I’ve been in denial for a while now, but it is time to accept that I have an intolerance to gluten and I need to do something about it. I wouldn’t mind too much, except for the slight fact that I LOVE to bake. Be it bread or cakes, I find the process of baking incredibly therapeutic.
So I have been determined to make this a positive mission to discover how to use gluten-free flour successfully in my baking. And I’d say the results have been pretty amazing, considering some of the gluten-free cakes I’ve eaten in the past…
Do gluten-free & vegan sponge cakes work?
Turning vegan never negatively impacted my baking. I was quickly able to find suitable alternatives to be able to create all my favourite dishes, like using chia eggs or aquafaba to bind cakes instead of using egg.
Vegan cake is quite simple really, you want to substitute the eggs for a vegan egg. You can either buy a ready-made vegan egg, you can make a chia egg, a flaxseed egg, aquafaba, or simply can use a curdled mix of plant milk and vinegar as I do in this recipe. I find aquafaba is often the best alternative as it keeps cakes and other baked goods fluffy and moist, but it can be tricky to get right!
However, adapting my bakes to gluten-free hasn’t been quite so easy… I’ve had buns that came out of the oven as hard as rocks, cakes with a sinking hole in the middle, and dough mixes that remain permanently raw-looking no matter how long you bake them.
But I knew this didn’t mean my gluten-free vegan baking mission was over. And I’m glad I stuck to it because it really does work if you just get a few things right first…
The trick to gluten-free sponge cakes
I’m going to let you into a little discovery of mine. The key to achieving delicious gluten-free cakes is in the flour. You NEED a good gluten-free flour. Not just that oat flour that you picked up from your local hippy health food shop, no, you need a well thought out gluten-free flour blend.
Once I discovered this incredible gluten-free flour blend from Doves, my bakes started to come out amazingly well.
Now that I feel more confident with my gluten-free flour choice, I knew it was time to experiment with one of the simplest yet loveliest cakes out there, the Victoria Sponge Cake.
What is a Victoria sponge cake?
This is a cake that must be fluffy and light as well as comforting. It is best enjoyed with lashings of buttercream and a good quality strawberry jam sandwiched in between each layer. I recommend serving it up with a good cup of tea.
A vegan & gluten-free Victoria Sponge Cake
Achieving the lightness required in the Victoria Sponge Cake whilst also making it vegan and gluten-free is quite the task. But I believe I have achieved it with the use of plant milk and lemon juice, which curdles up to form a great egg replacer for light cakes. The Freee gluten-free flour blend keeps the cake nice and moist inside but with a slightly crumbly texture, but we can’t expect 100% perfection from gluten-free flours just yet!
Vegan & gluten-free Victoria Sponge Cake recipe
- 300 ml Soya milk
- 1 tbsp Lemon juice
- 150 g Vegan butter
- 3 tbsp Maple syrup
- 1 tsp Vanilla bean paste
- 300 g Gluten-free self-raising flour
- 175 g Golden caster sugar
- 1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
- 75 g Vegan butter - room temperature
- 200 g Icing sugar
- Water - for icing, if needed
- Jam - for the middle
- Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan oven)
- Grease two round cake tins and line with baking paper
- Stir the lemon juice in with the vegan milk and set aside to curdle slightly
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter together with the maple syrup and vanilla bean paste. Leave it to cool slightly
- Sieve the flour, sugar, and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl
- Gradually pour in and mix both the milk and the butter mixes. Stir until smooth. If it starts to clump, use a hand whisk to continue mixing
- Pour out the cake mix equally into the two cake tins
- Place the tins into the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. Try not to open the oven!
- Check the cakes with a skewer, if the mix sticks to the skewer and looks a bit too wet, put back in for 5 more minutes and check again
- Take out of the oven and leave to cool
- Whilst waiting for the cakes to cool, place your room temperature butter and icing sugar in a stand mixer and beat it together for about 3-5 minutes, until it is whipped and fluffy. If you don't have a stand mixer you can use your hand, but this may take a little longer to achieve similar results. If needed, add in some of the water to help mix
- Once the cakes have cooled, take them out of the tin and place one half on to a serving plate
- Spread over your jam of choice and then spread on the frosting
- Carefully place the second half on top
- If you have spare icing sugar, sprinkle on top using a sieve
- ENJOY your gluten-free + vegan masterpiece and don’t forget to show off!!
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