I am lucky in that I don't suffer from any allergies or intolerances and other than the odd hayfever sniffle in the summer, neither do my family. As such, I have never had any reason to bake without eggs or butter, gluten or milk. Recently, however, I have had a number of requests for gluten-free cakes or dairy-free cakes which have made me research this challenging area of baking.
Happily, there are a lot of products out there now which enables the baker more appetising choices and recipes. Only this morning I found in my local supermarket peanut flour and coconut flour, both of which are gluten-free and, I would imagine, add an interesting layer of flavour to baking.
Last week I was asked to bake a vegan cake - so no eggs, no milk, no butter... No rise, no texture & no flavour were my immediate thoughts but I was proven wrong! I zoned in on a recipe for a 'Lemon & Rosemary Olive Oil Cake'. It had good reviews, sounded tasty to me and aside from the rosemary, I had all the ingredients! If you want to have a go, I've typed out the recipe below.
3 cups plain flour
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tblsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
3/4 cup soya milk
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sunflower oil
Zest & juice of a lemon
Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl and combine. Stir in the chopped rosemary leaves. Pour in the olive oil & soya milk and beat into the dry ingredients. Add the sunflower oil and mix until combined, then stir through the lemon juice and zest. The batter is very thick and sticky, most unlike regular cake batter. Scrape it into two lined tins (I used 2lb loaf tins but you could use 2 x 7" round cake tins) and bake for approx 30 minutes @180c. Mine needed a wee bit longer so make sure you test the centre of the cake is cooked with a skewer or cocktail stick - if it comes out clean, it's cooked!
You could leave the cake plain (like the one on the left) but I chose to ice mine with a very simple lemon glace icing - 1 cup of icing sugar with enough freshly squeezed lemon juice to make it just runny.
The resulting cake was moist, tasty and did have a cake-like texture. The rosemary is an unusual twist so I guess if you're not a fan (like my husband!), you could leave that out and just go for a lemon & olive oil cake. Either way, it is a great little recipe and makes a delicious cake in it's own right, regardless of the fact that it is a 'vegan' recipe.