Monday, 29 April 2013

Vegan Victoria Sponge Birthday Cake

Another year has passed.  Another birthday for E.  And it is 6 years since I started this Green Gourmet Giraffe blog.  In past years I have made some fun novelty cakes to celebrate.  This year I lacked the energy and will to immerse myself up to my elbows in buttercream, food dye and lollies.  Instead I kept it simple.  Well almost.  I made Victoria Sponge Cake.  Twice.  And it was vegan.

I come from a family where the birthday boy is king for the day.  E always wants a boring vanilla sponge cake.  He is very British when it comes to sponges.  It is not the Aussie tradition of the light airy sponge cake that my mum ices and sandwiches together with cream.  He wants it buttery and dense.  Preferably with buttercream frosting.  The very mention of a Victoria Sponge Cake makes him swoon.

Such a cake is all about eggs and butter rather than chocolate and fruit.  It is just not my thing.  Inspiration finally hit this year when I saw Jac post a very British Vegan Vanilla Cake.  It is the sort of cake that E likes but not laden with eggs and butter.  I cheer at any cake where I don't need to crack icky sticky eggs.  (Anyone who has followed this blog might recall that I have never liked eggs.)  E always accuses me of making cakes that are too dense, heavy or rich.  He was quite happy for me to make his cake vegan.

Some time ago I bought a little cake stand on special.  I also have purchased a smaller cake tin.  I made the full recipe but baked it in the 6 inch tin.  It took ages to bake but it looked very impressive.  (So good that even my 4 year old Sylvia could take the below photo and it looked pretty!)  I sandwiched together the two halves of the cake with buttercream and jam, as is traditional in a Victoria Sponge (though some have cream and jam Mrs Beeton's cookbook required just jam).  It was rather delicious.  E was most pleased.

The sponge exterior was notably browner than a traditional sponge but slightly yellower inside.  My mother commented that it is the eggs and butter that make cakes yellow.  Never mind.  It was a good dense cake that held its shape.  I thought it very sweet and felt a little paranoid you could taste the oil ever so slightly.  Sylvia thought the buttercream frosting was too sweet and scraped it off her cake.  E loved it and thought it tasted like it had a touch of treacle.  I think he liked that it was a bit lighter than a traditional sponge.

We kept the celebrations low key for E's birthday.  A visit to the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV).  The wrong one.  At least we enjoyed the waterwall and the ceiling in the great hall.  Even if the lunch wasn't that great in the ground floor cafe.  It is not far to walk back to the Australian site of the NGV at Federation Square.

Sylvia and I enjoyed some Aleks Danko craft.  E and I enjoyed Top Artists 2013 - the exhibition of school students' work.  We enjoyed an ice cream and caramel slice in the Atrium.  Then home for pizza and birthday cake.  Sylvia found it all very exciting and wanted to do it all again the next day.

Actually I did make the cake all over again for a birthday lunch with the family.  This time I doubled the recipe and baked 2 x 20cm round cakes.  This time they baked quicker.  This time I tried a bit of turmeric for yellow colour but it didn't make much impact.  This time the buttercream frosting and jam oozed down the side and the top threatened to slide off.  Perhaps I used more jam this time.  Perhaps it wasn't as easy to transport in the car as I thought.  My mum said it was because the cake was heavy.  You can see her light fluffy yellow sponge in the picture below.

So in this above photo you have my past and present birthday cakes.  The cake that my mum made for birthdays during my childhood and the cake that I am making for birthdays today.  Oh yes, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

I don't want to dwell on my 6th blog anniversary.  I write my reflections on blog changes each new year so I don't need to repeat those here.  I can announce that my StatCounter account (which I started in March 2008, almost a year into my blog) has just recently reached 1,000,000 "page loads".  (Stats are a moveable feast so I don't place too much trust in them but I do love a 7 figure number!)

As I have been saying recently, I am glad the blog is still going strong but goodness I wish I had a bit more time and energy for it.  Fortunately I still have truckloads of inspiration thanks to the wonderful bloggers and readers around me.  So thank you for reading, thank you for sharing.  Here's to many more years of Green Gourmet Giraffe.  If time is kind to me, I have a few self indulgent posts to share over the next week as a little birthday present.  You can decide whether it is me or you getting the presents :-)

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Ghost cake, birthdays and wildlife
Two years ago:  Guitar Birthday Cake
Three years ago: Viking cat cake with a butterscotch secret
Four years ago: Happy Birthday to E and GGGiraffe
Five years ago: Green Gourmet Giraffe Birthday Cake

Vegan Victoria Sponge Cake
cake adapted from Tinned Tomatoes and buttercream adapted from BBC Good Food.

Cake:
  • 250 plain flour
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pinch turmeric (for colour)
  • 250ml soy milk (or other dairy free milk)
  • 60ml canola oil
  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Filling:
  • 50g non-dairy margarine (I used Nuttalex)
  • 70g icing sugar
  • drop of vanilla essence
  • 2-3 dessertspoons of raspberry jam
Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F).  Grease and line a round 20 cm cake tin.  

Mix together the dry ingredients in a medium to large mixing bowl.  Mix together the wet ingredients in a large jug or small mixing bowl.  Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until just combined.  Pour batter into prepared cake tin.

Bake until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.  It took me about 55 minutes and but on Tinned Tomatoes, Jac said it took about 25 to 30 minutes.

I have also baked these in a 15 cm or 6 inch round tin but as it was a taller cake it took even longer.  I think it took me about 1 hour and 30 minutes. 

On the stereo:
Goodbye yellow brick road: Elton John

29 comments:

  1. This looks like a lovely cake - light and fluffy and not at all like I would expect a vegan sponge to be. I'm fairly new to this whole vegan cake thing, so I'm going to have to try your recipe as it looks so lovely! Happy 6th blog birthday too, and congrats on 1 million page views!

