Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Healthy cake - I kid you not! or; it's easier and tastier to be vegan than you think

This weekend I was mostly baking...vegan cakes!

I have a very dear friend who is vegan. I don't see her anywhere n
ear as much as I would like, which is silly considering she is only in Brighton. Annnyway, this Sunday we were off to visit friends in Lancing to catch up and continue our game of D&D. Lancing being only eight miles from Brighton it seemed rude not to pop in on Q. I had raved to her a little while back about the vegan cheesecake I had tried out, and promised to make her one for the next time I saw her. Not being one to break such baking promises I knew that even though we'd only be seeing each other for a few hours, and that would be over dinner, it just wouldn't do to turn up empty handed. So a vegan cheesecake had to be made. Oh, what a hardship says the baking obsessive!

I then decided to go one better. The tradition for D&D sessions is th
at whoever is the visitor brings cake. I'm not sure quite how is started, but last time round we were presented with a beautiful carrot cake, and when the five of us couldn't finish it, it was kindly left behind. I wanted to return not only the favour, but the cake tin! and so set about trawling recipe books for something suitable. Having been so concerned about the fat in my diet after a holiday of such weird food and some twinching sciatic moments, I wanted something as low fat as possible, without any compromise in the taste. A tough ask I know, until I stumbled on this site. I couldn't believe it. A fat-free vegan recipe for chocolate and orange cake. Perfect. I could even make one big cake, and steal out some of the batter to make a mini one for Q. She'd get two tasty vegan treats, and we'd get a healthy cake. Yep, a healthy cake. Sconto!

The outcome would also allow me to use the two mini cake ti
ns I'd bought earlier in the week, totally justifying their purchase! hehe.

I won't post the recipe for the chocolate-orange cake as I used it exactly as the site says, and you can just enjoy browsing there. The only difference was that I used an 8" deep cake pan rather than a bundt tin, as I couldn't find one anywhere in time. It worked well to start with, but whilst cooling it sank. The mixture was clearly too light to hold up all the way through. I probably should have split the mixture and made a layer cake. However I iced the cake anyway and it didn't make any difference to the taste, except that the icing that pooled in the middle looked interesting and made it more moist. Despite the sinking it was alright, more moist than I expected, not gooey, but moist with fruit juice (and icing!). However I did think it was slightly chewy and although there was certainly no way you'd be able to tell it was fat-free I couldn't help thinking a regular chocolate cake might have been a better idea. It might be one to experiment with. Hmmm...

The vegan cheesecake was very well received and is fast becoming one of my new favourite desserts. Since it's made with tofu and yoghurt it's lower in fat and calories than normal cheesecake, but still tastes great. It's also so easy to make. Unlike my last attempt at a tofu cheesecake which only needed to be egg-free, this one had to be fully vegan so I did make some changes to the recipe I had. I couldn't get vegan cream cheese, so used soy yoghurt instead. This actually made a much better texture and was, of course, even lower in fat. I also needed a base that was fully vegan, so opted for store bought vegan digestives, mixed with toasted hazelnuts and blended with apple sauce. I had some left over blackberries so whacked those in with the the tofu mix, topped the whole thing with a blackberry puree and voila! Vegan blackberry cheesecake!

I think that my next vegan cheesecake experiment will be chocolate. I think the combination of really dark chocolate and the creamy tofu will work perfectly. Again I won't post the recipe because it is essentially the same as the previous one except with yoghurt rather than cheese and the addition of blackberries.

Hurrah for vegan low-fat baking!

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