When you do a lot of baking, you pick up odd tidbits of information that are hard to explain to someone who isn’t as familiar with this form of culinary creation. You learn when you should substitute whole grain flours and when you shouldn’t; you know what ingredients to replace in a pinch; you know if it’s okay to skip a step, if it’s just an unnecessary complication. And most importantly, you learn how to spot a shitty recipe.
I’m still working on that last one.
|MRW I tasted those nasty-ass cakes. source|
Even worse, they smelled just as horrid. Meaning I had to hold my breath as I disposed of them and cleaned the dishes they had dirtied. To say the least, it was traumatizing.
|MRW I cleaned those nasty-ass pans. source|
And so I have learned my lesson: never ever ever make a plain vanilla cake with oil as the main source of fat. That cheap canola flavor will shine right through and stink up the whole thing. It may work with chocolate cakes (like the cake I used here) but not vanilla, which is of course a flavor in itself but not nearly strong enough to overpower the poor quality of the remaining ingredients. If I had used, say, olive oil, or maybe coconut oil, perhaps it would have been better.
But alas. Shitty cake was made, and shitty cake was had. Well, not had. It was thrown away.
So I moved on to making delicious creamed butter-style vanilla cake, using the manufactured wonder that is margarine and plenty of sugar.
That’s another thing I’ve learned throughout my vegan baking adventures: most of the time, creamed cakes are best. The vigorous beating of butter and sugar produces a fabulously tender and rich crumb and why am I trying to write all fancy-like? and while it is (probably) impossible to make those beautiful egg white cakes without animal products, that’s nothing that a bit o’Earth Balance can’t make up.
The result? This is, by far, the best cake of the three I have made. It rose (to the occasion) beautifully and has a golden-brown crust; you absolutely cannot taste the tofu, which is a plus; and the coconut oil even lends it a nice depth of flavor.
Or whatever. I’m no food journalist, so I’ll just give you the good old “IT WUZ DELISHUS”.
|Whatever you say, Baby June. But WHY IS THAT BLUE?!?|
Adapted from Joy of Baking
345 grams • sifted all-purpose flour • 3 cups
14 grams • baking powder • 1 tablespoon
3 grams • salt • ½ teaspoon
113 grams • Earth Balance, softened • ½ cup
113 grams • coconut oil, softened • ½ cup
350 grams • granulated sugar • 1 ¾ cups
225 grams • silken tofu (or other sub for 4 eggs) • 1 cup
8 grams • vanilla extract • 2 teaspoons
244 grams • nondairy milk • 1 cup
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper—yes this is necessary.
In a medium bowl, sift or whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Place softened Earth Balance and coconut oil in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Beat until soft and creamy. Gradually add sugar and cream until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add tofu (or egg sub) and beat well. Add in vanilla extract. With mixer on low speed, alternately add flour mixture in three additions and milk in two additions.
Divide the batter between two prepared pans. Bake for about 25 to 33 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Let cool completely before frosting.
Adapted from The Kitchen Magpie
226 grams • vegan buttery spread, softened • 1 cup
12 grams • vanilla extract • 1 tablespoon
480 grams • powdered sugar • 4 cups
60 grams • coconut milk, full fat • ¼ cup
Place vegan buttery spread into the bowl of a stand mixer and whip until light and airy. Add vanilla extract and mix. On low speed, gradually add powdered sugar until combined. Pour in coconut milk and whip until fluffy and spread-able.
|Please explain that hole in the frosting. In fact, EXPLAIN EVERYTHING.|
As you can see, my photography for this particular cake is severely lacking. I blame it on the lack of light. And my lack of frosting skillz. But you have my word that this is one bomb-ass cake, no matter how ugly or strange-looking it is.
So that concludes our series on Neapolitan cakes. In case you missed it (I know I know) here are the other two cakes:
A fresh strawberry layer cake that is, if I might say so myself, quite sublime.
A gluten-free chocolate layer cake. Made with quinoa. Yup.