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth - not nearly as fluffy as an Aussie sponge and not quite as buttery as a British sponge but it was enjoyed by everyone

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  2. Happy 6th birthday! I think your cake looks very impressive - I'm trying to figure out how it rises so well with no eggs. I guess the bicarb helps. Love your admission about the two sides of the cake sliding apart. I once made an impromptu birthday cake and put the filling in before it was totally cooled. You can imagine the gloopy mess it became!

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    1. Thanks Louise - I guess it is the bicarb that makes it rise - it did sink the middle slightly after I put the skewer in to test it but you hardly noticed that once it was showered with icing sugar. Odd that when I have made regular buttercakes with butter and eggs some of them have sunk more. I am still a novice at layer cakes - the first small cake sat together well but the larger one was all adrift.

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  3. Bahahah! I will never stop being amused by how much Sylvia's and my tastes align. Ew to buttercream too! ;)

    Happy birthday E!

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    1. Thanks Hannah - but you probably didn't try and lick as much buttercream out of the bowl as you could and then refuse to eat it off the cake :-) BTW I am not usually a fan of buttercream but it worked well here - I prefer it to cream to sandwich together a cake

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  4. Happy blog birthday! What a great recipe, I've been looking for a vegan sponge cake that someone else has made first!

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    1. Thanks Veganopoulous - I can recommend this one

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  5. Happy Blog Bday, A lovely cake to celebrate sounds perfect!

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    1. Thanks Natalie - I can imagine this being requested for other celebrations (actually I was going to make another cake for E for the family lunch and he requested I make this victoria sponge again!)

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  6. Happy birthday to E and your blog! The sponge cake looks fantastic and the recipe seems fairly simple. I've been meaning to hunt down a vegan sponge cake recipe for some time and now I need to look no further. The man's birthday is in two months, I can't wait to surprise him with one of his old favourite cakes.

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    1. Thanks Mel - I think part of the beauty of this sponge is that it uses basic ingredients that most people can find in their pantry (jac used coconut oil but I just used vegetable or canola oil). Let me know how you go with it if you try it at the man's birthday!

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  7. Happy blog birthday to you! That looks like just the sort of cake I'm in the mood for at present...

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    1. Thanks Catherine - should have taken a slice around to you but it did go rather quickly!

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  8. Happy blog anniversary! 6 years is a great amount of time. Kep it up! I know what you mean about lacking time and energy though. As long as the love of food is there thats all that amtters

    The cake(s) look delicious!

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    1. Thanks Katie - 6 years is quite grown up in blog years I think :-) but am still loving it so make the time for it

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  9. Happy birthday to E and happy blogiversary to you!

    You remain rather prolific for someone who struggles to find the time and energy for blogging.

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    1. Thanks Cindy - I think I am more prolific in blogging than in a few other projects that I would like to get underway - like the age old problem of keeping on top of my photos!

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  10. Oh, so much to say! Happy Birthday to E, and I think he and Mr Bite would bond nicely over the same cake every year and pizza for a low key birthday tea. And happy 6 years to you - such a fantastic amount of time to be blogging for, and I know your blog is used as a resource by many, including me. I hope you have a bit more energy again soon, but it and us will wait for you after your efforts building it up over the last 6 years :-)

    I am also so delighted with this cake! I have never thought to try vegan sponge cake, and whilst this is the British rather than Australian variety, I'm still really impressed at how well it turned out without the eggs that are often deemed 'essential'. It looks beautiful and your cake stand and decorating could go in a magazine.

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    1. Thanks Kari - I am very touched by your comment - I am delighted to be a resource for you and others and I refer back to past posts for ideas and recipes often so I get a lot of pleasure out of that too. I think it gets to a point where I feel I have posted so many of my old favourites that it must slow down but I still have many ideas I would love to blog.

      And I am glad to inspire you to try a vegan sponge - I hadn't really thought of it til I saw Jac's recipe - it is not really my sort of cake but E loves it. I suspect it would be harder to veganise the Aussie sponge which relies more on eggs than the British one.

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  11. Happy belated birthday to E and happy blogiversary. I reach 6 at the end of May. I like the look of E's cakes - simple but good. Your Mum's sponge also looks pretty spectacular. I want to visit the costume exhibit at ACMI - must try and remember.

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    1. Thanks Cakelaw - I love how quite a few of my blogging buddies celebrate blog anniversaries around the same time - perhaps we will need a 10 year celebration together if we are still around then. And glad you reminded me about the ACMI exhibition - I wanted to go there but E was less keen so I would like to another time.

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  12. Happy birthday to E, and also to your blog! I've just reached 6 years too, amazing eh?
    The cake looks lovely, nice and tall too. Bet it tasted delicious, I could definitely eat more than a couple of slices!

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    1. Thanks Nic - another blog of "my" age - the cake wasn't too heavy but it was rather sweet which kept me from eating too many slices

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  13. That looks beautiful Johanna! And I'm saving that for my MIL! I always thought that sponges would be impossible to be made eggless but your cake looks perfect! :D

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    1. Thanks Lorraine - hope your MIL loves it. As someone who doesn't like eggs, I am always surprised and delighted at how many recipes can be made without eggs

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  14. Happy Birthday E and GGG. I am so glad you gave the cake a go and enjoyed it Johanna. It was a bit hit or miss trying to make one for Graham and I was so chuffed it worked so well. You have a young photographer in the making. Tell Sylvia that I love her photo!

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    1. Thanks Jac - Sylvia loves taking photos - though only under strict supervision. The cake was brilliant not just because it came out so well but because it was so simple to make. Am sure graham is very impressed at your creativity

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  15. A belated Happy Birthday to E and to your blog, I'm looking forward to the next year!

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