Can I confess something right now? I love making vegan cakes. Not because I am a vegan but because they are the easiest cakes to bake. You don't need any special equipment and it's about as easy at mixing up a muffin. Scratch that, it's even easier because you don't need your eggs to come to room temperature. Not that you'd know it was easy from the taste!
Rose and raspberry is a beautiful combination, undoubtedly feminine and I thought that Grace seemed the perfect name for this. I wanted to make a big fluffy icing and the seven minute frosting seemed like the perfect choice. Except of course it had eggs. But then I remembered that I had saved the water from a tin of chickpeas (aka aquafaba) and wanted to see whether you could make a seven minute frosting from that!
For those of you new to aquafaba, it is simply the water drained from a tin of chickpeas. Some slightly crazy soul discovered that it acts similarly to egg whites and you can make some things quite successfully with it-up to a point. I found a meringue doable but a pavlova unsuccessful. Which made me wonder which category a meringue frosting would fall into. I am glad to say that really works and creates a wonderfully dollopy icing that sets firm. Better than I could have ever dreamt up. The cake itself is also a beauty. It lasts for ages in the fridge because it is so moist inside (is the only worse thing than saying moist, saying moist inside? Sorry!). But somehow this entire cake works perfectly even though I didn't expect it to.
I recently came back from overseas. It was a trip to Copenhagen. I usually try to break up flights to Europe if they're in economy class by stopping a day or two in the middle stop but I wasn't able to and ended up with a six hour layover in Singapore. I decided to buy myself access to a lounge and book a massage and a shower. My massage therapist seemed like a nice lady. It wasn't a fancy massage place, there were curtains between beds and I could hear the grunting of the businessman next to me getting the knots kneaded out of his leg (there was a bit of a running commentary from his masseur which is why I knew it was his leg). My masseuse started and I felt something different. She was doing my massage while wearing latex gloves! I've had dozens massages in my life and this was a new one for me.
Even odder, she removed them halfway through and then at the end proceeded to sprinkle baby powder all over me. Nevertheless she was an excellent masseuse and employed a technique like a Thai massage but just did it at four times the speed! I felt the effects of the first flight melt away and it really worked, even if it did seem like a slightly unusual method! Much like this cake and frosting :)
So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever had a massage with latex gloves? Are you good with long flights or do you have to break them up? And do you ever make vegan cakes?
Vegan Rose & Raspberry Cake
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
- 1.5 cups plain all purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups caster or superfine sugar
- 1.5 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup oil (flavourless, not olive oil)
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Raspberry flavouring (I use LorAnn flavour oils and they are very concentrated)
- 30g/1oz. aquafaba (the water from a tin of chickpeas)
- 3/4 cup caster or superfine sugar
- 40ml/1.4 fl ozs. water
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Pinch of salt
- A few drops of rosewater
Step 1 - Line the base and sides of 2x 11cm round tins and preheat oven to 180C/350F. This recipe is for two high mini cakes. You can also do this in a round 20cm/8inch cake but you will need to adjust the recipe by another third (eg 2 cups flour etc) and adjust cooking times to bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour.
Step 2 - Whisk the flour, sugar, bicarb and salt in a bowl. In a jug measure the water, oil, vinegar, vanilla and raspberry essence. Make a well in the dry ingredients and slowly add the wet ingredients in, stirring and mixing but do not overwork the batter. Divide among the two tins and bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool completely in the tin.
**Step 3 - ** Make the icing in a double boiler. Place the aquafaba, sugar, water, cream of tartar, salt and rosewater in a heat proof bowl and whisk for 1 minute. Then place the bowl over a pot of simmering water making sure that the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl. Whisk for 8-10 minutes. The vintage mixer that I borrowed was a bit slow so it needed the 10 minutes but if yours is fast it may be done in less time. It will thicken upon cooling and then become like a dollopy, spreadable meringue.