non-dairy ingredients can be substituted for the dairy ones and the eggs are omitted entirely. These may include the milk and/or butter.

For this recipe, a non-dairy substitute, like soy milk, is mandatory. The amount used will also cover the absence of eggs in the formula. Speaking of which, this vegan sponge cake will rely on chemical leavening in place of those eggs by using bicarbonate of soda in combination with vinegar and substitute self-raising flour for the cake flour.

N.B: For those non-vegans out there who prefer a more wholesome sponge cake, here's a recipe for chocolate sponge cake to try out. And for the more creative bunch, this one for a rainbow sponge cake is a good choice.

Now for that recipe.

The recipes

Cake ingredients

  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Fruit jam for layering
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

The directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a couple of 7-inch round pans with vegetable oil and cover the bottoms with circular parchment paper.
  2. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt, and sugar together in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add the milk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients. Whisk together until batter forms and all lumps disappear.
  4. Fill the round pans evenly with the batter. Gently tape the bottoms of the pans on the table to pop any bubbles that form underneath the batter. This ensures the cakes bake evenly.
  5. Bake the cakes for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Transfer to a cake rack to cool.
  6. Use a cake knife to cut the mounds from the top of the cakes to leave flat surfaces. Spread the jam evenly over on top of one of the cakes with a metal spatula. Place the second cake on top of the first one and dust the surface with powdered sugar.
  7. Slice and serve the cake or seal and refrigerate.

Serves: 8-10 slices

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