Hi all, it has been a busy month at LGVB but here I am again, finally. I thought I would let you know a little about the cakes I make. In general, the vegan diet tends to be a fairly healthy one – rich in fruit, vegetables and pulses and low in saturated fat. Being vegan doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy less healthy foods however! I enjoy healthy food and we could probably all do with watching our diets but there is definitely a time for sweet treats. If I want cake I want proper cake – not a gnarly piece of flapjack or date loaf. I want lovely flavours, soft sponge, sweet icing. As a vegan out and about it’s often hard to find anything suitable to eat, especially baked goods, and when available they do tend to be, well, rather dull.
When I first started making vegan cakes they were rather wholesome affairs, full of flaxseeds and vegetable purees, agave nectar etc. They were nice. But they weren’t what I was really after. So I did more research and found some really good recipes that worked and tasted good. The book that quickly became my baking bible was “Ms. Cupcake: the naughtiest vegan cakes in town”. (If you haven’t already, you should check it out). Once I became confident using the recipes I started adapting them with my own tweaks and different flavour combinations. Initially I thought the cakes needed more sugar, but I soon realized that with vegan cakes it’s all about the flavour. Standard cakes are given a fair amount of flavour from butter and sugar, so you can make a fairly plain one that will still taste good. Vegan cakes rely heavily on added flavour whether it’s from fruit, spice or chocolate. Once I realized this I was able to reduce the sugar (thankfully). I now get through a lot of vanilla.
So, what kind of cakes do I make? Well, there are the standard sponges like chocolate, vanilla and lemon. I make a range of fruity cakes: lemon and raspberry; strawberry and orange; carrot, orange and maple syrup; blueberry, banana and almond. I make plain and flavoured chocolate cakes; coffee and pecan; cherry bakewell; lime and coconut. More exotic flavours like chai latte; rose and pistachio; coconut and mango. The more decadent caramelized banana, walnut and chocolate chunk; peanut butter and salted caramel or black forest cake. I also make brownies, flapjacks (sometimes), scones, cereal bars and truffles. I am happy to offer decorated birthday cakes – this is in area I need to improve my skills in but no complaints so far!
I do like to be flexible and offer a personal service, making sure that the flavour and the look of each cake is right for the customer. I try to avoid baking when I am stressed or cross as I feel that my emotions affect my baking. I feel that the feelings I have while baking somehow go into the cake and may be passed to the recipient. It probably sounds weird but that’s me. I like to make people happy and if I can do that by making tasty cruelty-free cakes for people then that makes me happy too.